Obama vs Clinton: The International Perspective

Moldbug thinks he’s being cynical:

I would go with Obama, and here’s why. First, the election of Obama makes the transformation of the President into the pontifex maximus of the Potomac much clearer. The Democrats are the party of the professional civil service. Under their administration, Washington basically runs itself. A world in which Obama does what he is obviously good at, delivering sermons, and does not pretend to be in some sense managing or governing, is a more honest world and thus a better one.

Interestingly, this is incredibly close to what you might call Davos Conventional Wisdom. Maybe not among the Americans, but certainly among the other nationalities, there was enormous enthusiasm for Obama as symbol, for what he would represent (someone historic, and new), as opposed to what he would do. The idea of a female president might be a big deal in the US, but it’s old hat in the rest of the world; the idea of a young and charismatic black president, however, is enough to get even Davos Man’s heart beating just a little bit faster.

On the other hand, from an international perspective, it seems to me that the odds facing any female candidate for prime minister or president are incredibly good. I can think of many female candidates who won (Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto, Indira Gandhi, Megawati Sukarnoputri, Michele Bachelet, Angela Merkel, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Cristina Kirchner, etc etc) but very few who lost (Ségolène Royal, um, there must be some more somewhere). Obviously I’m talking about national elections here, not primaries. But while I do think that Obama has more appeal to independents and Republicans than Clinton does, I also think that simply being female does tend to be a huge advantage in national elections, and that Democrats wanting simply to maximize the chances of a Democrat becoming president can easily justify a vote for Clinton.

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