Wednesday 7 November 2012


Now that Obama has won he has to get a grip on the US fiscal position. Unfortunately early comments from prominent Republicans suggest that they have not learned the lessons of yesterday and they will continue to obstruct. The lessons (some of them at least: I wouldn't pretend to know them all):
- voters don't like extremism. They admire conviction but not at the expense of working with others - just as people have to do every day in their lives.
- the world changes as does the electorate: it appears that the Republicans have forgotten that not all US voters are white middle class and retired.

Those are important lessons for the Tories here in Britain as well.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Today's the day

There’s two surprising things about the US election. One is just how much the two candidates (and their supporters have spent) on largely negative advertising. The second is how close it is. It’s not even clear that the result will be known straight away given the opportunity for legal challenges in swing states.

That is surprising given the euphoria that greeted Obama’s success just four years ago and the fact that he hasn’t done a bad job in almost impossible circumstances. He has acted with conviction on security matters, with common sense on foreign affairs and with some success in economic terms. This is despite inheriting a broken financialsystem and out of control wars.  He has faced a Republican party determined not to compromise on any economic issue – to an unprecedented extent - making the US deficit a real worry.
I suspect that neither candidate will act particularly differently on most issues so at one level, who wins doesn’t matter: economic growth will be slow but will happen and  although there’s a lot of intensity at the moment that will fade away for most people and life will get back to normal. But at another I quite strongly hope Obama wins.  I just don’t think that it would be fair for the Republicans, after four years of such bad behaviour, to succeed. And Romney’s behaviour on his “meet the allies” world tour hardly shows he is someone you’d want to do business with.