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Fran and Migeru named the two big positives I see: the grassroots movement and the symbolic power of the "Black President".
I have great admiration for Marek (and poemless and Drew and whoever I forgot or missed) for working his ass offbringing politics to the people. I hope TBG's polemics from a half year ago is not right and all who experienced will not fall back to slumber forever, and build on the epexerience in doing more activism.
That the top Western power is led by a black man could have a great effect foremost not domestically, and not here in Europe, but in the Third World. (Even Chávez talked positive about Obama, though Obama is no friend of Latin America's fiery neosocialists.) Whether the USA and Obama can use the changed perceptions (and for what) remains to be seen, but the image of global social/racial mobility will remain, IMO. Even if my worst fears regarding Obama's war in Afghanistan and neighbours (see rdf's second point) come true.
Of the things rdf said, one worth for further emphasis is the unprecedented amount of money spent -- spent my Obama. With all die respect to the grassroots, old-fashioned saturation media bombardement, and through that money, played a key role, too. From this side of the pond, the American election system looks like a mess of banana republic dimensions, and holding all three branches of power, this would be the time to reform it -- especially with view to future elections, when money can help the Repubs to recover.
On a broader note, there can be no long-term success if Obama doesn't confront the activity and power of the Mellon Scaifes and such -- and now, with the tirple power, yes he can.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
I said yesterday I'm most curious about Georgia. That's because, if we are at the symbolic level, it would be key for operation The South Shall Fall Again. (A nice big blue cut across Jesusland down to Miami would have looked nice.) So it was a damper that it wasn't even close.
Beyond the string of successful gay marriage bans (not just CA Prop 8), I was depressed by a very narrow failure of Proposition 1A in California (bonds for the high-speed line). However, now I find the final result is a 52.3% to 47.7% victory! Congrats, Montereyan/eugene!!!
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
The top-down policies will be pragmatic, but looking forward rather than back. I expect some fairly radical solutions on energy.
You can't be me, I'm taken
Similarly the US remains an almost impossibly conservative country, with a culture apparently dominated by selfishness, neurotic and paranoid independence, and a tendency to see others as prey rather than individuals who can be shared with equally and fruitfully.
Individuals may not relate to others like this, but this mindset seems to be the basis of both business and political culture.
Nothing much will change until those bedrock attitudes change. And right now they don't even have a name - but 'racism' didn't have a name fifty years ago.
A left-driven campaign to make this adversarial and exploitative mindset as intolerable as racism is today is probably the only thing that can save the US from eating itself, and the rest of the world.
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