Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Early Morning Election Thoughts from Sweden

SVT is fawning over Obama. And just compared USA to Sweden in the 1950s. And not in that sometimes charming "things were better back then" sort of way.

I have yet to hear a single Swedish reporter throw any sort of support behind McCain. This is not surprising.

What did catch my attention was the vehemence used by some of the reporters to distance themselves from McCain. One correspondent had done a good job of explaining the historical conservatism of the US. Explaining that Sweden doesn't necessarily realize just how conservative the United States really is. Even after the 2004 election. And part of that blame falls on the Swedish media. He was then accused by the other correspondent of being on the losing team. She obviously didn't want to blame the media. Perhaps because she was the media. Again, this reaction wasn’t all that surprising.

What surprised me was how the gentleman who had just explained the conservatism of the US broke in right before they moved on to a different thread of conversation to point out that he was in fact not supporting the losing team by any means. He felt so affronted by the suggestion that he had to right the wrong.

As it stands right now, Obama leads by a solid margin in the Electoral College. The race is much closer when it comes to the popular vote. The Swedish reporters seem surprised.

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  1. This is truly a historic night, and I am overcome with emotion. This emotion does not come from disappointment or from joy but comes from the overwhelming number of Americans that took a stand and voted.

    The sensation that has moved so many generations before has found its spirit within a new generation. The very generation that so many feared would destroy United States has finally shown up to be heard, and regardless of the candidate backed, this new generation has shown it is no longer scared or intimidated to express their opinion. This new voice began its cry on September 11th and I along with many other of my fellow citizens have seen countless individual’s make the great sacrifice in the name of the country in recent years.

    Why I realize that tonight does not mean that all the problems that face the US and the world are now solved. I am excited to see that some many have shown up to be heard.

  2. One thing which isn't clear to most Swedes is that the government run media (SVT and SR) are in fact not as free from political influence as they claim to be. The board is full of people appointed due to their political background and when they appoint the CEO, you are kidding yourself if you think that the political views of the new CEO hasn't been taking in to account.

    This then trickles down and colors the whole organization. So after many years with socialdemokraterna in power we got the most left wing neutral press you can get...

  3. Anonymous: "the most left wing neutral press you can get..." - is that so?
    Don't you think you're pushing it just a bit?
    There are sertainly a good deal of examples to put that quote to shame, even if I agree with you that SVT and SR have more leftist staff than rightist. Since they are governmently run and our current government doesn't really beleive in that type of media, it's natural for the employees to favour the parties that look out for their jobs. As for the Obama-McCain thing, I personaly find it much easier to support the guy that when he says (but actually says something different) "Spread the wealth" gets accused of being a marxist, communist and swedish-like (se interview with Biden). I really like the swedish idea of people with more money paying a little extra for stuff we can all use, and I gladly pay high taxes. That Obamas ideas gets compared to swedish policys is not what bothers me, It's the fact that McCain pointed his finger and said "spread the wealth...they want to take money from those who have worked hardest". I could like usual go on....I won't.

  4. A change is going to come, for better I hope!

  5. So Obama won! I'm really happy about this. Especially since Obama promise to try to start using green energy and care about the environment.

    I don't think McCain would have been so bad either, for being a republican that is ^^ But I certainly hoped for Obama.

    Anyway, the reason swedes all favour Obama is the same reason an american would most likey vote on the moderates rather than the lefts, right? We are used to different ways of ruling a country and would note vote on the other extreme, in general.

  6. @mo – well that gave me goosebumps. Well said.

    @anonymous – a good point. Ingeneral, it is very difficult to get rid of all political leanings in media. Especially today when much of the medias job is to sell a story, to sell a profile, to sell a character. So people take sides.

    @jonas – that right there though is a fundamental difference between the US and Sweden. Which is why you saw McCain pull out the creating the wealth while Obama stuck with spreading the wealth.

    Although I will agree with you that it is ridiculous to accuse Obama of being Marxist or communist because of that one statement.

    @smek – change and hope, you covered all the obama talking points in one very short sentence.

    @izi – that’s fair enough. I must say, when it comes to the environment, the two actually had very similar stances overall. Obviously the details and certain issues weren’t agreed upon.

    But anyway… I’m just pumped someone who wanted Obama would admit that McCain wouldn’t “have been so bad either.”

    After years in very liberal settings where I have taken more heat for being a Republican its nice to hear some sort of concession, even one that qualifies it like yours did.

    But anyway, you hit it on the head with your comment on why Swedes favor Obama and why Americans would most likely vote moderate here. Well said.