President Obama reelected. AP photo
Well the interminable presidential extravaganza has finally ended and Barack Obama won a second term.
Apparently enough progressives in swing states swallowed hard and followed the appeal made by Daniel Ellsberg, Robert Scheer and others that a Romney presidency would be beyond the pale and despite their criticism and deep reservations, voting for the "lesser evil "Obama should be the choice.
From here are some of the reasons Obama won:
- First and foremost Mitt Romney was a terrible candidate whose stances seemingly changed with the direction of the wind.
- Winning the Republican nomination required him to adopt extreme right wing "tea party" positions. The prime example was accepting their condemnation of "Obama care" which was essentially the health care plan Romney formally endorsed and had enacted in Massachusetts when he was the governor.
- Condemning the auto industry bailout after initially agreeing with it.
- As the former head of Bain Capital he was seen as an exploitive capitalist representing the 1% who personally made millions while the industries he bought and sold were either closed, moved to 3 rd world countries and created a net loss of domestic jobs; not exactly the "job creator" he made himself to be during his campaign.
- His determination if elected to expand military spending while cutting Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits and food stamps.
- The video seen of his condemning 47% of the voters (during a closed fund raiser for deep pocketed fat cats) describing them as essentially worthless dependents of government handouts.
- His close association with Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stance on Iran and his desire to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. An attack that would most assuredly produce a wider war; something the war weary American public was opposed to.
- His harsh stance on immigration and amnesty which was offensive to the Latino community.
- Not to mention the overall Republican craziness on rape and abortion. This understandably offended most female voters (for which Romney was mostly silent).
- Obama on the other hand was to many (most?) voters a known quantity. Although this is an anathema to many progressives, he didn't let himself be outflanked by the right on national security and he did kill Osama bin Laden.
- But mainly, Obama wasn't Romney. Thus the main theme of the Obama campaign was, "Who would you rather have me or Romney?" It wasn't presented in so many words but certainly the implication was unmistakable.
So in a nutshell, let's say the "lesser of evil" Obama won. He was no longer Mr. "Change you can believe in" and certainly these past four years not anything like the transformational character many of us hoped and voted for in 2008.
But does Obama's first term as president automatically dictate what we can expect of him in the next four years? Will his final election "free him" up to do what he was unable or unwilling to take on in his first go round?
Here are some questions regarding domestic and foreign policy problems and issues (in no particular order and by no means exhaustive) that are out there. How will they to be dealt with?
- Global warming and the environment- will there be a serious effort to lead in curbing man made environmental degradation?
- Will the Keystone XL pipeline carrying Canadian tar sands oil be permanently ended?
- Will fracking operations in many states that are despoiling the environment and underwater aquifers be halted?
- Will a depression era type WPA work program be introduced to dramatically reduce unemployment while rebuilding deteriorating infrastructure, upgrade the nations rail system consistent with other first world countries such as in Europe and Japan?
- Will there be an end to NAFTA and other globalization agreements that have killed domestic industry, sent it to 3 rd world countries and reduced and/or outsourced middle class jobs?
- Will college student debt be forgiven?
- Will the rich be taxed at a rate commensurate with their income, including raising the social security and Medicare tax on all earned income?