Having won re-election and having held a majority in the Senate, what is Democratic president Barack Obama supposed to do now? Why, move to the right of course. At least that’s the impression I’m getting from the punditry. Nice to see that the talking heads are so willing to leave the Overton window so firmly skewed to right of center.
And what now for the GOP? Again, according to pundits, Republicans have to stop hating on women, Hispanics and gays while apparently remaining free to believe whole-heartedly in magical economic theory and other failed policies. Nice to know the talking heads think women, Hispanics, and gays will gladly give up their economic interests in return for nothing more than not being discriminated against. Let them have their abortions, the freedom to walk about and not have to show their papers, and marry whom they please, so long as they’re willing to embrace union busting, polluting the environment, and war for fun and profit.
This last week of the campaign seemed to me to be all about one thing for pundits; preserving the legitimacy of the GOP as a reasonable alternative to the Democratic Party despite the GOP’s compulsive aversion to economic, environmental, and other empirically provable realities. Dems’ WH and Sen victories last night, while mightily encouraging, will have meant nothing if the alternative realities of the GOP continue to be viewed as legitimate and relevant. Bipartisanship and compromise are great, but fantastical thinking such as climate change denial and trickle-down economics must not be allowed to ensure that compromise ends up falling fatally short of what actual reality requires in finding real solutions to real problems.
Pundits are great at opinion. Too bad so few of them allow facts to influence their opinions. Also unfortunate is that enlightened pundits are such enablers, failing miserably to politely and consistently call their colleagues’ attention to factual inaccuracies.
Thankfully President Obama and his team ignored the pundits throughout this election season starting with the tsk-tsking of the ads attacking Romney and his Bain record and ending with mockery of ‘Romnesia’. Hopefully the President will continue ignoring the pundits.
If the goal is to find the ‘center’, here’s a news flash; the President is already at center and has been at the center from day one of his first term. It’s time for the GOP to tell the Tea Party it ain’t workin’ out and for actual moderate Republicans to join the President at actual center. It would be helpful if enlightened pundits, who know this is the epitome of reasonable, would be more concerned with facilitating the alignment of perception and reality than with not hurting the fee fees of colleagues.
This election, for me, came to be a referendum on truth. The truth prevailed, however this was but one battle in a greater war. Unless we are able and willing to commit to consistently distinguishing between truth and fact-free opinion, much will remain at risk. This needs to start at the top. President Obama, if he correctly interperets the result of this election, must find a polite, tactful manner of making it crystal clear that facts matter and regardless of how dearly held some opinions may be, facts will trump opinions. Finding the center using the whacko fringe Tea Party agenda as the right-most reference point must be a non-starter. He owes that to the American people. Enlightend alleged liberal pundits who fail to get solidly and consitently on board with this message deserve our scorn and wrath.