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America Votes for a Restoration

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By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Wednesday, November 5, 2008; 12:39 PM

Americans are sick to death of President Bush. They don't agree with him on the key issues of the day. They don't like the way he does his job. They don't like his worldview.

That was one of the messages the American public delivered yesterday -- loud and clear -- by decisively electing Democrat Barack Obama as president. Americans picked someone to replace Bush who couldn't really be any more different, and who has promised to roll back virtually all the signature elements of the Bush era.

Yesterday's collective cry for "change" was in part about taking a new path forward, but it was also a call for a restoration of American values, pre-Bush.

Adam Nagourney writes in the New York Times: "The election of Mr. Obama amounted to a national catharsis -- a repudiation of a historically unpopular Republican president and his economic and foreign policies, and an embrace of Mr. Obama's call for a change in the direction and the tone of the country."

Kevin Merida writes in The Washington Post: "The magnitude of his win suggested that the country itself might be in a gravitational pull toward a rebirth that some were slow to recognize."

Vaughn Ververs writes for CBS News: "Obama's election arguably represents the most dramatic break from the status quo ever in presidential politics. The first black president, one with a less-than-familiar name, is in so many ways a complete repudiation of everything about the presidency of George W. Bush.

"The once-improbable Democratic candidate has ridden the twin themes of 'hope' and 'change' into the White House, and that, combined with his juggernaut of a campaign operation fueled by unprecedented fundraising, has helped his party extend its advantages in Congress to the point where there is a real possibility of sweeping changes in the country's direction. The sheer size of the victory would be mandate enough, but Obama's is a promise of fundamental, radical change, not incremental adjustments, giving even more impetus to his agenda."

Ken Herman writes for the Cox News Service: "It was a rebuke as complete and clear as they come for somebody not on the ballot.

"Eight years after he made his way into the White House despite getting fewer popular votes than his opponent, President Bush was ushered out Tuesday by a nation looking for new direction. . . .

"The ballot-box rebuke was made more devastating by the fact that Bush is so unpopular that he had to pretty much hide out during the campaign.

"He made three public appearances, for a total of about 12 minutes, with [Republican presidential candidate John] McCain. Ten of the minutes came in March when Bush endorsed McCain in the Rose Garden with a promise to campaign for or against the GOP nominee, whichever would help more.

"'If he wants me to show up, I will. If he wants me to say, "You know, I'm not for him," I will,' Bush said in a joke that became something of a strategy. . . .


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