Let’s be honest: not a lot is going to happen with Obama II. It’s not a reflection on the president, but the truth is that, with the exception of immigration and maybe gay marriage, there is simply not much he can afford to do. This term will be about economic consolidation. That’s not to say that his eight years will not be regarded as historic. From first black president to healthcare to the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, to General Motors and Bin Laden and coupled with reelection, barring major upsets his legacy is safe. Having said that, he might have an additional opportunity to appoint liberal judges to the Supreme Court. But the big stuff? Forget it.
But that’s ok, and here’s why: when he leaves office in 2017, gay marriage and immigration as issues will probably be settled, and the Republican Party will be heading back towards the centre. Imagine, on the other hand, if Mitt Romney had won last November, confirming every prejudice the far right had about how they spoke for the real America and that the president had just been an anomaly?
The fact that he was strongly reelected, despite a huge effort by some to paint him and his values and supporters as unAmerican, is the final piece in the Obama legacy. That his values are not those of some radical elitist, but what those of us who regard ourselves as centrists always knew. That he spoke for that great value, American decency, and we’ll take another four years of that, thank you very much.