BY FRANK WOOTEN
What do Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama have in common?
They’re the only candidates to win popular-vote majorities in back-to-back presidential elections since World War II.
OK, so unlike Eisenhower and Reagan, and nearly every other re-elected president, Obama’s popular-vote margin was smaller the second time around.
Make that much smaller: In 2008, Obama received more than 69.4 million votes. As of Saturday, he had 7.7 million fewer this year — about 61.7 million. And his popular-vote edge fell from 7.2 percent (52.9-45.7) to 2.6 (50.6-48.0).
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney got only 58.5 million votes — 1.4 million fewer than John McCain’s 2008 total.
Hmm. Lots of self-described “conservatives” evidently sat this one out.
Yikes. Maybe our nation, despite now having 30 GOP governors, isn’t as conservative as many of us thought. After all, the Democrats have won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential races.
Another key distinction between 21st century Democrat Obama and 20th century Republicans Eisenhower and Reagan: Sixteen years after Bill Clinton declared “the era of big government is over,” our current big-government president has won the last two White House races. That’s a big mistake by voters.
Supply-side champion George Gilder aptly assessed the folly of state-run economies three months ago in National Review: “As Marxist despots and tribal socialists from Cuba to Greece have discovered to their huge disappointment, governments can neither create wealth nor effectively redistribute it. They can only expropriate it and watch it dissipate. If we continue to harass, overtax, and oppressively regulate entrepreneurs, our liberal politicians will be shocked and horrified to discover how swiftly the physical tokens of the means of production dissolve into so much corroded wire, abandoned batteries, scrap metal, and wasteland rot.”
But my liberal pals assure me that Obama is actually a “pragmatic moderate,” not a far-left redistributionist.
And this president does at times give lip service to capitalism, as when he said during the second debate last month:
“I believe that the free-enterprise system is the greatest engine of prosperity the world’s ever known. I believe in self-reliance and individual initiative and risk takers being rewarded. But I also believe that everybody should have a fair shot and everybody should do their fair share and everybody should play by the same rules, because that’s how our economy is grown.”
So who writes what rules? And when will which rules grow our economy?
That’s enough political, economic and ideological mumbo-jumbo for now.
Why keep wallowing in right-wing despair? Instead, concede — and celebrate — the good things our now re-elected president has done, including:
» Issuing the gutsy 2011 order to take out Osama bin Laden — in Pakistan.
» Setting fine examples by quitting smoking, extending his healthy tradition of playing basketball on Election Day, and making his daughters attend school Tuesday despite the handy excuse of Dad’s big event (though maybe his wife Michelle originated that edict).
» Giving our Holy City this plug in his 2008 Election Night victory speech: “It began in the back yards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and on the front porches of Charleston.”
» Seeking bipartisan cooperation last year by playing golf in an aisle-crossing foursome with Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
» Showing squared-circle swagger on “Monday Night Raw” from Greenville in April 2008, ending his taped campaign pitch with this variation on The Rock’s signature line: “Do you smell what Barack is cooking?”
Yes, The Rock, aka movie star Dwayne Johnson, endorsed Romney this year. And Hillary Clinton and McCain also tried to display “Raw” common touches. Yet unlike the smooth-voiced Obama, neither of them sounds like The Rock.
No, those admirable accomplishments can’t offset Obama’s reckless addition of more than $5 trillion to the national debt in his first four Oval Office years.
Still, with four more years to go, we might as well try to occasionally accentuate our president’s positives.
And in the noble tradition of seeking productive compromises after an election, this conservative now offers to serve on — and even chair — the Charleston Obamacare Death Panel.
That is, if the job comes with sufficient financial compensation — including typically lavish federal benefits.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.