It is fair to say I am not one of Barack Obama’s biggest fans. It is also fair to say that I am waiting in the wings for him to prove all my previous criticisms of him being all talk and no action correct. However before I ‘rain on the parade’ I want to make a few things clear. First I don’t doubt for a minute that Obama has good intentions. I also don’t doubt for a minute that he is passionate about what he believes in and I am sure the passion, good will and enthusiasm that surrounds him will in many ways restore credibility to the White House and inspire a weary nation.
However, to rain on the parade, I do believe that Obama like Blair before him will be nothing more than another false dawn. He has quite simply built hopes up too high as such he has a long way to fall and few who will be willing to catch him on the way down. Such is politics. He was elected on a platform of change that progressed and prospered on a whirl of rhetoric. I believe we have seen in the weeks following the election the first glimpse of what an Obama Presidency will be like when George W Bush makes his final bow: Same old, Same old.
The fact is there has been a clear change in Obama’s tone. His criticisms of Bush, which played such a crucial part in his election, have been revised. His ambitious agenda, which inspired a nation and a world, has been moderated. From the minute John McCain conceded the race to Barack Obama all these changes in approach, which stand in stark contrast to his campaign, began to come to light. Indeed even in his victory speech he conceded “we might not get there”. He might not get to that promised land he had pledged, and was elected, to create. A land which, you would think on the basis of his rhetoric, was easy to achieve. Clearly he has realised it isn’t so easy to achieve the promised land he claimed Bush had failed to deliver and as such he has had to change his tone.
Similarly his pledge to pull out of Iraq completely has had a convenient little get out clause added to it: “When the time is right”. George Bush, the man whom he derilled and destroyed verbally so often, is according to Obama “a good guy” after all. In fact he has now conceded that the decisions Bush took were “the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances”. Furthermore his silence on the Israeli crisis does not represent a new dawn or a new approach, it represents nothing more than a continuation of the pro Israeli status quo that runs in Washington. Even his choice of cabinet can be summed up in one word: safe. Does all this sound like a new dawn? He hasn’t even been inaugurated yet and the gloss is beginning to come off.
So dear reader in sum, Im sorry to break it to you: Obama will not be the new dawn you hope he will be. He will, like almost all politicians before him, fail to live up to the dreams and ambitions of the people and indeed his own rhetoric. His decisions and retractions in the last week, whilst not neccessarily bad ones, do not symbolise a change in direction. They symbolise nothing more than a mild moderation of the status quo that comes with any transition of government. But don’t get me wrong Im not writing Obama off completely, indeed he could be a good President in time, but what I am getting at is he will not be the new dawn many believe. He will not live up to the high hopes and expections that he himself conspired to construct and he will not be able to escape the burden of a nation and a worlds disappointment that will fall on his shoulders when he fails to live up to their naieve expectations.
Who cares though? For the time being we can dream, we can drink, we can party and tomorrow… we can face the hangover.