This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Obama Seizes Victory!

Cometh the Hour, Cometh the man.

Change has finally come.

Barack Obama's stunning victory on Tuesday night has changed America and the world irrevocably.

It is a testament to his outstanding qualities as a leader and a testament to the American people for embracing change and hope, rather than the politics of fear.

I was lucky enough to watch the night unfold from the US Embassy in London. The atmosphere inside was electric. Obama supporters predominated, although the McCain contingent was sizeable too. Everyone was wearing campaign badges, bunting was dangling from the ceiling, there was a real carnival atmosphere. There was even a Starbucks, Subway and Burger King inside the Embassy! Lots of celebrities and lots of politicians mixed with political anoraks like me. It was great.

There were some spine-tingling moments from the night - like when you saw Jesse Jackson crying or Obama's girls ran on the stage at Chicago. That sort of took my breath away as you realised for the first time that actually the image of that family in the West Wing will be incredibly powerful.

In the end, Obama won an electoral college landslide and took a comfortable majority of the popular vote.

6 million more African Americans voted Democrat than they did last time.

3.5 million more under 30's voted Democrat than they did last time.

These are the beginnings of a new electoral alignment in American politics.

People feel it is their victory. They are energised and engaged.

McCain made a gracious and moving concession speech, characteristic of the dignity that has always been a feature of his personality and politics. He is a good man but he wasn't right for now.

Obama made a brilliant speech. Uplifting, powerful and strong. Perfect.

His greatest problem now is how to manage expectations. He is not a miracle worker and the problems facing America are daunting. It is a difficult task but I believe he has shown he has the qualities necessary for the challenges ahead.

The whole night reminded me of the void we have in British politics though. Where is our Obama?

Ouside the White House, crowds had gathered and were apparently chanting "goodbye, goodbye". Brilliant.


Miller 2.0 said...

Seldom have I had happier days...

Which probably suggest that new hobbies might be a good idea.

Stuart Brady said...

Totally agree on the last point,, sadly our lot are a bunch of careerist clones, over-coached by press officers, too fearful to offer genuine conviction and opinion, and too much of the machine to break out. I think we can learn a lot about the politics of unity and common vision, and the need for to make politics resonate with people's everyday lives.

Professor Y. Chucklebutty said...

No jokes this time.

Excellent piece and a brilliant summary.

The reaction and comments from around the world gives great hope of the new allignment. So many of the American people I have heard or whose views I have seen expressed have been in shock to discover that Bush had made them so hated internationally and they didn't like it. I think culturally, the majority of Americans want to be liked and seen as the good guys. And they could be.

(I think culturally in the UK we still have a problem with people thinking we are the superior beings on the planet.)

I am encouraged also by early mention of Cuba and the relaxing of sanctions and restrictions on travel. Ending that lunacy alone would have got my vote. Make friends and the perceived threat would be gone.

We agree there are some difficult issues to face but I share your optimism and my own is growing as it sinks in just how powerful a message to the world this could be.

TonyP said...

Great comments - agree with them all. and agree with the post too. there are many things to look forward to...
i think Obama will be an excellent role model - not just for young black men, who desperately need positive role models - but for people at the the beginnings of adulthood and potential careers, he has shown that the impossible can be achieved if you are honest, authentic and if you indulge in the apparent luxury of rational thought.
stuart brady is absolutely right too - about careerist clones. i get no sense that our lot believe in anything except their own personal advancement.
but here we have a man in the white house who is committed to lifting up ordinary people.
what i really really love about Barack is that he is all about values and he talks so much about his values and opportunity and aspiration. lessons here for labour.

Anonymous said...

hey alex,

you need to change your profile now. Barack IS the next Pres!

WHO said...

Nice blog!

Alex Finnegan said...

Thanks for the comments. I think Stuart Bardy is right. What matters most is authenticity in a politician. I don't see much of that in either party at the moment although there are exceptions. I live in hope that our own Obama will materialise, somewone who is genuine, authentic and speaks from the soul

Anonymous said...

You'll do for me!