What Are They Saying About Obama's Victory?

Serena Dai
November 7, 2012
What Are They Saying About Obama's Victory?

Obama won a second term! And just as with every other point in the election, the nation's pundits are already telling us what it means. Here are all their takes as they come in.

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The nation did unite, but the win was an endorsement of Obama's policies — Editorial Board, The New York Times

[The re-election] was not a sign that a fractured nation had finally come together on Election Day. But it was a strong endorsement of economic policies that stress job growth, health care reform, tax increases and balanced deficit reduction — and of moderate policies on immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage.

Obama's win secures real change for the nation — Ezra Klein, The Washington Post

On their own, passing and implementing any of these laws [Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank, tax increases] would be a huge achievement for a presidency. The three of them together are a record and pace of domestic change unmatched by any recent administration. But they were an odd sort of change: Change that wouldn’t happen until — and arguably unless — Obama secured a second term. Tonight, he did that. 

Republicans gambled in the extremes and lost — Jonathan Chait, New York magazine

Fed up though the voters may be with bitter partisanship in Washington, and angry though they may be with the painfully slow recovery, they were never eager to hand the keys back to the Republicans. Conservatives would not make the ideological sacrifices needed to reposition the party in the center. They gambled that discontent with Obama alone would be sufficient to propel them back to power.

It's okay; Obama's a moderate Republican, anyway — William Saletan, Slate

You might have serious issues with [Obama's] Supreme Court justices or his moves on immigration or the Bush tax cuts. But you probably would have had similar issues with Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, or Gerald Ford. Obama’s in the same mold as those guys. So don’t despair. Your country didn’t vote for a socialist tonight.

Republicans were caught in the past — Amy Davidson, The New Yorker

One argument now will be about which aspect of the Republican party’s agenda hurt it the most—that having to do with women, taxes, social programs, inequality. We now have an answer about the Presidential race—about the choice between two men—early in the evening, for a race that some thought could be headed for a recount. But we have had an intense debate about politics in the last few months—about policies, about priorities, about death and taxes. How that turned out is what we’re learning the most about tonight.

This is a victory for the Democratic ideal — Joan Walsh, Salon

President Obama’s re-election represents a victory for the Democratic ideal of activist government and a mandate for more of it. From the stimulus through the auto rescue through Obamacare and finally, Hurricane Sandy, Americans saw the Democratic president making a difference in their lives.

Obama made it look like the timing was wrong for Romney — Beth Reinhard, National Journal

Elected on hope in a season of despair, President Obama won his first term by being the right guy at the right time. He won his second term making Mitt Romney the wrong guy. Obama turned what could have been a stinging referendum on his economic stewardship into a pass-fail test on Romney’s character. 

The improving economy is what screwed Romney — Daniel Gross, The Daily Beast

The [jobs] report was important: psychologically, economically, and politically. Most savvy pundits thought Ohio would be President Obama’s firewall. But it was really the uemployment data that turned out to be his impregnable fortress. ...In the end, the economy helped keep the race close. But I believe the steady, persistent improvement throughout 2012, even if it came a little late, helped President Obama.