The phrase which struck me hardest from Obama’s victory speech after sweeping away Hilary Clinton at the Iowa Caucus, was ‘I won’t tell you what you want to hear. I’ll tell you what you need to know’. If anything was a denial of the Clinton and Blair eras in Britain and the US, in which focus groups controlled what politicians were willing to say, this was it.
Obama is calling for a move away from falseness – from politicians being only the froth on society where money easily slides into advantage, and bureaucracy creeps ahead, where only the short term news advantage is the focus of debate – to one where information will be responsibly handled, and longterm strategic advantage for America will be achieved.
A quick browse of his website confirms this impression. He wants to get government borrowing down, limit lobbyist influence in Washington, end corruption, open up government and reestablish honesty in decision-taking, spend on infrastructure, improve education, boost research, set about long term energy independence for America, end oil dependence and promote environmental improvement – simplify the tax code, and boost the country’s competitiveness.
Cameron’s localist agenda could use all of these strategic objectives, as well as borrowing heavily from Obama’s rhetoric.
I don’t see Huckabee as cutting through far enough to meet the dynamism of Obama’s message. I feel we are looking at the next President.
It seems that politics is no longer democrat/republican, conservative/labour, left or right. It is becoming worldwide the same – it’s about bureaucracy versus the individual. Cameron and Obama are the vanguard of the new movement, in the same part of the ballpark, taking up the needs of the individual and putting them back at the centre.
People want to be included, informed and listened to. Clintonian and Blairite charm, permitting money to slide into pole position and disenfranchise the individual, as of today is history. Cameron should be greatly encouraged by Obama’s win. His being Democrat has nothing to do with it. Competence in government and improved outcomes is now more important than just looking good, and sounding good. In Iowa 2008, superficiality died. At last people are ready to look beyond the media and easy impression-giving. The politics of anti-spin has at last found its voice, and the tide can only grow. Cameron and his expression of his philosophy should be made ready.
UPDATE – Betting seems to agree that Obama’s getting it right – on www.politicalbetting.com HERE (many commenters impressed by Hucakbee’s skill as a presenter, but most not realising the extremity of his religious views).
And see Guardian’s columnist predicting Obama Presidency in November HERE. He sees American women moving what he calls ‘Left’. I think he’s missed a trick. Obama’s taking on the corruption system, and reconnecting politics with voters’ concerns. It’s not so much left-wing. Many items in his policy arsenal are right-wing e.g. energy independence, ending oil dependency, boosting research, simplifying the tax code, getting debt under control, building infrastructure, boosting competitiveness. Being ‘open and honest’ with the electorate.
I guess the media tend to see the contest in conventional terms. Cameron and Jesse Norman of Policy Exchange will not be doing so. See these Obama quotes from from www.johnredwoodsdiary.com
In his victory address Mr Obama said:
“You said the time had come to tell the lobbyists who think their money and their influence speak louder than our voice that they don’t own the government, we do; and we are here to take it back”
“The time has come for a President who will be honest about the choices and challenges we face; who will listen to you and learn from you even when we disagree; who wont just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know…”.
Says it all. As does this..