Almost exactly two years ago I wrote a post you can read here saying I was off to the bookies to vote on Barack Obama winning a second term. I outlined that many would begin to write off Obama - including to their peril the Republican Party.
Specifically I said:
"Things are looking pretty bleak only two years into his
presidency. The last CNN poll before yesterday's voting had Obama's approval
rating at below 50 per cent. While 56 per cent thought he didn't have the right
priorities for the country. The same poll showed that nearly half those
questioned thought Obama's administration to be too liberal. 53 per cent thought
his government was trying to do too much."
I then outlined how, by holding a majority in the House of Representatives, Republicans would try to force Obama to change course but that, if handled the right way, President Obama would be helped by their political manoeuvrings.
Specifically I predicted that "by
altering course, just slightly, Obama will be able to say he has listened to the
people. On big government, much of the stimulus package hated by many on the
right is enshrined in law and trickling through. This means that, however much
the Republicans want to reduce the size of the state, it will take time to do.
In the meantime, particularly the big infrastructure projects will - if Obama's
economics are correct - finally start to make a difference to real people on the
This has all happened but arguably something as significant over that two year period has been the way the Republican Party has conducted itself. The polling then, as now, illustrated how voters want
to see their political leaders working together for the good of the country.
This is particularly true for soft Republic/Democrats and Independents. It was these
voters that decided the election last night. They may have remained soft, swing voters over these past two years but that in itself was a victory for the way Obama has governed. They could have very easily deserted him but they were willing to give him another chance. The Republicans on their part failed to offer an attractive alternative.
In November 2010 Obama
did enough in change course - or at least looking as if he were trying - to work with both Houses of Congress while, at
the same time, the Republicans followed through on their campaign promise
of being a road block to cross party consensus. This allowed Obama to position himself right
in the centre where modern elections are won. The Republican Party meanwhile had to endure a bruising nomination process where they left the centre ground only for Mitt Romney to tack back in that direction over the past two months. By then it was too late.
In November 2010 I said that the majority of moderate Americans were only just outside
Obama's grasp and that, with a slight adjustment from White House strategists on message and message delivery, and a
helping hand from Republicans, expect Obama to be victorious in 2012. That is exactly what happened.