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So What did these American Conventions Achieve?
Last uploaded : Saturday 8th Sep 2012 at 12:39
Contributed by : Carol Gould


Putting gay marriage and abortion aside, the dilemma Americans have is that a successful businessman is pitted against an incumbent who has not made the 2008 dream of prosperity a reality. Barack Obama has not shown the promise so many expected of him. When Susan Eisenhower and Julie Nixon, the progeny of Republican presidents, formed Republicans for Obama that year, they expected him to extract the United States from a terrifying financial meltdown and from an ‘image problem’ generated by two wars and the debacle of Hurricane Katrina. There is no doubt America's image has improved but bank bailouts have not helped the average worker and homeowner feel secure.

Many millions of unemployed Americans later, dismay proliferates across a nation still plagued by home repossessions and business failures. As I have said so often in recent years the miracle Democrat Franklin Roosevelt bestowed upon the United States was the renewal Americans expected from Obama. FDR was a genius at bringing in major programs like Social Security by enlisting the help of, for example, GOP New Hampshire Governor John Gilbert Winant. He managed to convince his fellow Republicans to support Social Security and the New Deal.

Obama has not been able to produce a New Deal through political canniness. In 2010 the Republicans regained Congress and the right-wing Tea Party movement elected four senators, nearly toppling Democratic control of the upper house. Since 2010 the GOP has opposed Obama’s programmes at every juncture.

There is one area, however, in which both parties have excelled: not bringing in 'austerity' -- unlike the British Chancellor George Osborne targeting the most vulnerable in society in order to reduce the national deficit. By rescuing and reinvigorating the automobile industry the Obama administration has created jobs and revenue. An American politician interviewed by a BBC Newsnight rpeorter said that attacking the poor and disabled always means losing the next election and renders a candidate 'political toast.' Perhaps it is the intensely religious nature of Amnerican society that does not produce 'Daily Mail' style attacks on the vulnerable but there is no culture of blame in the United States that targets people on £85 a week as the source of all the nation's problems.

Would Romney be able to produce an FDR-style New Deal with about as little Washington experience as Obama? I doubt it; he will favour the interests of big business and resist his better nature to overthrow Obamacare. (I still believe he is a liberal at heart.) This despite his favourable record as governor of Massachusetts where a workable health plan was put into place. Perhaps Americans more disillusioned than I will wish to give him a chance.


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