Keeping victory in perspective. Gerard Henderson rather bravely took we journalists of a liberal persuasion to task in his last column before the US Presidential election for waxing so eloquently about the candidate Barack Obama. To his mind many in the Australian media (he especially singled out the ABC) were acting as some kind of cheer leaders rather than any kind of objective analysts. While himself a man who tries to avoid making predictions about such matters as election results he did acknowledge that Obama was comfortably ahead in the polls while drawing attention to some polls putting him only a modest five percentage points ahead. What’s missing in much of the reporting, Gerard Henderson wrote, is an examination of why the Democratic ticket is not further ahead and what an Obama administration would mean for the US and the rest of the world.

At the time of reading this column I was surprised at the use of the word modest about a five point lead especially when the Real Clear Politics final summary of all the major polls showed the lead to be 7.6 points. Now that the race has been run and won I have gone back and looked at the presidential results since 1948 and found indeed that the lead was modest enough and this probably is of significance to those of us in the rest of the world.

Of 16 elections since the end of World War II the margin of the winner has ranged from George W.Bush’s minus 0.2% to Richard Nixon’s plus 23.6%. Only six of the 18 winners had a margin lower than Barack Obama’s.

It does not look to me like the foundation for some amazing Democratic Party dynasty. These, afterall, are difficult economic times so finishing 6.5 points ahead is not so very grand. Guiding the United States and the rest of the world out of economic recession while remaining popular will be no easy feat.

The real reason revealed. Having a giggle on a Sunday morning is good for you and Piers Akerman can be relied to provide one even when he’s not appearing on The Insiders. Take this piece from the Sunday Telegraph yesterday which names the real villains responsible for the world’s economic turmoil. According to Piers:

No matter what the economically illiterate Kevin Rudd might say, the global financial crisis was not triggered by “extreme capitalism”.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

It was set in play by the creeping socialist tendencies of Obama’s Democratic colleagues, who encouraged US mortgage funds to issue loans to individuals who clearly did not have the means to service their debts.

Some of these mortgages became known as NINJA loans — No Income, No Job, No Assets — which is a clear assessment of the recipients’ credit-worthiness.

They were issued to people who could not afford them under the doctrine of fairness that Obama is committed to continue.

There you are. Now you know. Put those Democrats in jail is what I say.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey