I suppose I need a blog post with a few thoughts I’ve had since the November 6, 2012 election.
While Obama certainly deserved to lose, I’m not sure that it would be much better for the country’s long-run prospects if Romney had won. The gridlock (YEA GRIDLOCK!!!) situation seems similar to what it was before the election (Republican House and many Democrat senators in Republican-dominated states), so I don’t think it will be easy for Obama to do as much damage as he’d like to do (you know what I mean). Obamacare will likely become well-entrenched (but states can still interfere with that) and we’ll probably have some worsening of the Supreme Court (I wish for the best of health for Scalia, Kennedy, and Ginsburg), but that’s about it for the down-side of this result.
And, to me, it seems like being President of the United States for the next few years will be a terrible job, and Obama deserves that. So, congratulations to him for that.
Romney would have been as bad or worse on many issues and it’s possible that he wouldn’t be able to get rid of all of Obamacare anyway, leaving even more of a mess that would make private health insurance uneconomical. Paul Ryan will probably do more good chairing the House Budget Committee than he would have done as vice president.
If Chief Justice Roberts thought his Obamacare ruling would help lead to a Republican victory that would enable complete repeal, then it was a very bad mistake.
Perhaps limited government will fare better in four years after more failure by a president who was openly hostile to it than it would be if we’d had a president who gave it lip-service but never really believed in it or enacted it.
I agree with Nick Gillespie that if the Republicans want to do better in the future they’ll have to drop (or at least tone down) their socially conservative and anti-immigrant positions; because the demographics don’t look good if they don’t.
I’m very happy that gay marriage equality propositions all went the right way (more marriage equality). And, the two marijuana legalization initiatives (in Colorado and Washington State) could be a more significant development than anything that happened at that national level. If these help lead to the end of the insane “War on Drugs” we’ll all be much better off!
Gary Johnson getting over a million votes (about 1%) is significant as well. Politicians in close races will have to think more carefully about whether they’re willing to ignore people with libertarian inclinations who are willing to “throw their votes away” on libertarian candidates rather than vote for major candidates who are unacceptable. Maybe it will at least lead to better rhetoric, and eventually to better policy.
I’m not going to get into why I think people voted the way they did because I think there are many different reasons and that kind of analysis usually just ends up being little more than people confirming their prior assumptions.
As for the future, I’m cautiously optimistic (as always). The world is still getting better (although bad things happen all the time), and most good things happen outside of politics. I still expect private progress to outstrip government politics and voter stupidity.