Last year President Barack Obama proved that he is still “the man”. He still runs the best campaign and defies the odds. Most Republicans believed or hoped that President Obama would be easily defeated last November due to the poor economy and public discontent toward politicians. They were wrong. The Republicans nominated an out-of-touch elitist who voters rejected and President Obama was easily elected to a second term.
Let’s thank the everyday folks who turned out to vote in record numbers and who believed in the President’s vision for America. Cheers and High Fives to the majority of the voters and double cheers to the Democrats and Independents who went to the polls in record numbers in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina,Virginia and other swing states. Those of us in Georgia were counting on you and you made history again by voting for sensible, sensitive and smart government.
Another lesson learned from 2012 is that Republicans will raise taxes. GOP Speaker John Boehner and almost half of the Republicans in Congress voted to raise taxes. Despite years and years of no tax pledges from the far right, lots of rhetoric and public threats to moderates and Democrats who dared to talk about investing in America instead of divesting. They put aside their fears of future political primaries for ensuring the fiscal health of the country.
While most Southern Republicans stuck to their guns (literally) and voted against raising taxes, the two Georgia Senators, Johnny Isakson and Clarence Saxby Chambliss, channeled their best progressive inner voices and voted with the President and the majority of the their Senate colleagues to put the country on the right path to economic recovery.
Finally, voters in Georgia proved that statewide ballot referenda can pass, even in a recession. A strong campaign, amenable ballot language and the right policy focus led to the amendment for Public Charter Schools being approved by a landslide vote at the polls in November. And in doing so, a new coalition of African American and moderate suburban Republican voters was birthed in Georgia. Elected officials with eyes toward higher office would be wise to take note of that alliance.
Lessons learned from the 2012 election season, well we’ll leave it to you to decide what matters most to you. But for us we have learned to keep pushing smart, research-based public policy solutions, even imperfect ones.
The next year will bring its own challenges. More discussions of the nation’s fiscal policy, a possible re-branding of the Republican Party platform, and the 2nd amendment will likely dominate the national debate. Locally, Georgia’s sagging economy, ethics, and municipal elections in Atlanta will be front and center this year.