Showing posts from August, 2008

McCain's Pick

John McCain has certainly "thrown a googly" as I suggested a couple of posts ago, and appointed a woman to his VP spot. It is more of a googly than I thought, as his choice, former Vogue cover girl and Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, is a virtual unknown. Whether his surprise choice will rejuvenate his campaign or bring him more problems is still under scrutiny - the Politico website thinks its a desperate choice, born of a belief that the McCain campaign is heading for defeat against Obama. I'm not as sure of the ascendancy of the Obama campaign at the moment, despite its strong finish in Denver, and Sarah Palin may undermine the experience issue that was at the heart of Republican attacks last week. Nevertheless, she is also fresh, spoke well in her nomination press conference, has some clear success as an albeit relatively new governor of Alaska, and will reinvigorate the conservative base that she represents. The Democrats could, however, point out that she is …

Credit Crunch Biting?

I did see a pub notice today advertising "Credit Crunch Specials" for their cut-price meal deals, and a little humour doesn't come amiss. The 'First Post' headline above may be over-doing it (click the image for their story), but if you've ever wondered why Gordon Brown, and most western incumbents, might just prove unelectable over the next couple of years, it may give a clue.

The Daily Show

According to the Independent, its host Jon Stewart is one of the most influential men in America. He certainly has an ear for a good line, as tonight (GB edition): "She (Michelle Obama) has got to prove she loves America, as opposed to Republicans who everyone knows love America, they just hate half the people living in it." Nice. (The full programme is here).

Hillary's Call

American politics has been delivering high drama for decades, and this year's election is seeing more of it in droves. After the relatively colourless 2004 election, 2008 is not disappointing. Hillary did her duty last night, and, since she's Hillary, she gave a storming performance. But no matter that she endorsed Obama some 10 or more times in her speech, no matter that she called and called for unity, the suspicion will still remain that Hillary knows her best chance of another run at the presidency lies in Obama losing in November. PErhaps it was there in her call to 'keep going'; perhaps it was there in the relatively mild attacks on a man she genuinely respects and likes - John McCain. But it's certainly there. This woman is staying centre stage, and conceding it only temporarily to the man she believes has taken her nomination.

Meanwhile, the Hillary speech emphasised another problem for the Democrats. Three days in to the convention, and they have yet…

1 Party, 3 Families

America may be the world's foremost democracy, but her politics also has a tendency to throw up dynasties, and the Democratic Party is showcasing two old ones that still have a hold on their politics, and one new one that is in the process of trying to secure such a hold.

No Kennedy has held national office since JFK's assassination in 1963, but the Kennedy appeal has remained undimmed over the decades. Senator Edward Kennedy used it to great effect in his failed bid for the presidency against incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980, and yesterday he was centre stage again at the Democratic Convention in Denver, perhaps staging a final exit for the Kennedy family, and trying to pass his lustre on to the new Obama clan. Ted Kennedy will always carry with him the burden of the Chappaquiddick tragedy, and his serious misjudgements over that affair, but he also seems to have spent the whole of his time since trying to exorcise that ghost in his tireless legislative activity in the senate.…

Invasions, Intrigue and Inspiration

It is a little odd, reading about current affairs during summer weeks away, where you grab the occasional snippet, or hear about events that seem to belong to a far away country. It has certainly been an eventful summer. Starting with the PM, Gordon Brown must have wished for a return to the issues and profile of last summer, where he seemed to bestride the political stage with confidence. Now, nearly everything he has turned his hand to has made him seem small and inadequate. The Russian-Georgian splat left him silent for days, giving the field to the ever canny David Cameron who nipped across the border from his holiday in Turkey to go and meet Saakashvili. Appalling bit of opportunism, but that's politics, and Cameron is showing the flair that is so missing from Brown. Brown, incidentally, is notoriously uninterested in foreign affairs, and has no vision for it whatsoever, which may seem refreshing but is actually a serious disadvantage for a British PM.

For the Olympics, …