Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What do the British think of Obama this time?

The short answer: not much apparently. Disappointment still reigns. And they have their own problems. 

The longer answer:
four years ago, we had hope and drama. The American election was big news with signs in windows and bumper stickers on strollers. This year there has been less chatter, which I attributed to the fact I wasn't there to hear or see it. So I checked in directly on the subject with some friends a few days ago. (My favorite response came from Foxy. "[Your question] was something I raised with [FoxyMan] yesterday whilst trying out my new roller skates in the living room. I like to multi-task as you know." She also sent me the very funny Boris Johnson set for US presidential run. But I digress.) 

The lack of interest is not my imagination. Other than watching for Bernanke's next move or what the First Lady wears, they aren't paying much attention. This time everyone already knows whether or not we will elect a black president. The EU and UK are "ominshambles"(M&M gave me that wonderful word). Our election isn't going to change their need for austerity, but what Bernanke does might, hence the focus on him. Plus, most of media and expats haven't considered a Romney win worth discussing.  (Most, though certainly not all, expats in London are wealthy, corporate banker types from the coasts, that is, most are of the left.) They assume that Obama is going to win.

Here's the problem: at this point the spectrum of possible outcomes starts at Obama with a tight win, perhaps while losing the popular vote, to a Romney landslide. The average outcome, if you will, is a solid Romney win. A week out and a Romney win is the way to bet. Those old enough to remember say that the election feels like the run up to Reagan over Carter in 1980. The economic stress and world turmoil feel familiar. As Carter was seen as inept, so is Obama. It's the B's: Big Bird, Binders, and Bayonets and Benghazi.

And the early data does not look good for Obama—early voting, it's just a flesh wound.

Leaving aside whether you think I'm insane or not, if few across the Pond anticipate a Romney win and he does win—especially by a wide margin—the European conventional wisdom will claim Americans are crazy, religious zealots without an ounce of sense. If someone comes to that conclusion because they know what they think they know about Romney, I can't do much about that. But in most cases the crazy conclusion will be a self defense reflex against examining the current Obama assumptions.  I started this blog to combat that sort of thing. 

This post was a little expectation management. On election day as soon as the race is called for Romney, I will post an explanation of how Romney won. For my right leaning readers, I know, "Don't get cocky, kid." (It's a Star Wars quote. Of course I've seen it. It jumps out of the screen and I hear it every time it appears. Geek reflex and all.) Promising this post is certainly cocky, but I'm not in poll crunching or GOTV. I do expectation management inside the bubble. This situation calls for cocky. 

For my left leaning readers, you can take comfort in this: I am up polishing this post at 5am because I left all the windows open on my car last night and the sprinklers flooded and fried my car. I woke in a rush when I heard the sprinklers, rushed out with towels, only to hear the static noise common in an electrical system frying. Not my best moment. You can hope that my "brilliance" runs in threes. It might. I could be wrong. But you should be prepared for a short night next Tuesday.

12 comments:

Expat mum said...

The Brits I know (of both political persuasions) will be claiming that Americans are crazy if they elect someone who will turn the clock back on abortion, will amend the Constitution to safe keep marriage for heterosexuals only, and whose running mate has co-cponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, giving a fertilized egg the same rights as human beings. You can argue finances and foreign policy all you want, but regardless of their political beliefs, most Brits I know cannot believe that the first three issues are even on the table.

AHLondon said...

1. I had a hunch you might be my first comment on this. You beat everyone on FB too. 2. Most Brits aren't aware that they have far greater restrictions on abortion than in the US. Canada beats us with no restrictions at all, but then often has to refer its late term abortions to American clinics because the procedure is dangerous, expensive, and they have few doctors willing to perform the service. Also, up to recently Brits thought they were more relaxed on homosexual issues because they had civil unions. The same sex marriage debate is new and is a source of heated debate just like in the US where civil union laws easily pass but same sex marriage does not. 3. One of the things my contacts wanted to know was about this assumption that social issues trumps economy and foreign policy. WIth the ominshambles (I do love that word) of the EU economy, a social focus strikes them as off. Short answer since it is part of my coming post, social issues trump only among those sufficiently removed from economic danger and the trump was taught. Since Goldwater, progressives have known that their economic policies are not an easy sell to Americans, so they have used social issues to cover for economic issues. Whenever they have a tough economic sell, they pull out the conservative boogie man to keep their voters in the fold. This time it is only going to work with some of the costal elites, and that's not enough.

Expat mum said...

I wasn't making a political statement here at all, for once ;-). All I know is that my Brit friends (and they range from staunch Conservatives to card-carrying socialists) are aghast and somewhat amused by the issues that often take front and centre position in the run up to the POTUS election. Whether or not abortion is more restricted in the UK, the fact that Romney/Ryan are promising to take it backwards (ie. add more restrictions) and are still not very convincing as to whether they will allow it for rape and incest, is what shocks my British friends. (BTW, given that in about 85% of the counties in the US where you're supposed to be able to obtain an abortion, you can't actually get one because doctors are afraid for their personal safety and that of their staff and families. In my mind that's fairly restrictive.)
Don't forget, they are also hearing about GOP members such as Akin, making statements about "forcible rape" and opining on how a woman's body can prevent pregnancy if she's "legitimately" raped. It's that kind of thing that makes them think Americans would be crazy to elect the GOP, whatever they think of Romney's financial manifesto.
Plus - he pissed them off a bit with his Olympics remark!

Expat mum said...

Are we friends on FB?

Expat mum said...

Thought you might find this interesting - http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/11/01/if-europeans-could-vote-they-would-elect-obama/

AHLondon said...

FB? No, I just meant that you commented before my friends there. Most like to comment there rather than here, though for these types of posts, it is usually emails or calls. One gave me a text full during Tricks or Treats last night. You were just first. As for who'd Europe would vote for, no doubt. Not even close. Just because they are disappointed in Obama does not mean that they wouldn't stick with him. One told me that as bad as O has been, is it enough to warrant a change of control? To that person, and most Brits I'd expect, it wasn't. But many Americans have the opposite instinct. We would just to reassert our sovereignty, this basically how Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger became governors. More on that later.

AHLondon said...

I just realized that I could reply directly, and just saw this comment.
Will cover at least the media angle of this on Tuesday. It isn't that Akin or abortion issues aren't there, but that they get magnified by the media. And I doubt they covered Akin's exclusion, that as his numbers stabilized, some pundits had to beg for money with arguments about capturing the Senate because we shunned Akin in masse.
Yes the right would add more restrictions, but they would move it in line to the kind of restrictions Europe has. That is, the impression that conservatives are more restrictive masks that our social liberals are more liberal than most Europeans would accept in their own countries. Conservatives get the blame that our culture wars are hotter, when it is actually the liberal unwillingness to make any compromise that fuels the fire. And a cite please for the 85% fear survey.

Expat mum said...

Phew! Thought I was going nuts. Searched through my FB comments as I couldn't for the life of me remember leaving such a comment. (Senior moment.)

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AHLondon said...

New. I can't tell if that is spam or not. Yasha is not in now for translation services.

Lokki said...

The issues of abortion, ans same sex marriage aren't even on the table as things Romney has any interest in. The Democrats have thrown them up to scare people like you who really don't pay much attention to the issues. Yes, Romney has addressed them, in the same way that a man -must- answer the "have you stopped beating your [strike] same-sex partner[/strike]wife?". If you say nothing or refuse to answer, the worst will be implied about you.

To be a bit cruel to you, it's exactly like saying that if the British defeat the Americans in the American revolution , they'll be shoving spotted dick down our throats.

This is not a social issues election. It's about the government spending too much money and wanting to spend more.

AHLondon said...

The social issues are designed as a curtain to throw up whenever the relevant issues aren't in the Dems favor. The economy is bad enough this time, that everyone but those few who aren't at the mercy of the economy are looking behind the curtain.
Don't worry about comment cruelty to me. I have thick skin. Plus, I also have the Michael Ledeen letter after this post, which is a bit cruel the other way.