Austrian Views on the U.S. Presidential Election

German language media translated for TVR's Media Monitor

News | Vienna Review | December 2012 / January 2013

The USA Elected Keynes, 7 Nov.

by Thomas Seifert

In 6 November 2012 election, the U.S. electorate was asked to pass sentence on Obama’s economic policy, defining the role the state has in the lives of the people. Obama was the president who incurred debt in a Keynesian manner  to stimulate public demand, as well as ordered state interventions on a scale unheard of since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s "New Deal" social reforms of the 1930s.

The citizens, especially women, have given Barack Obama a second chance: While many were dissatisfied with his performance – there is no other way to explain the close gap of the popular votes – the electorate did not warm to the economic policy of a multimillionaire and representative of plutocracy.

In Obama’s re-election, one can observe a major trend that also seems to affect Europe: The era of Ronald Reagan and Margret Thatcher is finally over; the pendulum is swinging back. The belief in the almighty free market, the beneficence of deregulation and the cutting back on community services is shattered, and in hard times, citizens must be able to rely on the state.

A Second Chance for Obama, 7 Nov.

by Christoph Prantner

In 2008, the world spoke of a "historic victory". On Tuesday [6 Nov.], the president achieved a hard-earned victory that was acknowledged with relief rather than euphoria. Despite the cautious enthusiasm, Obama has been able to hold together his "winning coalition" of women, young voters and minorities. Particularly, the Hispanics carried him across the finish line. However, now the following questions count: Are the promised fundamental changes still going to happen? Does he have a mandate and the will to change America structurally? Is he still the transformative president he once stood for?


Obama’s Reconciliation Pose Alone Won’t Help the USA, 7 Nov.

by Christian Ultsch

Six billion dollars and one-and-a-half years of attention were tied-up in an unsubstantial U.S. election campaign. The result was the same as before: obstruction and stagnation. […]

[President] Obama is justifiably calling for willingness to compromise. In fact, there is no other way of decision-making within the power structure, which is partly in the hands of the opposition. After the elections, the Republicans still control the House of Representatives; and despite a Democratic majority in the Senate, [the opposition] is still able to block decisions. […]

Despite Obama’s messianic pose (or possibly because of it), the USA has become more polarised over his presidency. It exposed a [political] tear, which split the country almost exactly in half.

Among the reasons for the widening gap is also the Republicans’ increasing inability to reach out to minority groups, like Blacks, Hispanics or Asians. This structural deficiency will aggravate demographic developments even further, unless the Grand Old Party acts against it.

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