Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Always remember the Fifth of November

What's to say? Americans will have a smarter, wiser president in about seventy days. It will also have a government teetering on bankruptcy and caught in not one but two land wars in Asia.
It seems American democracy, for all its flaws, pushes forward great leaders in tough times: Lincoln in 1860, Roosevelt in 1932, and, I suspect, Barack Obama in 2008. I have rarely seen such a skilled politician and a man who is so comfortable in his skin.
But these may be quite ugly times, too. Nothing changed economically last night. Expectations are high: for medicare, poverty relief, education and so many other services that Americans may not be willing to pay for.
America needs to rebuild its job base. It needs to live up to its trade agreements and its treaties, and stop acting with arrogance. It could start by dealing fairly with Canada's softwood lumber issue.
Obama has every right to go after American companies that have exported jobs while expecting to freely sell their offshore-made goods to Americans. Tariffs are a bad idea, but taxes and fair-trade laws could be used to hobble this practice.
This is a good time to try to re-think everything from the way we make cars to the tax-free status of churches. The very first thing America needs to do is become self-sufficient -- or North America sufficient -- in energy to strip the gears of the OPEC countries, so many of whom have done so much harm to American interests.
I expect Obmama will gently ease the US out of Iraq but will stay in Afghanistan until bin Laden is dead. That is the real exit time. Once he's dead, a decent power-sharing situation can be developed in Afghanistan under the threat of complete destruction if the Afghans allow terrorist camps.
The Iranians will likely try to push Obama, but China and Russia, if they have any sense, will not want the Iranians to have the bomb. The last thing Russia needs is a nuclear-armed Iran shepherding the Muslim former Soviet republics.
In the end, Obama will succeed if he can remake America from a speculation economy to a productive one in which every American feels a sense of ownership and belonging. But it won't be pretty. The Fox News types are going to pull out everything they can. But I suspect Obama won't be nailing any interns in the Oval Office, so things may work out OK.


Anonymous said...

I see the cultural/political warriors won't be taking a breather.

Anonymous said...

Both speaches on election night were eloquent. Trying to figure out if they were reading (teleprompter?) or were the speaches extemporaneous? If being read, they sure looked not read.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear... there's no shortage of crazies who will say anything about Obama. Let's see... a Marxist Al Qaeda Manchurian Candidate operative. Is this a send up? How stupid-desperate can any one person get?