November 8, 2012
Obama’s victory is of monumental importance. The personality cult, and the concomitant likeability factor, which propelled him into the White House the first time around, has done the trick again. The movie actor Russell Crowe got it right in his October 21 communiqué to the citizens of the United States: “Villagers, I don’t endorse politicians. Not my thing. However, Obama is the light & the future. Keep going towards the light. Put America first.”
Crowe encapsulates, in those deceptively simple twenty-four words, the very essence of the Democrats’ election strategy. Given the dire state of the American economy, The One could hardly run on his economic record. In nearly four years at the helm Obama spent the almost inconceivable figure of $6 trillion attempting to put people back to work, and yet the current US unemployment rate of 7.9% is higher than at Obama’s inauguration in January 2009. More than 20 million Americans remain out of work, and yet for a vast swathe of the population Obama remains “the light and the future”.
Not even the seemingly implausible narratives enunciated by the Obama Administration in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi could dint Obama’s image as a safe pair of hands in foreign affairs. If the progressive mainstream media saw something to worry about it would have reported it, surely. As Russell Crowe enjoined: “Complex time for the world. America needs to continue the Global awareness that Obama has set.”
In one sense, at least, Obama’s 2012 victory is no less important than FDR’s re-election in 1936. As I wrote in the September edition of Quadrant: “If Obama wins in November, Obamacare will become an integral part of the American way of life. As calamitous as this new trillion-dollar burden would be tax-paying citizens already encumbered with impossible debts and economic headwinds, the transformational potential of Obamacare cannot be disputed.”
Obama always intended to be something more than a middle-of-road compromiser like Bill Clinton, and now he can achieve that goal. The forty-fourth POTUS will, at the very least, be remembered as the USA’s Clement Atlee, the British Prime Minister whose creation of the National Health Service in 1948 set the UK on its path to post-war economic greatness.
The sensible, no-thrills Mitt Romney put up good show, especially in the first television debate in Denver, but how could a stiff, Mormon plutocrat compete with a force of nature? When Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern coast of the United States, Barack Obama – the Healer-in-Chief – was where the cameras needed him most. The last line of Russel Crowe’s prescient communiqué had already nailed it: “A healthy America means a healthy world.”
Daryl McCann is a frequent Quadrant contributor and blogger
The Quadrant Book of Poetry: 2001 - 2010
edited by Les Murray