If it's only Washington DC that determines the fate of America, Barack Obama should be president this coming American presidential elections. I don't know but most people I've met here are all crazy about the audacity of Obama's presidential hope. Obama T-shirts are selling like hotcakes. Or so it seems.
Over brunch, Mara, a DC-based journalist friend asked me how I think an Obama presidency would impact on the Philippines. And how Filipinos perceive him.
"I really think most Filipinos do not really care who sits at the White House," I answered. "Of course, Americans don't care what Filipinos think either. Obama or McCain or Hillary--America will always pursue her own 'national interest' and it would be good it that interest would converge also with our interest, whatever that is. But one thing is certain: Most Filipinos would always be pro-American for historical and many other reasons."
I added: "But in general, many Filipinos seem to like Obama, maybe because he looks cute, talks smoothly, and appears different from the typical American politician. Just like in the Philippines, people who want "change," whatever that means, would always vote for a politician who looks and talks quite differently from the usual, typical politician."
Yeah, we want a duck that doesn't quack like a duck.
Personally, I'm concerned that an Obama presidency would drift towards protectionism. That's would be bad for the trade-oriented Southeast Asia, given his tendency to pander to local protectionist passions. But I could be wrong. His anti-free trade and anti-outsourcing tirades are probably just political marketing, and its something that he cannot enforce anyway given that American businesses are able to maintain global competitiveness because of outsourcing.
But his foreign trade policy statements suggest that an Obama presidency would never be expected to lead the push for a global free trade deal the way Bill Clinton did,or tried, when he was at the White House. That would be bad for developing countries. But then again, neither Hillary nor McCain are probably inclined towards a new and better global trade deal. So let's see.
Hey Mara! Thanks for that really nice chat and brunch. Really love that we were able to catch up. And oh, Busboys and Poets [the restaurant] is really great. I enjoyed being there a lot! See you next year, my friend.