Obama Victorious – America Divided
The campaign went on too long, the uncertainty helped no one and the costs are pretty obscene, but today we wake up and all that's over. The Chinese leadership are probably relieved, for the wrong reasons, although personally I think Obama will not be a pushover. Mr Netanyahu in Israel will be one of the disappointed, which is good news for peace prospects in the Middle East I feel, although there is much to worry about there.
British leader Cameron is currently courting the Saudi royal family, seeking defence contracts that will be good for British jobs – short term; lets hope any weapons he sells will never be turned on us. Suddenly the Saudi's are convinced Assad needs to go apparently, but generally the Arab Spring must make them most uncomfortable and so both they and Cameron are saying what is expedient in the short term, I doubt he's brought up human rights, stoning women or cutting hands off. Let alone democracy or equality. I'm hoping, for the sake of America and the world that Obama is a different kind of politician – I believe he is and I believe America made a wise decision.
Mitt Romney was impressively gracious in defeat. In reality however he's a man who compromised his own beliefs to win the nomination then tried to move back, it's the age old problem of people who will do whatever it takes to gain power, what else will they do? Mitt Romney is a successful businessman and I've praised Robert Key in New Zealand on that basis, but Romney has also contributed less to America in taxes than he might have and that hasn't helped him. Like Cameron here in the UK he seems to be a product of his class, primarily interested in his class and out of touch with many common people. Thousands of Hispanic people turn eighteen and become voters every month, 50,000 a month was quoted I believe last night by a pundit on British television. That's a sizeable vote the republicans are missing and the young, that's the future to you and me, turned out in droves for Obama.
So, all's well that ends well then? Well not entirely. Nursing a cold I must admit I fell asleep before the very last results were in; Florida, Virginia and Ohio were still counting, despite two of those having effectively declared for Obama it seemed. I heard Romney's dignified concession speech and missed Obama's victory speech. I believe Obama is creating jobs and the Americans who think he's turning them into Russia on account of healthcare reform have no idea what they're saying – I heard a member of the Republican voting public bring that up again. I wonder if she's ever been out of the country, she has nothing to fear except a kinder, more considerate, broader based administration. One that is creating jobs too, one that bailed out the auto industry, that's American manufacturing and that base is so very important. I could wish the UK had done more to protect manufacturing.
Mitt Romney may feel a little aggrieved with one or two Republican Governors who admitted in effect Obama has got some things right, when he needed more doom and gloom. Doom and gloom is a way to talk ourselves back into recession, even depression but at least in his goodbye speech Romney suggested cash rich American firms should once again invest and that's good. It interested me as an outsider to note that neither Romney nor running mate Ryan won the state's they hail from, where presumably people know them best!
Yet, America is still deeply divided. The electoral college votes gave Obama quite a healthy majority, more than I for one expected, but the percentages were small, not enough to prompt a recount thankfully, but so many states were oh so close. The Senate is just Democrat no super majority there and Congress is still Republican. When every last vote is counted I suspect Obama will have won the overall popular vote too, not always the case for a presidential winner and not since FDR has a sitting President been returned in such poor economic times. So it is a stunning victory.
I understand that in the senate certain republicans said some stupid things which snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and that one lady senator of the democratic persuasion contributed funds to the selection campaign of a republican she knew she could beat and duly beat him. As an outsider I find US politics fascinating and sometimes disturbing. America advocates democracy to the world, but handles it somewhat oddly at times.
At the end of the day the right wing 'Tea Party' that Romney pandered too in order to be selected did the Republicans more harm than good. Romney was pushed, pulled and turned every which way by factions in his own movement and businesses and donors, whilst Obama persuaded people and brought them round to his way of thinking with far less old style ducking and diving, that's leadership and for me that's the biggest single reason why he won. With Obama you know what you're getting. There's much more to do though to get America back to where it ought to be. The republican party will earn itself some respect if it now does business with the president. Forget blind obstruction and make the government work. The people have spoken, Obama's policies need to be given a chance.
Aside from the democratic core supporters many educated young women voted for Obama, possibly because the republican party's stand on abortion and women's rights scares them. Many things influence a country, not least the Supreme Court. With two elderly judges likely to retire in the next four years those women would sooner see a man like Obama appoint their unelected replacements than a man like Romney.
I understand Obama himself plays down the split in America, and so he should if he's to heal it, but looking in from the outside it's clear there is much to do. It's been that way since the Bush versus Gore tussle at least. Frankly, if America, the world's largest economy, stumbles, we all fall down. I hope Republicans understand their responsibilities to their own people and to the wider world and won't wallow in self pity and bitterness. Cooperation, progress and hard work are what's needed, not a political civil war, not extremism; obstruction isn't working and neither are too many Americans. Obama is creating jobs – help him. The republican movement is still a huge force, use it for good and your own support will grow again as you help make America a better place, don't pull apart, pull together.