EDITORIAL/Obtaining new American greatness
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 12:30 AM
The people have spoken, but fewer of us on all sides. So, where to from here?
President Barack Obama won re-election last Tuesday with 51 percent of the vote - a difference of about 3 million, according to Politico's latest figures.
He received about 10 million fewer votes this time, but the Democrats won in the big swing states like Ohio and Michigan where it mattered.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney received 3 million fewer votes than John McCain in 2008.
President Obama received 44 percent of the vote in Mississippi and 28 percent in Neshoba County this time.
Postmortems on the election are plentiful, but Republicans didn't turn out and Mr. Romney failed to attract independents, the young, single women, blacks and Latinos.
President Obama's slim margin of victory doesn't give him the liberal mandate supporters had hoped for, so there will have to be compromise on balancing the budget and reducing the debt by curbing entitlements. Not necessarily.
Government figures released on Friday showed that by the end of August 2012 (the most recent data), there were 47.1 million Americans on food stamps, a new all-time record high.
Another 420,947 Americans were added to the food stamp rolls from the previous month of July, representing the largest monthly increase in a year, the government reported.
That's the sort of entitlement expansion that goes against the core principles upon which the nation was founded, talk that bores most voters.
The American colonies were first settled by the Pilgrims, Bible-believing Christians fleeing religious persecution in Europe. They created an American creed around liberty, individualism, equal opportunity, populism and laissez-faire.
The Founders were innately suspicious of government, believing it means less liberty and, if unrestrained, will eventually breed a sense of entitlement.
Wonkish and boring? To most voters, yes, especially those who expect something from the government.
Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks observes that, overall, Republicans are losing elections because large parts of the country no longer value the nation's founding principles. They've moved on and newcomers have no knowledge of those origins. The basic Republican framing no longer resonates, he says.
We would beg to differ that the basic framing no longer resonates. One problem is hypocrisy of the GOP establishment that's driving voters away by running up deficits and being party to legislation that's moving America toward a police state in the name of national security. The far right fixates on social issues and the party loses the messaging battle and the votes.
To be sure, Republicans must do more outreach to blacks, Latinos, women and the young with a genuine message of welcome. There are many among them who hold the same core values.
Mr. Romney was gracious in defeat, as we would have expected him to be. He was upbeat and encouraging, saying, "I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to a new greatness."
Likewise, President Obama in his victory speech seemed to extend a hand across the aisle, saying he looked forward to sitting down with Mr. Romney and figuring out how to solve some of the nation's problems.
In recent days, Mr. Obama has said he's willing to compromise on entitlements and tax cuts, but we shall see.
Mr. Obama campaigned on bigger government and providing for people. He's sought to strip away the religious liberties of Catholics with contraception mandates in his behemoth ObamaCare bill that no one fully understands.
With $16 trillion in national debt and Congress unable to balance - or even pass - a budget, the stakes have never been higher.
Liberal groups are already mobilizing to oppose Mr. Obama and conservatives in the "fiscal cliff" fight over Social Security and Medicare.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said this week that he is open to a "fiscal-cliff" deal but that "we are not going to mess with Social Security."
Our nation desperately needs President Obama to succeed, but Americans of all political persuasions should not forsake the founding principles that have made our country great, wonkish and boring or not.
If you're part of the 71 percent of Neshoba countians who voted for Romney, be of good courage and press on. The Lord remains on His throne. Our founding principles suggest that we pray for all those in authority.
The election is over, Mr. Obama is President and we must get about the ominous task of fixing the country guided by our founding principles.