The 44th President of the United States is an African-American from Chicago, Illinois. Barack Obama. So far, as there are still absentee ballots to be counted, he has won 53% of the popular vote. Provisionally, he has a landslide victory of 364-174, and he’s led the Democrats to substantial gains in Congress.
A lot of people hesitantly agree with the Republicans that Obama may have the ‘inspirational ability’ to lead the US, but that his policies are weak. Unfortunately, they seem to trout out this bull solely on the basis of his experience so far, because anything more than a cursory glance at his positions and the policies he’s outlined show a man not only remarkably intelligent, but a man in tune with what is essentially needed now, after years of failed government from Bush and the Republican congress (not counting the 200+ filibusters they’ve pulled off since the Democrats got control of the House). His policy outlines aren’t based on thin air. He might not have the considerable Senate experience of McCain, but that doesn’t mean his policy outlines are any less well-thought out.
In my opinion, Obama has had a considerable share of his rub of the green. For the US economy to deflate so splendidly during perhaps the most vital part of the GE campaign provided an immense shift of voters in Obama’s direction. Even on election day, lots of exit polls showed that the economy ended up being the most important issue over which people voted for Obama over McCain. Thankfully, they – rightly – saw McCain as just another exponent of the same deregulative economic policies that have led to some stunning failures on Wall Street. Palin too, eventually, worked in his favour. She was chosen in an effort to mobilize the far-right, who so far had no exactly been enamoure with the relatively moderate McCain. Fortunately, though she did manage to do that, she also put off lots and lots of independents who were a bit sick of the movement of the country towards the right in the past 8 years. They gained the far-right, but lost the centre which is where the election was always going to be won.
Election day itself was fantastic. Pennsylvania was one of the first swing states called for Obama. He also managed to stay very close to McCain in Indiana and Virginia. When Ohio was finally called for him, that was it. Game over. Only later does one realize how bad it was for McCain: Virginia went to Obama. For the first time in 40 years, Virginia went to a Democrat. And it wasn’t like Indiana, where he won 50-49, Virginia went to him 52-47. Not only that, but after Jim Webb in 2006, they’ve elected another Democrat to fill the second Senate seat.
Somehow I don’t remember much else, except the usual ups and downs as more precincts were reporting.
Democrats also lead the Senate 56-40 at the moment. 4 seats up for grabs. They won’t reach the magic 60 though, unfortunately. There’s probably going to be atleast one by-election, and probably a recount in Minnesota where Al Franken has lost to Coleman by less than 600 votes. I really hope, somehow, that Franken wins because that would cause Bill O’Reilly to spontaneously combust. I’d really, REALLY like to see that. Come on the Franken!
I have nothing to say about Obama’s speech except that it was extraordinary. The guy is an immensely talented orator, and witnessing a historical spectacle like this, he came out with exactly what was needed. A lot of people do indeed give in to the messiah complex; hoping that he’ll save the world single-handedly. After Bush, any President just needed to not fuck up in order to be considered successful and have a substantial chance of being elected for a second term, but with Obama I feel that everyone expects MORE. Partly, that’s due to his campaign, partly it’s because everyone sees him as being more than just a politician. It might be unfair to expect so much from him, but is he capable of achieving some of the things he continues to promise? He is.
That’s my big worry.
The GOP have been well and truly handed one hell of a beating. It’ll take them probably more than 4 years to nurse their wounds, and come out with a candidate worthy of running on the national stage, and worthy of taking on Obama. They need to realize that the country is not moving anymore to the right, and that the battle now lies in the centre. They need to ditch these retarded right-wing nutjobs, and return to their roots in Conservatism and it’s intellectual roots; an ideology that has a fair amount to offer and cannot and should not be discarded as easily as neoconservatism. An ideology that isn’t as dangerous either. But then again, the world sees the US in a different light, so maybe the isolationist doctrine of conservatism might not be that practical.
It’s also going to be utterly fantastic watching the in-fighting amongst Republicans and the McCain-Palin camp. Already, the sparks are flying. The McCain camp is already seething and there’s little doubt they see Palin as being the main purveyor of their destruction. Even Fox News is getting on the act:
Anyway, this post has been haphazard. What we’ve witnessed, and this is NOT understated, is an immense moment in history. Far too often politics has become a realm of cynicism, and most of the time rightly so. But finally, and with the standing and resources the US has, this shall hopefully no longer be the case for us and the rest of the world. Darfur won’t solve itself tomorrow, neither will Congo nor Iraq and Afghanistan. But, by the time this guy is done, we might very well see this planet move towards far, far better things. The support he’s managed to elicit from the world and other world leaders is astonishing. I know I sound sycophantic, especially as I’m nowhere near the US, but after Bush can anyone be blamed?