I clearly recognize the risks of dropping something like this on the cratered no-man’s land between the deeply dug trenches of Commentistan, but I think WaPo’s Ezra Klein makes a lot of sense:
We’re at the end of a long and bitter election, and so perhaps it’s worth taking a deep breath and admitting something that typically doesn’t get said until one candidate or the other delivers his concession speech: America will survive either way. Which isn’t to say the policy differences between the candidates aren’t real, and large. They are. But it’s not the end-times showdown that the two sides often suggest…
…This election isn’t a collision between a candidate who believes in unregulated free markets and a candidate who believes in state control. It’s not a fight between big government and small government (just look at Mitt Romney’s plans to boost defense spending by $2 trillion). It’s not a choice between rugged individualism and compassionate communitarianism, heartland values and coastal elites, or even Keynesian stimulus and austerity economics.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are well within the American consensus. In fact, they’re well within the Acela Quiet Car’s consensus. They’re blue state, Harvard-educated technocrats who like their information in chart form and their advisers sporting PhDs. They both believe in the genius of free markets, the necessity of a federal safety net, and the importance of a strong military. They don’t question the wisdom of the drug war, drone strikes or even most of the Bush tax cuts. Their records show they govern prudently, analytically, and honorably.
Which isn’t to say that this election isn’t consequential. It is. In fact, it’s unusually consequential, both in terms of policy and politics.
He goes on to outline those consequential choices, very well, I think. Please click through read the whole thing.