Maureen Dowd in The New York Times on Romney's white male base Maureen Dowd pulls no punches in her latest column, telling readers what she really thinks of Mitt Romney's most loyal voters: white guys. "Romney and Tea Party loonies dismissed half the country as chattel and moochers who did not belong in their 'traditional' America," she writes. "But the more they insulted the president with birther cracks, the more they tried to force chastity belts on women, and the more they made Hispanics, blacks and gays feel like the help, the more these groups burned to prove that, knitted together, they could give the dead-enders of white male domination the boot." GOP leaders aren't the only ones who have something to learn from voters' rejection of white male patriarchy, she writes. A previously hesitant Obama should also take this as a sign of what they expect from his second term. "Bill O’Reilly said Obama’s voters wanted 'stuff,'" Dowd writes. "He was right. They want Barry to stop bogarting the change."
Sarah Westwood in The Wall Street Journal on college Republicans Young voters formed another group that turned out strongly against Republicans this election cycle. But the GOP has its fair share of loyal college-aged voters, however lonely and misunderstood they might be according to George Washington University freshman Sarah Westwood, herself a conservative voter. Westwood argues that the Republican party isn't a poor fit for young voters—it just hasn't been appealing to them very well. "The right has done nothing to welcome young people," she writes. But that's nothing a little makeover can't fix. "The GOP is like a supermodel who has been doing photo shoots under fluorescent bulbs without any makeup. But fix the lighting, dab on some foundation and highlight her good side, and she can take the most attractive picture."
Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times on wedge issues It used to be the case that Democrats lost over divisive "wedge" issues. Even if working class voters aligned better with the Democrats' economic policies, they could be persuaded to vote for Republicans over abortion or immigration. This election brought that era to an end, argues Doyle McManus. "If it were only a matter of nominating Senate candidates smart enough to steer clear of oddball comments about rape, the Republicans' problem would be relatively easy to solve," writes McManus. But their problems run deeper than that. After all, "attacking Planned Parenthood, abortion rights and immigration are hard to paper over."
Ahmed Rashid in BBC News on Afghan peace The war in Iraq may have been successfully wound down under President Obama's first term. But going into his second, the war in Afghanistan remains as intractable as ever. Ahmed Rashid writes that if the U.S. ever wants to broker peace in the region, Obama will have to convince President Karzai and Pakistani President Zardari that we have real, attainable goals there and that we have an exit strategy. The State Department hasn't done that yet, Rashid argues. "But with his re-election, the president now has a second chance," he writes. "If the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 is high on his agenda than he should prioritise talks with the Taliban which would aim for a ceasefire between all sides before US troops depart and before Afghan presidential elections are held in April 2014."
William D. Cohan in Bloomberg View on cleaning up Wall Street With lame duck President Obama no longer beholden to campaign donors like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup for future financial support, maybe he'll actually get tough on Wall Street, William D. Cohan hopes. "President Obama, the time has come for you to do in your second term what many people hoped you would do in the first: Institute meaningful reform on Wall Street," Cohan writes. "An essential first step is to sweep out the remaining vestiges of the Rubin- Altman nexus. Bring in a new group of people who not only understand how Wall Street really works but also have dedicated much of their lives to changing it."