This morning I was struck to see that McCain lost by so little, that 55 million people out of 131 million actually voted him. That he got 46% of the vote after 8 years of failed Republican policies that resulted in two wars and a financial meltdown. I also could not believe this considering that I do not know of a single friend who had voted for McCain. So I started digging into the election results and it became more and more obvious how deeply divided USA is today. The two places that I spend the most time in the States in, Manhattan and San Francisco both voted 85% for Obama. The rest of the country is another story. Texas for example was 55% McCain. And the story of the Red and the Blue states continues in a way that people in the “United” States alternate in feeling that they are being governed by foreigners. Most of my friends felt that Bush was foreign to most of what they stood for. Now people in Texas and the Midwest and in the countryside in all states, will feel the same. And the divide is quite complicated because it is partly geographic and partly generational with younger people favoring Obama 2 to 1.
While the mood today is of celebration we have to realize that Barack Obama has a real tough job ahead not only unifying the country but also getting it out of political and economic bankruptcy. And when the honeymoon is over those 55 million people, those people who now feel as we used to feel when Bush was in power, will start making noises, loud noises. And Obama, managing the country with the biggest debt in the world, will have very limited room for maneuver. Obama was fortunate, that the financial meltdown and the biggest nationalization of banks and mortgages did not happen during his tenure. If Obama had to act the way Bush and Paulson did the derogatory socialist campaign that McCain ran against him would have made him almost unable to make decisions. It is a paradox that it took a neocon government to implement state dirigisme in America and that it will be up to a Democratic president to manage a government that is much more involved with the economy than when Clinton left power. That will be hard. Reading the global press today I see that Obama has already made tremendous progress on one issue and that is to repair the damage image of USA abroad. Let´s hope he is as successful in repairing most of what is wrong with USA at home.
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