Friday, January 04, 2008

Ready for Change in America?

The presidential election isn't until November, but the first electoral shots have now been fired. The Iowa caucus remains far too individual, small and, frankly, unrepresentative to stand as an indicator of American opinion, but it does provide momentum to the lucky winning candidates. And in both parties the winning candidates were the outsiders - former Baptist minister and small state governor (Arkansas - the Clinton state!) Mike Huckabee for the Republicans, and black first-term senator Barack Obama for the Democrats. The result is particularly galling, perhaps, for Hillary Clinton, who thought she had a lock on the Democrat nomination way back in 2007. But both she and the Republican front-runner, Mitt Romney, have suffered from campaigns that have been almost too calculating. Clinton's political positions have been varied and contrasting and it has been difficult to establish just what she does mean for the future of America. Experience and change are not exactly comfortable partners, and yet that was precisely what Clinton was offering the electorate. Barack Obama, by contrast, has been consistently fresh and exciting, and preaches clear messages - none more so than his 'troops out' approach to Iraq.

Well, in this longest of democratic elections, Iowa really is only a small first step, but it's provided an immediate upset and sparked renewed interest in the first presidential contest in over half a century where neither party boasts a sitting president or vice-president in the running. For some immediate analysis, the Spectator's James Forsyth has been blogging away madly on the Spectator's Coffee House blog; he is distinctly pessimistic about Hillary's chances, whilst acknowledging that it is obviously too early to write off such a well financed and experienced campaigner. Now, on to New Hampshire, where in the Republican camp John McCain may provide the next upset. I love American politics!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I looked at the telegraph today, and under GOP results it mentions Huckabee, Romney, Thompson, McCain and Giuliani. It didn't even list Ron Paul who go 10% of the vote beating Giuliana. If I wrote to the telegraph they would most likely respond in the same way that the american media have, saying that they only mentioned the results for "top-tier" candidates. Its completely outrageous how the media can exclude someone because they refuse to acknowledge him as a "top-tier" candidate. Ron Paul's result in Iowa is even more impressive considering he was excluded from televised debates etc. Its good to see the people of Jefferson haven't forgotten the importance and value of freedom though.

consultant said...

In rather a similar fashion, GM's own post mentions Clinton and Obama for the Democrats, but fails to mention John Edwards, who impressively beat Clinton for the second place spot. Yes, he's a white male, so resembles almost every previous US presidential candidate, and certainly every previous US president. This makes him boring, putting him outside the "will it be black or will it have tits?" excitement that has pervaded most commentary on the Democratic nomination over the previous year.

It's also the exact reason he's going to do so well. I think many more Democrats will be concerned enough about the prospects for either a woman, or a black man, in the presidential race that they'll tack back towards what they know - a white male. They know that the Republicans are in one of the weakest positions they have been in recent history going into this election, and I don't think they'll want to risk upsetting that by trying something untested.

Watch this space.

benross said...

Edwards wont do well, its a straight 2 horse race. Even John Kerry backed Obama and not his own running mate from 04! Edwards came in 4th 4 years ago, and will come in 3rd this time around.

Also, little bit of info for you gilo. Your so excited by the fact that Huckabee and Bill Clinton come from the same state....did you know they both came from Hope, Arkansas. Narrows it down somewhat.

Hilary and Huckabee to win