On November 6, President Obama won by three percentage points, about the same margin as President Bush eight years earlier—after which the electorate moved in a radically different direction. In other words, this was a close reelection for an incumbent whose future success is by no means assured. And yet, to many on the right, the result feels terrifyingly historic, as though it represents an ideological and partisan Rubicon across which the United States has crossed.
Such a feeling isn’t rooted in fact. It comes instead out of a sense of disbelief on the right. Those who opposed Barack Obama didn’t think it was possible for so many Americans to vote for him after the failures and overreaches of his first term. That the majority did is taken as a sign of various things: The country has definitively moved to the left. The electorate wants goodies. The media put their collective fingers on the scale. In our last issue, I suggested the answer was simpler: The Republicans got completely outplayed after nominating a candidate uniquely unable to engage the president and the nation in a conversation about his own record and the nation’s future.
About the Author
John Podhoretz is editor of COMMENTARY.