Amy Davidson in The New Yorker on Sasha and Malia Obama The president's reelection was sobering in some ways, with voters realizing that the "hope" and "change" they rallied around four years ago weren't enough to fix the nation's most festering problems. But while watching Sasha and Malia join their mother and father on stage for President Obama's victory speech, Amy Davidson was reminded about just how far we've come since 2008. "Four years ago, when Barack Obama was first elected President, the girls were small children—they are still just eleven and fourteen—and now Malia is about as tall as her mother," she writes. After citing all the steps forward made during this election, Davidson argues, "That is not a dilemma; that is a matter of children getting older. And they do."
Gail Collins in The New York Times on the fiscal cliff That long, grueling election may have finally come to a merciful end, but Gail Collins notes that we're nearing another political dogfight—the fiscal cliff. The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire at the end of this year, and harsh budget cuts would be triggered in their absence. With Republicans retaining control of the House, the debate over whether to extend the cuts could get ugly. Collins writes, "And since it looks as if we’re not getting any downtime, we’ll have to get cracking on this latest Congressional crisis. Root for a bipartisan solution that does not involve the White House being hijacked by a guy who keeps babbling about going halfway over a cliff."
Meghan Daum in The Los Angeles Times on all the single ladies who voted for Obama Single women were one of the demographics that turned out strongest for Obama, with two thirds voting to keep him in office. "In other words, if 'women hold up half the sky,' single women now hold up more than two-thirds of the Obama administration," writes Meghan Daum. In order to make good on their faith, Daum argues, Obama will have to focus on protecting reproductive rights and bettering the economic prospects of unmarried mothers. Recalling that Lena Dunham ad that suggestively likened first-time voting with first-time sex, Daum writes, "They likely did not vote for Obama because of a romantic notion about a ballot box 'first time' but because they stand to benefit from things like national healthcare and funding for pre-kindergarten programs."
Ezra Klein in Bloomberg View on the filibuster's future Now, as ever, if President Obama is going to get anything done in his second term, he'll have to work with a perpetually gridlocked Congress. That may be easier this time around, notes Ezra Klein, because a formerly filibuster-happy Senate now leans slightly in the Democrats' favor. "This week’s election has provided fresh evidence that the Senate, at least, may be preparing to remake its most pernicious rule," he writes, citing efforts by Connecticut's new Democratic senator Chris Murphy, Maine's independent senator Angus King, and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid. But it's not only Democrats who should be interested in reforming the filibuster, Klein writes: "If the filibuster ends now, there’s a real chance that the first party to benefit from a reformed Washington would be the Republicans. That should be a change they can believe in."
Ana Marie Cox in The Guardian on gay equality As we noted on election night, this was a big year for milestones in the fight for gay equality. Ana Marie Cox was also pleased to see four states defend gay marriage and Congress pick up its first openly gay senator. It wasn't always like this, she notes. Recent election cycles were riddled with anti-gay marriage initiatives, many of which passed. Cox argues that even though voters' views on gay marriage are trending towards equality, research shows that individuals remain largely unshakeable in their conviction on the issue. Only time will bring change on this issue, apparently. But she finds the election of Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin inspiring. "There's a saying in Washington, a quip, about the self-importance that comes with being in Congress' higher body: 'Every morning, 100 senators look in the mirror and see a president,''' Cox writes. "Because of Tammy Baldwin, every morning, that many more children can look in the mirror and see one, too."