Tuesday, 26 February 2008

A little bit of Politics...

Many in the UK might question why we have to put up with daily coverage of what’s going on in the run-up to the US elections but I’m not one of those people. I love it, it’s pure theatre and far more interesting than our fusty political scene. It helps that since the last election I’ve read Hunter S Thompson’s Fear And Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, a book which gave me an insight into just how low-down, dirty and devious you have to be if you are to have any chance of becoming the world’s most powerful person. The game is a much dirtier one now, too. Nixon was as devious as a fox with a degree in cunning but could he have actually stolen an election like Bush did? It’s very doubtful.

Up to now it has, for me, been fairly sedate stuff. The Republicans have been dull. There’s not enough in-fighting for my liking, but then they’re probably saving their efforts for a savage and barbaric assault on whoever wins the Democrat nomination. Today, though, the Obama-Clinton fight just got really interesting. Hillary is starting to panic and her staffers chose this day to circulate a picture of her main opponent wearing a turban and robe. He looks like *gasp* a Muslim! (We can safely ignore the denials coming from the Clinton camp about the source of the leak). It's a dastardly and impressive ruse. Obama, very understandably, isn’t best pleased.

This is what the Democrats seem best at – fighting amongst themselves. Unlike the Republican Party, which generally takes a fairly unified stance, Democrats seem to be best at knowing only what they don’t stand for and, in many cases, it seems that they don’t stand for each other. Who knows what racist or sexist depths the respective campaigns could sink to? Well folks, we’ll find out in the coming months! If the Democratic nomination came down solely to who could play dirtiest, though, Hillary would win hands down. There’s a wealth of experience in the Clinton camp for this kind of fight and it looks like they’re going to need every last ounce of it. I eagerly await the carnage…

What of the GOP? We’ll probably have to wait until the election campaign proper to see them really spring into action. The sole issue at the moment seems to be whether McCain is a little too pink for their liking, but his chances of nomination look pretty sound. What I’m interested to see is just how much effort they’re going to put into securing the Presidency for their man. Obviously they want to win. But could they have a longer term plan up their sleeve? Here’s my theory (well, not really my theory but one stolen from the work of the above-mentioned writer with regard to the Republican effort in the ’76 election):

There is a lame duck President. Right now he and his party are pretty unpopular. The Republicans don’t have an outstanding candidate. Basically, it’s not looking good for them. But it’s also not going to look good for the next President if he or she is unable to extricate the country from the problems that they will inherit: There’s a very unpopular and expensive war going on and the economy is looking a little green around the gills. The next President will probably have little chance of being a success. So….what would be the point, the theory goes, of wasting loads of time and money financing a campaign that would lead to further embarrassment and failure for the party when they could just let the Democrats win the dubious honour of inhabiting the White House for what would surely be four very miserable years? Why don’t they just concentrate on the future and groom a candidate for 2012 and 2016? Look at what happened when Carter won in 1976, the last time the Republicans had little chance of success - His win heralded three consecutive Republican terms. All the Republicans have to do here is let the Democrats win and then fuck things up. That’s my theory.

(Please, any American readers, excuse my ignorance if this is actually a popular theory that you think I’ve plagiarised or if you simply think I’m talking a load of limey bull. And please feel free to correct me. I’m just trying to get involved, y’know? It’s fun!)

Now, some news from England: I saw a man walking his pet ferret through London’s West End on a lead on Sunday. And there ends the news in England.

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