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What Obama Redux Really Means

December 28, 2012 by Somebody Else

Well, well, Obama just got himself re-elected. How about that? It turns out that he's the first Democratic president since FDR to be elected to two consecutive terms with over fifty percent of the popular vote. And, yes, let's not forget that he is the first US president of African-American background. And even though a significant majority of white Americans voted for Romney, nonetheless, with the country's quickly changing demographics, it still wasn't enough to give the election to the Mittster.

There was a statistically insignificant percentage of blacks who voted for Romney, many of whom might have been elderly and had difficulty reading the touchscreen or something. And the vast majority of Latinos in the country voted for Obama, except for a large group of ultra right-wing Cubans in Miami, and maybe a few thousand Hispanic wives of wealthy white businessmen. Asians also went overwhelmingly for the president. Jews backed him at about ninety percent. Single mothers went for Obama at about sixty-five percent. So, chances are that if you looked out of place in a Norman Rockwell painting, you probably voted for the president. Unfortunately for our poor, sad Mittens, most of America now looks out of place in a Norman Rockwell painting.

Curiously, Romney did a good bit better than George W. Bush did with white voters in 2004. But again, with the new demographics, it wasn't enough, in fact, not even close, whether in the popular vote or in the electoral college. The so-called Southern strategy of winning the presidency by sweeping the conservative Southern states, first established by Richard Nixon in the late 1960s, is now officially dead. Romney will be the last presidential candidate to run a campaign on that now defunct premise. That is undoubtedly a huge, historic paradigm shift whose greater significance is now only beginning to be understood.

Bill Clinton summed it up quite well at the Democratic National Convention in the run-up to the general election, when, as part of his ringing endorsement of the president, he paraphased Republican objections to Obama: “We left him a terrible mess. He's not cleaning it up fast enough, so let's fire him and put us back in.” And what about Romney's wonderfully candid observations about the forty-seven percent of us who supposedly just want the government to take care of us? And finally, we have those priceless words of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who solemnly stated that his top legislative priority was “to make Obama a one-term president.”

Obama wins a 2nd term

So, let's see here. Looks like it's rich, white, corporate-connected America versus the rest of us. But what happens when “the rest of us” makes up the demographic majority? You get Obama as a two-term president, so, sorry, Senator McConnell. Well, not all that sorry, actually.

I wonder what ole Mitch is doing between now and the inauguration. Maybe he'll stop in at his favorite Cracker Barrell restaurant somewhere in Kentucky and get waited on by a friendly, smiling black waitress who he probably won't tip, and about whose lack of access to affordable health insurance he couldn't give a slimy rat's tail about, since as far as he's concerned, that's her own damned fault. Then, he can head up to his hunting lodge up the woods, shoot himself a nice, plump buck, have its antlered head mounted over his fireplace, and afterwards go to Sunday services at his church, and hear about how rock-ribbed fundamentalist Christians like him are going to heaven while everyone else burns in the flames of eternal damnation.

Before the election, there was a good bit of worry that the Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision, which basically made it okay for corporations to donate unlimited amounts of money to political propaganda funds known as Super-PACS, would essentially hand Romney the election, since it appeared that there was potentially a lot more corporate-based campaign money heading his way than Obama's. In a nutshell, it looked like Romney very well might have been able to quite literally buy the White House.

However, in the end, the millions and millions of relatively small individual donations to Obama's war chest proved to be more than enough to make the president highly competitive in the general election, regardless of the hundreds of millions of dollars funneled to Romney political operative Karl Rove from the deep pockets of a handful of corporate overlords such as Donald Trump, the Koch brothers, and Sheldon Adelson. Both candidates reached saturation levels with their political ads on television sets in battleground states, so any financial advantage that Romney had beyond such levels was meaningless. Karl Rove had to be pretty darned resourceful about buying huge amounts of ineffective advertising in an effort to dispose of the roaring torrent of campaign cash coming his way. And of course, who can forget that priceless election night moment on Fox News when poor old Turd Blossom just couldn't bring himself to admit that Ohio was lost. So much for Citizens United in the general presidential election.

Citizens United also turned out to be a bust in some congressional elections, perhaps most notably in the case of the Connecticut senate race between uber-wealthy Republican and WWF magnate Linda McMahon and Democrat Chris Murphy, during which McMahon outspent Murphy by a margin of almost four to one. Regardless, Murphy won by almost twelve percentage points. So, what do you know. Money can't always buy you love, as the old saying goes.

However, let's be clear. We shouldn't be fooled by such outcomes, because Citizens United does indeed stand to have a much greater collective impact upon less visible elections at the state level, in other words, in elections where Citizens United opens the door to saturation levels of political ads that one candidate can afford while another one can't. Guess which ones are more likely to be able to achieve saturation levels. I'll give you a hint, it's the ones who are more likely to get strong corporate backing, if you know what I'm saying.

Anyway, back to the what Obama's re-election really means. Well, perhaps most evidently to anyone paying attention, it means that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known both derisively and proudly as Obamacare depending upon who happens to be wielding the term, has a very good chance of becoming a permanent fixture of our society. How all of that plays out remains to be seen, but with both the Senate and the White House in Democratic hands for some time to come, the odds of the ACA getting repealed are rapidly evaporating. And in my view, that's a very good thing. I'll admit that the ACA is not perfect, but in my view it sure as heck beats “don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly,” as Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida has so succinctly put it.

Having Obama as president also means that we're probably much more likely to finally wind things down in the Middle East after almost a decade and a half. But I'm still keeping my fingers majorly crossed on that one. Still waiting for Guantanamo Bay to shut down.

With Obama's re-election, it also looks like an ailing and elderly Ruth Bader Ginsburg, stalwart progressive on the Supreme Court, can finally retire secure in the knowledge that Obama will replace her with someone worthy of her ideological legacy. As for the aging and somewhat moderate Supreme Anthony Kennedy, who infamously joined the neo-cons in trying to overrule the ACA, he might be thinking that he'd better try to tough it out until 2016, or maybe until 2020 if another Democrat is in the White House beginning in 2016. But he might have to throw in the towel anyway before 2016, and in that case, Obama has a chance to considerably shift the balance of power in the court. Let's all keep our eyes on Anthony Kennedy over the next four years.

If Romney had won, we probably would have avoided the fiscal cliff issue altogether, since the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the White House would both have pushed for the indefinite extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, along with massive budget cuts to what Republicans sneeringly refer to as entitlement programs, but what many of us probably think of as protection against sitting in the alley with a tin cup in hand and begging for spare change in our so-called golden years. I have no idea how a Democratically-controlled Senate would have tried to stand up to that kind of toxic combination of corporate giveaways and ruthless austerity measures. Thank goodness we'll never know. Now that we have Obama once again, it looks like we're probably going over the fiscal cliff. I'm going to stand up to the fiscal cliff doomsday prophets and emphatically state right here that there are indeed things much worse than going off the fiscal cliff, such as caving in to unreasonable Republican demands and having your family jewels served to you on a platter as a consequence. Geronimo, Obama -- off the cliff we go.

And last but not least, we have Obama in the White House to react to the recent unspeakable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut by finally, FINALLY saying, enough is enough. Let's see if he and Joe Biden can get something done right away, as they have promised. If ever there was a time to stand up to Wayne LaPierre and the bullies at the NRA, this is it. Come on, Obama. Don't let those kind of people push you around.

In summary, the right person was elected president. He is not my ideal choice. I think that Jill Stein of the Green Party would have been a much better president, but she didn't have an ice cube's chance in hell of getting elected. So, failing that, Obama was the best option we had. Here's hoping that he sticks to his progressive values and leaves us a lasting legacy during the next four years.

"Won't you tell me where my country lies?" said the unifaun to his true love's eyes...