I’m The Economist and I Approve This Election
Posted on Jun 5, 2008
The storied British mag is making no bones about it: America’s long primary battle, judging by the candidates it produced, was a major success. According to a new cover story, ” ... On the face of it, this is the most impressive choice America has had for a very long time.”
The Republicans settled on their candidate more quickly, but theirs was still a marathon by anyone else’s standards. And the end of it was surely the right result. In John McCain, the Republicans chose a man whose political courage has led him constantly to attempt to forge bipartisan deals and to speak out against the Bush administration when it went wrong. Conservatives may hate him, but even they can see that he offers the party its only realistic hope in November.
The Democratic race has been longer and nastier; but on June 3rd it too produced probably the right result. Over the past 16 months, the organisational skills and the characters of the two contenders have been revealed. Mrs Clinton, surprisingly in the light of all her claimed experience, was shown up for running a less professional and nimble campaign than her untested rival. She has also displayed what some voters have perceived as a mean streak and others (not enough, though) saw as gritty determination. And she could never allay confusion about the future role of her husband.
Mr Obama has demonstrated charisma, coolness under fire and an impressive understanding of the transforming power of technology in modern politics. Beating the mighty Clinton machine is an astonishing achievement. Even greater though, is his achievement in becoming the first black presidential nominee of either political party. For a country whose past is disfigured by slavery, segregation and unequal voting rights, this is a moment to celebrate. America’s history of reinventing and perfecting itself has acquired another page.