Yes, they could!

Barack Obama, US president-elect. Wow.

Consider this an open thread.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Not Europe and tagged , , by Guy La Roche. Bookmark the permalink.

About Guy La Roche

Dutch translator and subtitler living in Brittany with his three cats. Has also lived in the Flemish part of Belgium. Speaks English rather fluently and in a former life used to have a decent command of Spanish. Knows swear words in German and Russian. Not quite francophone yet, but slowly getting there. Vaguely centrist observer of the world around him, extremely naive and, sometimes, rather proud of it. Writes Venale Pecus.

14 thoughts on “Yes, they could!

  1. Funny thing. One could argue what is cause and what is effect, but here is my uneducated opinion on apparent corellation.

    “It is economy, stupid”. And as usual, the weakest link in the chain yields first. For US, the weakest and the hardest hit states appear to be the ones without “right to work”:

    Compare with red/blue map:

    It will certainly affect my future investment decisions.

  2. The usual suspects are already on the brink of a collective orgasm, more or less adamant in their belief that with the election of Obama, the Elves will rise from the dead, and the purpose of Ilúvatar will come true regarding them.

    Still, even as a cynic northerner, I probably have to admit that the result isn’t too bad. The man deserved it, and he’s definitely a credit to the American race (ha-ha).

    McCain seems to be a genuinely graceful loser, even though the Republican party is pretty much on the “boo-hiss” mode. But paradoxically, the old man himself seems to be _relieved_. I could swear that during these last weeks, I could see in his face a silent expression that deep down, he actually _wanted_ to lose. Talking to some complete idiots during the campaign probably started to have an adverse effect on him.

    (Cf. that weird old lady who called Obama an “Arab”, and whom McCain immediately hastened to correct; plus, of course, the agony of having Sarah Palin as his running mate. Some of these were McCain’s own doing, but the fact that they were self-inflicted no doubt made them even more painful.)

    Too bad. Back in 2000, McCain would have deserved the nomination as a Republican candidate, but now, it was clear from the beginning that his time was past.

    But, anyhow, let’s see what happens next.


    J. J.

  3. Certainly good news: a well deserved victory, and indeed McCain’s concession speech was suitably magnanimous. It seems to me, that had the senator from Arizona been more like that on the campaign trail, and tried to truly capture the center and the rightward part of the Democrats, rather than attempting to appeal to a Republican base that never really trusted the guy, let alone liked him, he would have done at least a bit better. This election was about moving _out_ of 27 %:er-land.

    Nevertheless, as has been touched upon in a thread below this one, those who now envision a new glorious age of trans-Atlantic relations are bound to be in for a fair bit of disappointment, because the first major interaction between Obama and European leaders is likely to go as follows:

    Obama: Will you help us out in Afghanistan?

    Europe: Well, maybe (but not really).

    Obama: Then what good are you?

    And that, as they say, will be that. Each side will in principle be committed to friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance, but I’m not sure there’s a whole lot either can give the other at this point.

    To be sure, as the war in Afghanistan drags on, and if it turns out nasty, then this and other issues (mainly stemming from that Obama still is an American politician working within the American system, and still, for all his talk of change, largely will be beholden to the same interests and objectives for the foreseeable future) may even come to make Obama a somewhat unpopular and ridiculed figure on the continent.

    It will never be as bad as with Bush, of course, because Obama starts out being genuinely liked while Bush was pretty much hated by many, and disdained by many more, already by the time of the start of his first term in office (I recall the unrest that occurred at the time of the EU summit in Göteborg, June 2001, which Bush visited. Two years ahead of Iraq, months before 9/11 and Afghanistan, when Bush pretty much wanted to pretend the world outside of America didn’t exist, and already then his very presence seemed to raise the ire of the anti-globalizers by so much).

    But nevertheless: we’re at peak here, and from now on things can only go downhill…

  4. “It seems to me, that had the senator from Arizona been more like that on the campaign trail, and tried to truly capture the center and the rightward part of the Democrats, rather than attempting to appeal to a Republican base that never really trusted the guy, let alone liked him, he would have done at least a bit better.”

    My thoughts exactly. He sounded really likeable in his concession speech. The man should have stayed true to his idea of being a maverick. After all, he once dared to confront Bush & Co.

    And yes, what the hell was Palin all about?

  5. Palin was about catching sentimental votes from some groups: conservatives, women, younger voters (which she partially did). America has long tradition to elect not most competent CEO to run the country, not even the one who promises best political and economical platform, but most likeable and charismatic person. Which exactly what happened.

  6. Interestingly enough, even with all the SNAFUs that have been mentioned, McCain still managed to rack up a better result percentage-wise than either Bob Dole or the First Bush, who was an incumbent president.

    So, on balance, the old man did not do all that badly, especially given that his opponent was just as tough as Bill Clinton was to those other Republicans. And also, keeping in mind that as an untainted character, Obama was definitely without the same amount of sleaze that Bill Clinton had right from the beginning.

    Not sure what to conclude of this. Who knows, perhaps McCain did actually manage to reach out to those moderate voters, but with a far larger and completely new voting demographic rallying behind Obama, this simply did not matter. Still, this suggests that if the opponent had been Hillary Clinton, well, he just might have won.

    By the way, the reference to “Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance” between the United States and the EU may have been unintentional from our Swedish poster, but even still, I did notice the irony. People who are familiar with the post-war history of Finland will remember the context where those words were used.

    Speaking of how the euphoria will fade, more than a few commentators have already noted Obama’s protectionist tendencies. We’ll see how those work out.

    And, of course, Medvedeev has decided to remind Obama promptly of the existence of Russia, and brandished his missiles in Kaliningrad.

    This should not be exaggerated, though. As the foreign minister noted this morning, otherwise Medvedeev made a very soft speech, talking in apparent seriousness of democracy and human rights, essentially drawing out an agenda for his own presidency. Still, the fact that simultaneously, he decided to talk tough on the foreign front and fired a salvo of condemning rhetoric on the United States is telling.

    Given this, we will probably see what Obama is able to do in the near future. The bad news is that when it comes to our eastern neighbour, he’s likely to listen to Biden, who seems to be a hard-liner on Russia.


    J. J.

  7. Obama just named the son of a militant Zionist, Rahm Emanuel, as his Chief-of-Staff.

    War with Iran is definitely still on the table, perhaps more than before.

  8. Coo. Never thought that AFoE would be read by such pessimists, downers… and even an anti-semite, it appears. Would be fascinated to learn which DNA sequence codes for Zionism, Jest. If you could also pass on some pearls of wisdom about the role of White House Chief of Staff – and why a President Elect with massive domestic problems and a commitment to pulling out of foreign wars would select one purely on the basis that his father supports the existence of a country that’s in opposition to another country this President Elect has said he plans to negotiate with?

    (Please forgive me if the comment threads here are usually a hive of irony and sarcasm and I’ve just missed the joke. I normally follow updates via RSS, where all the writers seems so… thoughtful.)

  9. Like my mama always said, Richard, it takes all kinds. Apparently celebrations are happening in other places.

    This was very interesting over at the Reality-Based Community:

    The real historical significance of this will turn out to be, I think, that a Kenyan-American rose to the presidency of the world’s largest power. Only Americans (and ill-informed Europeans) thought this story was about ‘black’ America—what it really was about was immigrant America. The children of Africa, the demographic future of the human race (roughly speaking, c.10% of the world’s population, but approaching 20% of its under 25s, even with the depredations of AIDS) are beginning to make themselves felt in the world. 3 million years after Lucy left her footprint in Olduvai Gorge, a man of Africa, whose father was born a few hundreds of miles away from Lucy, is again leaving his footprints on the human race…

    I sometimes think that Americans (or their media) didn’t ‘get’ this election, in that you could not grasp the degree to which the world’s image of you as a land of something other than rule by hypocritical incestuous elites (as Europe is so ruled) and irrational hicks (like GWB), was riding on what happened. I still don’t quite believe that you found the guts to make the right choice. This was the world’s election, that happened only to grant the franchise to Americans.

  10. Richard:

    It’s up to Obama to explain his choice of a Zionist as his Chief of Staff, not me.

    Your naivete is quite absurd, considering the Chief of Staff operates as the gatekeeper to the Messiah. He has quite a lot of power to influence policy on his own, in that role.

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