05 November 2008
Thoughts on Obama's election
Barak Obama has won the presidential election with about 51% of the popular vote to John McCain's 48%. Given the scale of the economic meltdown that the country is undergoing, the closeness of the popular result is the first point that needs to be considered.
BBC World is basically going orgasmic over this result with one commentator calling it a generational change, akin to Kennedy's victory in 1960. I hate to rain on anyone's parade, but the only reason why Kennedy was in Dallas that November day in 1963 was that his administration was staring into the face of defeat the following year. Had he lived it is quite likely that he would have been defeated in 1964 and slipped quietly into the history books as one of the less successful presidents in the country's history. So much for the generational change idea. . .
As for Obama, his victory owes everything to that economic meltdown and the inability of the McCain team to offer any solution to it. To be fair neither did Obama, but he looked good on TV and he comes over as having one of those vacuous personalities which means that middle class whites can project their fantasies on to what they think they see, rather than the empty space that is actually there in front of them.
All that aside, there has been a change in one part of American politics, but its within the Republican Party, so it is quite likely that the BBC will choose to ignore it. The guard has been changed at the top of the GOP and that much was obvious to anyone who watched McCain's concession speech. He invited Sarah Palin onto the platform with him and at the mention of her name the crowd went wild. McCain made the point that she will be a major figure in the party for years to come, and my feeling is that the party's nomination for 2012 is basically hers for the taking.
So the change involves the eclipse of the fiscal conservatives and the ascendency of the social wing of the party. Sarah Palin and the other social conservatives may pay lip-service to a minimal state, but what they are really concerned with are social issues such as abortion, immigration and maintaining America's military hegemony.
We might be lucky with this bunch because they also contain within them an element of the old isolationist and protectionist Republican Party. If we are very lucky, then that wing might persuade the GOP to adopt some anti-globalist policies for the 2012 election, on the principle that working class people in the north need industrial jobs as well as guns and religion.
All that is for the future. For the present let's just sit back and wait until the Obama hysteria runs its course.