In sharp contrast to 2008, when NAFTA was a four-letter word for much of the American public, North American issues were broadly irrelevant to the 2012 campaign. Canada remains a fortunate afterthought in American domestic politics -- although particular cross-border issues remain subject to the crossfires of interest group politics.
Consider the evidence: the Obama-Romney battle was notable for its "courtesy " and "common-sense," and God knows those are terms we all associate with the Canadian political process. Plus, a bunch of voters approved referendums to endorse gay marriage and legalize pot, and I bet those are things Canadians might do too if anyone ever asked! In any case, I'll just note for our American friends that when a columnist giddily claims that "Canadian-ness is spreading like a bad rash," across your country, it's supposed to be a compliment.
History was made last night when President Obama was re-elected for another four year term. What struck me while listening to his acceptance speech was the fact that his words are now part of his nation's historical record. When you look at the House of Commons today you have to wonder where is that sense of history when an MP stands up to read a Member's Statement, a speech, ask a question or if a minister, answer one?
During those four years there had been much sadness, wailing and gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts in the land as the tribe's riches and power ebbed, and the people lost faith in their tribe. So therefore, many leaders did arise who did each say unto the people that he alone was strong and of good courage and should be their leader to lead them out of the slough of despond and into the land of milk and honey...
Most of us are relieved the U.S. election is over -- listening to the hyperbole of the campaign for so many months has been difficult even for Canadians who don't hear the ads and don't have the same emotional reaction to the candidates. But there are some lessons to be learned for non-politicians working on their personal brands.
At the end of the day, this "close" election was not really that close. While the race was closer than 2008, Romney's routes to victory proved limited and, ultimately, impossible. The outcome of this election will likely raise serious questions about the influence of the right wing Tea Party in the Republican Party.
Imagine the following scene with me, if you will: Marine One lands amid a fury of fireworks in the middle of Grant Park in Chicago. President Obama is wearing a full flight-suit as he struts from the LZ up onto a stage already occupied by Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z. As he makes his way behind the podium, George Clooney unveils a giant "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner.
A successful Obama presidency -- one that trims the debt, shrinks the deficit, reforms entitlements, and spurs GDP growth is one dangerously likely to revive the old Canadian demons of insecurity and inferiority. Regardless of how much it may satiate our fiscal interests, an economically resurgent America almost certainly means a return to second-place status for this country.