Wednesday, February 10 , 2016, 7:37 am | Fair 48º

Joe Conason: When Obama Won, So Did America’s Future

By Joe Conason |

What President Barack Obama tried to tell America in the hour of his remarkable victory is that the nation’s future won on Election Day. Seeking to inspire and to heal, the re-elected president offered an open hand to partisan opponents in the style that has always defined him.

“Tonight,” he said, “despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future.”

In the days ahead, there will be time to absorb the magnitude of this moment — achieved under the cloud of persistent unemployment and a multibillion-dollar campaign of calumny — but the president clearly knows that he returns to the White House with a renewed mandate. Against great odds, he won nearly all the same states that elected him in 2008 and won the popular vote despite an enormous, angry backlash in the old Confederacy.

Victory conferred on him the authority to speak of the days and years ahead whose agenda he will shape, not alone, but as a proven leader who knows that “we rise or fall together as one nation and one people.”

He spoke of a future where the children of immigrants can dream of becoming doctors or diplomats, and the children of workers can dream of becoming president — a future not threatened by excessive debt, worsening inequality and climate change.

It is an inclusive vision of a nation where politics can be big not small, as he said, because the goals of public life are great for everyone — and where the best is still ahead because the adversity, prejudices and illusions of the past are receding.

“That’s the future we share,” he said. “That’s where we need to go. ... Our economy is recovering, a decade of war is ending, a long campaign is now over.”

How can he “seize that future,” as he urged us all to do? The conventional wisdom of Washington punditry is already telling the president that he must “work across the aisle” with the Republicans, who will still control the House in January. But while he acknowledged the necessity to reach out to his opponents — and alluded to his long-held bipartisan spirit — he hinted that he has learned something else during his contentious first term and this hard, grinding campaign.

If he hopes to leave a legacy of accomplishment in his second term, he cannot count on the cooperation of the right-wing rump in Congress. If he wants to tax the wealthy, reject austerity, implement Obamacare and begin to cope with global warming, he will have to rely upon on the people who entrusted him with their votes, their energy, their hope.

“The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote,” he said. “America is about what can be done by us together.”

Mobilizing the public is not only the way to win elections but also the way to win an agenda for the future.

Joe Conason is editor in chief of Click here for more information, or click here to contact him. Follow him on Twitter: @JConason.

» on 11.08.12 @ 10:15 AM

Mandate?  Remarkable victory?  He won the popular vote by less than 3%, which means that almost half the country voted against him.  People in California have a warped perspective compared to the rest of the country.  If Obama wants to accomplish anything in his second term, unlike his first, he is going to have to work with both sides, something he has failed miserably at in the past.  Let’s all hope he can so we don’t suffer the consequences if he fails again.

» on 11.08.12 @ 11:23 AM

I’ll have some of whatever Joe has been drinking.

Against great odds?  There has only been one incumbent Democrat ousted from office in history, and that was Jimmy Carter.  Hardly great odds!

» on 11.08.12 @ 12:16 PM

He is a typical black man living outside the means of his budget. At least the white guilt is purged now..

» on 11.08.12 @ 12:33 PM

You know Craig, GWB lost the popular vote in 2000, and probably lost the electoral vote, too.

Under Obama, somebody in your line of work had an opportunity to at least double the value of his client’s portfolios. Did you? Did you have any clients left after the ruination of 2008, near the end of Bush’s second term?

It seems you bite the hand that feeds you. In my experience, if your ideology leads to devastation, you should only need to learn that once. The fact that you haven’t learned does not reflect well on you.

As for some of the other commenteers here, well, when you are at the bottom, you want to believe that you are better than SOMEBODY. Even if it’s just because you’re white.

» on 11.08.12 @ 12:38 PM

If he really believes that he can do all of this in his second term, why didn’t he do all these things in his first term.

Fool me once, shame on you: fool me twice, shame on me…

» on 11.08.12 @ 01:07 PM

Rambler, if all my clients were gone, I wouldn’t be in business.  Obama has done nothing that directly helped the stock market.  In fact, he has done nothing to help anyone with anything.  I don’t blame him for what happened with the economy during his tenure, but he can’t take credit for things he had nothing to do with.  You, as always, try to turn a general discussion into a personal attack.  The problem with you and all liberals is that you have no tolerance or understanding of anyone else’s opinion, if they differ from your own.  The fact is that roughly half of the U.S. population voted against Obama.  That is not my opinion, it is a fact.  You can talk around it all you want, but half the people in this country do not believe he is the right person to be President, just as half did not think Romney was the right guy.  I don’t believe things would have been much different if Romney had won, but the reality is that, unless Obama does something drastically different over the next 4 years than he has done to-date, nothing is going to get better.  If he doesn’t push hard to extend the Bush tax cuts and postpone the spending cuts, we are going back into recession early next year.  That is a fact.  The CBO has already confirmed it, and every economist on the planet believes it.  You can look at the electoral college results and delude yourself into thinking that somehow Obama has a mandate, like the writer of this article, but the reality is that the country is divided right now, and the only way forward (his word) is for he and the Congress to put aside party politics and compromise.  If he can’t make that happen, he will be a complete failure as President.

» on 11.08.12 @ 01:48 PM

By the way Rambler, did you think I had forgotten about our discussion following my article that was published regarding Apple?  Care to rethink your position?

» on 11.08.12 @ 02:31 PM

What is the explanation of the lock step Black vote?  Why are the voters buying spend and tax government?

Was the US Black culture forever beaten down by the Plantation environment where they always have to look to Master?  There have been so many successful independent Blacks but the minute someone steps up and says we will get government to ‘give’ you they roll over.

Obama’s future the author talks about was supposed to cure the economy ills.  Unfortunately for the Democrats and this socialist president they did not and he did not learn from the historic failures of FDR & Wilson before him.

60 Minutes decades ago looked at elimination of the entire defense budget and punishing taxes on the rich.  The conclusion was the defense money would not begin to dent the deficit, and there were not enough high end earners (rich) to provide long term funding.  Once spent there would not be renewal because of policy.  Reading between the lines, keep spending and socialist based spending and it will bankrupt the nation.

The electorate excused his failures (domestic and foreign) this time around.  What will be the excuses after this round?

» on 11.08.12 @ 02:41 PM

Let’s see, Craig. Weren’t you telling us to get out of AAPL back in October of 2011? When it was about $400/sh?

Are you actually waving that as a stock call?

Would have missed out on a big gain if I had been scared away by your very long, somewhat pedantic essay.

» on 11.08.12 @ 06:41 PM

What I was saying Rambler, and you can go back and read my article and comments, is that Apple was going to lose its luster because Steve Jobs is no longer there to drive the creative process, innovate, and keep the top people on board.  Let’s see - check, check and check - that is exactly what is happening.  You are the typical liberal you’re always right, even when you’re wrong.  It must feel great to always believe you are right, even when someone proves to you that you are wrong.  It must be a lot easier looking in the mirror, not having to acknowledge when you are wrong, which in your case is obviously quite frequent.  I hope you own Apple and continue to lose money on it.  You can look at the stock each day (like today) and continue to lie to yourself that you were right all along.  Keep thinking it will come back and keep losing money.  I’m sure you will find a way to spin even that and say you were right all along.  Live the fantasy!  At the end of the day you will still be losing money, just like you did today.

» on 11.08.12 @ 10:23 PM

Joe Scarborough had idealogues like this Craig Allen character in mind when he said ““I’m just tired of the Republican Party being the ‘Stupid Party!’” he said, “Stupid people saying stupid things and scaring off independent voters and swing voters”.
Fortuately just enough voters recognized that the GOP was about to drop another lying stooge on us , jeopardizing the slow and steady gains we have made in last 4 years. We’re not it anymore!

» on 11.08.12 @ 10:46 PM

More of the “if you don’t agree with my position you are stupid, a moron, etc.”

If we can never get past that type of “debate” we can never have an intelligent discussion.

» on 11.09.12 @ 12:46 AM

Art, you keep making dumb remarks, like the gas price remark, then you you cry for intelligent discussion. How old are you?

» on 11.09.12 @ 12:19 PM

@craigallen: Your essay reads like a high school report on the history of Apple. The inference was clear - Jobs is dead, so is Apple, so get out now.

I pointed out to you back then that the product stream at Apple is about 5 years long. For at least 3 years hence, Apple will be introducing products that Jobs conceived. That un-checks the first of your two predictions. The third is subjective, and you have no idea.

As for the stock, AAPL dipped below its 50 day EMA and failed to break through resistance on October 17, 2012, (not 2011) warning traders that it was a good time to sell. My modest holding sold on 10/19 at an average about $609.

Your clients probably sat on the sideline watching AAPL gain over 50% in the last year. Or maybe you found something better to put their money in?

» on 11.09.12 @ 02:35 PM

Rambler asked how old I am. While I fail to see what that has to do with the point I made in my last post, I am 72, have a graduate degree in engineering from a major university and am a retired executive of a Fortune 500 company.

As to my “dumb comment” about gas prices, what “dumb comment” is that?

The point that I was trying to get across is that there is no way to have an intelligent conversation if the response of some to other people’s points are to attack the other individuals and call them names. If you can’t express your point without name calling perhaps you are the one that should do some introspection.

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