Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Obama is doing well

My take on recent American presidential politics.

President Obama was never going to fulfill the unrealistic expectations of his election, but he gets an unfair amount of opprobrium for not "delivering". In fact he has achieved what Bill Clinton could not, a good healthcare reform which will make a real difference to American lives. Not an NHS, which obviously is best, but not bad. In fact "Obamacare" may be the compromise solution to social care in Britain.

His stimulus has provided the American economy with growth and an increase in private sector employment, something the coalition are failing with here. In fact he has almost returned to the levels of employment that there were when he became President, halfway through the recession. His bailout saved the American Car industry and he brought Bin Laden to justice. He also made college education more affordable.

But he is vulnerable- there is the expectation that a newly elected politician to turn thing around overnight, and America is more used to 4% growth, than the 2% he has achieved this year (which we would kill for in Europe!) People feel let down that he wasn't what they imagined and that things aren't all fixed, so he could never rest in this election.

But arrayed against him are the Republican Party. Headed for a car crash, they have become an international joke. Unreasonable, unyielding to compromise, tolerance or even basic facts. Their culture wars are turning women against them on abortion. They are scaring off Latino voters, who are the largest growing demographic. Black voters are registering 0% support for them in one poll, and that is not likely to change soon. In fact, the keynote speaker at the DNC, Julian Castro, has a real chance for a good future in Texas, a state thought lost to the Democratic party forever. But with 38% of the population Latino, 12% black, and both demographics being increasingly repelled by the Republican party, the Democrats could start to do well in the future,provided they increase the dire turnout from their strongest supporters.

And it was the DNC which has caused a real turnaround. The Republican convention was atrocious, with Mitt Romney being uninspiring and gaffe prone, his VP pick seemingly can't go a speech without saying something that isn't true. It culminated in a keynote address that barely mentioned the candidate, and Clint Eastwood ranting at a chair. And the more they say Obama is a socialist muslim born in Kenya, the madder they look. The DNC, by comparison gave a real boost. Clinton proved he is still a master of communication, and every other speaker reinforced a positive message or progress and achievement. Biden gave a combative speech that ripped Romney and Ryan apart, then Obama gave the best speech of his presidency. The Democrats look united, sane and competent. The Republicans do not.

Romney's poor judgement in foreign affairs was exposed in his dire reaction to the atrocities in Libya, and Obama is surging in the Key battleground states. The Obama presidency could change the face of American politics if Virginia and North Carolina become swing states like Ohio, the Republicans just can't win without these states. Especially if the demographics time bomb starts to take Texas and Arizona away from them.