When Barack Obama rode into power in November 2008 on a wave of optimism, change, belief, creativity and downright sexiness the world gasped. American politics had not been so riveting since the 1960’s and certainly not as glamorous. This online ad encapsulated it all for me.
And then reality kicked. The mother of all recessions and hostile antipathy towards what’s now known as Obamacare.
One of Mitt Romney’s central strategies was, in creating 12million new jobs (really?), he would revoke Obamacare and return America to the most obviously polarised class structure in the Western world.
Obama meanwhile was criticised for continuing the Afghan war and for appearing remote; too much a thinker, not enough a baby-hugger.
He was doomed.
Five things saved him I believe. Catching, and killing, Bin Laden (in a brave and high risk operation), Hurricane Sandy, Clinton’s speech, his wife and a brilliantly single-minded and principled political agenda that reached out Liberally to the WHOLE of America.
While Romney seduced the white vote with constant appeals to their pockets “it’s the economy stupid.” Obama consistently ploughed his furrow of social justice.
The Democrats are painted as Socialists (albeit dressed in Blue) but they strike me, under Obama, as the world’s great Liberals, balancing vote winning (in the underpriveleged) social issues with strong foreign affairs and a balanced view on the economy; it’s not the economy at ALL costs.
This chart said it all when I saw it last week. It demonstrated what a danger Romney would be given the keys to the White House (we all saw his ineptitude abroad earlier this year in the UK)
The statistics are overwhelming and, guess what, the only country favouring Romney was Pakistan; default home of Al Quaeda. World, we got a close call here but escaped unharmed.
Obama’s return to power was anything but certain. He had to rely on a strong ethnic vote (and his ethnicity unquestionably helped there – were a white candidate standing against Romney the result would probably have been very different. Should Hilary Clinton choose to stand in 2016 her support amongst female voters may have a similiar effect). He had to scrap on the streets of the swing states for his life. He only performed moderately in the TV debates. He was saved in the end by his sticking to principles but his negative campaigning was far removed from the elegance of the Obey campaign.
This TV ad from last month though was a masterclass in Liberal balanced communication and I hope it made its mark. There were so many that one will never know and it seems it was the doorstep canvassing that really made the difference. Obama’s strategy in micro-marketing being better and more energetic.
A note on the TV coverage. I watched it here, in the UK, flipping between the BBC, Sky, CNBC and CNN. By a country mile the most interesting, insightful and challenging coverage came from CNN.
The BBC was plodding and boring.
So, America has made a brave, some might say, and reasoned, others might say, judgement call. At the end of an administration that has see the economy hit by its very own Hurricane Sandy and against a presentable and domestically credible conservative voice offering the promise of a return to “The American Dream” Obama has held on, scraped back into power and given the opportunity to carry on his work, Not only that but The Senate surprisingly remained in the hands of the Democrats.
One major blot on the horizon; the Republicans still hold power in the house and so the opportunity to quash social change policies remains real and present.
One word sums it up again though.
I’m Mark Gorman and I approved this message.