Journalistic coverage of the victory
The victory of Obama as President over Mitt Romney was no surprise even though it is made out to be one by the media. But that is on account of present day journalism of sensation. A news is no more news unless it has an element of sensation. Reporting of news is out. Unfolding ‘story’ is the journalism now. Any way, the victory of Obama was fairly expected and looked almost certain after the Sandy hurricane. While this is no review of performance of Obama in office, here are the reasons for his victory:
TINA factor i.e. There Is No Alternative:
Romney may have been a reasonable candidate but he was no extraordinary candidate. But what will constitute extraordinary against Obama?
Obama is Black, young, bright and image of happily married with a family including two kids. An average man while Romney is White and some what outspoken, with often his toes if not foot in mouth on irrelevant issues like Olympics being held in England or similar abrasiveness on something else mundane like ‘binders full of women’ comment. An above average, filthy rich Romney may be good but was no extraordinary substitute for Obama. Simply put there was no alternative for Obama. Romney was too rich to be entrusted with the country.
As regards measures of governance, Romney could not spell out any radically drastic economic plan which may have accelerated growth, despite the fact he blamed Obama for slow growth. Mere criticism for the sake of criticism became too apparent.
Oratory took a back seat
Oratory in election debates has always been an important role but due to abrasive reckless of Romney in over-quoting the un-quotables, it took a back seat. Obama, even after looking uncertain, in first debate, came out as a Gentleman who could not step his limits and Romney as a winner who had no qualms about expanding to any level. It was unusual loss for the tradition of oratory.
Emerging tradition of re-election
Term of duration of the elected head of State has always been a matter of debate among the students of Political Science. A school of thought advocate nothing less than a decade as, according to them, this is the minimum period required for the policy decisions to percolate into micro economic levels. Last few decades have seen the American electors to be rather easy on incumbent of an office seeking re-election. Some of the previous Presidents with worse track record, were re-elected. Obama’s re-election is a continuation of this policy.
Administration post Sandy and Climate Change issue
An American President has a stereo type image of an official, who would rush to a bunker, at the first sign of danger. Even though Hollywood is responsible for this image, none the less, it is the public perception. Obama effectively broke that perception to the hilt by being not only everywhere but also by being very humble in not trying to exploit the tragedy by cheaply linking it to campaign. His quietness during this period was his loudest appeal to the electors who saw a person who knew how remain at the steering wheel, even when the road below is too slippery. The Romney’s rather chauvinistic views on the climate change again caught him on wrong foot. The bench sitters who were not swept by Sandy were immediately swept by Obama.
While Obama is here, we can not actually expect much from him. So far his track record had been too clean. He acted as a bureaucrat who could not afford to fight with the system. While his health care bill has yet to show result, his only achievement so far has been to kill OSAMA without trial and without martyrdom. But that is not enough for good governance. Real test in democratic set up is always to reduce the gap between have-nots and haves. So far nothing has appeared on that front. The famous rhetoric about “wall street and main street” is also not being repeated. As far as economy he appears to be as clueless as the Fed. Let us keep our fingers cross and wait to see that Obama develops regains his center of morality about working class and poor, now that he has no pressure of re-election.
The above perception is based on media reports etc we got, here in India, from around the world.
Congratulations Obama, and all the best for second opportunity. Life rarely give second chance. Hope you will use it gracefully and take drastic steps to help those who need it most. All the best.
© Sandeep Bhalla