Reactions to Obama’s Win

Asian stocks rose, but European stocks fell after Obama won the election last night. Reasonable people disagree on whether Democrats or Republicans are better for stocks. Most data support Democrats, but I’ve read convincing arguments that most of the supposed Democratic outperformance comes from a coincidence in timing.

For instance, Obama will be in office when the economy turns around and the stock market recovers. He will get credit for the vastly better performance under his administration than under the Bush administration. However, Bush played almost no part in this current economic trouble and Obama has had no hand whatsoever in the policies being put in place to rescue the economy. By the time Obama shows up on the scene on January 20, most of the measures will have been created, approved, and implemented. Yet, this cycle will go down as a Bush failure and an Obama victory.

For more on which party is better for stocks, see this article at CXO Advisory.

Elections are about more than stocks, though, so herewith a rundown of wider reactions to last night’s results.

John Derbyshire at NRO:

Just watched Wonder Boy’s speech. Hmph. “Calloused hands”? When did he ever have calloused hands?

All right, I’m sour. The most liberal member of the U.S. Senate! And that shakedown-artist of a wife, with the permanent frown! And Joe Biden!

I’m sour about the GOP too. What did it all get us, those eight years of pandering and spending? If GWB had turned his face from new entitlements, closed the borders, deported the illegals, held the line on calls to loosen mortgage-lending standards, starved the Department of Education, and declined those invitations to mosque functions, would the GOP be in any worse shape now?

What won this election was the packaging skills of David Axelrod, the swooning complicity of the media, the ruthless opportunism of Barack Obama, and the unprincipled thuggishness of his supporters.

What lost this election was the cloth-eared cluelessness of George W. Bush, the timid squeamishness of John McCain, and the deep lack of interest in conservative principles among Republican primary voters.

Sour? You bet I’m sour. Where was conservatism in this election? Where was restraint in government? Where was national sovereignty? Where was liberty? Where was self-support? And where are those things now? Where are they headed this next four years? Down the toilet, that’s where. Pah!

Joe Galloway at McClatchy:

Here’s to the American people, the electorate, for finally coming to their senses and voting for something different, for someone different and for a chance to fix the multitude of man-made disasters that confront us.

By their votes, the Republican revolution and all it’s wrought — an economic meltdown, two endless wars, class warfare that’s enriched the very rich and beggared everyone else and a treasury bulging only with IOU’s — will be crushed.

John Hawkins:

Despite the staggering advantages the Democrats had in this election, including a candidate who undoubtedly drew in millions of black voters who wanted to pull the lever for the first black president and millions of other voters gripped by white guilt, it only led to a shift of about 4-6% of the American public from the Republicans to the Democrats.

Does this election prove that the country has shifted to the left? No, it proves that with almost every factor in their favor, the Democrats can win big — but, the same could be said of the GOP.

The Washington Post:

Utah’s Republican governor, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., predicted a “broad discussion of the future of the [GOP] party” with virtually every big issue on the table. “Was there anything that went right for us over the last several years?” he asked, saying that the party’s international agenda has been “flawed” and U.S. prestige abroad “squandered, in terms of where you see our level of respect overseas.”

“Domestically we have been totally tone-deaf in terms of recognizing the environment and where most Americans are in terms of having a healthy environment,” said Huntsman, a popular governor who easily won reelection. “We have been missing in action in terms of any semblance of fiscal responsibility, [and] we have put forward nothing meaningful in terms of health-care reform that has any traction.”

Bill Dyer:

Mr. President-elect, you have been, and will remain even more frequently, in my prayers.

I pray that you will succeed in bringing America into a post-racial future. In that regard, I pray that you will take to heart the prescription of Chief Justice John Roberts: The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. You are uniquely positioned to help us achieve that, and I pray that you will find the path to do so.

I pray that you may acquire wisdom — wisdom beyond your tender years, your thin experience, and your inconsequential legislative achievements — wisdom as a public servant in office, rather, that is at least commensurate with the skill you’ve shown as a campaigner, which has been a genuine marvel.

I pray for your health, because, with due respect, I regard the prospect of your Vice President-elect having to step into your shoes with genuine panic. Let’s hope that he can continue to be Crazy Uncle Joe, less of a danger to the nation as Vice President than as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

William Greider at The Nation:

Whatever happens next, Barack Obama has already changed this nation profoundly. Like King before him, the man is a great and brave teacher. Obama developed out of his life experiences a different understanding of the country, and he had the courage to run for president by offering this vision. For many Americans, it seemed too much to believe, yet he turned out to be right about us. Against all odds, he persuaded a majority of Americans to believe in their own better natures and, by electing him, the people helped make it true. There is mysterious music in democracy when people decide to believe in themselves.

Scott Johnson at Power Line:

Obama’s race was an asset to his candidacy at every step of the way. Americans want to prove their racial good will. A black candidate whose race is incidental to his campaign and whose political skills are manifest is able to take advantage of a great moral yearning that lies deep within the American psyche. Shelby Steele, who has eloquently explored this theme in reference to Obama, re
fers to it as “the idealism that race is but a negligible human difference.”

Despite his thoroughgoing liberalism, Obama did not run as a liberal. Liberals can run successfully for president under camouflage donned for the occasion. The camouflage will be accorded respect and deference by the press like that accorded the Emperor’s new clothes.

The substantially enhanced Democratic majorities in Congress stand poised to pass a raft of legislation that ranges from the destructive to the abominable and the tyrannical. It will serve as an early challenge to the judgment of President Obama, and to the efficacy of the loyal opposition.

Katrina vanden Heuvel at The Nation:

Four years ago we gathered at The Nation to watch the election returns. Around midnight we began to weep. But we had to put out an issue the next day. So, through the grim night and bleak day after, as the Election 2004 verdict became clear, we held our emotions in check and worked to make sense of the disaster that had befallen the country. The cover of our issue that week was of a black sky, dark clouds obscuring a slim and crestfallen moon, with a simple headline: “Four More Years.”

Four years later, our offices are filled with editors, writers, interns, and colleagues — some crying, this time with joy — all jubilant about the new era of possibility opened up by Barack Obama’s victory. We know there is work ahead to build a politics of sanity and justice and peace. But tonight we simply celebrate.

Obama’s election marks a remarkable moment in our country’s history — a milestone in America’s scarred racial landscape and a victory for the forces of decency, diversity and tolerance. As our editorial board member Roger Wilkins reminded us on the eve of the election, Obama’s win “doesn’t turn a switch that eradicates our whole national history and culture.” But “win or lose, Obama has already made this a better country, made your children’s future better.”

Mark Steyn at NRO:

The Republicans lost this election. I think we are near a point at which America joins the rest of the west as a center-left society — that’s to say, a society whose assumptions about the role of government and the size of the state are far closer to Continental social democracies than to the Founding Fathers. In a grim media-cultural environment, the temptation for American conservatism is to be seduced into becoming one of those ever so mildly right-of-left-of-right-of-left-of-center parties they have in Europe. We should have the fight about conservatism’s future vigorously and openly.

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