Saturday, November 17, 2012

I'm Just Thankful the Election is Over

Res Publica

I'm Just Thankful the Election is Over

by David Trumbull -- November 16, 2012

The incumbent President was re-elected in a close, 51% to 48% (popular vote) contest, confirming, as we have known since the 2000 election, that the Union is just about evenly split between Republican and Democratic voters. The President's party gained a few seats in both the House and in the Senate, but neither chamber will see a change in control.

The opposition had hoped that discontent with the President would be enough to turn him out of office. They were wrong. After the election some argued that the man chosen to run against the President -- a multi-millionaire from Massachusetts who did not connect well with working men and women and who had a reputation as a "flip-flopper" on important public policy questions -- was a weak candidate. Indeed, all through the race for the nomination doubts had been raised about him, but, unfortunately for the party, all the alternatives were flawed and, looking back, the choice seems inevitable.

How's that for a summary of the 2012 federal elections? For that matter, how about the 2004 federal elections? Dissatisfaction with Obama's handling of the economy and health care was not widespread enough to un-seat him, anymore than disagreement with Bush's conduct of the War on Terror was enough to defeat him. Both won narrowly (51%) over less than ideal opponents. Both saw modest gains in the House and Senate, although, unlike Bush, President Obama will start his second term without a majority in the House.

After the 2004 election I wrote in this space: "I wish I could soothe my Democratic friends by saying, 'calm down, President Bush can't do one-tenth of the Bad Things you fear he'll do.' He likewise will not do one-tenth of the Good Things I'd like him to do." I believe the same is true of President Obama.

The Republic will survive four more years of Obama. At the end we will be weaker, poorer, and have less freedom, but will shall survive and, with a change in leadership, recover. Republican House and Senate gains in 2014 will limit Obama's ability to inflict all the harm he would with a Democratic Congress. History suggests that second terms seldom go as well as the winner expects. All in all, 2016 is, already, looking to be a good year for Republicans and for the Republic.

Next Thursday I'll be thankful that we won't see and hear negative campaign ads, at least for a few months. I'll be thankful that my friends on both sides can stop sniping over politics. I'll be thankful that the United States is, as Will Rogers said before the 1932 election, too big for any one man to spoil.

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