Columns

Obama ought to secure his next term

Wignall's World

Mark Wignall

Sunday, November 04, 2012    

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PRIOR to the presidential debates, the political watchers and analysts in the US were telling us that presidential debates rarely ever move the electorate.

If we were to buy into that belief and accept that a debate is hardly ever won on truth-telling and substance, but more on aggressiveness and style, it can be concluded that Obama lost the first debate. That being so, what is there to explain the sudden shift since that first debate towards Mitt Romney, a scary presidential proposition, if debates hardly ever sway the electorate significantly?

Obama's win in 2008 was historic in that, for the first time, an African-American took the presidency. With many Republicans skilfully stoking the fires of racism ever since that victory, there are some who believe that an American man of colour can only win based on the sheer force of creating history, but he cannot repeat that win because his history will have been exhausted.

There are others who share the belief that Romney would be a better president because he could get more done with the obstructionists in the GOP-controlled House. In that particular politics of attrition the continuation of Obama for his second term pushes the argument towards Obama being the consummate obstructionist for daring to want that other term.

The reasoning along those lines is that he should cede the presidency to Romney because the white GOP, hostile to Obama and intent on continuing to block his proposals, will be more than willing to bend over to Romney, a brother in political spirit and one whose mirror image tends to look more like those in Congress.

It is my belief that the confluence of constant 'birtherism', the deliberate misinformation that Obama is Muslim and that he shares 'foreign' values, have taken their toll, not necessarily on low-information voters, but on a population of older white-skinned people who had really emptied their system of racism. Many of those folks now 'want their country back', hence the close race in the polls.

In this respect, the tea party wingnuts who raised their game in 2010 have been successful, first of all in feeding into the silent frenzy of the racist insecurities of older white America and taking the Congress, and second, in making Obama the closest thing there was to a puppet president.

With all of that, he has presided over the recovery of the American economy after the Bush policies had given robber barons on Wall Street licence to market toxic securities. As those shenanigans messed up the economy, it took down the global community with it. For Obama's sterling leadership in pulling America back from the brink and in posting more than moderate gains, it is my belief that were he white-skinned, he probably would have been up by 10 percentage points at this time on the eve of the presidential elections and would be lauded as a hero.

But he has to be made into an 'other', and all of the open divisiveness of the tea party crowd and Congressional action has been projected onto him. To me his major fault, from a public perspective at any rate, is his seeming refusal to get in there with the troublemakers in Congress, mix it up and indulge in rounds of political horse trading.

Knowing that he is a man who thinks through his decisions and the consequences of his actions before making his moves, it is quite possible that he had surmised that the white establishment in Congress would have relished that, but only to reject his proposals anyway and have a good laugh about it over drinks later.

Although the military industrial complex is stronger than any president can ever be, where Romney has rattled his sabres and sent overt messages to some in the international community that he is willing to launch other wars to further debilitate the American economy, Obama has been the strong voice of calm where war must be seen as a last resort. The GOP effort to tag him with the supposed weakness of former President Carter has had an effect on his poll numbers.

I expect him to win those 270 electoral college votes come November 6, but it can only be done if complacency is seen as a bad word. America cannot afford to elect Romney or any one of the dozen or so incarnations of him.

Grace Jackson making historic challenge for presidency of JAAA

Having given long and distinguished service in many areas of sports administrative, Grace Jackson, OD, has decided to go where no woman has ever gone — to challenge for the male-dominated presidency of the Jamaica Athletics Administration Association (JAAA).

The election is set for November 29 and she will be going up against the incumbent, Dr Warren Blake.

The slogan for her campaign is 'Inspire for Change'. Currently she is first vice-president of the JAAA and sport development director at the UWI.

Up until recently she was a member of the Women's Committee of the IAAF.

I have taken a glimpse at her quite impressive CV and her manifesto, a part of which states as intentions:

'Develop a comprehensive athletes support programme, increase the number of certified coaches and officials, develop national training centres using existing entities (Monroe College, GC Foster), develop similar commissions and committees like the international governing bodies in order to have effective representation on them, support and encourage programmes for Olympians and other athletes.'

It is my understanding that she is intimately acquainted with the needs and concerns of the administration and its members, and her support reaches across the political divide and into the business community.

I have been promised additional information on the campaign. For now I wish her well.

observemark@gmail.com

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