Barrack Obama is one of the most inspiring figures of our generation. He combines a majestic dignity with a deep immersion in popular culture. His speeches reflect intelligence and idealism. He is the next socialist cultural icon.
What interests me about him is his ability to be very pro-nation state in an age given to globalization and cosmopolitanism. There is no doubt that every elected president of the United States requires a firm pro-nation stand. But Obama seems to cut back several generations in his speeches about how the USA is falling back in the competitive race and needs to catch up with countries like India and China.
Outsourcing is often the focus of many of his speeches, as he cites the opening up of the service sector and the outsourcing of work to India as a sign of America’s productive incompetence. His idea that America would perhaps be a richer nation with a control on outsourcing seems almost regressive and very anti-globalization and free market. In fact in a lot of ways this stand makes very little sense, it almost seems to argue that Americans without state-protection would not be able to compete with the world market.
The recent midterm results were undoubtedly a repudiation of Obama’s boundary-hugging policies, but it is still fascinating that his world view commands respect amongst academics and intellectuals all over the world, despite its inherent lack of logic. It is a reminder of that fact that human beings are moved more by ideals and emotion than by logic.