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View Diary: An alternative reality at the WSJ editorial page. (10 comments)

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  •  It was precisely Obama's commitment to social (2+ / 0-)
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    Liberal Protestant, commonmass

    justice that won him re-election in the face of relentless obstruction from the GOP, almost unlimited money and an obsequious news media that contained one channel devoted to tearing him down, with the most of the rest playing the role of enabler to the non-stop disrespect from any passing wingnut.

    The economy was sort of neutralised as a factor - although the rescuing of the automobile industry was illustrative of why social justice was at the heart of the rescue plan and why it helped so much in Ohio. Romney and his ilk claimed they also wanted to "save" the industry by letting it go through bankruptcy (which technically the Obama plan did as well) - both were ways to allow the companies to shed certain kinds of debt (the holders of which were going to take the proverbial "haircut"). What Romney didn't want to point out, and none of the media except MSNBC or the Daily Show would point out, was the fact that Romney's approach was intended to allow GM and Chrysler to also shed all of their union contracts. They saw the Obama plan as actually a rescue of the unions, whereas Obama saw it as a plan to rescue workers, some of whom were unionised (remember many GOP friendly side players like parts suppliers were rescued as well).

    I would also add that too many of his fellow democrats, particularly the blue dog caucus of the first two years, left Obama to face this alone. Republicans were probably right in the calculation they could defeat him with their tactics until Occupy Wall Street came along and reminded everybody just who was who in this drama. Obama was then able to have a conversation with Americans over the heads of squeamish Democrats and this really did become an election about fairness and justice - which he then handily won.

    One final point I would make - one that the right has a truly hard time comprehending. A significant factor in this election was "identity politics" - the right played it for all it was worth, but the exemplar of their identity was an extraordinarily wealthy white man with strong religious convictions he fully prepared to impose on others, and no sense of empathy with anyone not just like him. In a way we all perhaps underestimated, President Obama was the Hawai'ian president (not the Chicago one that was such obvious dog whistle politics), and his ease with so many constituencies was in stark contrast to the whites-first "traditional america" being peddled by the right. That identity proved very attractive to Americans of all backgrounds save the deluded "Afrikaners".

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