Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Fingers crossed ...

We stayed up late (till 3:30am) to catch the results from the US elections. It afforded us an opportunity to use something that we picked up during our trip to Florida ...



By bedtime it looked pretty clear that Obama was Whitehouse-bound; a result that was predicted by our mug, and confirmed the next morning. Since this outcome had seemed likely for much of the past two months (even if it was loudly denied to beat back complacency), it wasn't quite as exciting a final night as other elections, but it was still a blessed relief.

That said, I do feel a bit sorry for McCain. Until he ran for the Presidency this time, I'd always (inasmuch as one can as a sporadic observer from a foreign land) had time for him, and he was an interesting and moderately non-partisan player in Washington. He'd garnered a lot of sympathy from me because of the dirty tricks played on him by the Bush campaign in the 2000 primaries (which I think many commentators seem to have forgotten about). In fact, because of this, I was initially quite afraid that he might be able to beat the Democrats by playing against Bush and his cronies. But rather than run this way, he gambled instead that he should remain quite anodyne on the Bush administration. As a result, he completely diluted the personal brand that he'd built up over the years, a dilution that was pushed to almost homeopathic levels when he appointed Sarah Palin. While that was a smart move in terms of shoring up his Republican base, it again didn't seem like the kind of thing that "maverick" McCain would have done. He'll doubtless come in for a drubbing from his much-reduced party, but much of that will likely miss the point that the only way he could have won was to play against the existing (and much disliked) party structures.

Anyhow, Obama gets to sup from the poison chalice. I can only hope that the fate that befell 1997's popular UK poll-winners doesn't happen to him. Still, even Blair only made a few significant mistakes but, boy, were they big. Hopefully Obama's cool and collected campaign will be reflected in his tenure in the Whitehouse. We'll see.

2 comments:

Anne said...

So, Gg and I both noted that McCain seemed much more like McCain during the concession speech. It made me wonder about how much of his own wishes he saw that he had to give up to run, or if he regretted his mistake of Palin, or if he knew he wouldn't really win...

Lots of stuff breaking now about Palin, too.

Plumbago said...

As I said in my post, until the Presidential campaign, McCain was quite an interesting figure, and one who could almost be imagined building bridges between the parties/their voters. But something seemed to happen along the way that made him decide to compromise the way he'd play the game. He may just have judged that he couldn't afford to antagonise the base, but I suspect he was leaned on too. By mistake as it now turns out.

Although I think Palin's a bit of a crazy, and was both a good and bad move by McCain, I do think she's had a bit of a raw deal. Some of the flak that she's taken seems motivated by, well, sexist impulses. Hilary got that too at times, but the knives were really out for Palin. Almost everything I've read or heard about her (and Alaska!) paints her in an unfavourable light, but right from that start she got below-the-belt criticism that was unwarranted. Not least because there's plenty about her that's quite legitimately worth worrying about.

Anyway, I seem to be focusing on the negative when you've got a whole new President and a chance at change to look forwards to! :-)