The debt and deficit didn't matter much. The high unemployment of 7.9 percent mattered only to those who were out of work. Benghazi seemed to matter only to the families of the four who were killed at the consulate. Minorities and welfare recipients cared only that the matter of entitlements would be protected for another four years. Prochoicers were comforted that if a Supreme Court justice were to retire, a nominee would be confirmed favorable to their cause. Health care mattered little in the end. After all, the government would be there to care for them no matter the cost.
Mitt Romney was doomed from the beginning. No matter how the conservative pundits spun it, Romney could not cut into the deeply entrenched feeling that he was an uncaring and far too distant rich man who was going to take from the middle class and fortify the wealthy 1 percent. Besides, Romney, like Gerald Ford, Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush before him, was too starchy, too unresisting, too high-hat.
No, the liberal majority has now spoken clearly and distinctly (though the popular vote was evenly divided). Their champion of big spending and big government has four more years to weave his magic of hope, change and forwardness. We will know, when his second term reaches its inevitable conclusion, if the charisma and verbal seduction will have matched the results.
Earl A. Myers Jr., Tampa
True democracy at work
I had the privilege of working on the Barack Obama campaign with many other incredibly dedicated people. I walked vast swaths of neighborhoods. I knocked on doors and talked to hundreds of people. I explained ballots, told folks where to vote, answered questions about IDs and, most important, explained the importance of voting. I know I made a difference, because Pinellas went for Obama. And because over and over again I was able to convince people that voting is their right and privilege.
I have a large Obama/Biden sign in the window of my car. Everywhere I go people make note. They thank me. They honk. Once a truckload of African-American teenagers came up beside me and honked to beat the band. I forgot about the sign, then remembered they were on my side.
This is true democracy at work. People helping people. People working to do what's best for America. And as I said to every single person who thanked me, and there were hundreds of them, this is my country too. I care about it so much — and thankfully, all those people in the Obama offices spread across Pinellas do too.
Thank you, Pinellas. I'm proud to live here.
Robin Sterling, St. Petersburg
More years of gridlock
We have just assured ourselves of four more years of "congressional constipation." We as a people and as a congressional body will certainly be as polarized as we have been for the last four years. Everything enacted will be by "decree" as dictated by the president and his appointed czars.
It will be four more years of anemic 1 percent economic growth, of new-normal 8 percent unemployment, of record numbers of people living in poverty, of stifled energy production, of decimating the coal industry, and of record spending, expanding government and debt. We asked for it.
Don Niemann, Seminole
Headed toward oblivion
After the presidential election, critics of the Republican Party are coming out of the woodwork. They did this and they should have done that. They did that and they should have done this. They didn't listen to the people. They did everything wrong. Well I for one am already tired of all this criticism.
Listen, as far as I'm concerned, they did everything right and I strongly encourage the GOP to continue. Yes, that's right: Stay the course. If they do, with any luck at all, after another election cycle or two they will cease to exist and all that will remain will be a few bad memories of intolerance, voter suppression, arrogance and that feeling of entitlement with which we are all far too familiar. So, GOP, double down. Please.
Charles Edwards, Tampa
Lessons for the GOP
I would like to interpret the election results for House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:
Government will not be drowning in a bathtub. Obamacare will become entrenched, so there is no need to hold weekly votes in attempts to rescind it. We will not be eliminating our social safety nets. Military action will not become a constant endeavor. Civil rights will continue the still difficult, but forward, path towards equality for all. We will not be solving our very serious financial situation on the backs of the less advantaged. Limiting the president to one term no longer needs to be your No. 1 one priority.
You can do nothing. Or you can make yourself useful by gathering responsible minds and telling Grover Norquist and Karl Rove that you are more concerned about the future of the country than you are with being a tool to flawed and reckless politics. Please make yourselves useful.
Grant Inman, Tampa
When is a bribe not a bribe? When it's a campaign contribution. The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court is a disservice to all Americans.
It should and must be reversed. This is not free speech; this is a license for bribery.
Anthony P. Messina, Clearwater
Make it happen
Regardless of how each of us voted, the election is over and now the tough work begins. We need to move on and stop crying over not having our candidate elected.
Another key thing we need to do is stop answering questions with, "I will do my best." Our leaders and elected officials need to adopt the answer "I will make it happen." Husbands and dads don't have the luxury of telling their wife and children, "I will do my best" because it is a weak answer and makes failure a significant possibility instead ensuring success.
Americans are both patriotic and pragmatic, and our elected leaders have to be that way too. We can no longer afford the polarization that has grown into unmanageable proportions. Moderation always needs to be considered.
James Warren, Valrico
On to 2016
The Times editorials on Monday and Tuesday were jaw-dropping. The complete bias against Mitt Romney and the Republicans was obvious. Now I expect the Times to say it's time to come together. I believe as much respect and cooperation that was given to George W. Bush in his second term by the Times and liberals should be given to President Barack Obama. Sounds fair, doesn't it? Or doesn't the Times look in the mirror?
It's going to be a rocky four years, but the workers will keep working and takers will keep taking. On to 2016.
Doug Birchard, St. Petersburg
Put aside the pettiness
No matter what presidential election I voted in, whether my guy won or lost, after the election I always felt that whoever held the office was my president and I would back him and pray he had the right stuff and people to help to straighten this country out.
This seems to have disappeared in recent years. It has become and remains an us-against-them mentality. This has to stop. We can never solve any problems if we remain a country divided. We have to put aside our petty views (most of the time uninformed and selfish) and work together.
Mitt Romney said he did it Massachusetts. Does it really matter if a Republican or Democratic president gets us going again? Just as long as we get going. Let's show the world we can do it.
Joe Spano, Spring Hill
A few suggestions for future candidates: Don't make $10,000 bets on national TV, don't let your wives go on national TV wearing $900 blouses, and at least know how much a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk costs.
Jackie Thibault, Beverly Hills
No more excuses
That Florida should once again attract attention for electoral uncertainty should be a wakeup call.
Citizens should be most alarmed and disgusted at the partisan gamesmanship with eligibility and early voting rules, so we can lay a fat, smelly load of blame at the feet of the governor.
It is unfortunate, too, that the state Legislature chose to load the ballot with lengthy, complicated amendments, but that has been a known factor for months, so it should be no surprise that the average time in the voting booth was long.
There ought to be a concentration on best practices from a technical perspective, especially in the counties that can't seem to get the job done on time. Statewide, the people need to hold everyone from the governor on down accountable. No more excuses, no more fiascoes. Get a clue, people.
Gregory P. Smith, San Antonio