A Nation Speaks, But What Was the Message?

A flawed President Obama re-elected after bitter, divisive campaign—time to set aside differences for the good of the nation.

The American people have spoken, but I am not sure what they were attempting to communicate through their vote in this presidential election.

President Obama received a stunning groundswell of support from key constituencies and extraordinary turnout after an ugly, bitter, divisive campaign in which charges and counter-charges were hurled by both sides.

Were the American people afraid of a President Mitt Romney, given that he has adopted both sides on most key issues, attempting to have it all ways? Were they offended that he painted with a broad brush when he branded 47% of us as moochers who would always choose government handouts over personal responsibility?

Is it possible that we like the lackluster economy which has persisted on Barack Obama's watch with high unemployment and underemployment; tax and fiscal policy uncertainty which causes businesses to decline to spend and hire; a big, expensive, expanding federal government with trillion dollar plus annual deficits; an exploding national debt which currently stands at $16.4 trillion; one out of seven Americans being beneficiaries of the food stamp program, many of them having utilized for years a program that was designed to be a temporary bridge?  Do we feel that the Affordable Patient Care Act is outstanding legislation that will truly bring down the cost of health care and make the system better in most respects, that it is realistic to claim that reimbursements to health care professionals and hospitals can be slashed to achieve savings?  Are we not terribly concerned about four Americans that were abandoned by their nation in Benghazi, Libya before and during a terrorist massacre?

Nevertheless, President Obama shall be the president of all Americans for another four years. He deserves congratulations for his victory, which did not come easily. Mitt Romney was right in his gracious concession speech. It is time to set aside for the good of the nation what he described with understatement as "partisan bickering."

The most immediate action needed is to take evasive action as the proverbial "fiscal cliff" approaches, spending reductions and tax increases that it is widely believed would trigger a recession and a significant decline in economic output if enacted. After that looming disaster is addressed, I must hope that President Obama will seek and be able to achieve a breakthrough which will enable a "grand bargain" to be struck, one in which the national debt is addressed through the judicious reductions in spending that the Republicans claim they want and the revenue enhancements demanded by the Democrats. Both sides will need to sacrifice for the good of the country. Campaign pandering pledges will need to be broken and special interests set aside as radical solutions are adopted to address monumental problems. A good start would be to increase the age at which individuals qualify for full Medicare and Social Security benefits and to scale back cost of living increases in Social Security, at least for higher income recipients. The status quo alternative is to maintain a system which ultimately collapses under the weight of promises that it cannot fulfill.

The president cannot claim a great mandate, given the ideological split of the nation and his slim margin of victory in the popular vote, rendering bipartisanship absolutely critical. Is a House of Representatives which remains under Republican control prepared to work with the president to get our nation on the right track? Shall we have a chance at four years of accomplishment for the American people or are we embarking upon four years of continuing stalemate, bluster, contempt, hyper-partisanship and disdain for the public and our future?

On the eve of the 2010 mid-term elections, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell famously stated that the number one priority of the GOP was to deny President Obama a second term. He did not ever rescind this declaration of war, McConnell's "initiative" failed. It is now time for all federal officials to roll up their sleeves, set aside party, and work for the good of the nation, recognizing that we are all in this together. The alternative is frightening.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Francis Kilinsky November 09, 2012 at 02:44 PM
According to Robert A. Shoaf Barack Hussein Obama is "the annointed one, the bringer of peace and prosperity, the all knowing, all seeing, wisest man to ever walk the earth, the glorious, dear leader." I can truly understand why this great man was re-elected as President of the United States of America! Even Jim Quinn on his talk show on Wednesday, 11/7/2012 called Barack Hussein Obama the "Messiah!"
Robert A. Shoaf November 09, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I trust you can recognize satire when you see it?
JS November 09, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Oren - you seem like an intelligent guy, probably well-versed in history. Can you tell me when in our history that the private sector banded together to get us out of a fiscal crisis that we were in? I can't really think of a single instance of that happening. I do know of several times when government has guided us out of hard economic times. Why then would you and your admitted party think that this is the time that corporate America will save us without further government spending? As someone who knows history, you'll also be aware that the most prosperous times in America were during periods when the tax rates for the upper classes and businesses were at their highest. I know that Republican theories call for lower taxes which they propose will increase revenue and cause business to hire. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened in the real world. As far as the Affordable Care Act, I agree that this plan does very little to control costs. It is a first baby step to reforming a system that simply can't work. Private insurance companies can only make a profit from health care if they can refuse to insure the riskiest and elderly and can depend on the government to cover the people they can't make a profit from. Single payer is the only thing that makes sense, but Obama realizes that there is no way of getting that done in this political climate. As far as Obama's mandate, Bush Jr. certainly felt he had a mandate while losing the popular vote, so we'll see.
Oren Spiegler November 10, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Thank you, Mr. or Ms JS, for your thoughtful and intelligent response, and for your kind words. I believe I know a fair amount about history, particularly that of the last one hundred years. I believe we are dependent on business to create and sustain good jobs and to boost the economy, and wonder where we would be without risk-takers and investors. Two presidencies in which we spent ourselves into oblivion were those of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. I am not convinced that Roosevelt pulled us out of the Depression through massive spending and the case can be made that he worsened it. Johnson's Great Society was a calamity, reducing poverty little, if at all. Certainly tax cuts are not without cost, but tax increases never bring in the amount of money forecast due to tax avoidance. You are correct; one of our most prosperous periods was within the Clinton administration, in which taxes were raised.
Ed M November 10, 2012 at 09:05 PM
That response sounds just like a politician, Oren. You didn't answer the direct question - "Can you tell me when in our history that the private sector banded together to get us out of a fiscal crisis that we were in?"


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