[International Herald Tribune, France]



Folha, Brazil

Obama: An American Anomaly?


"The two 'interventions' by the president which made the most sense [financial and health reform] are starting to get blown up. Or, looking at things the other way around: the electoral anomaly wasn't the Republicans' victory in 2010, but Obama's in 2008."


By Clóvis Rossi*



Translated By Brandi Miller


November 4, 2010


Brazil - Folha - Original Article (Portuguese)

A somewhat contrite President Obama takes questions the day after a devestating blow to Democrats.


BBC NEWSNIGHT: British journalists and academics discuss the U.S. midterm results, Nov. 3, 00:06:58RealVideo

Still recovering from a vacation, my first two reactions to the U.S. election results came from the gut. They were:


1 - These people don't know how to vote (the people of the United States, to be clear).


2 - Man, the North American equivalent of the rabid Brazilian who campaigns so dirtily, with boiling hatred and other such nonsense, won.


Later, after being cured of my vacation hangover, Ed Pilkington from The Guardian convinced me of what he put in his column on the front page of the Thursday edition: "The Tea Party movement, which 21 months ago did not exist, and which has been widely derided and ridiculed by those who thought they knew best, can no longer be ignored."


Bingo - not that the ultraconservative movement was the winner of the election. The story is a bit more complicated than that. But it was the "Tea Party" that imposed their electoral agenda, pulled the Republican Party even more to the right, and therefore, offered savage aid (in both senses of the word) to defeat Barack Obama.


Those of us who think "we know more" and ridicule the Tea Party didn't realize that, actually, the North American agenda, or at least the agenda of half of America, is the agenda of the Tea Party.



Or, as Eduardo Lago, a writer and the director of the Cervantes Institute in New York, preferred in an article for El País, "the Tea Party is the crystallization of the entrenched fear of half of America that things have stopped being as they've always been."


The average American is so conservative that the U.S. left isn't called the "left," but is called "liberal," a word that carries with it the rejection of state intervention - which is precisely the clearest sign of the left in the rest of the world.


[The author is talking about economic liberalism, as opposed to political liberalism. Economic liberalism is an economic philosophy of laissez-faire economics and private property. The main focus of modern U.S. political liberalism includes voting rights for all adults, equal rights, protection of the environment, and the provision by the government of social services, such as education, health care, transportation infrastructure, food for the hungry and shelter for the homeless.]


That there was a vote against interventionism as adopted by Obama makes sense, but it is also a great cruelty: most of the president's interventionism was critically necessary to contain the crisis brought on largely by the excessive "non-intervention" of his Republican predecessor, George Walker Bush.



Le Monde, France: Charting the Tortured Path of the Tea Party

Liberation, France: American 'Anti-Statists' Claim Midterm Victory

La Jornada, Mexico: A Dire Midterm Result for the U.S. and World

Le Figaro, France: Tea Party: An 'American Fever' that Will Quicky Pass

Wen Wei Po, Hong Kong: Blaming China Led Obama to Midterm Defeat

Le Temps, Switzerland: Obama Pays Big for Anemic Growth

News, Switzerland: Obama: Don't Bargain with Your 'Political Assassins'

La Jornada, Mexico: Obama 'Bit Off More than He Could Chew'

Le Temps, Switzerland: Cheap Advice for President Obama

Tageblatt, Luxembourg: Prepare for 'Tea Time' in America

El Pais, Spain: As U.S. Exposes its Divisions, China Powers Ahead

Global Times, China: The West is Forming an 'Axis of Evil Ideology'

Hispanidad, Spain: How Spain Can Build its Own Tea Party: Copy Palin

El Universal, Mexico: Immigration Reform: Obama's Ace in the Hole

Le Temps, Switzerland: America's 'Cry of Agony' Through the Tea Party

Izvestia, Russia: Evil Obama and China's Yuan: It's About the Midterms

Liberation, France: Christine O’Donnell at the 'Oral Stage'

Financial Times Deutschland, Germany: West Must Halt Slide Since 9-11

El Mercurio, Spain: The 'Neo-Nazi' Campaign Against President Obama

El Mundo, Spain: Beck and Palin Search for Mythical 'Paradise Lost'

Der Standard, Austria: In Despair Over Democracy - Both America's and Ours

National Post, Canada: U.S. Democracy Suffers 'Death By Talk-Show Host'

La Jornada, Mexico: Beck and the New U.S.-Right: 'Like a Horror Movie'

Iraq News Agency, Iraq: Sarah Palin: The 'Seductress' of the American Election


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On Thursday, the first signs of the swinging of the pendulum back to the conservative side was already on display: Spencer Bachus, the Republican who will in theory preside over the House Financial Services Committee, wrote a letter published in the Financial Times warning that certain kinds of financial regulation [the Volcker Rule] that were included in the Obama package would cause tremendous damage to North American banks.


John Boehner, who will be the new House Speaker under the Republican majority, has already called the health care reform, Obama's greatest victory of his two years in office, a "monstrosity," even though it was watered down by the opposition, which wasn't only Republican, but Democratic as well.  



Put another way: the two "interventions" by the president which made the most sense are starting to get blown up. Or, looking at things the other way around: the electoral anomaly wasn't the Republicans' victory in 2010, but Obama's in 2008.


Clovis Rossi is a special correspondent and member of the Folha editorial board, is a winner of the Maria Moors Cabot award (USA) and is a member of the Foundation for a New Ibero-American Journalism. His column appears on Thursdays and Sundays on page 2 and on Saturdays in the World Notebook section. He is the author, among other works, of Special Envoy: 25 Years Around the World and What is Journalism?





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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US November 5, 3:39pm]


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