A wake up call from this side of the Atlantic.
I’ve noticed after last night’s results that many of you are feeling despairing about your country, and even contemplating giving up political blogging because of the distress of it. I’ve one word of advice…
Hold on. Buckle up, and keep going. It was always going to be a bumpy ride.
Of course the media narrative was just ready for this part of the story. It’s the headline in this morning’s Guardian: Obama Reeling After Senate Defeat.
Reeling? It’s certainly a shock to those who didn’t see it coming. Whether it’s the problems with Obamacare or the normal US desire to see different parties in the White Office and Congress, I’ll leave cephologists to divine. My expertise is in drama and story telling (including the slow unfolding of political narratives) and one thing I can tell you: the media will soon get bored of this phase of the story – Obama failing – and then move on to both inspect the opposition more thoroughly, and look for signs of the inevitable next move; the bounceback.
In narrative timing, this is like Texas during the primaries. Better to have flush of success, setback and then bounceback in this order.
Of course this a slightly superficial take – but you lot are much better at giving me the ins and outs of the American psyche, US politicians and as King Lear said “the pacts and sects of great ones/Who ebb and flow with the moons”. Only two things I would reiterate from my distant perch: these I posted in response to an article by British HuffPo contributor, Antony Painter this morning on Labourlist (we’re concerned about it here too!):
It’s only one year, one senate seat. The Dems are exactly in the position they would have been had Al Franken lost the endless legal appeals on his votes. For those of us who have followed Obama, like I have from 2004, will know that he takes lessons from adversity, and will use the current setbacks to move forward.
The US is in a dire state, with two wars (one a dumb one according to Obama) inherited from the last Republican Regime. They are also dealing with the near collapse of the banking system and the biggest recession for 60 years. That is a legacy of ‘free market’ thinking. Glass Steagall was hedged many years before Clinton signed it away. The deregulation….. goes back to the Neo Liberal policies of Thatcher and Reagan.
So yes. Obama as Simon Schama says, is partly a prisoner of history: the failures of Neo Con foreign policy and Neo Liberal economics. I can’t think of anyone better to cope with these crises…
It’s only a year. There has yet to be the defining event of the Obama presidency. Judging by character, probity, intellect – the United States is very lucky with its President, even if the President isn’t lucky with the current state of the US.