Next to much of our history, this is small stuff. And yet: Of all the coverage of Obama’s victory, the most accurate take may still be the piquant morning-after summation of the satirical newspaper The Onion. Under the headline “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job,” it reported that our new president will have “to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind.”
Those messes are enormous, bigger than Washington, bigger than race, bigger than anything most of us have ever seen. Nearly three months after Election Day, it remains astonishing that the American people have entrusted the job to a young black man who seemed to come out of nowhere looking for that kind of work just as we most needed him.
The Onion sure has a way of breaking it down. Don't they? WaPo has a survey out today that shows most Americans are also hopeful:
Obama will take office Tuesday as the most popular incoming president in a generation. He also will enter the White House with a broad mandate to act that was missing when George W. Bush was elected by the narrowest of margins in 2000.There we go with that word "hope." Obama was mocked throughout the primary campaign for talking up hope and change, and from the looks of it, Americans have decided to drop that cynicism and buy into this hope thing. For the jaded amongst us, myself included, we've decided to lower the wall of cynicism just enough to let some hope in and at the same time laugh at Republicans at the same time.
More than half of all Americans have high hopes for his presidency, almost three-quarters of the public say Obama's proposals will improve the struggling economy, and about eight in 10 have a favorable view of him -- more than twice the percentage now holding positive views of Bush. About seven in 10 say Obama understands their problems, and a similar proportion say his victory gives him "a mandate to work for major new social and economic programs."
Eight years ago, fewer than half said Bush could claim a mandate after the Supreme Court declared an end to the election, ensuring his victory over Vice President Al Gore.