Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Obama Equal to the Challenge on Decision Day

This front page of the current Economist sums up the mood. It's been 21 months since this saga started and it's been the most exciting election campaign I can remember. In fact, this is the political equivalent, for cricket fans like me, of the England-Australia Ashes series in 2005. From being a callow newcomer Obama has matured during the exhausting campaign to assume the mantle of a potentially great president. He has taken everything, every smear, snub and insult that could be thown by the two most powerful political machines in the USA: the Clinton and Republican ones.

To have survived pressure like this and risen above it mark out the man as exceptional. And every day he has been out facing the public, on the public stage or and mingling with them, he has faced the danger that his children might grow up without a father. After his dignified performance in the presidential debates, I think US voters across the board, realised this was no ordinary candidate. My racing journalist friend who loves a flutter on any contest, told me yesterday that the spread betting people were only offering to 'sell' Obama Electoral College delegates at 340, meaning they expect a landslide. He says they are seldom wrong. The blog Political Betting tells us (3/11/08) that bets are now even being taken on the time McCain will make his concession speech.

Just about every organ of opinion predicts a win at minimum, yet I, and I daresay millions of others to whom this election matters so much, cannot help being highly nervous. In 2000 the result was stolen from the Democrats, in 2004 the Republican machine helped smear and destroy a worthy candidate who lacked charisma. Karl Rove has caused many sleepless nights through his Machiavellian management of Republican political fortunes. Now, finally, payback time might be at hand. Can't wait.

I can't wait either. I can't wait for him to fail. America will perhaps learn that speech and rhetoric are no substitution for substance and policy. And if they don't learn this in four years, then they will cease to be a front line nation, and cease to stand for decent values.

A sad day for the world.
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