B S Raghavan

Message inherent in Obama’s win

B.S.RAGHAVAN | Updated on November 08, 2012

After the electoral triumph, what? Barack Obama, who has just made it to the White House for a second term, should ponder this question deeply and without blinkers. He has certainly retained the people’s trust and surged well past his challenger, Mitt Romney, in the electoral college, but it is the popular vote in any election that is a true index of where the candidate stands in the voters’ estimation.

The slender margin of his popular vote is a cautionary signal of the unresolved uncertainty felt by the voters in regard to the direction in which Obama is set to steer the country. Also, the voting percentages amongst the different segments of the electorate voting for Obama show a skewed pattern, instead of being spread evenly among various categories. These factors do not permit of his victory being taken to be an unconditional or conclusive endorsement of his policies or performance.

They also signify that the American people are sick and tired of the partisan polemics increasingly characterising the nation’s politics, especially as it is played out in Washington. Pedantic and semantic hair-splitting of jargonised postulates relating to fiscal or monetary frameworks have no relevance to their daily hassles and leave them cold. So do disputations about ‘fiscal cliffs’ and deficits and packages.


Their demands are simple: Jobs, sufficient income to make both ends meet, availability of essential requirements at affordable prices, peaceful neighbourhoods, and a government that governs.

The evenly split vote is the people’s call that, regardless of who the President is, or which Party is in control of which House, they should all sink their differences and lose no time to put in place a slew of measures, by whatever name called, that will make their lives liveable.

Unfortunately for them, their message has been flying over the heads of both the Parties in the US which are bent on indulging in their internecine squabbles, devoid of any sense of urgency or empathy. The fact of the Republican House of Representatives and the Democratic Party dominated Senate being at loggerheads is adding to the bedlam.

The topmost priority for the President is to adopt every possible means of persuasion and pressure to arrive at a bipartisan agreement to stem and reverse the ravages being caused to the nation’s economy by the current games of one-upmanship. The result of a failure to find a common ground based on a give-and-take on both sides will be a financial mess of monumental proportions, with its repercussions on European, and even global, economy.


For, a budget deficit that has crossed $1 trillion is simply unsustainable and something will give, if timely preventive steps are not taken.

Fortunately, time-tested remedies are ready at hand, such as: Raising the taxes for the rich; plugging the loopholes and exemptions amounting to billions of dollars and channelling them into the revenue stream; putting more money into the pockets of the middle class consumers by way of appropriate tax cuts; and effecting reductions in spending by pruning and paring the existing schemes and those that are wasteful, redundant and overlapping.

The biggest advantage of a second-term President is the total freedom he enjoys to frame policies in the national interest and the boldness with which he can launch them without any political motives being imputed. This is the moment, when the people have spoken, that he must seize to make the Republican leaders realise that they will put themselves inexcusably in the wrong in the eyes of the people if they do not cooperate with him in hammering out a solvent and stable financial superstructure together.

Obama cannot be blamed if, for the better part of his second term, he is preoccupied with the domestic front, and has very little time to spare for relations with other countries, except perhaps China and the Af-Pak region. Mostly, it will be coasting along without any radical shifts by whomsoever he appoints as the next Secretary of State.

India should brace itself for the loss of sheen of the much-hyped strategic partnership.

In the guise of saving domestic jobs, the Obama Administration will tighten the screws on outsourcing and visa quotas. And for boosting its economy, the US will pressure India to further liberalise investment flows and expand market access. US self-interest will everywhere rule the roost.

Published on November 08, 2012

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