On the top line, it's pretty simple: Barack Obama ran on an unambigious platform of government investment, higher taxes on the wealthy and a protected safety net.
It's very simple: voters did not vote for austerity - this was not the stated position of the Obama campaign.
Mitt Romney ran on an equally clear platform of vastly decreased federal spending, including on "entitlement" programs, and lower taxes for everyone (and, though he frequently denied it, mostly the wealthy).
Now, the political conversation turns immediately to the (contrived by congress) fiscal cliff, which requires big decisions on tax rates and government spending.
Obama's re-election should be a clear enough sign of how voters want this handled, but of course there are hitches: pundits and politicians can invent all sorts of other reasons why Obama was re-elected, and on several occasions during the campaign Obama voiced support for the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan, which would lower rates in all income brackets and cut the safety net.
So it's therefore important to make clear that voters quite consciously chose a different path. The polling data bears that out.
A survey of people who voted in the past election, for both candidates (sample size 1,000; plus or minus 3.1 percent) conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for Democracy Corps and the Campaign for America's Future found that many individual elements of the Simpson-Bowles plan are deeply unpopular with the electorate.
Romne-Ryan were clearly for austerity and continued tax breaks for the richest among us.
Romney-Ryan were rejected. Bowles-Simpson were rejected. More breaks for Millionaires and Billionaires was rejected. And finally, Blue Dog Dems were once again rejected by a sophisticated and knowledgeable electorate.
Mark Udall decided to play the Blue Dog immediately after riding Obama's coattails to a Senate seat in 2008. He is up for election in 2014. He said he's willing to lose his job over Bowles-Simpson. If he wants to come back home to Colorado, sit in a rocker and smoke cigars, and reflect on a career in mediocrity, then continuing his Blue Dog loyalty to Bowles-Simpson austerity will certainly do that.
Voters made their choice. The senate has moved to the left. Mark Udall played it safe last term, but I don't think he can do it again.
It's your move, Senator Udall, Democrat from Colorado.......