Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Still puzzling the American Way

Political science is famously not a science, but there are still clear methodologies predicated on a range of issues and influences. By any measure a negative expectation of a Democrat sweep in November cannot be sustained given current indications.

My gut feeling is for the tsunami that didn’t really happen in 2006, but my gut feeling is neither relevant or scientific. That it will take a major upset, given the current situation, for Obama not to win a clear majority is beyond doubt.

Obama’s team know that there was a calculated risk in taking an overseas tour at this stage, even at a time when there is no official campaign.

His team know that no matter how much the rest of the world were impressed, they don’t have a vote. They even understood the danger of Obama attracting that ‘hubris’ charge. But there is a long campaign ahead to mend that perceived damage.

The media are falling over themselves to be seen as even handed. That is a hard one when there is really only one story – well two if you want the one about the candidate who can’t figure out how to capture news attention; about the candidate who carps about his opponent constantly.

But the media do have an option – give the candidates equal footage or verbiage, even let them choose it themselves, and dispense with inane commentary. Let the words and the images speak for themselves. Again, allowing the candidates to select the output.

This is not an even race and however it is conducted McCain is not going to be a US president. But if you doubt me please look at No cliffhanger, more like an Obama landslide.

If I were on Obama’s team I’d be counseling full steam ahead, steady as she goes. There is a need to talk about elements of the economy, of the economic future – but not to the extent of revealing the extent of the mess Obama and America are inheriting. I’ll post soon on that, perhaps.

No messiah

I have no doubt Obama will win, and win well when the time comes. However the current drag on the numbers is more positive than the alternative. The greatest danger for Barack Obama is to be elected as some kind of messiah. The tests America will face require a country of partners, not an adoring cargo cult society.

In fact no one has really raised the messiah fear, but I suspect it bubbles away down there in the national psyche, and it is a fear worth actually recognizing. But the concept of Americans per se accepting the responsibility that comes with democratic equity is a more problematic scenario.

But the fact remains, Obama is on the right track by my reading of the situation. There would need to be a major upset on his part as it seems highly unlike the Republicans can claw back in the face of their many deficits. But even the best candidates have been know to screw up…

4 comments:

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Cart

Reference: The greatest danger for Barack Obama is to be elected as some kind of messiah. The tests America will face require a country of partners, not an adoring cargo cult society.

I agree with your sentiments entirely. It would seem incredulous given that parlous state of the USA economy that Mc Cain could be seen as having any credibility. What he is suggesting about growth overcoming the expected 500 billion budget deficit without any need to increase taxes or cut back on the many unsustainable spending programs defies belief.

My prediction for the USA is it will become much more European in style over the decades ahead; or should I say it will be forced into that modeling unless it accepts runaway inflation and ruination. That means it will be forced to increase its taxation base considerably, reduce the unsustainable spending, (particularly in the area of heath) and eliminate huge layers of financial services that are not needed. This will cause considerable dislocation but I think it will also be accompanied by a reduction in the wide disparity that currently exists in wealth distribution. During this painful adjustment period I think it will inevitable there will be interest rate increases, increases in unemployment and reduced productivity as the adjustment takes effect away from a consumerism and a synthetically biased financial sector to one that is sustainable.
It’s going to be very tough for whoever is in power.

my bet is the American way will become much more European in the future , despite the fact they dont get a vote.

Best wishes

Cart said...

Lindsay, I can see the need for the changes you mention, particularly reconfiguring the finance sector. The US seems to have given up on producing anything but profits, and dollars don’t taste all that great.
I just query unsustainable spending, particularly in the area of health. I would have thought a more European approach to health care would be a positive to ensuring greater productivity. Mind you, I expect we could all do without much of the cosmetic and elective parts of the health sector.

D.K. Raed said...

Re: "But the media do have an option – give the candidates equal footage or verbiage, even let them choose it themselves, and dispense with inane commentary. Let the words and the images speak for themselves."

But then, where would the media shove their opinions? oh, nevermind.

Re: messiah ... we do expect a lot, it seems, but only from democrats, have you noticed? Many progressives seem disappointed that Obama cannot walk on water. Meanwhile, our repubs get away with bloody murder.

Cart said...

But then, where would the media shove their opinions?
Never mind indeed. Though I have to say, having practiced the profession at one time, just which bits chosen to report also skew the message.