Four more years for Barack Obama

President Obama was re-elected last night with an impressive margin in the electoral college. The popular vote margin was much narrower, but it looks like he’ll be over 50% with roughly a 2 point margin.

I’ll have much more to say about this, but most of us will acknowledge that this was a very important election. The pundits liked to mock both campaigns for not discussing big issues, but that truly missed the point. Both sides offered very different paths for our future, and most voters understood the profound differences.

With an Obama victory, his signature accomplishment from his first term, health care reform, will now be fully implemented. Mitt Romney would have either repealed or gutted Obamacare, but now the notion of universal health care will be cemented as part of the social compact. We’ll all have to wait and see how Republicans react to Obama’s victory, but hopefully on health care we’ll see a shift away from a reflexive attempt to overturn Obamacare to constructive negotiations to improve it and cut medical costs in general. We’ve heard Republicans pontificate for years about malpractice reform. Perhaps now we’ll actually get some constructive proposals.

We may have a continuation of the political wars, but now we know that any deal will have to be more balanced than the GOP plan of just hacking away at spending on the elderly and the poor. We’ll see how that plays out.

It will also be interesting to see if some conservatives will break out of the right wing media bubble. Conservatives were told to ignore the poll numbers that pointed to an Obama victory, and that the “real” numbers would lead to a Romney landslide. These projections were pure fantasy, just like the Romney/GOP budget numbers that claimed you could miraculously balance the budget by slashing taxes. We live in a divided country and many on both sides are guilty of just listening to their own partisan news sources, but the dogma and partisanship on the right has become absurd. Even respectable pundits like George Will and Micheal Barone drank the Cool Aid and ended up looking just as clueless as partisan hacks like Dick Morris with their predictions of the Romney landslide.

Finally, conservatives and Republicans need to stand up to the lunatic fringe. You can’t encourage the crazies on your side, and then lament when idiot candidates like Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin say stupid things about rape and abortion. You can’t cater to the haters who demonize illegal immigrants and then complain that you got crushed by the Latino vote. We’ll see if there’s anyone in the GOP who has a spine. Chris Christie is an obvious candidate as he’s called out the crazies before, but now he’s on serious probation with the right for saying something nice about President Obama. Perhaps Marco Rubio can help on that front. We can expect serious fireworks within the GOP as they hash out these issues. If they don’t work it out, I’ll be happy to see them forfeit the Latino, African American, Asian and much of the female vote in future elections.

Health care high fives

Yesterday was a good day for those of us who want universal health care coverage. It was also a good day for those of us who think CNN and Fox both suck. The video below from Politico mashes up some of the funniest reactions to the Supreme Court decision and the massive fail by CNN and Fox News.

Republicans block benefits for 9/11 first responders

After demagoguing 9/11 for the past decade and constantly talking about the heroes of that terrible time, the Republicans blocked benefits for 9/11 first responders. Many of the have become seriously ill and some have died due to what they had to breath while responding to the terrorist attack. Jon Stewart lets them have it.

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Bob Dole calls out GOP obstructionists on health care

Bob Dole is stating the obvious, which is a very rare thing in Washington, particularly among Republicans.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kans.) told a group of local Kansas reporters on Wednesday, that opposition to the president’s health care package had been driven by knee-jerk partisanship and urged Congressional Republicans to get on board a version of reform.

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“Sometimes people fight you just to fight you,” he said, according to The Kansas City Star. “They don’t want Reagan to get it, they don’t want Obama to get it, so we’ve got to kill it…

We’ve also seen an AP poll today that shows a rebound in President Obama’s approval rating and the approval for health care reform, along with a score from the CBO that shows the Senate Finance bill would actually reduce the deficit by over $80 billion, which would give plenty of negotiating room for liberals who want to expand certain parts of the bill.

The status of the health care debate

Ezra Klein has an excellent summary of the health care debate and where it currently stands. He does a great job of separating the actual policy debates going on in Congress from some of the silly issues being argued by the public.

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