Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Obama's night of triumph

Barack Obama looks certain to be the next American President. There are still close races yet to call, but with Pennsylvania staying blue, Iowa and Ohio going blue also and Florida likely to do so, this looks like as good a night for the Democrats as they had with Bill Clinton in the nineties. For that he deserves great credit for a brilliant campaign. But he was also blessed in his opponent's bizarre strategy of turning right and embracing rightwing tactics rather than seeking the centrist votes he was elected to win.

Obama won on a mandate for change, but the one lesson he must learn from Clinton is that his capacity for change will be determined by how well he prioritises over the coming months. He must aboid any gesture politics, and show that he can make a real difference on the economy in the immediate term and healthcare in the longer term. He must make good cabinet appointments and he must show the right mix of caution and conviction with respect to foreign policy - experience he has gained as a result of the campaign.

Obama is fortunate in that he doesn't have the baggage that Bill Clinton had from the campaign - Ayers and Acorn may get Fox viewers steaming, but few others care - but he must show that his bipartisanship extends beyond campaign rhetoric. All that is for the weeks ahead. But tonight is a moment of history, and one to be savoured.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to burst the bubble but Obama and the Republicrats are no more likely to do anything to change the status quo than New Labour did here in UK.
Big business calls the tune and Obama would not be allowed to get to power unless the establishment were ok with it.