Sarah Baxter in today's Sunday Times:
In saying this, Sarah reprises the theme of the opening words of Obama's victory speech in Chicago. For a substantial part of the last eight years it has been impossible to escape the voices of all those who have been telling us that America's democracy was busted - if not fraudulent before even the possibility of being busted - and/or that its population is dominated by know-nothings, bigots, morons. Tuesday blew all this away for the nonsense it is. Some may hope to argue that, because what Tuesday did was to effect a national change of course, it did not so much expose a nonsense as overturn a bad reality and begin the change that would consign this reality to the past. But what Obama said in Chicago and what Sarah writes here about seeing America for what it actually is gets the thing right. American democracy hadn't gone missing and neither had the divisions within the US electorate. It didn't require a revolution to elect Barack Obama, a reordering of the entire political constellation; it required only an election at its due time and a campaign to win that election.
America feels good about itself and its future again. Its moral standing in the eyes of the world rose overnight. Feizel Mamdoo, my brother-in-law, texted me from Johannesburg: "You'd think South Africa was voting! There are allnight election parties here."
Feizel and I haven't always agreed about politics recently. He thought President George W Bush was a fool and a bully; I thought it was worth trying to make America safer by bringing democracy to some of the world's most wretched tyrannies.
I believe that America is a remarkable force for good. Obama's achievement is that a world that has been blinkered by Bush Derangement Syndrome can again see America for what it actually is.
And it didn't need a trip to some deep well of recondite wisdom to be able to make this out before 4 November 2008. It needed only some elementary knowledge of US political history and a few basic facts from a textbook in political science. One delusion of the Bush years has been punctured. Others will be punctured in their turn. There'll be time enough to comment on those when they are.