A sampling of editorial views on the election results from the nation’s newspapers:
To Mr. Obama now falls the task of keeping his campaign promises. From 2008. Back then he pledged not only to bind together America’s red and blue tribes. He also pledged to halve our federal deficit and to contain what he knows is our ruinous debt — for taxpayers who must repay it, and for a government that already has squandered its AAA credit rating.
Mr. President, enjoy your Wednesday. Then, back to work. We endorsed you this year, as we did in 2008. And now we implore you to recognize the mistakes of your first term, mistakes that nearly cost you a second term.
Listen, at last, to this nation’s employers. They do have a notion of what it will take to put the nation back to work. They have genuine fears about the burden that government places on them, fears about the cost of your signature healthcare reform, fears about federal borrowing that now rises by $3 million every minute.
Will an Obama second term allow him to transcend the ideological divides that he vowed to bridge but instead found so daunting?
That is a tough order in a partisan age and with a divided, gridlocked Congress; there is no indication that the intransigence Mr. Obama encountered from the opposition party will diminish. But he’s had four years of seasoning; one question is whether he can demonstrate the political canniness and legislative finesse that too often eluded him during the first term.
Perhaps more important is whether he will demonstrate more willingness — more bravery, actually — to take on issues he ducked the first time around: reforming entitlements, particularly Medicare, and reducing the unsustainable debt. Mr. Obama’s promise of a balanced, long-term combination of spending cuts and tax increases is the correct one.
At issue is whether Mr. Obama’s attempt to govern the United States from the left winds up being a parenthesis in U.S. history, or a point of departure. If the former, we have a chance to return swiftly to real growth in the U.S. economy. If the latter, we will have to wrestle with the negative consequences for many years.
Still America has remarkable powers of political and economic regeneration. . . . Eventually we’ll reform our entitlements, too. The sooner we do it, the more choice we’ll have in how it gets done.
Wall Street Journal
That Mitt Romney struggled and lost against Mr. Obama says much about his weakness as a candidate, but more important, the backwardness of his party’s agenda.
The voting population of the United States is becoming increasingly Latino, supportive of a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices and tolerant of gay marriage. Yet the GOP clings to a platform and a political strategy that all too often offends and excludes minorities, gays and women.
During a speech on Monday night in Virginia, Gov. Romney made at least one comment that resonated in this political season. He urged supporters to “reach across the street to that neighbor with the other yard sign.”
Second terms are often treacherous, something George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and even Ronald Reagan learned. But no American, including those who supported Mr. Romney, can afford to see President Obama fail. Our nation’s economic challenges are too great for partisan animosity to intervene more than they have already.