Congratulations to President Barack Hussein Obama on his less than triumphant victory in his reelection.
Obama secured a second term but without a national mandate, given how close he came to losing the popular vote. And he knows this very well. In 2008, he won the presidency by 10 million votes — or the combined population of New York City and the counties of Nassau and Westchester. In 2012, Obama won by 2.8 million votes — or the total population of the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island. Obama won 25 states to 24 states for Governor Mitt Romney, with Florida still undecided with 49.9 percent for Obama to 49.3 for Romney.
So where do we, as Americans, go from here?
It is clear that Obama is at a crossroads in our nation’s history. It’s like 1860 all over again, with a powder keg brewing around the corner awaiting a spark as the nation remains further divided along strong political and economic ideological lines.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) went on television Wednesday afternoon to extend an olive branch to Obama. Said Boehner, “Mr. President, this is your moment. We’re ready to be led not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans. We want you to lead not as a liberal or a conservative, but as the president of the United States of America. We want you to succeed. Let’s challenge ourselves to find the common ground that has eluded us.”
Strong words from the speaker, but will the Democratic opposition listen? Will Obama also extend an olive branch to the House GOP to meet them halfway with the congressional Democrat leadership in tow, or will he follow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in further straining the nation’s divide for political gamesmanship in order to break the House GOP?
Said Obama in his re-election speech, “Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.”
A test is on the horizon as the debt ceiling will have been reached by the end of the year as Congress must work with the president to draft a framework to avoid defaulting on the debt payment. The $1 trillion over ten years in sequestration cuts are another issue Washington is facing come January 2013.
There’s plenty of uncertainty looming ahead, and we cannot afford another year or four of political hostility and no federal budget. This nation needs leadership from on top, and that is what Boehner requested from the White House. Therefore, the chips are with Obama. He owns this economy now. He can no longer blame Bush or the GOP anymore without looking extremely weak and petulant. How Obama will play his poker hand, given his complete and utter incompetence in his first term, is anybody’s guess.
We can only pray some amicable accommodation is reached to avert falling over the financial cliff, having a federal budget passed, and reformation of the IRS tax code, at least until the 2014 midterm election.
By Lee Anthony Nieves, guest contributor
Lee Anthony Nieves is a conservative libertarian political commentator and frequent Being Latino contributor. He resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.