GOP Awakens the Sleeping Black Giant

They thought the base wouldn't turn out for Obama. When will the miscalculations end?

Voters on Election Day in Kansas City, Missouri (Julie Denesha/Getty Images)
Voters on Election Day in Kansas City, Missouri (Julie Denesha/Getty Images)

Romney won, as Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart pointed out, “most of the Confederacy.”

Obama won 25 states and the District of Columbia for a total of 303 Electoral College votes, 33 more than the 270 necessary. Romney won 24 states, 206 electoral votes. Florida’s 29 electoral votes (which Romney has conceded) are not in the totals because Tuesday’s election votes in the Sunshine State are still being counted.

Just weeks earlier, Republicans were still dreaming of regaining control of the Senate while keeping control of the House. Tuesday’s election saw them losing seats in both, although they continue to control the lower chamber.

The Election Day thrashing caught most Republicans off guard. Since most conservatives find their comfort level in the right-wing echo chamber where the Fox News Channel, Newsmax and Rush Limbaugh spoon-feed narrow points of view, few understood that there was another America out there and that it was bigger and better than the one they thought they were taking back.

Even Romney was in the bubble. The candidate was so cocksure of winning that he hadn’t written a concession speech, only one for his acceptance.

And there is many a one-percenter much the poorer for pursuing the fool’s goal of sending the president packing back to Chicago. Instead, the president doubled back to 2004 when, as a senator, he came to national prominence while addressing the Democratic National Convention with his “blue state, red state” speech.

This week, the president’s acceptance speech was purple.

“The speeches had remarkably similar refrains,” reported the Washington Post. “Both mentioned red states and blue states. Both included references to this country’s opportunities, no matter whether ‘you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight.’ “

Even as the president was winding up his victory speech, his next major crisis was looming on the political horizon: the fiscal cliff.

Unless the president and Congress can come to an agreement, in what amounts to a one-two punch, at year’s end the federal budget as we know it could fall off a cliff. The Bush-era tax cuts will end. Across-the-board spending cuts to the Pentagon and domestic programs that could total $800 billion next year will kick in. Also looming are reimbursement cuts to Medicare doctors and the end of a payroll-tax holiday and extended unemployment benefits.

An ugly fight is just waiting to begin.

It still remains to be seen if the Republicans will continue to be obstructionists or whether Tuesday’s election losses taught them to behave as if they care more about country than party.

After all, the next congressional election is just two years away.

Cybercolumnist Monroe Anderson is a veteran Chicago journalist who has written signed op-ed-page columns for both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. and executive-produced and hosted his own local CBS TV show. He was also the editor of Savoy Magazine. Follow him on Twitter.

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