The Obama effect

Posted By on November 7, 2008

I was at a local bar the night of Nov. 4 when CNN said Ohio had gone for Obama. That was when I knew he’d won the presidency, and I cheered as loud as anybody. The gang of Obama workers at the Purple Shamrock in South Euclid knew then that something huge was happening, and just how huge it was is beginning to settle in. It also made me feel better about living in Ohio, which has a tradition of voting for people who talk it right but do it wrong.

Weird to think that as of late next January, the president of the United States will be a hybrid man named Barack Hussein Obama. Not only did his solid election prove that a man of color can be president, it also proved that someone very different, not to mention very intellectual, can be. Some pundits call Obama’s election a vindication of civil rights, and indeed it is. My sense of politics began when Adlai Stevenson ran against Dwight Eisenhower. He was too much of an egghead and lost – twice. Now Obama, certainly as much of an egghead as Stevenson, has won. The difference is, Obama’s cool.

My friend Jack, who voted for McCain, told me an even bigger test will be when a Jew is elected president (that a woman will be seems more likely than that, actually). But for now, we should all rejoice in barriers being broken. Not to mention celebrate the best campaign I’ve ever had the pleasure of volunteering for.

If Obama runs the country half as well as he ran his campaign, the U.S. will be far more together. In the past eight years it’s been trashed, dumbed down, rode hard and put up wet, so we must keep a close eye on what President Bush does in his last 70-plus days. But for now, at least, a sense of hope and promise has returned to the electorate. Even those who didn’t vote for Obama give him the benefit of the doubt.

Sure, he’s also a consummate pol, and he’ll have to make peace with more traditional factions of the Democratic Party. He’ll also have to deal with the largely (and thankfully) defanged GOP. So he’ll compromise, moving to the center to govern, a center where it seems most people want him to be. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, because he was elected on the basis of a fairly progressive agenda. How he capitalizes on his victory before he takes office – whom he appoints, his interplay with world leaders – should be telling. If the next two months leave people feeling anything like Obama’s victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park made me feel, we all might be able to enjoy life in the USA again. 


2 Responses to “The Obama effect”

  1. I found your blog today and enjoyed reading your take on the election and catching up on your recent activities. You know, Carlo, you’re a talented writer; I hope you never apply for my job.
    And one more thing: can you recommend a good brand of watch in the under-$250 category (Is my penury showing?)

  2. Carlo says:

    Try Swiss Army. Try Fossil; the classic Philippe Starck is really cool. Thanks for the comment. How are things going?

Leave a Reply

About the author

I'm a veteran critic and business writer who reads and listens and writes about music, books, hotels and travel. I've been in the business for many years and still enjoy it. My pride and joy is my book, Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories. Follow me on Twitter: