Obama won his first term by a fluke, premised by the moral outrage at the sordid nature of the Bush presidency. It brought out the young, and the idealistic, taking the old guard by surprise.
His second term is an entirely different matter. His opposition had the time to re-group, his cards were on the table, the big bucks were pouring in, and "independants" cut and ran. If he'd lost, he'd be considered a fool, but having won means they'll call him one of the greatest political strategists in the history of the country.
The best news of all, now that it is for sale, is that the Presidency of the United States was not bought. They came close, very close. As long as Citizen's United is on the books, I don't think "conservatives" (depending on how the term is defined) are going to change their fundamental approach. They'll blame Romney, the campaign, the media, anything but their assumptions. Unless things go really awry these next four years, it'll be the same battle next time around with new names.
The victory is that much sweeter coming in the face of the recession, unemployment, an ideological and culturally entrenched establishment fanned into mania by their media, and the demagogues who prey upon the fearful. That's not to bring up the worst fear of all--the "browning" of America. This election says more about the character of those who call themselves "American" since the time of Honest Abe, when Republicans were the reformers.
That's not small change. It sends out a message to all the world about what is possible for a people living in a democratic union. The rivalries of the past do not need to dominate the future. If we can do it, why can't they?
The politics of inclusion have won over the politics of exclusion, prejudice, and privilege, at least for now. I'm not sure many have understood how great a victory that is for the future of the country. There is perhaps no more powerful message that could be sent, and certainly not anything shot by a gun, or detonated from afar. The neo-cons didn't get their way.
I think it's America's best day since Viet Nam led to a questioning of the post-WWII order. This is the watershed those of us who came of age in the 60's have been waiting for. I mean the liberals, not the perfidious close minded faux liberals who haven't participated, thumbing their noses at democracy as it exists in this country rather than their naive fantasies. They've been lost to their own disillusion, but a new hope and majority has been found.
Policies we wished for have been confirmed, and that is to say more is possible, not less, which is certainly not what would have happened if Romney had won. The Republicans are either forced to adapt to the changing nature of our national demographics or threaten themselves with total irrelevance. They may not still have to get along as we do in the cities, but they're going to have to recognize it's necessary. The need for another thrashing, however, is likely, and is their dependence on sugar daddies.
The national disparity between rich and poor, which is truly the most divisive issue in real terms, rather than ideological, now has a chance to be addressed. The likelyhood of people dying of hunger and lack of medical care in the richest country on earth has been diminished, not increased. The union has in fact been strengthened rather than weakened. Chances are, given his primarily moderate leanings, Obama may be able to sustain that majority in the future.
My greatest hope, when it comes to foreign affairs, is that Obama will not make the greatest mistake of his first term again. That was his failure to address the people of Israel as he addressed those of the Arab nations. It's time to confront Netanyaho by supporting those in Israel who know they are being led toward self-destruction. He certainly has no compunctions lecturing us--now it is time to go around him.
If perhaps today, that is ten or fifteen per cent of the Israeli population, not under the control of the fundamentalists, which may be akin to the numbers of Arabs who sought democracy in the Middle East for a few generations, perhaps that number can be increased to 30ty per cent, so there is the possibility a government will be elected that will bring an end to the oppression.
That is what I would call a legacy, wouldn't you? Now that we have seen the strategic capacity of this President, and his ability to carry that strategy out, I don't think it's out of the question. Israel can no longer remain a rogue state if peace is ever going to be achieved in that part of the world, and possibly the entire "third world". How much longer can the ruse go on? Obama's support among Jewish voters only dropped by eight per cent. He doesn't owe Bibi a thing.
Sure, there are going to be disappointments during this term. He will continue to have to make compromises, but far less than his first term, and knowing him, he will NOT do so in a way that will increase the power of the right when it's time for him to leave office, and will stand next to the next Democratic candidate for president, rather than hide ignominiously.
The difference between the parties is becoming a matter of which is appealing to those talented politically and intellectually, vs. those driven solely by personal ambition and greed. The GOP in its current configuation is running out of viable national candidates. Who wants to stand for what they are being forced to stand for outside their local precincts? Their own remaining intelligencia seems to realize this, especially after this election. Conservative "values" are not anything Obama thumbs his nose at--if the observer is not ideologically blinded, paying attention, and playing fair.
Obama will purposely lead by increments, dragging the reactionaries all the way. How many more guns can they buy? We may have finally entered a new epoch in American history as Obama intended.
We are no longer adolescents--beating up the weak and pounding our chests triumphantly--the nation may have grown up-- at least for four more years.