Saturday, November 8, 2008

Transition Time

[Reality, Reason, Rational Self–Interest]

Immediate post-election reporting is usually poor, in my opinion, because it is immediate. In the rush to say something, much of what is published lacks reflection and depth. Fortunately, it seems that we’re getting past that now.

In Great Britain, The Telegraph offers an example of more coolheaded commentary with Barack Obama Is Only Human, You Know, by Simon Heffer. Heffer traveled to the U.S. to observe the election and its aftermath, and files a fairly level-headed report. It suffers from the mixed premises shared by all media these days, but not so much from the dominant, blatantly left-wing bias of the great majority.

Here are some excerpts. On perspective:

[Y]ou can imagine the state of additional ecstasy—above and beyond that caused by St. Barack’s election—of Americans at TV pictures of rejoicing people all around the globe when the glad news was confirmed.

One was almost grateful for the cold bath of malice from the sinister President Medvedev of Russia, his strings pulled by the tyrant Putin, arguing improbably that America had caused the war between his country and Georgia and, somewhat more probably, that the U.S. had been the cause of the recent world financial meltdown and the coming recession.

You can always rely on the Russians to rain on any available parade: and perhaps in this instance it was no bad thing.

There are some nasty people on the planet—Mr Medvedev is but one of them—St. Barack will find that the minute he squares up to them (if he squares up to them) a lot of other nasty people will come out of the woodwork to oppose him.

At that stage, a world apparently united in its love of the charismatic new leader, full of hope, change and hope for change, becomes one once more factionalised by the power of America.

On hype:

It is one thing to run a fabulous campaign, to buy an election victory by massively outspending your rivals, and to have an Oscar–winning style of speaking.

But in the end, reality is what counts: and there may be a little too much of that around for the Obama magic to deal with.

Calm down, dears. He’s only a human being.

On what’s left of the opposition:

I hope the Republicans don’t fall into the trap the Tories plunged into in 1997, of thinking they lost because they were nasty or Right-wing.

They lost because their party was utterly incompetent, and the Democrats had piles of money.

America remains conservative. The Republicans, who have to be in shape to win back Congress at the 2010 mid–terms, will get nowhere by trying to out-Obama Obama.

And my favorite, on Obamania:

I was struck by the numbers—from Oprah downwards—crying on Tuesday night. Having always thought the Obama experiment would end in tears, I felt this premature: give him a chance.

Heffer closes by wondering what will become of British comedy now that Bush will be out of office. I’ve always been a fan of British comedy, or was back in the glory days of Monty Python, so it might be worth keeping an eye on that development.

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