The day after

Our view : On John McCain, the Republican Party, the Democratic Congress, the upper class and other remains of the day

November 06, 2008

A post-election postscript offers a chance to pick up where we left off on critical players in this historic election:

Mac is back: In defeat, Sen. John McCain was a politician of striking grace and generosity. His warm tribute to President-elect Barack Obama recalled the John McCain who achieved success on tough issues such as campaign finance reform with compromise, respect and reaching across the aisle. His leadership will be needed in the new Congress.

The Buffett factor: Despite Senator Obama's intention to raise taxes on the wealthy, 52 percent of voters earning $200,000 or more supported him, according to exit polls. That sounds like voting against one's interest. But Warren E. Buffett, the third-richest man in the world, argues that the Bush tax policies, which have netted billions for the affluent, have accentuated a disparity of wealth that stifles opportunity and motivation and hurts the economy. Makes sense to us.

A new image: Democrats in Congress have had as much of an image problem as their Republican colleagues because of their limited accomplishments and inability to end legislative gridlock. A Democrat in the White House won't solve their problem; Democrats frequently have difficulty agreeing among themselves, and it's time for a new attitude if they are to carry out the progressive agenda backed by an overwhelming number of voters.

GOP winter: Republican strategists are blaming a perfect storm of dissatisfaction with President Bush's policies and this fall's epic financial crisis for their party's poor showing in this week's elections. Enough with the excuses. Demographic trends in states long dominated by the GOP promise more serious trouble ahead if the party doesn't find ways to broaden its appeal to moderates, the young and minorities.

Obama's army : Community organizers are having the last laugh now. Mr. Obama's grassroots approach to this election earned him millions of supporters across America and a thumb drive filled with e-mail addresses so he can rally his troops with a few clicks of a mouse. But the real success of Mr. Obama's organizational feat will be his supporters' involvement in advancing proposals on alternative energy, affordable health care, immigration policy and Social Security's approaching insolvency.

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