Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The Economist has two perceptive articles about Obama:
"With the brief exception of those four heady days after the Iowa caucuses, he has never been a front-runner; now he will be more fully scrutinised. The immediate focus will be on the horse race: can he win? But the bigger issue, which has so far occupied too little attention, is this: what would a President Obama, as opposed to Phenomenon Obama, really mean for America and the world?"
To be honest, the articles are more about Hilary, because she is the one who should be really worried now. March 4 might be her turning point when Texas and Ohio vote, or it could be "Billarygate", after which even the superdelegates probably will not be able to save her. In addition, the Democrats likely already know that having a Obama vs McCain race might be much more to their advantage than a Hilary vs McCain race.

And yet as the articles contend, Obama has some way to go before he assuages voters about his lack of experience and assures them that he is going to be tough and efficient about Iraq and the economy. As far as Iraq is concerned, Thomas Friedman accurately said that the "only choices are between bad and worse", and so Obama might run the risk of simply improving the situation from worse to bad- a notable achievement without a doubt but yet one that will give his opponents plenty of opportunity to vilify him. As for the economy, it's hard to say. Economics may not (and often does not) bow to politics and deliberate actions and sometimes no number of bills and policies can save the economy soon enough.

Actually it won't be surprising if Democrats win the race. If we look at the last 80 years or so of American history, it's quite clear that another party was chosen when one party made a mess, and the mess this party has made exceeds almost all the other messes. Let's see: Hoover failed to rescue the country economically, so people chose FDR who brought the country out of The Depression. Truman and Eisenhower both completed their terms, but Eisenhower won against Adlai Stevenson because he appeared tough on the Soviets. Nixon cast a blemish on the presidency, and Democrats were elected once again. Carter got embroiled in the Iran hostage crises farce, and everybody got so upset that they elected an actor. The actor endured because of rhetoric that for better or worse went down well with people. His successor George Bush again lost to Clinton after the fall of communism. And we know the depressing rest.

So it won't be surprising, only relieving, if the Democrats and Obama for that matter get elected. The only question is; with the current state of affairs and the twisted situation in which the Republicans have entrenched the nation, will the new President be able to do something soon enough? Time is of the essence here, not just political brilliance and prudent actions.



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