I have already noted my chagrin about my conclusions about how the election was to go last night, and have placed myself in line with so many others. With a defeat such as this at a time like now, the Republicans' retrospective and recovery will have to be thorough and in some cases painful, in order to regain their position on the right side of our country’s heritage, holding against those whose only standards are the ones that 'evolve' to their benefit (thus no real standards at all, in the end).
Obama has gained a triumph, but not a mandate. His campaign was successful precisely in the exact electoral spots where it needed to be, but the split in the voters is still right down to the wire, and Romney still has a theoretical chance of winning the popular vote – for what it's worth – as the totals continue to trickle in.
Nothing has changed as far as the relationship with Congress. The House is still comfortably in the hands of the Republicans, still at a 242-193 split. The Senate is still controlled by the Democrats, and now at 55-45 after a couple of previously comfortable Republican challengers uttered inane comments about rape and pregnancy. Unless something drastic happens, we are in for four more years of the same disastrous economic outlook, and I note that on the opening bell this morning, the Dow Jones immediately dropped 200 points and is currently down 350.
Obama’s victory speech had some nice words, but many made no sense when compared with reality. He reprised his line about 'no blue states, no red states, just the United States', how we are 'all Americans together', but this is after an election which counted on dividing us more than ever along race, gender and now class lines. Soaking the 'millionaires and billionaires', which will gain a very minor fraction of the money we are begging from China or printing out of thin air, will destroy the hopes and plans of the small businessmen and -women (the real targets) upon whom we depend to pull us out of this morass. We will be more French than ever, with an economic plan that will be more Greek as time passes.
His opening words of his victory speech strike me in the same way as his call to "fundamentally transform" America four years ago – how the "task of perfecting our union moves forward". He is already on record about how the Founding Fathers were inadequate in writing the Constitution, how they "designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes.” This echoes his comments about how "the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties . . . but doesn’t say what the Federal government or the State government must do on your behalf . . . [in order to] bring about redistributive change." The Republic ignores his words at our peril.
Returning to my observation of Obama's triumph – the Roman procession from which it derives its name (perhaps 'ovation' would be a better term) was a formal parade organized so as to display the captives of a returning victorious general and tumultuously celebrate his victory. There was always a servant in the chariot with the victor, reminding him throughout the procession that all glory is fleeting.