Wednesday, November 05, 2008

So Mr. Obama won, what now?

I find that I am unable to get really excited about the victory of President-Elect Obama last night. On an intellectual level I can appreciate the historic nature of his victory. He is after all the first African-American to ever be elected president of the United States. On an emotional level, nothing.

Part of that is because I really do not care about the skin colour of anybody. As far as I am concerned it is no more or less important than their hair colour. For me, what is important is the person not their appearance.

Another part of that is because I have serious reservations about Mr. Obama. It should be noted that I had more serious reservations about Mr. McCain so I am satisfied with the results of last night's election, but I cannot say I am ecstatic.

I have reservations because people have put Mr. Obama on a pedestal and have almost elevated him to godhood. Look at the response of folks on TV and even most of Liblogs today and you see a pattern of belief that Mr. Obama is going to transform the United States and its government. Talk about unreasonable expectations. Any first year political science student can tell you that government institutions and their bureaucracies can outlast any politician regardless of their personal popularity and drive for change. The byzantine nature of the US Federal government virtually guarantees that Mr. Obama will be unable to substantially change the US government so in turn he will be unable to substantially change US society. I wonder how people are going to react when that reality finally sinks in? In all likelyhood it will not be positive and many will blame President Obama for that failure.

Added to this is the fact that Mr. Obama has inherited a country and an economy that has been profoundly broken by George Bush and his gang. It took the Bush Administration 8 years to make this happen. It is the height of wishful thinking and arrogance to believe that Mr. Obama will be able to fix that damage in less time. We all know it takes longer to build something than to tear it down.

Finally, Ms. Clinton and Mr. McCain both claimed that Mr. Obama lacked the experience to be president. Although they made these statements for partisan reasons they were not totally wrong. If you look at Mr. Obama's experience both in and out of government it is not much better than George W. Bush's when he won the White House the first time. For me it is still an open question as to whether Mr. Obama can grow into the job while getting started on solving the many issues that need to be solved and meeting all of those astronomical expectations people have for him. I hope he can but I do have doubts.

From the Canadian government point of view it was funny to see all of those government cabinet ministers falling over themselves today trying to snuggle up to the new President-Elect.

They probably know that their job just became a little more difficult. For one thing Mr. Obama's style and message are ananthema to that of the current Canadian government. Unfortunately for Mr. Harper and his government both are widely popular in Canada and the government cannot be liking the idea of Canadian comparing and contrasting the Harper government and the Obama administration. Mr. Obama will probably come down to earth eventually but probably not before Mr. Harper has to face the electorate once again. He really should have won that majority. Oh well, sucks to be him.

As well, no one should believe for a second that Mr. Obama or at least some of his advisors have forgotten about the blantant interference of the Harper government in the Democratic primaries last year. That interference almost derailed Mr. Obama's race for the White House before it really got started. That could very well manifest itself in Mr. Obama avoiding Canada for awhile and if that does happen I wonder how long it will be before someone reminds Canadians of Naftagate as a possible reason for that situation.

Then again, it could be interesting to see who President Obama appoints as ambassador to Canada. Mr. Bush had no problem appointing men who had no problem meddling in Canadian politics. The Bush representatives were largely ignored because they were, well, Bush appointments. Considering the high regard Mr. Obama is held in Canada any statements or actions of his representatives would probably be better received even if they are meddlesome.

The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States is a truly historic occasion. However, it is still an open question as to whether he will be a successful president or a dud. As well, his election could have a profound impact on the Canadian political scene, particularly if Mr. Obama or one of his advisors decide to let our current government know that they did not appreciate their actions a few months ago.


Blogger Miles Lunn said...

I do agree that the high expectations of him could be problematic although I think that will probably hurt him more outside of the US than inside the US. If anything, I suspect a lot of Americans want change, but not radical change so while many abroad may be disappointed, it won't totally be a bad thing at home. I hope he makes positive changes, but they are small enough the party can get re-elected. Usually a major political transformation occurs in the US when one party deviates too far from the median voter as was the case in the late 70s and early 80s for the Democrats and today for the Republicans.

November 05, 2008 9:19 PM  
Blogger Lizt. said...

I think it is something called Charisma, and Obama has it..he overcomes people. Remember people that liked PET?
I do think that 8 years of The Bush rule with all the Zionists running him, that people are so relieved that perhaps put too much faith in one human being for their. own good.

November 05, 2008 10:54 PM  

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