The election is over, and in a few short weeks President Barack Obama will start his truly historic second term as President of the United States of America.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. It’s a day meant for reflection on everything we have, and to be thankful for it, rather than dwell on the bad or less positive aspects of our lives. We all have grievances in our lives. The purpose of tomorrow, which happens to be my favorite of all the year’s holidays, is to set aside time in our hearts to be genuinely appreciative of acknowledging of the fact that we may not have everything we want, or need for that matter, but the hope is that we all have something to cling to, something to be genuinely thankful for.
I started thinking about this, and in economic times like these, when the nation is recovering, albeit slowly, from an economic collapse, it may be harder this year to find anything to be truly thankful for. People still are struggling to find work in certain parts of the country. People are still probably a little bitter about their guy losing the election. So in the interest of raising spirits, I came up with three things that every single American, regardless of political ideology, can give a heartfelt thank you to the universe for.
Obamacare Is Here To Stay
Sure, if any conservatives are reading this, they’re probably thinking to themselves, “Why would I ever be thankful that the Kenyan-Socialist-Marxist-Muslim’s communist takeover of our health care system is here to stay?” Well, I’ll tell you why, Jed. Because that’s all bullshit. Obamacare is quite literally a life-saving piece of legislation if you happen to be one of the millions of Americans who suddenly got access to health coverage they were being denied previously for pre-existing conditions. Obamacare closed the Medicare “doughnut hole” so seniors can rest easier. Obamacare actually extends the life of Medicare itself to 2024.
Maybe I should say that conservatives will be thankful for Obamacare eventually. Right now, it’s still the harbinger of doom for this nation. But as more and more people find themselves getting the medical attention they need, as more and more people are using their doctors for preventative care, the proof of the ACA’s worth will be in the pudding. Conservatives may rally against it forever and ever, but make no mistake; they’ll grow to depend on it, and more importantly, voraciously protect it.
You see, there will come a tipping point in the red states when it comes to the Affordable Care Act. Much like Social Security and Medicare, conservatives will yell and scream about it forever (so we might as well just get used to that idea right now), but the people in those Republican stronghold states happen to take the most federal aid. So there will be old, white Republicans in thirty or so years grousing about someone meddling with their Obamacare. Then again if nothing else, just knowing they’ll have a big, scary government program to rail against for the rest of their lives ought to make conservatives very thankful for all the lies and spin they’ll be able to concoct and turn into pillars of conservative universal “truths.”
Like how gay marriage will lead to people marrying dogs.
Mitt Romney? Who The Hell Is That?
Let’s face it, progressives feared a Romney presidency because he was shaping to be the second coming of Dubya. He had zero foreign policy credibility, zero credibility with anyone outside of the Republican alternate reality universe, and very clearly was being set up to be another shill for the NeoCons in terms of both domestic economic policy, and foreign “let’s go to war with everyone who has oil” policy. So there’s no doubt why those on the left side of the aisle did a dance of joy when the election was called for President Obama, but it’s the conservatives in this country who should be most thankful that Romney will eventually fade into obscurity.
Romney was an unmitigated disaster of a candidate. Not because of who he is or was a governor, but because of who he had to defeat to get the nomination. When you have to look more conservative than Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum, you’re going to have to say some really crazy things. You’re going to have to be in favor of self-deportation, massive border fences and an escalation of the drug war. You’re going to have to take a stand against marriage quality, no matter what your previous record was on the issue. You’re going to have to speak about women’s issues in such a way that makes you look like you just stepped out of a time-traveling phone booth from the 1930s with Bill and Ted. And when you have to run your primary so very hard to the extreme side of your base, it’s going to be very, very obvious when you make your traditional “pivot” to the center.
That’s the thing; most candidates try to pull off what Romney was attempting to do himself. Of course you need to get your base behind you to have a shot in the general election, but what we’re seeing is that the base of the GOP isn’t enough for them to win any more. What they need to do to win now is to slice off enough of the votes from the groups they’ve spent the last thirty years alienating…or just get better at suppressing those votes. But the bottom line is that Mitt Romney was a horrible experiment for the Republican party. Instead of running Presidential Ken up there, they need to find a moderate voice in their party, but unlike Romney, that moderate needs to know how to tell the extremists (Tea Party members) in the GOP to sit down, sit back, and shut up.
Taxes On The Rich Will Go Up
This one too falls into the same category as the first item on this list. It may seem like something that every conservative will hate; and they will at first. But just as in the 1990s when President Clinton argued for and eventually got the same exact tax hike that Obama is asking for, the ends will justify means, and eventually the hole in the budget will shrink, allowing for more growth and putting us on much better economic footing. Taxes simply have to go up on the wealthy of this nation. There’s no way to make all the math work without it; and that’s precisely what was settled in the election. Yes, Obama only won by about three million votes. He won though, and this country that does entitle him to getting a better deal in the settlement on taxes.
If Republicans want to hold the tax rates for the rest of the 98% of Americans that both sides agree should get to keep their lower tax rates, then so be it. We’ll plunge over the cliff, some drastic spending cuts will go into effect, but the end result, higher taxes for the wealthy, will be secured. At that point, negotiations can be in earnest between Democrats and Republicans as far as whose rates should be lowered and to what rate we’re lowering them to. This will also be the chance Republicans have been waiting for to tackle entitlement reform.
In a way, the so-called fiscal cliff may be just what this country needs to deftly bat away the partisan bickering and get our legislators back to the task we hire them for: writing legislation. It’s a shame we can’t get to that point without a pissing contest, but that’s where we stand. Something will give, because at this point there’s no other way to get around it. One thing is certain, there is not an honest and unbiased economist out there who thinks that we can fix our budgetary issues and keep growth moving forward with tax rates on the rich being what they are, so if we have to accept the cliff as part of the bargain, then we should be thankful for the opportunity to finally fix the tax and spending issue for the foreseeable future.