Thursday, November 6, 2008


Now that we've all got some sleep, time to start thinking about what an Obama administration means. A week or so ago, Eric Alterman wrote about what Americans may be expecting, citing a Pew Center survey done quite some time ago. According to the Pew survey, a whole bunch of us are "libruls" who actually believe in government taking a somewhat active role in our lives:
roughly 70 percent of respondents believe that the government has a responsibility "to take care of people who can't take care of themselves." Two-thirds (66 percent)--including most of those who say they would prefer a smaller government (57 percent)--support government-funded health insurance for all citizens. Most also regard the nation's corporations as too powerful, while nearly two-thirds (65 percent) say corporate profits are too high--about the same number who say "labor unions are necessary to protect the working person" (68 percent). When it comes to the environment, a large majority (83 percent) back stricter laws and regulations, while 69 percent agree "we should put more emphasis on fuel conservation than on developing new oil supplies" and 60 percent say they would "be willing to pay higher prices in order to protect the environment."

Hmmmmm. In wingnut land they're scared of all kinds of evil things:
In a wonderfully apoplectic editorial titled A Liberal Supermajority, frightened Journal editors worried that an Obama landslide could presage "one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933." Among the coming horrors: "Medicare for all...[a] green revolution...ational, election-day voter registration...the end of Guantanamo and military commissions...'net neutrality' rules...."

Oh, the humanity!

Of course it's reasonable that a good government would be looking out for those who "can't take care of themselves", so I find it kind of baffling that 30% or so of the population wouldn't. Then I look at the numbers from surveys indicating the amount of unwavering support for the current lame duck in the White House and I get my answer. What I expect, and I imagine at least 63 million of my fellow Americans do as well, is an administration that reaches out to the 56 million or so fellow Americans who voted for the other guy in order to make sure everyone shares equally in the 'change we can believe in'.

How contentious will the other side be? In spite of the less-than-expected gains in the Senate for Democrats, the brand of conservatism forced upon us over the last three decades or so has been repudiated. Others have said it already and I hope it's true, the era of Friedmanite/Chicago School economics may thankfully be coming to an end. The electoral drubbing is significant in that a true silent majority (maybe not so silent) finally did find a voice. True, there will always be crazies, and I suspect wingnut radio and Faux News are secretly quite happy at the prospect of at least four years in full-throated, spittle-flinging opposition. They have their base to appeal to, after all.

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