Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Obama Express – and why it cannot be derailed

As a foreigner, I find it interesting how most Americans use labels. The true meaning of terms liberal/conservative and socialism/capitalism does not seem to be clearly understood by the average voter.

This perhaps, is one of the major underlying problems the Republicans are facing this election. And the result: their inability to clearly define their target.

Obama seems to be more of a pragmatist than a liberal. Even his economic advisors are not weighed down by philosophical ideals; they are mostly a bunch of behavioral economists.

Their selection says a lot about Obama’s decision making process, and how he thinks, and how he approaches problems. As long as the Republicans choose to misunderstand this (indicating who he really is), they will fail to effectively counter his candidacy.

Or maybe they do, and that explains why they are trying to dig up dirt. Anything will do, as long as they don’t have to face their worst nightmare – a highly qualified, intelligent, imminently clear headed, and reasonable person.

Their second problem for the Republicans, of course, is that America has changed. It is a vastly different place today, compared to even 20 years ago when I came to this country.

Then I was struck by the absence of news about what happened in the rest of the world. But with the advent of the Internet, this has all changed. Even local debates now are often colored by the input of a worldwide audience. The new generation is used to associate and talk to people online, without even being aware of (or care about) in which country their counterparties reside.

The net result – young America’s thinking had been shaped by an entirely different process as that of their elders. And this is also why they can associate more closely with Obama than with the old guard. His thinking is closer to theirs.

Since the Republicans are still seemingly stuck on a group of older philosophical ideas, they are in deep trouble to counter the movement Obama has become the leading spokesman of. They are clearly in on the deep end, and I doubt very much that they will be able to derail the Obama Express – no matter what tricks they choose to employ.

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