Forward. This was the campaign slogan used by President Barack Obama's reelection team and figures to be an important political mantra heading into the next four years.
It is natural for politicians to be invested in their reelection campaign, but for a nation with pressing issues looming in the near horizon, the Obama administration can let out a collective sigh knowing it can keep bolstering the legislation it has been working on over the last four years and not have to worry about campaigning anymore.
So where does Obama's reelection leave us for the future?
Some pieces of key legislation will stay on the table, including the landmark healthcare legislation, which isn't slated to take full effect until 2014.
But the big news that will be running through the end of the year is the impending fiscal cliff, a result of 2011's budget decisions that were simply meant to patch up a debt crisis until more deliberation could be made.
With that short-term patch ending, Obama and the U.S. Congress must be ready to make to a few concessions to avoid what economists are sure will plunge the nation into another deep recession.
The fiscal cliff is composed of automatic tax increases on all tax brackets, both by eliminating the Bush-era tax cuts and erasing Obama's tax cuts that came from stimulus legislation. Accompanying the tax hikes are broad spending cuts across the board, affecting every major cabinet department, the military and other government agencies.
Leading economic experts are sure this dangerous cocktail of tax hikes and massive spending cuts will be detrimental to the economy and plunge the nation into recession — a double-dip the people simply can't afford right now.
Almost immediately after the election, leaders from both parties expressed views on the fiscal cliff, and everyone is basically in agreement that falling over that cliff if not an option. That leaves both parties in a tough bind with regard to compromise — both sides will have to give in on something.
But with Obama's reelection, some of his most ardent remarks on the campaign trail may come to fruition. Presidents commonly enjoy a large amount of political capital after reelection, citing the American electorate's commitment to the incumbent’s policies.
With his capital, Obama has already said no budget deal will leave his table without revenue increases in the form of incremental tax hikes on the nation's wealthiest Americans.
His willingness to compromise, made apparent during the same statement, will undoubtedly mean some government programs see the axe, but Obama will make sure nothing raises flags in the education and energy sectors.
The end of Obama's first term and the dawn of his second will offer a unique opportunity to break down some of the barriers he's faced since the GOP took control of the House in 2010.
His political capital will carry some weight and some of the legislation he's been fighting for the past two years will likely become law in a do-or-die situation with the impending fiscal cliff.
This is the first step forward the Obama campaign has been preaching for the past year.