I'm happy for those who were rooting for the president's victory this week and I wish the president well in his new term. My mourning period was short for the Republicans. In fact, I can't help but think that this defeat will help reorient the Republicans. Political parties exist for one reason - to get their members into office. The Republicans will want to win in 2014 and in 2016. This defeat will help them dispense with some foolish strategy and focus more on a positive winning message around which more Americans can gather.
In the meantime, I have a modest political wishlist:
For the Republicans: Please move on from social issues. Right or wrong, stances on those touchy topics that are most personal are best left for individuals to sort out. Trust people to do the right thing.
For the Republicans: It's time to give up the fight on the Affordable Care Act. I'm heartened to see John Boehner throw up the white flag on it. The party can prove a vital role as an opposition watchdog by looking for ways to minimize waste and incentivize good medical practices as the new law comes into effect. A massive change like what that legislation brings about deserves the watchful eye a competitive party can offer.
For the Republicans: Mend fences with the Latino community. Fast. The anti-immigrant thread of the Republican Party has struck me as foolhardy at best and unkind at worst. At times, the sentiment has seemed tinged with racism. And if it seems that way to an Anglo like me, it must often feel loaded with racism to the Hispanic community. Other immigrant groups also voted blue this election. Patching fences with the Latino community will have carry-over effects on other minority groups. Besides, it's just a decent, tolerant thing to do.
For Congress: Let's get a VAT in place. It's time.
For the president: Be bold. That doesn't mean reckless. I could easily support some seemingly liberal ideas to address issues of inequality and government involvement. I hope the president uses his eighteen months of political momentum to bring about some substantive changes in ways that will help the future. Here's an odd one, authorize post offices to become small-time banks, thus knocking payday loan stores out of business. Let's get serious about high-speed rail if we're going to do it. Let's wire the whole country with fiber optic cable. Let's make wi-fi a public good in urban areas. Let's go to Mars. I can support increased government spending and increased government intervention if it's in the interests of helping our future. That would be far bigger than just appeasing and rewarding factions within the big tent Democratic Party.
For the president: Less drones.
For the president: Get in the face of China's leadership about human rights.
For the president: More cheer, more lightheartedness, more optimism. These four years featured a guerrilla political war. The opposition has been cowed. It was a good year for Democrats. At times the president has shown a thin skin in the eyes of withering opposition fire. He's got a great opportunity to rise above it and strut presidentially. I hope he can do so. It's time to channel FDR not Truman.
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Though I don't agree with his political outlook on most issues, I admire the man who has earned the job as our president the next four years. I wish him well. The country benefits from a strong, confident president. I hope he can be that, at least until the "lame duck" phase kicks in 18 months from now.