Posts Tagged ‘observer


‘yes, he still can’

Why Barack Obama is looking good for a second term in 2012

by Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer (UK)


The midterm drubbing for the Democrats masks the many encouraging auguries for the president…

….Republicans, intoxicated by their victories, are making a major mistake. That is to confuse a protest vote against the Democrats with enthusiasm for Republicans. Some of their most prominent figures are vaingloriously bragging about heading to Washington to “take our government back” and undo everything Obama has enacted since he arrived in the Oval Office. That is a misinterpretation of the mood. In polls, 48% of voters agreed with the Republicans that Obama’s healthcare reforms should be repealed. But 47% said they wanted to retain or expand those reforms. Cutting the deficit should be the priority of Congress, according to 39%; spending money to stimulate the economy is preferred by an almost equal 37%.

….This election did not represent a ringing endorsement of the Republican platform. It could never be that when there wasn’t anything that you could dignify with the name of programme.

….By capturing the House of Representatives, the Republicans have acquired a slice of the power and a share of the responsibility for government. Responsibility is going to expose postures that are riddled with contradictions. They want a smaller government and a reduced deficit except in those many areas where they demand bigger government and more spending.

They are also riven with factionalism …. Despite the rebuffing of the Tea Party in some seats, the Republicans will continue to be dragged to the right by Sarah Palin and her fellow travellers. The threat of the self-styled Mama Grizzly running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 terrifies the party’s establishment as much as the prospect delights Democrat strategists.

Palin is an intensely polarising figure and a narcissist in love with her own shtick. Having had two years to raise her game, she continues to demonstrate an alarming lack of grip or coherence on policy…. Two out of three American voters believe Palin is not qualified to be president. The very things about her and the tea baggers which excite right-wing voters are those which repel the more moderate ones.

Moods ebb and flow in big waves. Success goes to the sort of politician who is skilled at surfing the swells of public opinion, one who can ride the crest and also keep his balance when it breaks. Barack Obama is that sort of politician.

In the wake of the midterms, he has voiced a willingness to work with the Republicans in Congress. He will prosper by being seen as the one who attempted to compromise only to be rebuffed by a Republican party sucked into confrontationalism by its overconfident right. His original appeal was as a healing politician who could lift America above ugly partisanship. The extremism of Tea Partyism will help him to be that attractive, unifying centrist again. My money is on Barack Obama securing a second term in 2012 and quite possibly winning big. Yes, he still can.

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May 2022