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A new job for Romney?

Fareed Zakaria at CNN.com ponders how President Barack Obama might find ways out of the partisan gridlock in Washington: "[He] will have to try to find several -- on a debt deal, immigration, energy. But perhaps the most pressing issue is also the one of greatest hope: infrastructure. Dealing with the larger challenges is important, but none of them will have an instant impact on the economy. A large push to rebuild America would. With economic growth still sluggish and unemployment in the construction industry at 11.4 percent -- the highest of any field in the country -- an ambitious effort in this area could yield immediate results. ...

"Only a decade ago we were ranked fifth in overall infrastructure by the World Economic Forum; today we have dropped to 25th. The American Society of Civil Engineers calculates that we have a $2 trillion backlog of repairs that must be done over the next five years to stay competitive. ... Hurricane Sandy should give us a sense of urgency about these projects. Our crumbling levees, roads, subways and bridges are not just barriers to growth; they are dangers to our lives. ...

"In his gracious speech on Wednesday morning after his re-election, Obama noted that he hoped to talk to Romney about ways they might work together. Why not ask Romney if he would be willing to spearhead this project? It would be an act of bipartisanship in the service of a national interest -- and it might just begin to change the tenor of Washington for the next four years."


Silver's magic stats

Dashiell Bennett at The Atlantic Wire: "After weeks of bearing the brunt of anti-poll, anti-math attacks from people on the right, Nate Silver and his FiveThirtyEight election model can finally send the world a big fat 'I Told Ya So.' Not that he's going to, of course. Outside of a timely plug for his new book, Silver was mostly gracious in victory, despite correctly predicting the outcome in all 50 states. (Assuming Florida remains in Obama's hands when they're done counting.)

"So, even though he earned the right to tell all of his critics exactly what they can do with their unskewed polls, Silver is mostly letting his numbers -- and his fans -- do the talking for him."


The 1-percenter party

Dana Milbank of The Washington Post: "BOSTON -- It was a victory party fit for the 1 percent. Over in Chicago, the Obama campaign had invited 10,000 to fill the floor of the McCormick Place convention center. But here in Boston, Mitt Romney favored a more genteel soiree for an exclusive crowd.

"Romney's election-night event was in a ballroom at the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center that could accommodate a few hundred. Most men wore jacket and tie; women donned dresses and heels. Secret Service agents blocked reporters from mixing with the Romney supporters as they sipped cocktails and nibbled canapes. Outside the ballroom, waiters in black tie tended bar, and Jumbotrons showed the election results on Fox News. ...

"On election night in 2000, George W. Bush hosted an outdoor rally for thousands in Austin. In 2008, Barack Obama addressed a mass of humanity in Chicago's Grant Park. Then there was Romney's fete -- for which reporters were charged $1,000 a seat. The very location set the candidate and his well-heeled supporters apart from the masses: The gleaming convention center, built with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, is on a peninsula in the Boston harbor that was turned into an election-night fortress, with helicopters overhead, metal barricades and authorities searching vehicles. Only a few gawkers crossed the bridge from downtown to stand outside."


Blowing billions

Andy Borowitz at The Borowitz Report: "One day after the costliest presidential election in U.S. history, Americans awoke to the ugly realization that the nation had spent $2.5 billion with absolutely nothing to show for it.

" 'Four years ago, Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, and that is still the case," says professor Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota. 'The only difference is that we as a nation are out $2.5 billion.' "

"Mr. Logsdon claims that America's system of egregious political spending 'has made us the laughingstock of the world,' arguing, 'Even Greece would know better than to blow through money like that.' "

opinion_commentary

Greg Victor (gvictor@post-gazette.com).


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