Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"New era" and all...

Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America. The last 21 months have seen a fascinating campaign, which has even attracted skeptics like me. It has been really interesting seeing a vibrant democracy at work, its structures and institutions churning out the best, the worst and the lot in between. On a personal note, it has been a most illuminating exercise to witness the contradictions within me while trying to reconcile the hypnotic allure of 24x7 media coverage and my passion for electoral politics with my skepticism of the self-righteous hyperbole that seems to characterize a lot of American politics. The coming days will see a bevy of voices and analyses elevate the incidents of the recent past to an iconic status. Hence I shall desist from following such a course and content myself with links to certain perspectives that interpret the Obama phenomenon in their own ways. The diversity of these perspectives is an indication of the challenge the Obama administration faces and perhaps hints at the reasons why it is bound to fail!

Andrew Sullivan in a magnum-opus piece in December 2007 passionately arguing the historical necessity of an Obama candidacy.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel in "The Nation" on the 4th Of November lays down the battle lines.
And last but not the least.....
My own analysis of the situation in April 2007. It's not one of my better written pieces and some of the points are contentious but I still stick with most of what I wrote then.

It will be most instructive re-visiting these opinions 4 years from now.

Ps. Totally useless fact---Obama is the second President after Martin Van Buren whose name, when typed in a Google application(gmail, blogger etc), is shown to possess an incorrect spelling.
Image Credits


Anonymous said...

Aha! I knew this post was coming. :)

Thought you'd write about his "historic speech". Rhetoric rhetoric rhetoric.

I know this is a terrible thing to say, but I fervently hope we don't see an ssassination.

Anonymous said...

When the music's over, and the time comes to deliver, let's hope the man's equal to the task!


Quirky Indian

Prasanth said...

Sigh! I am becoming predictable ain't I. ;)
I have been quite reluctant to write on this election cycle(considering how addicted I have been) in the context of the tornado of superlatives and hyperbole. It's good the storm is over.
And by the looks of assassination seems a difficult possibility. There has been enough talk about it already for the security services to take real notice.But you never know

Very true. Unless of course, he continues the Pied Piper act much longer and increases the risks all the more.

Ridwan said...

Nice piece Prasanth.

I think the possibility of an assasination will lurk around this presidency like white on rice.

Sad to say yeah but true.

White America has not come out to support Obama like many expected.

If you draw a line south of the Mason Dixon line you will see that Obama lost 56 million votes to McCain.

In some states like Louisiana whites voted 2-1 for McCain.

The electoral college win he secured is skewed in racial terms.

Ironically it has worked in the 'favour' of Blacks and Latinos who vote in California, Nevada, and even Florida.

That said, Obama is in office and it is becoming clearer that he is as establishment as it can get.

I expect that the Middle East will look a lot like it looks under W.

For the immediate future, Obama will focus on the American economic downturn.

Just today GM announced that it is laying off 30% of its salaried workers ... and it is cutting matching benefits to pension schemes such as 401ks.

It does not look good for Obama ... in fact it never did beyond the Hollywood notion that his presidency is about historic change.

Americans like to believe that their myths are more real than reality.

Peace brother,

ps. sorry for the long wank hey :)

Prasanth said...

Thanks for that insightful comment and hey no issues about length at all! :)
It seems more obvious day-by-day that the response to Obama is more a transposition of diverse world-views and hopes on an conveniently unclear slate. This of course, as you have pointed out in the comment and in the posts in your blog ignores the reality that he is a product of a political system in a specific country. Let's hope the blinkers come off fast.