Friday, February 8, 2008

US Politics I

I imagine that I will be writing a few entries about politics in the US since it really is quite fascinating - and entirely a blood sport. The 'Tri-State' area (NJ, NY, CT) just had their primaries as part of Super-Tuesday. Not much evidence of it in JC though - the night before the vote some small Obama signs appeared and brochures were being given out at the light rail stations (looks like a street car to me).

Compared to Canada, people here take their politics very seriously and it causes some big problems - as does the whole primary/caucus system. This extended and costly pre-election tends to divide the supporters within each party. This can be seen very clearly in the Republican Party where the right wing talk show hosts are going after McCain with devastating attacks - calling him the Clinton's sock puppet and worse and saying that if he is the nominee (which looks certain) they will vote for Hillary out of spite - not at all sure how those two statements can be seen as logically consistent but logic and US talk radio have little to do with each other. The Republicans just have so many factions that often have fundamental disagreements with each other. You get the libertarian types who just want the government to do as little as possible. Ron Paul was their hero this time and he has considerable grass roots support and lots of money donated a bit at a time. You get those who are financially conservative but not socially so - they tend to keep their heads down, but have had some success in pointing out that deficits have risen with GOP presidents and fallen with Democratic presidents in recent decades. You get the war-hawks who don't much care how much it costs (lives or dollars), they want to rebuild the world in the form that they see as best - the New American Century guys. Finally (or perhaps not) are the social conservatives who have rallied around Huckabee. He seems like a pretty nice guy, but hard to take seriously a president who does not believe in evolution. Add to the mix, the recently departed Mr Romney who would be whatever you wanted him to be so long as he got to be president.

On the other side, you have the intriguing pair of Hillary and Barack and the possibility that the US will have a woman or black for president (not sure why he is considered black when he is only half black but that is a discussion for another day). I will have more to say about these two later, but there is a marvellous column in the NY Times today that goes a long way to explaining the different appeal that each has. I hope this link works when it is no longer 'today's paper' . Perhaps it would work with ref=todayspaper cut

No comments: