This has been one of the dumbest, most futile and impartially unsatisfactory presidential elections in American history. The president is the most unsuccessful in American history to be reelected, rivalled only by his immediate predecessor.
He is the only president to be reelected to a second term with fewer electoral votes than in his first election. It was the most expensive, and one of the most uninformative and unintelligent campaigns ever. The incumbent could not stand on his record, and the best candidates of the party out of office did not stand.
The president ran a personal attack on his opponent and conjured a series of fantastic threats to titillate the paranoia of the witless left: the war on women by the Republicans, the campaign for the salvation of the 97 per cent from the oppressions of the "billionaires and millionaires." It is only the second time in American history that there have been three consecutive two-term presidents, and the last time, they were the principal authors of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Monroe Doctrine.
Any substantial president would have mopped the floor with Romney, and any serious challenger would have evicted the incumbent like a derelict squatter. The Obama administration has increased the national debt it inherited after 232 years of American government debt issuances by 60 per cent in less than four years. No country in history has been as broke as the U.S. now is, and the administration's only answer was to blame it on George W. Bush (who was an unsuccessful president and has a lot to answer for, but not the failings of his successor).
The administration added $17,000 of new debt for every man, woman and child in the country in less than four years, and most of it isn't really debt, it's just an inflationary money supply increase, fake notes issued by the Treasury's subsidiary, the Federal Reserve, to the Treasury in exchange for the Treasury's bonds to pay the hemorrhaging deficit, $188 million per hour.
There are five million fewer people working than four years ago, and there is no economic recovery. Inflation is only apparently moderate because the housing industry is bombed out, most other industries are very soft, and interest rates are negligible in an unsuccessful effort to revive economic activity, and this disguises 25 per cent annual gasoline price increases, and double digit annual increases in the price of most of the essential food and milk shopping basket, (and food stamp users have almost doubled to about 47 million, almost as many people as have criminal records thanks to the country's fascistic justice system).
President Obama has no mandate at all; he may not have as many votes as Governor Romney, did not achieve the endorsement by the voters of any particular program, and the country perpetuated gridlock in government, with the most unimpressive congressional leadership the country has had in over a century. Speaker John Boehner is a nervous, lachrymose bumbler, where some great legislators have sat, (though he is not as utterly hopeless in policy terms as Nancy Pelosi), and Harry Reid is an affront to the memory of previous Senate majority leaders such as Joe Robinson, Alben Barkley, Robert Taft, Lyndon Johnson, Howard Baker and Robert Dole.
The president will probably force through some tax increases, because the Republicans, stupid though they are, can't just be the party of no for another four years. Instead of taxes on discretionary sales and transactions to reduce the deficit and reductions in personal and corporate income taxes to spur the economy, some fiscal blunderbuss will be confected that will make a snail's progress on the deficit and strangle the pitiful squeak of economic recovery that this regime has generated with pelagic blood-lettings of debt.
Historians will want to know how the United States conquered the world and then laid itself low; replaced the generally strong leadership it had (except for Jimmy Carter), from the first inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt to the early Clinton years, with 20 years of grinding mediocrity and bad public policy. My concern is not partisan or ideological. The Republicans were only marginally preferable to the regime because Paul Ryan is a star and Mitt Romney, the conviction-free zone that consultants usually are, would at least have come up with less antiquarian socialistic nostrums than the incumbent and has the temperament to get on with the other side, as he did in Massachusetts. He also might have prevented Iran from becoming a nuclear military power. Now, we may be fairly confident that Iran will achieve that status, requiring Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to do the same, unless Israel can deal with it itself, as the world, once again united in cowardice, leaves it to the Jews to do its dirty work.
The Republicans, especially reaching back to the blunders of the second Bush administration, are almost as much a part of the problem as the Democrats. And ideologically, while Obama is an enemy of capitalism, which is the only economic system that works because it is the only one that is aligned with the universal human desire for more, the Democrats are the only party that has any interest in human rights or helping the disadvantaged. What the country needs is a blend of economic conservatism, regulatory libertarianism, liberal human rights and leftist but innovative welfare policy, but not just the extravagant acquisition of the votes of the destitute and the defenseless by bigger government in the name of "spreading wealth around."
Of all the world's major nations, only France presents a comparably pathetic spectacle of failure at self-government, just 20 years after the United States enjoyed the greatest and most bloodless strategic victory in the history of the world with the satisfactory end of the Cold War. The United States has had the swiftest rise and fastest decline of any major nation. Mitt Romney was never going to be a candidate for Mount Rushmore, but barely 40 years after he warned of it, America has become, in Richard Nixon's eerie phrase, "a pitiful, helpless, giant." It is almost irrelevant to the world, except as an engine of fiscal incontinence.
American exceptionalism is dead, except in matters of scale. As Mr. Churchill said to the French in 1940: "Sleep well until the dawn, for the dawn will come." So it will, but these will be very bad years.