One of the truly great nights in politics


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.

Hope.

I’m Mark Gorman and I approved this message.

Obama’s inauguration speech


Come the time.  Come the man.

Cometh the time. Cometh the man.

I didn’t see him deliver it but I’ve just read it and it is a thing of beauty. Balanced, potent, humble but strong, honest in that he positions America’s future from a point in time where the nation is in crisis. He speaks simply but uncompromisingly. (Essentially he is saying you are with us or against us. The subtext is ‘God help you if you are the latter.”)

Al Gore will be proud. He puts the climate centre stage.

He talks brilliantly about policy in a hugely Democratic way without actually uttering a word of rhetoric or specifying any particular bill. His critics might say this is vague. I see it as vision-setting and principled.

He talks about the ‘truth’ of America. America the brand. As an adman I buy into that full square. His vision is not of warmongering arrogance and doled out retribution for wrongdoings against the Bald Eagle. It’s about work – hard work – community, opportunity, reward and democracy.

In short this was a wonderful, humble, dignified moment in time, setting out his stall as a strong man of reason and very great intelligence.

Not one single word was difficult to understand, contrived, showy or jargony.

That is no mean feat.

So I say, Obama…Yes you can. (And he didn’t say that.)

I sincerely, truly hope and pray that I will not be eating these words a year from now, but I sincerely believe that I will not.

And why? Because Obama does not politicise, he engages and reasons.

Not a single word of overpromise was in his speech but its intent was crystal clear.

a bit late in the day…


…but I never saw this at the time. I found it while researching my Napier project and it’s wonderful. Basically it’s a brilliant Apple Mac ad hijacked by Obama. Perfect targeting for a certain demograph and what a great way to sell yourself. Not sure if it’s a viral or a real ad, but judging from the lack of an “I’m Barack Obama and I approved this message” ending I suspect that sadly it is the former.

Whatever, it’s great.

Colin Powell Backs Barrack Obama


Is this the end in sight for McCain?

For one of the Republicans’ most respected figures to publicly put his faith in the opposition raises a great deal of doubt about the credibility of McCain’s challenge and the fact that he says it’s because McCain chose Palin as his running mate says it all.

What’s more he feels Obama could be a transformational world figure.

Ouch.