Forward!' to strength or greater weakness?
OK, it's not the economy that's going to come "roaring back," as Republican Mitt Romney said. It's the Obama administration that will, roaring "Forward!"
To what is not clear.
President Obama's hand is weak. He faces a stubbornly divided nation.
He took the popular vote with 60,193,076 votes.
Romney was not that far behind with 57,468,587 votes for a different kind of "hope" and "change" than Obama offers.
A majority of the people in a great swath of territory in the interior of the country do not support where the president has taken us so far. On election maps, the interior of the nation is resoundingly red.
And Americans seemed almost carefully to preserve the current paralysis in Washington. Voters left Republicans firmly in control of the House of Representatives, where spending originates.
It appears the GOP will have 232 seats - a loss of two. Voters gave Democrats only 191 seats - a gain of only one.
Concern over Democrats' spending perhaps?
But in the U.S. Senate, which confirms Supreme Court justices, voters gave Democrats the majority - 53-45. Democrats gained two seats and Republicans lost two.
This is a recipe for continued paralysis, of course - neither "Forward!" into a socialist workers paradise nor forward to a healthy economy.
It's clear that Americans themselves don't know what to do about their weakened, debt-ridden nation.
So it's up to Obama to lead. He wanted the power to do so and he got it.
Now he has the responsibility for what happens - and no excuse for failure. He can't blame the next four years on the George W. Bush administration.
The president has promised bold moves. Having taken over a sixth of the economy in his first term, he should be taken at his word.
He's home free. He won't have to face voters again. Rank-and-file Democrats will, of course.
It might be wise to exercise more independence than many have shown so far. His legacy, after all, will be theirs as well.