The Times – America isn’t about to become liberal heaven<br/> Yes, Americans will be voting for Obama and change. But they don’t want radicalism, just competence and decency, by Gerard Baker

On Wednesday morning, unless the political equivalent of a giant meteorite hits Earth before then, Democratic supporters in America, in happy union with almost the whole of the civilised world, will be singing hosannas to the new President-elect. They will expect the Obama proto-administration and the expanded Democratic caucus in Congress to press hard to implement quickly their agenda of wealth redistribution; a tougher and broader scope of government regulation; and an enthusiastic embrace of foreign policy multilateralism.

But the new rulers and their allies overseas would be well advised to tone down the rhetoric, play down expectations and rein in their wilder tendencies. The easiest mistake for the world to make would be to start believing the Left’s own propaganda: that a vote for Barack Obama and for a Democrat in Congress on Tuesday is a vote to transform the country into a kind of social democratic paradise.

Perhaps the best supporting evidence for this claim is the likely outcome on Tuesday. Though there’s no real doubt about who will win, the presidential election still looks like being a closer contest than it has any right to be.

Consider the objective facts of political life in late 2008.

His is worth reading, but a pithier version of what follows can be said to be this, from Mark Steyn:

The incumbent president has approval ratings somewhere between Robert Mugabe and the ebola virus. The economy is supposedly on the brink of global Armageddon. McCain has only $80 million to spend, while Obama’s burning through $600 mil as fast as he can, and he doesn’t really need to spend a dime given the wall-to-wall media adoration. And tonight Chris Matthews’ doctors announced that his leg tingle has metastasized leaving his entire body like a vibrating cellphone whose ringtone is locked on “I’m In Love, I’m In Love, I’m In Love, I’m In Love, I’m In Love With A Wonderful Guy.”

And yet an old cranky broke loser is within two or three points of the King of the World. Strange.

Back to Gerry:

If this were a football game, it would be one played on a field tilted at an angle of about 20 degrees, in which the teams did not change sides at half-time, and in which the one playing downhill had twice as many players on the field as its opponents, who, to make things a little bit more interesting, have bound their goalkeeper hand and foot to one of the goalposts. The final score? 3-2, after extra time.