It wasn’t a long night for presidential election watchers. A country fed up with economic bad news delivered enough states to Barack Obama to see the national Democratic ticket declared a winner before most Nevadans had finished their suppers.
The networks called the race for Barack Obama in New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Ohio — a previously "red" state without which no Republican has ever carried the White House — by 6:15 p.m. Western time.
The markets had seen it coming for months, showing their advance evaluation of the likely economic impact of an Obama presidency by sending stock prices tumbling by percentages reminiscent of the Great Depression.
What do these election results foretell?
On the bright side, it’s to be hoped a Democratic administration will be strong on civil rights. Though — like their friends in the ACLU — the Obama Democrats seem to have trouble locating either the 2nd or 10th Amendments in their copies of the Bill of Rights.
Sen. Obama will probably seek to pull American troops out of Iraq far faster than any Republican would have. Does he have some new strategy to combat radical Islam in its violent war on the west?
As for the controversial "big bank bailout," the former heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — whose lobbyists enriched Sen. Obama by more than $100,000 to make sure congressional Democrats put no regulatory curbs on their greed — are now Sen. Obama’s economic advisors. Don’t expect much "change" there.
Democrats dream giddily of eliminating secret ballot elections to determine whether workplaces shall be unionized, replacing them with a system under which union goons need only corner a majority of employees, one at a time, in darkened hallways or parking lots, "encouraging" them to sign a card. That’s likely to be a high priority to reward the unions for their help this fall.
Congressional Democrats, led by Nevada’s Harry Reid, seek to bar new oil wells, new refineries, new coal or oil or nuclear or natural-gas-fired power plants. Instead, Democrats vow "millions of jobs" — tax-funded government jobs — will be created attempting to replace those cheaper and more reliable fuels by bringing wind and solar and geothermal power to market — all while their green allies file lawsuits blocking the required new transmission lines. In the broad gap between the present reality and that visionary goal, how will Las Vegas fare if the lights and the air conditioners start to flicker out?
The best news on the national scene is that a president can do none of these things without a complaisant Congress. And Democrats — despite their success in ousting Republican Sens. Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina and John Sununu in New Hampshire — appeared to be falling short, last night, of their goal of capturing a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority.
President-elect Obama’s can now be relied upon to issue a call for "bipartisanship." We sincerely hope he means it — not merely "You Republicans vote our way; we’ll have The Washington Post give you cover by praising you as ‘thoughtful moderates.’" Certainly both parties can work together on any number of undertakings which do not involve higher taxes or the expansion of government powers.
No one wishes the new president-elect ill. We all hope he will indeed welcome advice from all quarters, adopting a moderate course which stresses pragmatic progress over playing Robin Hood, robbing from the rich one final time as they pass through his forest on their way to move their assets and their jobs overseas.
Sen. Obama deserves congratulations for organizing an impressive electoral campaign. The surviving Republican minority should be open and receptive to Democratic initiatives that honor America’s traditions of free markets and limited government.
But if Democrats start right in with the kind of tax hikes and tariff barriers they launched in 1933 — making the Great Depression worse in 1937 than it had been in 1930 — it will simply awaken Americans all the sooner to the real costs of the kind of government expansion they’ve just authorized.
We’ll be watching.