With respect, the analysis below is wishful thinking. Tuesday was a profoundly consequential night (more on this in my weekend column) and to pretend that it was a “status quo” election that the incumbent merely “survived” is not helpful. J T Young writes:
Politically, Obama won without a mandate and becomes a lame duck shortly.
Are you sure he knows that? He didn’t have a “mandate” for half the stuff he did in his first term, but he did it anyway – shoving Obamacare through on one last bought vote rather than focusing on jobs, etc. That’s the main reason his re-election was so narrow – because he spent his first term concentrating only on things that, whatever their immediate downside, offer his team serious long-term advantage. Our guys might usefully learn from that: Too often Republicans, even when they win, are content to be in office rather than in power.
If that’s what he did when he had a re-election to fight, what do you think he’ll do now that he doesn’t? Regardless of the “inevitable Republican gains in 2014″, this is a man happy to advance his agenda through executive power supported by the bureaucracy and the courts, in neither of which is there any danger of “Republican gains”. In other words, if you liked the first-term executive orders, wait till the second.
While we’re at it, on the brink of another four years, the key point about Barack Obama is not that he’s a secret Muslim Kenyan Commie or whatever. Whether he was born in Honolulu or Mombasa or Stockholm or up on Planet Zongo, what matters (as I write in my book) is that in his general worldview he is entirely typical and perfectly representative of tens upon tens of millions of Americans. Tuesday’s majority confirmed that. They don’t need a “conspiracy”: They agree with him. That’s the problem.