Just came back from a US Chamber/Leading Authorities event featuring election analysts Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg. Both had interesting takes on the recent elections:

  • Charlie said that, while the GOP needs to regroup and determine where it's heading in the future, he doesn't think any Republican could have won the White House. Wth the collapse of financial markets in September, followed by the steady stream of bad economic news in the final weeks of the campaign, the incumbent party was bound to lose. This isn't to take anything away from the Obama campaign, which Cook called the most disciplined, best organized campaign he'd ever seen. He also observed that there are now two Americas — one which is ecstatic about the election of Barack Obama, and another which is scared about the new policies that will emerge. In these tough economic times, it'll be President Obama's job to reach out and unite the country.
  • Stu agreed with Charlie about Obama's remarkable management of his campaign. But he said that he didn't think the country had taken the wild swing to the Left that the election headlines suggested. Exit interviews this year showed the public mood had swung 180 degrees from 2004 — whether the question was "is the country heading in the right direction?" or "do you approve of the president's performance?" or "what are the issues most important to you?" In all instances voters overwhelmingly showed disapproval of the party currently in power in the White House. And yet the election results (such as the 53-47% edge for Obama), while assuredly pointing to a solid victory for Democrats, were not the landslide some had predicted.

Stu provided an additional insight: At a meeting he was speaking at yesterday, someone in the audience said that he once worked for Obama at the Harvard Law Review. Our new president was, indeed, very liberal, perhaps the most liberal chief executive ever elected. But he also said that Obama was, more than anything else, a pragmatist.

 Let's hope, during the difficult economic times ahead, that President Obama shows a practical side when dealing with business issues.


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