Wednesday, 5 November 2008

And Obama won....

Well the good news is that the election is over and other topics will presumably soon be discussed again on the US blogs (after a fair amount of gnashing of teeth I imagine). I'd been getting really really sick of the campaign, notwithstanding its importance for us all!

The bad news is, well, Obama won.

Bad from a Catholic perspective because he seems set to be the most aggressively anti-life President yet, and his election ends any prospect of overturning Roe v Wade through appropriate appointments to the the US Supreme Court.

Mind you, I have my doubts about whether McCain would have been dramatically better, his own track record was rather spotty, and who knows how much influence Palin would really have had...

Crikey reports for example, that in Colorado, proposition 48 -- personhood beginning at conception -- was defeated 75 to 25. The only positive is that proposition 8 -- banning gay marriage in California -- is leading 56 to 44.

OK, that's the bad news. Those hoping for a pro-Republican slant should stop reading now (you have been warned).

The good news is that Obama won...

We shouldn't really be surprised that in the end, economics and the hip pocket effect proved more potent than cultural and moral issues, or at least the cultural and moral issues we think people should care more about! The reality is that the arguments and tactics being used today by pro-life forces are simply not having the impact needed. We haven't been able to persuade even the majority of nominal catholics that abortion outweighs all other issues, so how can we hope to succeed more widely? Some serious rethinking is needed.

In any case, I heard one commentator claiming that McCain lost the election when he fluffed the question of what to do over the economic crisis, and I think that is a fair call.

I don't think we can blame all those voters as acting solely on the basis of greed. In fact Obama has been proclaiming a more community oriented, mutual-support ethos in response, and I think that has some merit.

And I have to admit that while I have major reservations about President-elect Obama, and not just on life issues, I have a strong sympathy with those who got to vote and wanted change.

The reality is that the Bush administration has been a disaster for both America and the world, failing to lay any groundwork for America's changing role in the world, and serving only to create increased tensions internationally. Relations between Russia and its neighbours make the risk of a nuclear conflagration more possible than at any time since the end of the cold war. The Iraq War has proved disastrous for the Christians who once lived there, and doesn't seem to have solved a thing. Tensions with China have escalated. And McCain couldn't really articulate how he would be very different.

On economics, the conservative paradigm that we should just let the markets work has been well and truly proven wrong once again. The worrying thing is the way the bailouts, guarantees and, in Australia's case interest rate cuts, are being structured in such a way as to perpetuate some of the underlying problems rather than solve them. How can it be helpful, for example, to allow the banks to use the proceeds from interest rate reductions to swallow up their competitors, rather than pass the full cuts on to consumers? Doesn't this just lead to more foreclosures?

The hope now has to be that we will see some out of the box thinking in the US and elsewhere occurring on a wide range of issues, and that not of all of this will prove bad.

Obama certainly gave a pretty nice acceptance speech (a few PC moments aside).

Well, we can pray.


David said...

Exactly my thoughts. I'll certainly be praying for America now that Obama has been elected, it's not a time to give up hope, even if it's not the best result. And in the meantime, we have issues to look at here in Australia...

Anonymous said...

Both McCain and Obama are servants of Satan. (MOderate Whigs v. Radical Whigs.)

As were the founding fathers of the USA.

Today's results were a fait accompli once the pilgrim fathers landed on Plymouth Rock (it would have been much better for the world had P.R. landed on the pilgrim fathers...

Then again, it were much better for the world had Luther been burnt.)

+ Thomas Wolsey

Archieps. Eborac., etc

David said...

South Dakota's Proposition 11 - aimed at banning abortion and getting Roe back before the Supreme Court was defeated, too..

All in all, I can't see the silver lining.

Melanie Phillips in The Spectator once quipped that, were Obama not an US citizen, his extensive connections to Marxist radicals, bomb-throwers, race-baiters and other dodgy characters are such that he'd never get past Homeland Security at the airport.

Now he's the big cheese.

I won't argue about economics, because, on the fundamental question - human life - Obama's hands are drenched in innocent blood.

This guy voted three times against a law that would have required hospitals to provide medical care to babies that survived abortion. Aparently, babies were left to die in storage areas and empty operating theatres in Chicago hospitals for up to 8 hours, and Mr "Hope" voted to deny them rudimentary care.

Faced with such evil, one can only mourn and pray.

David said...

Mea culpa! One mistake there...the silver lining is the marriage propositions...

Second, while we're praying...pray (like the guys at Ceative Minority Report) for the health and long life of the Justices of the Supreme the "hope" that Mr O doesn't get to make any appointments in the next four years.

David said...

Actually, Terra, the fundamental cause of this crisis was not unbridled capitalism but PC government interference in the mortgage industry.

The sub-prime mortgage crisis arose because Democrats in Congress (led by Barney Frank from Massacheussets) regulated to require the financial sector to lend to minorities and others who could not afford to make the repayments, in the name of a misguided notion of social justice. The US also has "non-recourse mortgages" - this means that if you can't repay, you just hand over your house to the bank, without owing the balance of the loan.

One could, therefore persuasively argue for exactly the opposite conclusions to yours; that the problem was a government that used the financial sector as an instrument of social policy.

Ironically, although Obama and the Dems may have almost unlimited political power, because the economy has tanked, they may be severely constrained in implementing significant change...

On Iraq, well that's done and dusted to all practical purposes, and it looks like the troops may be out before Bush even leaves office (some Iraqis are talking about December 21).

Russia's belligerence will be a problem for Obama and can hardly be blamed on the US Administration. Vlad Putin (he's still really in charge over there, as PM rather than Prez) may even be tempted to immitate Kruschev, and "test" an inexperienced President. Joe Biden suggested as much. We may in fact be closer to a nuclear crisis today than we were yesterday.

Terra said...


I'd argue that the problem was not minority loans (which in fact were a very tiny proportion of the sub-prime problem) but the fact that credit agencies (who had a vested interest in giving postive ratings)gave them a credit rating that made them part of any financial institutions supposedly low risk portfolio component.

And non-recourse loans (in theory at least) simply ensure that banks don't lend out more money than a property is truly worth, and discourages foreclosure without actively trying to sell the property in a way that makes the most of its value (one of the big problems we are seeing at the moment).

The problem in the US, as their (hardly radical) past and present central bankers have admitted, is under-regulation, not overregulation.

As for Putin and the US - in fact its Bush's diplomacy (or lack thereof) that has escalated the tensions. The point is that the US has tended to try and isolate Russia, send troops in first elsewhere, and talk later rather than the reverse. Would McCain have been different? Perhaps. But he would have been hampered by the conservative establishiment in place.

That said, the international problems are pretty intractable and I agree that Obama is a high risk candidate to manage them.

David said...

Economically, I think my (very inelegantly expressed) point was that the issue was indeed a problem of under-regulation, but under-regulation combined with political interference.

On Russia, McCain was, if anything, more aggressive than W, saying "when I see Putin, I see three letters - K, G and B!". That said, Russia has a huge "chip on its collective shoulders" as a former superpower that's not so super anymore - kind of like Germany in the '20's and early 30's. Iran's run by Shi'ite nutjobs who blame the jews for everything and want to bring about the Apocalypse. Much of the Sunni world harbours dreams of the Caliphate and extermination of the Jews. And the Jews don't want to be exterminated, and have nukes (actually I think most of them are designed to be launched from German-made submarines - how's that for irony) to make sure no-one tries.

All in all, it's a scary, scary world out there.

Louise said...

I would argue that any time Big Guvvermint and Big Business get in bed together it's going to be bad news.

Wolsey is right, however.

There's not a lot of hope for the US (or anywhere) until Church teaching is the guide for policy making.

Hail, Christ the King.