Barack Obama’s impressive victory, though not a “mandate,” is certainly a confirmation of the direction in which the nation is heading under his leadership and the progress that he has made so far. While there is much to be done, as the President is the first to admit, his reelection is a most gratifying vindication of his many first-term accomplishments, which have been so meanly misrepresented by his opponents throughout the presidential campaign.
It is also a well-deserved repudiation of right-wing extremism, of the attack ads of the superPACs, billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers and their efforts to buy the election, of “birthers” like Donald Trump, of the fear mongering conspiracy hunters, fueled by the Citizens United backed producers of the “documentary” film 2016: Obama’s America, which paints the President as conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to turn America into a Muslim state, and of the Republican state officials who tried to steal the election with their restrictive voter I.D. laws and other measures designed to prevent or discourage primarily Democratic voters from exercising their fundamental right to vote.
On a brighter note, Mitt Romney’s concession speech was commendably gracious and apolitical. It was also relatively brief, maybe because, according to rumor, he had not prepared one in advance. Maybe his delay in conceding the election was not due to his campaign’s unwillingness to concede Ohio to the Democrats, but to his need to work on a speech he never thought he would have to give.
One of the things that pleased and impressed me most about what was obviously a very sad and difficult moment for Governor Romney and his disappointed followers, who had been hoping for a very different kind of message from their leader, was the crowd’s response to his announcement that he had just called to congratulate President Obama on his victory and to wish him and his family well. Instead of the usual outburst of booing that we are accustomed to hearing from the losing side at the mention of their opponent’s name, there was spontaneous, polite applause!
Shortly after that, at the Democratic headquarters in Chicago, there was also a round of applause when the President reported on his opponent’s call and complimented him on his hard-fought campaign. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the similar reactions of both camps were a sign of a new desire for bipartisan cooperation in the days ahead?
We’ll soon find out!