Comment By Charles Finny
As predicted in my last contribution to newzealandinc.com President Obama made it home and will run the United States for another four years. The Republicans have some lessons to learn and uncomfortable facts to digest, particularly around the changing demographics in the United States. To win election to the Presidency the Republicans need to soften their stance on immigration and reach out more to the Hispanic community. And most importantly, the Karl Rove inspired alignment between Republicanism and religious fundamentalism needs serious reconsideration. It worked well in getting Shrub elected then re-elected, but it has come back to bite the party ever since.
Watch Jeb Bush, Spanish speaking and married to a Hispanic, as a candidate in waiting. And keep an eye on Jon Huntsman, the wine drinking Mormon who served as US Ambassador to China in the early part of the Obama Presidency. Both would represent a move to the centre and both would be far more sensible on China than Romney appeared to be. That would be welcome for New Zealand.
But that is four year’s away. On balance, I think that the Obama victory is good news for New Zealand. We will see continuity on the two most pressing issues – TPP and China. New Zealand-US Relations have continued the thaw under Obama that began with Bush II. There is no reason to assume that this will not continue. My understanding is that same as Mike Moore’s – the Obama administration is going to push hard to have TPP concluded by the end of 2013.
I wish President Obama and his Administration well for the next four years. They are going to be just as challenging as the first four years. The world economy is far from recovering and I can only see more trouble ahead in the Middle East. The United States and partners like New Zealand need to work even more closely together in the UN, WTO, APEC and other for a to keep the world moving in the right direction..