Wow. What a day to be a parent in America. I have a ten month old son, who will grow up only knowing a world where this is possible, where we can collectively author our better futures. Last night's dominant performance by President-Elect Obama shattered the blue-state/red-state myth as he promised he would four years ago. We are a purple nation today. Greeting Obama in Washington will be a substantial majority in both houses of Congress. The Republican junta of 1994 is now officially over, as is the conservative movement of 1964/1980, driven into the gutter by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. What the Republican Party will do to rebuild is scarcely my first concern this morning! I am thinking about these things:
1. This Democratic majority bears no resemblance to the one that Bill Clinton enjoyed in 1992. The bulk of those Senators and Congressmen were fixtures who owed little or nothing to the new President. This caucus knows the reality of their President's coattails. Also, I firmly believe there is a real desire to accomplish without overreaching, and that matters.
2. Executive Orders. Wiretapping is over. Torture is over. On January 21 (day one!) much of the machinery of evil of the Bush/Cheney years can be dragged out into the yard and left on the curb. I suspect the shredders have been operating for some time now throughout Washington, and unlike many of my moderate to liberal friends, prosecuting Bush officials is not something I'm in a froth over. If we have clear evidence of some wrongdoing it should be punished, but I would hate to see the energy and momentum of this shiny new era tarnished by a partisan with hunt that would immediately divide America again.
3. Health Care. We have a real chance to fix it now.
4. Foreign Policy. Iraq will now have to stand up. Afghanistan, get ready, because we're about to get focused on the real deal.
5. Financial Crisis. This is likely what will keep P-E Obama up nights between now and Jan 20, and beyond for some time. Unlike the current administration, I am sure he has and will have the best minds in the country working on this, and with an eye toward all Americans, not just Fortune 100 CEOs.
6. As an aside: how good has the quality polling industry become in this country? The national race was called very accurately, from the overall number to the state numbers. Oh, and that Bradley effect so cherished by the hate-talk radio set and so feared by Democrats? Let's put that one next to the Curse of the Bambino, shall we?
7. Cabinet. We can turn our attention to a second New Frontier, staffing Washington with the best and the brightest to tackle the issues of America and the world. We don't have to assuage electoral bruises or repay Daddy's henchmen.
Ladies and Gentlemen, government is about to become adult again.