".....for the next few months the left-wing blogosphere in the UK will be jumping up and down, and generally getting excited about the possibility that the evil America will have universal healthcare, and that troops will be out of Afghanistan and Iraq very soon, so the world can have a big group hug.Now, I think that we can agree that what the blogosphere says isn't as important as all of that, apart from the fact that it does have the ability to disrupt, and set the tone to a certain extent.
They will then turn instantly when Obama has his first meeting with the DoD and the NSA and quietly says "oh fuck me backwards with a pickling fork now I understand why Jed Bartlett acted the way he did even though I didn't really believe it was like that". "
But I do think that the Obama victory, along with the bloody awful situation he has inherited (boo!) and the accompanying transformation in the economic landscape - the total discrediting of Thatcherism (yay!!) - will have a noticeable impact upon public perceptions - at least the perceptions of those who make the most noise. No-one can now hold politicians directly responsible for a lot of things that they used to. It's plain that they are often almost powerless spectators - and that this in itself is part of the problem.
Also, the old truism - it doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in: Politicians may be able to cash in a little on a lowering of public expectations.
I know I'm repeating myself here, but Hazel Blears was not only right to say what she said (I would say that because her theme has been mine since I set up this blog), but unlike me, she is saying it in a timely way. It was the right time to say the right thing. It may be too much to hope for (but it doesn't hurt to be optimistic...) but maybe we will even see the outbreak of some kind of wartime spirit - a reaction against those who talk collective action down, and a reaction against media nihilism. (OK - Obama and Glenrothes in one week - you have to excuse a bit of optimism...)
In the meantime, I can't find a group on Facebook called 'I have realistic expectations of President Obama and I'm not going to pretend to be disillusioned when he fails to feed all of the world's children and usher in an age of global peace.'
It's probably too long a title anyway, but you'd think someone would have set up a version of it somewhere?
Update: I just noticed this in Dizzy's comments: "NO ONE, expects Obama to introduce universal healthcare or withdraw troops from Iraq or Afghanistan tomorrow.
They just expect him to be a vast improvement on the incompetent, unprincipled, self-interested, belligerent clown he is replacing. Not such high expectations to live up to really." - Fair point, I think?