So the results are in. President Obama was re-elected to a second term by a large margin in the Electoral College, but by a small margin in the popular vote. Obama squeaked through thanks to a number of factors, including a high turnout of his base: Latino and African-American voters in the forefront.
Women's votes were a significant win for Obama. But the key factors included how poor a candidate Mitt Romney turned out to be, what an excellent surrogate Bill Clinton was, the timing of hurricane Sandy, and the implied endorsement of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Romney's campaign was too long on complaints and too short on plans. There were too many gaffes, such as the 47 percent remark. His campaign was pulled to the right too far in an effort to keep his base in line. He had to oppose Obama's health care plans even though they were the same as Romney-care from when he was governor of Massachusetts.
I do want to give credit where it is due. In his concession speech, the real Mitt Romney appeared, giving a classy speech that asked that we put people ahead of politics.
Bill Clinton was President Obama's secret weapon. From his great speech at the Democratic Convention to key appearances in the battleground states, Clinton was probably worth a good 5 percent of Obama's vote.
But it was Hurricane Sandy that polls will show gave Obama the chance to appear presidential and send a message of competence to the voters.
Add to that Chris Christie's praise of President Obama, and the election turned in favor of the Democrats.
The country remains divided, as evidenced by the popular vote. The Democrats picked up some Senate and House seats, but the same structure is there: the Republicans in the House can continue to be obstructionists if they wish, and as long as there are 41 Republican senators, then they can block any bill they want via filibuster.
The question for Congress and President Obama is, now that Obama does not have to run for re-election, will our representatives put aside all of the partisan nonsense that has gridlocked Washington these last four years.
There are serious issues that await Congress and the president. Are the Republicans willing to take a ride over the financial cliff just to defend the 1 percent of the country that Obama wants to raise taxes on? Are they really ready to let the Bush tax cuts expire, and have drastic cuts in spending that would certainly put us back into another recession just when it seems we are finally getting some better economic and jobs news?
This country needs moderate Republicans to stand up to the tea party extremist wing and take the GOP back toward the center. We in the 2nd Congressional District have such a Republican in Frank LoBiondo. He claims to be an independent voice. Now is the time for him to emerge as a leader of sanity in the GOP. This country may not survive four more years of inaction. President Obama has clearly stated his willingness to compromise, to work with any Republican who is sincere in wanting to solve the problems that await us.
Congressman LoBiondo got a warning from the voters this time, as Cassandra Shober cut his winning margin to 18 percent, the smallest margin in a long time. The demographics are slowly changing as well. A well-financed opponent who could spend money on television ads and continue to educate the voters on how LoBiondo has voted in Congress could make a real run in 2014, especially if voters are frustrated by two more years of inaction and gridlock in D.C.
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