Election 2012 is history — the electorate has spoken and President Barack Obama will occupy the White House for four more years. He is entitled to a victory lap, but let us hope that it is short — there is serious work to be done.
The president has proved that he can win — he is a formidable campaigner and his forays are well-planned and equally well-orchestrated. He has demonstrated also that he understands both the electorate and the playing field — he knows the where and sum of his strengths and has capitalized on fortifying that voter bloc in two elections.
Of course I am not overjoyed at the decision; however, as a Marine for nearly half my life, I learned to read the "from" line on message orders. He carried the majority vote as well as a convincing win in the Electoral College. Consequently, this is not a time to complain nor to seek a scapegoat as in "who shot John" — instead, it is time to move on and make it work.
Now, the president must energize his exceptional skills as a campaigner and demographic organizer to work as a leader — he must now demonstrate that he is ready to govern. This is a side of our commander-in-chief that he has yet to substantiate — the "I won, you lost" arrogance of his first term is not a viable option. The coin that is gridlock has two sides.
With a second win under his belt, he can afford to show some humility and seek genuine compromise with the losing minority — its membership includes nearly half of the electorate. I sincerely hope that, since he no longer has any reason to campaign or do photo ops, he will seek solutions rather than confrontation. There has been enough of that.
If I could offer the president a bit of advice, I would point out that both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton faced opposition and divided Congresses. Somehow, they were able bridge the aisles and govern all of the people — he would do well to copy them.
As for we Republicans who came up short again, it is distressing to see the finger pointing, blame game — we tend to convene a circular firing squad at these times. Once again, the culprit is the Republican establishment, moderate "Rockefeller Republicans," ignoring the fact that 2 million fewer voters turned out for Romney than had voted for McCain.
There is plenty of blame to share. For example, there is the "tea party," which orchestrated a sensible and necessary message calling for spending cuts and fiscal responsibility. Sadly, the movement confused its popularity on those issues as a mandate to determine which candidate is a "real conservative" and act also as the arbiter of social issues.
The resultant and totally unnecessary division between party "Republicans" and "Conservatives" alienated Independents along with costing five winnable Senate seats in the last two years — Indiana and Missouri in 2012. Removing a sure winner because he or she does not fit a profile is as silly as a football coach taking a three-point field goal off the scoreboard in hopes of scoring a touchdown.
I realize that I am again daring to tread on hallowed ground to some; however, I believe that much of the talk show rhetoric from the Limbaughs and Hannitys has outlived its usefulness and is counterproductive. Preaching to the choir in a manner that turns off potential supporters is hardly profitable.
Next, former President Reagan commands an image that both conservative and "establishment" Republicans try to commandeer. The Ronald Reagan I remember taught that no Republican was to speak ill of a fellow Republican and that a Republican who supported the party 80 percent of the time was worth saving. Both factions seem to have forgotten this philosophy.
We also shot ourselves in the foot regarding immigration policy. The only reasonable solution to this dilemma was advanced by former President George W. Bush, who advocated a guest-worker program, much like the former Bracero seasonal-worker program which was scrapped at the behest of the labor unions. Short-sighted, militant Republicans derided it as "amnesty," and the Democrats gleefully watched us go over the cliff.
Changes in today's voting demographics are primarily the result of the 18- to 28-year-old and Hispanic vote. In order to compete, the Republican Party must respond accordingly — to do otherwise will cede the presidency to the Democrats.
Finally, Republicans and Democrats must come to grips with reality as there is plenty of blame to share. We Republicans can continue to carp about media bias, but it is what it is. Complaining won't make a difference.
The president has also lost an ace in the hole — the ability to blame his troubles on a presidential "inheritance." The economy and all of the trimmings are now his responsibility. We are waiting to be led Mr. President — failure is not an option.