Some (Possibly) Positive Political News

One of the biggest "dog that didn't bark" surprises of the past week has been the relative lack of "election was stolen"/"voter fraud"/"it's all because of ACORN" themes from the Fox-influenced conservative media and politicians. A few days before the election I argued that there were a number of signs of this "pre-delegitimization" theme setting in.

A reader notes that it hasn't happened, and that we should be grateful:

I know before the election some people wrote in predicting a post-election Republican campaign to promote the idea that Obama's win was not legitimate. However fortunately this seems to be failing to materialize.

Erick Erickson of RedState told his readers, "Barack Obama won. He won by turning out the most people in a well run campaign. In other words, he won fair and square."

In an interview with ABC News, Paul Ryan said, "The president deserves kudos for having a fantastic ground game, and the point I'm simply making is he won. He won fair and square. He got more votes, and that's the way our system works, and so he ought to be congratulated for that."

These are just two examples, and it's still quite early, but these are still encouraging signs. So that's some good news.

And here is a third example: last night on CNN, just one week after the election, the Republican governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, said (to paraphrase): "The results are in, the president won, his team has their turn to govern, let's move ahead." Worth underscoring how different that tone is from (a) the immediate reaction after the results four years ago and (b) what might have been. Sen. Mitch McConnell, whose reaction once again boils down to "the results are in, now the president better agree with us," has not fully internalized the message, but it is reasonable to hope that he is a lagging indicator, like Karl Rove on election night. 

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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