A president showed up for the last two debates and won an election.
The two candidates, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, faced each other in a town hall format and the results were much different than the previous encounter. They clashed again over foreign policy a week later with similar results.
In each they battled for 90 minutes, the first over questions posed by audience members, still undecided about who they would vote for. In the next debate Bob Schieffer took them through a series of questions on foreign policies.
What was the difference between these debates and the first?
Obama woke up! In the final two debates Obama was engaged and combative -- presidential -- possessing facts, arguments, and anecdotes that he didn't use the first time they met.
Many were questioning the president's qualifications after the first debate and rethinking Romney's. Romney's performance in that first debate gave him a boost at a time when the election appeared to be all but over.
Obama's weak performance reversed the month-long momentum the incumbent had achieved and again narrowed the race. It also stimulated new right-wing speculation.
Despite Obama's obvious advantage in the next two debates the loss in the first still haunted his campaign and encouraged an inept Romney campaign to declare a resurrected momentum and a potential victory.
Pundits and analysts returned to their 'close race' rhetoric again, manipulating their electronic election maps, giving the impression this election was close and could be snatched from the president.
The laughable punditry and modern electronic gadgets were silenced by Tuesday's resounding triumph, especially in the swing states. Was it a mandate? Will it help break the gridlock in Congress?
The presidential outcome is no longer debatable. The election of Obama showed that at least 51 percent could see beyond the mendacity, accusations, misinformation, and dirty money, to elect the candidate who deserved to be reelected. But there should still be some concern for the 48 percent percent that could not see the failings and deceptions of the Romney/Ryan campaign.
But the president will still have to battle an intransigent Republican House and Senate in order to get anything done for the American people. If the electorate were smart enough to see what Congress is doing, the president would have won all but a few uninformed Southern states; states that would still vote against their own self interests.
Another thing that is no longer debatable, the victory over big money -- an ugliness created before the 2010 election by the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling which got even uglier in this election. Billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and Home Depot's Ken Langone lost millions betting on an inept candidate. The American voters sent a strong message to these plutocrats. American democracy is not for sale.
Given the losses the right took -- two new seats in the Senate, eight or more seats picked up in the House -- humility should sink in and they'll begin working with the Democrats to heal the country. But, after four years of intransigent politics over the good of the country, it appears Senator McConnell and Speaker Boehner intend to continue their obstruction.
Their unpatriotic obstruction has slowed growth after a devastating recession which was caused by their out-of-control spending, deregulation, and lack of vision during the 12 years they were in control of both congressional houses.
Our problems weren't solved by this election, but it prevented the damage a Romney presidency and Republican-controlled Senate would have caused.
Romney and Ryan's plan would have taken us back to the devastation of the Bush policies -- a period in which the deficit doubled.
As we approach the fiscal cliff, keep in mind that everything these clowns did from 1994 to 2006 caused the financial and economic havoc we have been experiencing ever since.
So, was the election a mandate?
It was! But, we're still going to have a facedown on the fiscal cliff. We're also confronted with a slowing global economy.
A contentious right, led by the intractable Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, will try to blame the president for both of these approaching problems. The real truth? Causation can be traced back to right-wing failures and missteps.
By reelecting President Obama we've selected someone who will deal with these growing crises with integrity, intelligence, and calm. No one could be sure how Romney would deal with them -- or global warming, or energy policy, the Middle East, abortion, poverty, unemployment, or...?
It's no longer debatable!
We don't need to see Romney's taxes or what he was hiding, or listen to his lies about Masschussetts, Bain, or the Olympics, or wonder about which loopholes he might close, or how he would address wealth disparity and rebuilding the middle class.
No we don't have to worry about any of those things.
We reelected a president who will govern for all!