President Obama, Buoyed by Election Win, Faces New Battles

The re-elected U.S. president already faces urgent economic challenges, a looming fiscal showdown and a still-divided Congress able to block his every move.

Barack Obama may have been defeated his Republican rival in Tuesday’s election, the president must negotiate with member of the Republican party in the House of Representatives to try to overcome the partisan gridlock that gripped Washington for much of his first term. Photo: Barack Obama/Flickr

The list of things to be concerned by the Democratic president includes the “fiscal cliff” of scheduled tax increases and spending cuts that could crush American economic recovery if it kicks in at the start of next year.

“The prospect of Obama and Congress struggling to agree on the issue weighed heavily on global financial markets on Wednesday and helped send Wall Street stocks into a post-election swoon,” Reuters reports.

“Obama also faces challenges abroad including the West’s nuclear standoff with Iran, the civil war in Syria, the winding down of the war in Afghanistan and dealing with an increasingly assertive China.”

Speaker John Boehner called for a short-term plan to avert the fiscal cliff in a way that provides a “downpayment” on larger tax reform in 2013.

“We won’t solve the problem of our fiscal imbalance overnight in the midst of a lame duck session of Congress,” he said.

Recent data shows that the majority of the House of Representatives are members of the Republican party, which gives them power to curb the president’s legislative ambitions on everything from taxes to immigration reform.

However, the list of the Senate members still includes more representatives from Obama’s native Democratic party. And now Republican party leaders began picking up the pieces of their movement, trying to figure how to put them back together.

The GOP was blindsided Tuesday, but also revealed. The Democrats’ organization was beyond anything they’d imagined, as they managed to pull in new voters with stunning effectiveness.

It exposed a major weakness in the Republican approach to winning elections, practically and intellectually.

“I don’t think anyone on our side understood or comprehended how good their turnout was going to be,” said Henry Barbour, a Republican committee man from Mississippi.

“The Democrats do voter registration like a factory, like a business, and Republicans tend to leave it to the blue hairs.”

Erick Erickson, founder of RedState.com, a conservative blog, suggested that Mitt Romney’s approach to Hispanic voters was “atrocious.”

“Frankly, the fastest-growing demographic in America isn’t going to vote for a party that sounds like that party hates brown people,” Erickson said.

However, as The Huffington Post writes, the day after was not all self-reflection for those on the right. Some struck a far more combative tone.

“We are in a war. We’re in a war to save this nation,” said Michael Needham, chief executive of Heritage Action, an arm of the conservative Washington think tank, The Heritage Foundation.

“The battle to retake the Republican Party begins today,” railed Richard Viguerie, a veteran of the conservative movement and the head of the Republican National Convention.

The U.S. president headed back to Washington on Wednesday from his hometown of Chicago in the early hours of the morning.

“We can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests,” Obama told the gathering.

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