Monday, December 01, 2008

The Obligatory Obama Post

By now I'm sure everyone's heard about the results of our neighbour's elections, and I'm not referring to old Mrs. Finlay being elected to the diocese CWL as sec-treasurer (although I think here position on mark-to-market accounting will give the incumbent a run for her money). Just a few notes then on the US election where Democratic candidate Obama easily defeated Republican John Mcain to become the 44th US president, and more notably the first African-Amercian president.

That Obama, a relatively young Illinois senator (but of course a fossilized troglodyte is young compared to Mcain) with a background in community development and constitutional law, literally demolished his opponent at the polls (winning several key Republican strongholds, and the overall popular vote) running on a change platform is not surprising, given that his country has been - how we say in Canada - run up a shit creek without a paddle, for a number of years. Watching the events unfold on our cathode ray tube TV on election night was great fun; it played out like a Oscar aiming Hollywood flick scripted for Denzel Washington, but without the required clan lynching scene. The surprising piece was the just how fervently his supporters/fans/groupies embraced the change - mucho!; how high expectations are of change - grande!; and what kinds of change are anticipated - everything!. I can see why he ran on that plaform - of course it was going to be a hit with voters, and he may even believe that change is needed in some areas and that he can actually deliver said changes, but he's still a politician. Look at who he's tapped for cabinet positions - a re-hashing of former Clinton and Bush regime power players; not exactly the band of outsiders storming the bastions of the capital. I'm afraid that there's going to be a collective let down next spring when people realize that he cannot deliver on any major changes in Amercian socio-economic life. And what happens afterwards? When Amercians realize they have created, or consented to the creation of a state, that cannot follow the will of the people? That the tools to care for "we the people" have been wrested from them by greedy princes of consumption-based capitalism and the military-industrial complex and their elected hangers-on. Or what happens if they don't realize this?


Kyle said...

See, I beg to differ. Much like I wouldn't want to build an expansion team in the NHL with entirely minor draft league picks, I wouldn't want a government (let alone the President's office) staffed by a bunch of rooks.

Yes, there's a load of Clintonites (including A Clinton) appointed to various posts, but there's only been one democratic president out of the last 4 office holders, so pickings are slim. To clarify: in the last 28 years, the democrats have only been in office once. And only two (Carter) since 1969. There simply aren't a lot of journeymen to shepherd Obama through Washington's ins and outs, as I suspect most of Carter's cronies were run out of politics eons ago. And while Obama is undoubtedly a new cog, it's still the same old machine in DC and he's wise to get some veterans around him as he learns the ropes.

I think there's two important things to note:
First, while there are some familiar faces they are being assigned new roles. While this is certainly a matter of "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" (see Clinton, H) I think he's been pretty strategic about putting people in roles they would be productive in rather than in roles they would personally benefit from.
Second: President, House, Senate, all democratic. Obama's up and running, and for the first 2 years (when the critcism would be greatest) he's got a pretty good chance of getting things done. Even in some pretty undesirable conditions he's got a good position to get stuff done. A lot of people are hurting (or on their way to hurting) which is always an enabling environment for a little left-leaning social reformation (a la the New Deal).

I think he's going to get stuff done. No he won't walk on water or turn water to wine, but that's been done already anyways. The miracle I'm looking for invovles the abolishment of "Yee Haw" as the dominent sentiment in US foreign policy and environmental regulation.

Dem said...

to reply: I think you're presuming that the previous incarnations of Democratic presidents we better than the current, or previous administrations, but I'm not. Different faces, but same resource consumptive, military backed neo-conservative imperial regime. So the fact that Obama has the same people returning doesn't bode well for change.

Also, I was referring to the economic crisis as (mostly) being the reason why real change is impossible. Democrats, like Liberal, see change as increases in social spending. Given the current meltdown happening I don't think you'll see exponential spending increases on education, healthcare, welfare reform in the US now, if ever. Public monies will go to propping up 'important' corporations that either employer many people or support key governmental agendas.

don't get me wrong - he's the dude, but maybe a generation too late!