As preparations continue in the lead up to the last presidential debate in the States, it was interesting to get the perspective of some within the media here in South Africa. I was reading the front page of one of SA’s Sunday papers, and they were giving their definitive look at the US elections. What I found surprising was the almost perfunctory way with which the author judged Obama to have failed his ‘mandate’. Coming from a newspaper it seemed almost a matter of fact. I didn’t know that Obama term had been so widely accepted as being a failure for his constituency, as the article makes it sound. But maybe from outside, with less emotion, it’s easy to see it that way. Especially, if change was the determining factor of success, and by change maybe some were expecting apocalyptic capitalism-ending shifts for the US.
Obama and Romney campaign for 2012
But he did what he said he would try to do didn’t he, though arguably not to the extent that many demanded. He passed health insurance reform, he pulled troops out of Iraq, he repealed “Don’t ask Don’t tell”, he regulated the banks. Hmm, all that seemed almost impossible to imagine 4 years ago. Could he have done more sure, did he want to, I think so, but was he in full control of all the variables — no.
Yet, as my mate, Veda said recently, maybe Obama underestimated just how obstinate the opposing party would be to his efforts. Maybe we all underestimated that. And so maybe it’s in fact going to be true, as Veda propones, that Obama’s greatest impact will come once he is out of the oval office. If he is anything like Clinton, he can generate a tidal wave of support for just about any cause he puts his mind to across the world.
Observing from afar has been refreshing, though the SA media hasn’t been as enamored and preoccupied as I imagined they would be. I wonder if it’s the same else where around the world. I guess everyone just has too much to worry about in their own countries these days…maybe a sign that pax Americana no longer holds the world in the stupor it once did.
Cheers from Jozi,