Politics Finally, I feel as though I'm half awake again. Sitting up until some ungodly time followed by precious few hours of sleep always has a knock on effect and as I age that knock on effect seems to last longer and longer. I'm only thirty-eight but I spent yesterday with all the cadence and gait of a zombie. Usually, despite being male, I can multi-task pretty well, listen to music and write and sing but yesterday, everything occurred pretty much one thing at a time.
But it was worth it. Obama, as expected, at least by those of us who followed the numbers, has his second term in office and hopefully he'll be bolder in his choices without his re-election campaign to worry about. The Republicans in the house aren't any more likely to give him an easier time, what with their own re-election chances constantly in the spotlight, their focus shifting from the national to local stage, but the US president may find himself more capable of starting with more expressive ideas that are trickier to dibble away at.
It's just unfortunate the televisual versions were so unremittingly boring and/or awful. I stuck with the BBC for much of the night and although Bio-Dimbleby attempted to inject some excitement aided by Katty Kay and her hipster glasses (swoon), this was simply a burst of excitement as predictions were released followed by another hour of speculation and chatting and filling and excessive amount of explaining the differences between the electoral college and popular vote despite the BBC having spent months essentially ignoring it.
Flicking across the channels, I assiduously avoided Sky News for obvious reasons, glanced at ITV whose coverage the entire night seemed to consist of throwing together an electoral college calculation based on speculation even vaguer than at the BBC and Al-Jazeera who seemed to have more correspondents on the ground than the other networks but on the occasions I watched singularly failed to ask the man or woman in the street exactly why they had their political convictions rather than simply their ignorant opinions.
Perhaps I should have listened to the radio. Thank goodness for Twitter, which let me know what was happening on what sounded like the far more entertaining US networks. It was here that I heard about the Karl Rove meltdown on Fox News, vicariously hoovering up the details like the football fan standing on the hill overlooking the stadium who doesn't have the binoculars and hanging on the every word of their friend. Imagine Emily Maitlis doing Megyn Kelly's walk into the anonymous office at the back heckling some researchers.
Here's what would have improved the BBC's coverage: less live presentation from behind a desk, more about the story of the campaign, about the candidates, about the history of US elections in general. Knowing which states were going to be reporting their statistics, packages could have been produced for the intervening hour highlighting what was important about that state electorally, perhaps even some archive clips ala Saturday Kitchen, like the moment in Stephen Fry's America when he met Mitt Romney.
Tricky in a live context perhaps, especially if there's a breaking news story, but there were precious few of them across the night and given how long it took to agree that Obama had won the presidency in comparison to the other networks and twitter and the people in the two HQs, speediness wasn't always on the BBC's agenda anyway. Instead of attempting to pretend to be like the other networks despite clearly not having the same budget, this would have been a chance to do something different, something Reithian, despite the potentially small audience. Oh, well.