I appreciate the confidence on this site concerning President Obama's reelection. It's good to see more positive feelings and a general sense of cooperation on DK, especially as Election Day draws near. However, the line between confidence and hubris is easy to cross and we cannot let a false sense of security cost us the Election of 2012. If you look at this election in a longer-term historical and political context, its implications are much wider than you might think.
I'm going to start with the elephant in the room, and no, it's not a giant GOP mascot trying to suck up all our money for its rich friends. That elephant is actually the Citizens' United Supreme Court decision and its implications. First of all, everyone needs to realize that this case radically changed the way politics will be conducted in this country. Before this glaring little example of judicial activism, our weak campaign finance laws barely managed to keep the most egregious forms of corporate influence in our politics at bay. Now however, it is open season and a select group of 20-odd billionaires can flat-out buy an entire election.
Accordingly, this will be one of the most negative and nasty elections in modern history. Likewise, Democrats cannot take ANYTHING for granted since Obama's electoral advantage is always just a "Willie Horton"-style smear campaign away from crumbling. They were thinking of digging up Jeremiah Wright again and now Rush Limbaugh is harping on Obama's past drug use...These people have no idea what irony means, but I digress. Regardless, if you throw enough things at a wall, some of them will stick. We need to work hard to fight against these low-road tactics or they will make our politics increasingly cynical.
I can't stress this enough: A Romney win would saddle us with an unbreakable conservative majority on the Supreme Court for a generation. There might be 1 or even 2 justices retiring in the next few years and Romney would definitely nominate people who strongly believe that corporations are people. A generational conservative majority on the bench would also make any sort of progressive reform IMPOSSIBLE. If you want the government to take ANY progressive action for the next 20 years or so, reelecting President Obama should be your top priority. I'm not going to wade into the pragmatist vs. idealist debate here, but people need to realize that this struggle is far bigger and on a much longer timescale than any one president or their policy agenda.
Without any sort of progressive reform, the average voter will become increasingly jaded and turned off from politics. This is EXACTLY what the Right/Conservatives/Republicans/etc. want to happen. They want government of corporations, by corporations and for corporations. All those pesky real, flesh-and-blood voters just get in the way of their plans. And if we don't do anything to mitigate or outright invalidate the Citizens' United decision, again, ANY sort of Progressive reform will become increasingly impossible. The influence of corporations in politics will grow and then there will be no hope of enacting even the tiniest bit of Progressive policy.
These ideas have been harped on before, but the ramifications of this election run deeper and I don't see them discussed as much. You see, if Romney wins, that means it's possible for the candidate of one the political parties in this country to lie his ass off, change his positions on key issues multiple times, and generally adopt a hard-right agenda and still win. If Obama loses, that means that a president who successfully eliminated Osama Bin Laden, ended the disastrous Iraq War, implemented a whole host of progressive reforms, saved the Domestic Auto Industry, had the courage to come out with his REAL views on gay marriage BEFORE an election all while trying his hardest to revive an economy on the verge of collapse DESPITE his opposition's best efforts can still lose. In short, an Obama loss will be a refutation of active government, level-headed stewardship and...dare I say...PRAGMATISM. If you hate how extreme and ill-informed conservatives are now, just wait until they smell the "blood in the water" as progressives/liberals/etc. struggle to see where their agenda went wrong. History will learn exactly the wrong lessons if Obama loses in 2012 just as it might have learned exactly the wrong lessons had Herbert Hoover had been reelected in 1932.
There is hardly any difference in the policies of G W Bush and Romney, except that Romney is even MORE extreme than his predecessor in many areas. If he wins, it will mean that Republicans can make all the mistakes they want and never have to pay the consequences. History would repeat itself, since we never adequately showed the American Public how Reagan's policies failed miserably, giving us George W Bush. If the voters don't even understand that they are voting for an even MORE dysfunctional version of the policies that blew up the economy in 2008, it will mean that policy doesn't really even matter anymore in politics. If you hate how style trumps substance in our politics, you DEFINITELY don't want to let Romney win.
In closing, this election is more than just Republican vs. Democrat or Liberal vs. Conservative. The tactics on display, the historical implications and its long-reaching effect on the political landscape are all bigger than some people realize. This is why we cannot take it for granted. I agree with some of the critics here that the president has done some things that I don't agree with. However, the critics need to realize that we need to open the political window for Progressive government action via electoral gains and active participation in the Democratic Party. Nobody is perfect and asking the President to agree with you 100% of the time is a hopeless undertaking. Supporting progressive candidates, marching in the streets, calling your member of Congress, these are all positive actions that send a clear signal that there is an active Progressive movement in this country and there is passionate support for its policies. Either we strike back against the regressive trends in this country, or we will be increasingly irrelevant as the reigns of history are once again taken from our hands.