Well, the people have spoken. But will Republican and Democrat party leaders understand what they said?
Obama did not win. Romney lost. Both parties need to understand this.
This election was the Republicans' to lose, and they lost it. Not just Mr. Romney, but the entire Republican party lurched from gaffe to gaffe. It began in the primaries when candidate Newt Gingrich proposed that poor children as young as 9 be put to work. Then Michele Bachmann announced- with no scientific evidence whatsoever- that the controversial HPV vaccine had caused a previously normal teenage girl to become mentally retarded. Not to be outdone, Rick Perry behaved so erratically during a New Hampshire speech that some major news outlets wondered if he was drunk or stoned. And multiple witnesses came forward to accuse Herman Cain of putting his (married) hand up various women's skirts. Jon Huntsman disqualified himself by simply being sane.
By the end of the primary campaign it was obvious that Mitt Romney was all the Republicans had to offer.
He might still have pulled it off, but then both he and the party decided to pull out the big guns and start aiming at their own feet. At a campaign event Mr. Romney told a heckler that "Corporations are people too, my friend." On a European trip intended to prove his skill at international relations he criticized British preparations to host the Olympics.
The Republican party enthusiastically supported his attempts at self-destruction by fronting candidates such as Todd Akin, who announced that "legitimate rape" (whatever that is) could never cause pregnancy. Later Akin was given aid and comfort by Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who reassured his audience that even if a "legitimate rape" did cause a pregnancy, "it is something that God intended."
It was at this point that I began to wonder if the Republican party wanted to win anything.
Uncommitted voters looked at the steadily thickening crazy surrounding the Republican party and fled to the only viable alternative- Barack Obama and the Democrats.
Better the Devil you know than the Devil who can't walk and chew gum at the same time.
If the Democrats interpret this as a mandate for their man's policies, they are making a mistake. Mr. Obama may have been re-elected, but the Teflon is gone. Clouds are gathering around the Administration as more details from the ugly events in Benghazi emerge. By New Year's day Mr. Obama could be writhing in the coils of a Republican-led investigation of the death of Ambassador Stevens and 3 other Americans.
Democrats should also remember that the American embrace of Obamacare is ambivalent at best. Major food service employers have announced that they will begin hiring only part-time workers in order to avoid the law's mandate that they provide insurance to all full-time workers. If this becomes a nationwide trend, the Affordable Care Act could turn into a lead weight that sinks the economy for good.
Another hidden trap in the Act is the requirement that all persons without employer-sponsored insurance either buy insurance on the newly-established exchanges or pay a hefty fine. Enforcing this aspect of the law could lead to some very unpleasant scenes. Americans whose employers have decided to pay a fine rather than offer insurance will find themselves slapped with fines if they are unable to find adequate insurance on their own. Americans who can neither get insurance at work (perhaps because their hours have been cut to part-time) nor afford it on the exchanges- even with a voucher- could find themselves sued by the IRS.
And all Americans will have to shoulder a host of new taxes designed to finance Obamacare. We have just entered a brave new world where you can be fined for having inadequate insurance or taxed because your insurance is too good.
Voters did not run joyously toward these prospects. They were forced toward them by a lack of options. Both Democrats and Republicans are seriously misjudging the situation if they think otherwise.
Remember, this is the election were over 6,000 Virginia residents voted for a cat.