Thursday, September 11, 2008

Democrats in Trouble?

The video of Joe Biden calling on Missouri state senator Chuck Graham to stand up, before realising that Graham is a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair is certainly doing the blog rounds (it's here on youtube).

It's embarrassing of course, although I think Biden recovers from an awful gaffe pretty well, but that may be because he does make rather a lot of them. It's the same Biden, after all, who plagiarised almost word for word a Neil Kinnock speech many years ago. More seriously for the Democrats than their vice-presidential nominee's mishap, is their presidential nominee's level-pegging with McCain.

Obama has been on the defensive since his own convention, when despite a hugely popular final speech, he and his party failed to land a blow on McCain. And that was before McCain unleashed Sarah Palin. There are real concerns in the Democrat camp that this election is slipping away from them yet again - an extraordinary state of affairs given the dismal popularity of Republican incumbent president George W. Bush, and the dire state of the American economy. Today's memorials for the victims of 9/11 may provide an opportunity to review the unpopular outcome of Bush's subsequent wars (consensus has it that Iraq looks hopeful, though far from won, while Afghanistan remains a nightmare). Whether that provides an opportunity for Obama to rediscover his political voice (he did, after all, vote against the Iraq war) and start regaining the political initiative remains to be seen, but recent history is littered with the political corpses of Democratic presidential candidates who failed to deliver the killer punch to their weak opponents (Dukakis against Bush Snr., Gore against Bush Jnr., Kerry likewise), and it would, alas, be entirely in character if Obama joined them.

2 comments:

Chris Benjamin said...

I don't know why your so condemning of the republicans using dirty tactics against obama. Under the pretense of organisation, regulation, protection, encouragement, or welfare, the law takes the wealth of one person and grants it to another. Under these circumstances is it surprising that people will do anything to gain power? A US government can cause a businessman to go bankrupt and loose his livelyhood by increasing taxes or imposing regulation. On the other hand it can save a business by giving it other people's money when the business is deemed it "too big to fail". Is it any wonder that the two parties will use any tactic to win? Besides America has always had vicious elections. At least the incumbent government isn't passing laws to imprison opposition leaders for seditious speech against government leaders as was the case in 1798. One republican congressman, Matthew Lyon, was imprisoned for 4 months after saying the then president, John Adams, belonged in a madhouse. And this happened when the US had a constituional government!

GM said...

Nice observation Chris. I think the Republicans are worse (or better?) at fighting dirty than the Democrats; I think it tells us a little about their likely conduct in government; and I get very frustrated at the Deomocrat inability to fight back! At least Matthew Lyon was only imprisoned. George Bush'd government has this little place in Cuba.....