It was a warm, breezy weekend and everyone in my neighborhood was outside raking the leaves and bagging them by the dozen. Brooms swept porches and steps, sending yesterday's dust away and welcoming whatever the next season brings.
There seemed to be a palpable sense of relief in the air, there and elsewhere I visited after the election Tuesday. Relief is really the only word for it. The campaign had gone on for too long. There were too many debates, too many polls, too many ads, too much everything. It's good that it's over and we can move on.
But, not so fast. Some of us, that is to say voters whose votes chose the winners, want to make a few final points before we completely erase the 2012 campaign from our collective memories. We learned conclusively this year that conservative media lives in a fantasy world of their own creation, a place where things such as logic and math don't apply.
The conservative entertainment media bought its own con job when they took poll data that showed President Barack Obama ahead and then "unskewed" the data so that Mitt Romney was ahead. Romney's own internal polling was manipulated in this same way, making the candidate himself believe he was going to win.
They believed their own lies. And the lies they told each other about the polls are just like the lies they tell each other about any number of other topics. They actually believed this stuff, which is why the Fox News team was so shocked and unbelieving when the states started being called for Obama.
And these are the people we were supposed to believe on things such as jobs, taxes, health care and wars? Their calculations weren't just wrong, they were deliberately wrong in order to make themselves feel better. Just like Iraq. George Bush and Dick Cheney were just as shocked when it was discovered there were no WMDs in Iraq as Romney was on election night. This isn't new.
The results last week were a stunning rejection of that kind of politics. For all their imperfections, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden appear as honest brokers, people whose views are well known and who don't bluff. There's no reason they can't bring the conservatives to the bargaining table. The first thing we need to do is stop them from believing in their own myths.
Obama would not have been re-elected without a massive, straining effort to squeeze every last potential vote out of the electorate. It was an historic and massively effective execution of campaign strategy. Democracy at its finest.
These people are going to want something from Obama and his administration after investing so much time, passion and effort in making sure he won re-election. He needs to reach out to his progressive base with real action. The people had Obama's back. Now they want him to continue to have theirs.
That means real immigration reform, the effective implementation of Obamacare, constructive dialogue with international leaders and more jobs here at home.
The election went the way it did because people simply don't like the product conservatives are always trying to sell us. When we've bought it before, it brought about misery, death and economic turmoil. It wasn't Romney's fault that even his expert salesmanship wasn't enough to seal this deal.
Speaking of Romney, it's going to be hard to say goodbye to him as an active political figure. No other candidate embodies vulture capitalism, the mindset of Montgomery Burns and the like, with quite the zest of Romney. He seems like a genuinely caring guy who did awesome things for people who went to his church. His plans for changing America were disastrous, but the man himself has no small degree of personal charm.
Yes, he will be missed, but not that much. And the relief that people felt seemed fueled by the knowledge we've dodged a bullet and the radical politics of the conservatives will be kept out of the White House until 2016.
The news is good all over. Gov.-elect Mike Pence will be pure comedy gold over the next few years. Richard Mourdock's name will go into the hall of Indiana political infamy for defeating Richard Lugar in the primary and then going on to get his ass kicked by Joe Donnelly.
And if you're one of the people on the side that lost, I honestly feel your pain. It was a kick to the guts to see George W. Bush win two elections over good Democrats like Al Gore and John Kerry. It seemed as if the world was over and there would never be political hope again.
Yes, let's move on from the election, but we should resolve to never forget the ideas and philosophies that were so soundly defeated last week. Those forces are in the background for the moment, but they'll return. Our job is to not let that happen in 2014, 2016 or ever.