Thursday, November 6, 2008

Australia welcomes Obama, well most

A post for Voices without Votes:

Australian bloggers found their voices after being glued to the media or live-blogging the election for most of Wednesday our time.

Man of Lettuce, Sydney taxi driver and author of Cablog, joined work and pleasure as usual on election night:

Last night the City was awash with the intoxicating ambience of Barack Obama’s victory. An earlier invitation to the Democrats Abroad celebration party on Oxford Street had alerted me to a premier content source...sheer exhilaration plus alcohol - perfect.
His account of an encounter in his cab with an African American couple should be read in full on his unique blog. He finishes on his own note of hope:
…Let’s pray he can fulfil this vision and unify all Americans, thereby becoming one of their great Presidents.
An Onymous Lefty, Jeremy, raised a sour note. Known for his sarcastic posts, he put that aside to express his disgust at the California vote against gay marriage in straightforward language:
…the fact that many of his voters (he won California, after all) turned out to take this basic civil right away from gay people seriously tarnishes his victory. It implies that had he been more principled, and really stood for civil rights - and asked his voters to genuinely consider why, at a moment of the triumph of African Americans as a previously-persecuted group, they would even consider turning that persecution on others - then the gay people of California would not have just lost theirs.

I stand by my earlier refusal to get too excited by the election result.
Obama refuses to stand up for civil rights; Californians lose theirs
Mark Bahnisch at Larvatus Prodeo looked at the impact of the web on the elections and possible future directions:
No doubt one of the big stories about the US election will be the influence of the blogosphere and the netroots. In many ways, the rise of the intertubes in politics was an unintended consequence of the Rove approach to politics…

All technology is shaped socially. Blogging, YouTube, and other social media have been enablers and not just causes of this invigoration of democracy. I’d like to see some research and analysis focused on the wellsprings of activism we’ve seen bubbling up. I think that would be, in many ways, a more productive frame through which to look at what’s interesting, distinctive and exciting about this campaign than yet another round of “journos v. bloggers” style articles.
US election: Yes we can!
Andrew Bolt has been posted on Voices without Votes before. He is a daily newspaper columnist with Melbourne’s Herald Sun and media spokesperson for the right wing in Australia. He is a climate change denier, a critic of anything progressive (the dreaded left-wing, latte and chardonnay drinking socialists) and has “issues” with race.

Just before conceding Obama’s win yesterday, his blog featured a video clip outside a polling booth with the following comments:
Should McCain win, against all predictions and the polls, there will be trouble:

Toledo police are gearing up for possible “civil unrest” during and after tomorrow’s elections.

Indeed, the menace outside one polling booth, patrolled by Black Panthers, is palpable
Obama or McCain. UPDATE: It’s Obama
The old politics of fear and prejudice still live with us. Judge for yourself.

Finally, Miriam Lyons, from the Centre for Policy Development, also shared her thoughts on the Obama presidency at Larvatus Prodeo:
Today’s election result heralds the rise of Green Keynesianism. The US economy is in the toilet and smart economists are advocating direct investment over a more consumer-based fiscal stimulus.

The Obama campaign’s target for emissions cuts was 80% by 2050 - a fair way ahead of Oz Labor’s as-yet-unaltered election promise of 60% by 2050. With the Arctic ice-sheet melting rapidly even an 80% target is too low for a developed country like the US, but it should certainly give Professor Ross Garnaut reason to revise his pessimism about the likely outcome of the Copenhagen round of climate negotiations. It’s worth noting that the Obama campaign’s climate and energy platform specifically called for 100% auctioning of permits.
This is serious stuff. Miriam also reflected on possible impacts on Australia by Obama’s approach to war, economics and international relations. As a think-tank person herself, it was no surprise that she concluded with their likely role in the Obama era:
Just as an aside, it will be interesting to follow the relationship between progressive think tanks & the new administration. Expect to see the traditional influx from conservative think tanks to Republican administrations mirrored on the Democrat side this time around.
Guest Post by Miriam Lyons: What does an Obama win mean for Australia?
If George W. Bush represents the Dark Ages in terms of intellectual progress and political awareness, Barack Obama seems squarely planted in the Enlightenment.

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