People have to be put back to work“Down goes Romney.”
“Down goes Romney.” If Howard Cosell were still
alive, that would have been the call around 11:15 (8:15 Pacific Standard Time).
It was over just that quickly. The re-election of President Barack Obama was
not unexpected, nor was it the nailbiter it was
forecasted to be. The swing states (Pennsylvania,
New Hampshire, Wisconsin,
Virginia, North Carolina) all
swung one way. The identity groups (Blacks, Latinos, Women, Gays, Students) all
swung one way. All the hype that Mitt Romney would get the popular vote was
The President won the
popular vote by more than two million votes. They said the possibility existed
that neither candidate would get to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to
confirm a winner. Well, 303 is well past 270 and Florida’s 29 votes are leaning toward the
President. The fact of the matter is that Mitt Romney was selling “wolf
tickets” and the media bought ‘em and then sold ‘em to the public. They had a reason. A close race means
more campaign ad buys. A landslide means everybody keeps their money in their
pockets. So, there you have it. The President punched through that paper tiger
with a base that was larger than 2008. Mitt couldn’t match the boots on
the ground and he couldn’t be every place at once (though he tried). You knew
he was in trouble when he hit five states on Election Day.
Done. Done. And DONE.
In the closing days of
the election, the President brought out his “All-Stars” on the road, which
included Bruce Springsteen and Shawn Carter (Jay Z). I caught a clip of Jay Z
singing a line from his famous (infamous) “99 Problems.” It sums up what the
reality of this re-election campaign was for the President, which is, “I got 99
problems and a Mitt ain’t one…”
There was an anti-realism to this election that even Romney began to
believe (that it was really close). So much so that he only wrote one speech…a
victory speech. Mitt musta’ really fallenl and bumped his head. No, the Republicans bumped his
head when they saddled him with a right wing ideologue Paul Ryan - making him
nearly unelectable. Or was it the RNC that bumped his head when they saddled
his campaign with Karl Rove - talk about the ghosts of George W. Bush - who
cast a shadow over his campaign. Romney couldn’t get across the finish line
carrying all the Republicans’ ideological and
unethical baggage. They piled it on him, the price to be paid to wear the
Republican tin can crown. Errbody got paid on that
side of the table, except Mitt. Well, there’s not doubt Mitt got his head
bumped on Election night, and now it’s time for the President to get to the real
problems of the nation. And, hopefully, that’s not a problem.
There won’t be much time
for celebrating as the obstructionist politics of the last three years comes to
a head at year’s end. The “fiscal cliff” (automatic “across the board” budget
cuts and expiration of the Bush tax cuts) is the most pressing problem for the
President, and he essentially has ended up with the same Congress he’s had the
past two years. Washington
gridlock is a problem and it is the foundation upon which the HOPE agenda
was built. The day after the election, the Republicans were still talking
crazy. They ain’t learned nothing.
It’s time to stop the militarism, the anti-taxation rhetoric and the obstructionism
Despite their nonsense,
President Obama will have to accomplish some things, in spite of them. Now that
history has been made, and the President will have the opportunity to fulfill
his destiny, God willing, he will have to fulfill the expectations of those who
invested in him, and entrusted him to make the difference he said he can. He’s gonna’ have to bump Congress’ head too. The Republicans are
on the verge of becoming obsolete. What they stand for is not in the best
interest of the country - if it’s only about tax cuts. It’s time to stop the
militarism, the anti-taxation rhetoric and the obstructionism. It’s time for
both parties to govern. But the President now has to perform. He does have
99 problems (at least) and without the prospect of facing re-election, there is
no reason why he shouldn’t, at least, attempt to address them. I’m not going
try to name all 99 problems, but I can name at least five. The top
five…that’s what everybody’s watching.
The nation’s top problem
is jobs. Now, I believe that the economy is turning around and the
country is on the right track…but unemployment threatens to slow the economy.
People have to be put back to work. The next problem is America’s growing
poverty problem. Now, I’m not ready to jump on the Smiley/West bandwagon just
yet, but this is one issue - for sure - that must be part of the Obama legacy.
With re-election behind him, there is no reason for Obama not to make poverty
eradication a personal challenge as LBJ did. This one is for the completion of
The third biggest
problem is arresting the nation’s foreclosure crisis. And when I say, arrest, I
mean arrest, as in making sure whoever caused this - abuse and those
that are stalling its resolution are dealt by the law. Make the banks - bite
the apple and put the HAMP money on the streets. People are falling out of
their homes - not because of government in action, but because of corporate
recalcitrance. Put a spotlight on it.
The President punched through that paper tiger with a base that was larger than 2008
It is now “payday” on
immigration reform. With 70% Latino support this election, it’s time to pay the
piper and resolve the problem of immigration reform. Make the Republicans
address it or expose them for the hypocrites they are - but push it through. Lastly,
Obamacare kicks in fully in 2014 and it needs to be
paid for. Take away the excuses the Republicans have for trying to dismantle
it. Budget reform is intricately tied to health care reform. It will be a
problem if Obamacare unravels because it can’t be
paid for (which is their party line). Say it ain’t
so, Brother President. Make it make sense, and making sense means being paid
for. That’s just a sample of Obama’s second term charge. Yes, congratulations
on Obama’s re-election, but now…
The President’s got, at
least, 99 problems facing him to fix this divided nation.
And a Mitt ain’t one.
Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad,
is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban
The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom. His Website is AnthonySamad.com. Twitter @dranthonysamad. Click here to contact Dr. Samad.