Reflections on the ElectionsWritten by Don Burnard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The elections are over now and we can all go back to our regular lives. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Not that Obama won, but that he won so decisively. The major polls kept telling us it was a dead heat and would come down to the wire, and the pundits all said we might not know who won for days or even weeks. The pleasant part for me was that it was all basically over by 11:15 on election night, and Ohio, known for electional dysfunction, put Barack Obama over the top. Once again, Ohio was the most important state of all the ten so-called swing states, and our record still stands; no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. After being bombarded by out of state financed campaign ads against both Obama and Sherrod Brown, Ohioans proved that we are not as stupid as Karl Rove and his billionaire buddies thought, and we can’t be bought by lying, misleading slick ads. Karl Rove and his ilk spent $60 million to defeat Sherrod Brown. His was the most targeted Senate race in the country, but a majority of Ohio voters weren’t taken in by this, and returned one of the biggest advocates our state has to another term. Overall, Karl spent $130 million dollars of other peoples’ money with his Crossroads PAC nationally, and they got less than 1% return on their investment. For the party of big bidness, this doesn’t seem like a good bang for their big bucks. After Citizens United, I think they thought they could buy this election, but the old Abraham Lincoln adage once again proved true; “You can fool some of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.” The presidential race has been estimated to have cost $6 billion between the two sides, an obscene amount of money, most of which went to negative ads. Hopefully, though I’m not holding my breath, this will help push for passage of a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and usher in true election financing reform. For two parties who claim to want to be financially responsible, justifying these types of expenditures does not seem to reek of fiscal responsibility. There is still a majority of voters in this country who can’t be bought.
After the election was called, the usual calls for bipartisanship were trotted out by both sides, including Romney in his final speech. Just as an aside, I thought his hastily put together concession speech was probably his best speech since he started campaigning six years ago. He came across as genuine and gave a seemingly heartfelt speech. According to campaign aides, the speech was written just before he took the stage. Perhaps if he’d shown more of that side of himself, and hadn’t let others put words and policy positions in his mouth, he would have fared better. John Boehner came out and said they were ready to do the peoples’ work, but said the fact that they still retained control of the House showed that their positions were still relevant. My opinion is that their control is more due to redistricting shenanigans than public approval. After all, this is a Congress that was less popular than the Communist party in the 112 session. The bottom line is, if the obstruction doesn’t end, and the next Congress doesn’t actually try to deal with the problems that are still facing us, we’re doomed. John F. Kennedy said; “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” Congress would do well to heed that advice.
As I write this, Florida has finally declared that Obama won there too, giving him a clean sweep of the swing states, and a total of 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206. The pundits are saying that this is no mandate, but I beg to differ. In 2004, Bush won with 284 electoral votes and declared that he now had political capital, and he intended to use it. We all know how that turned out. I find it somewhat hard to take that the perception that this was anything other than a good old fashioned butt whipping, and it is just another example of the lack of respect that this President has gotten from day one, both by the opposition and much of the media, and I think it is disgraceful. I do however, believe that Obama will make better use of his political capital, and the country will be better for it. And the Republican Party would do well to be more than the party of Angry White Men if they wish to remain relevant in the 21st century world we now live in. The times they are a changing, as Dylan said.