Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Trick or Treat

“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself,” that's a famous line from Roosevelt's first presidential speech. People wanted him, in comparison to hapless Hoover, to succeed so much that FDR had to hire many additional workers to handle mails from well-wishers.

The election will be over tonight. In the process, Palin went from the most popular governor in the country to be edified on SNL and a Tina Fey double. Republicans complained so much about media bias, it would probably put Chinese grievance in shame. That will be over also for her, win, or in the most likely case, lose.

We don't yet know what Obama is going to do, although we know his promises add up to 85 pages. Energy policy will probably be the first to gather enough political will to pass, although coal industry is already trembling in fear. Many Chinese are enamored with him, the way they saw a young, handsome, and energetic politician in Clinton, bill, that is. But his China policy is harder to differentiate. We only know he leans against more free trade, that he opposes NAFTA. Somehow, these issues were not even debated, not on the level of "lipstick on a pig" at least.[Speaking of trade policy, it used to be that American workers are more productive than others, so free-trade naturally favors the U.S., but that edge is rapidly waning, so does the appetite for free-trade. This election, more than anything, is a referendum on American people's acceptance in The U.S. new reality in the world. They don't worry about "the world leader" anymore than "give me the bread today". I wonder what Krugman thinks, since he was a strong proponant for free-trade in his more academic years.]

Oh, we also know that when slightly annoyed, while McCain has that it's-so-ridiculous-it's-laughable look, Obama has a more solemn what-the-heck-he's-talking-about look. As FDR could testify, personality plays a large part in a president's initial success.

The season of well-wish should not wait for January. Some will ask the "trick-or-treat" question, but the Hallowing is already over.

P.s. Here's another paragraph in the same FDR speech that is as interesting to read this time around:

True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

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