Michigan thread

To celebrate today’s primaries in Michigan, I hereby present presidential election open thread number two.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

491 comments on “Michigan thread”

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  1. My favourite US political pundit, Stephen Colbert, had a pie chart of Obama,Clinton,Edwards and Kucinch’s poll numbers for Nevada put on a roulette wheel and he did the big spin.

    And the winner was: Obama!

    Whaddya mean that proves nothin’? Hey, didn’t Colbert, single-handedly give Huckabee the Colbert Bump in the polls? Ha, the guy’s a political genius. Pity about his Democrat endorsement to run in South Carolina though.

    Anyway, Nevada. Clinton’s little game to stop voters from the culinary union caucusing on the Los Vegas strip has been put down in the courts and so Obama may get a good turnout of union members. We’ll see.

    Apparently in 2000 there was a measly turnout of 9,000 for the caucuses, so the game this time is to get out the numbers. Clinton, Obama, and now Edwards are blitzing the state and nobody there has ever seen anything quite like it, so it’s being taken seriously by the frontrunner Democrats.

    On the Republican side, Romney has the best organisation, but apparently Ron Paul has a large young team who’ve raised his profile considerably.

  2. KR @ 448
    Reading that link on Huckabee & Co’s ideology, there are some familiar themes we have seen implemented in countries elsewhere in the world, including Afghanistan and Iran:
    – taking ‘The Book’ literally
    – imposing the Book’s ‘laws’ on the people
    – putting religion at the centre of government

    Bible-based or Koran-based religion, it doesn’t matter, the similarities are greater than the differences – barbaric laws and punishments imposed on their own people, active intolerance of other religions, bold expansionist aims. It’s all there in The Book, screaming for implementation, according to the likes of Huckabee. It is indeed frightening.
    But I don’t believe Huckabee is electable and will founder soon (or the US has gone mad!), with McCain most likely to be the the last man standing – he’s still a good price for the Repub nomination at $2.60, I reckon.

  3. 455
    jaundiced view

    It makes you wonder what the founding fathers would say, eh? There’s some truly godawful crackpots in the US body politic, but fortunately they’ve been mostly on the fringe. It’s when they start metastising that we should get worried. (Bush, for all his holy-roller rhetoric, is not nearly as bad as he sounds, or indeed could have been on the religious fruitcake stuff. OK, I know he’s been mad on the ‘faith based’ stuff, but he could have been a lot worse in my opinion.)

    Huckabee on the other hand, flirts with the most egregious of this nutcase crew, and they are incredibly off the dial. You’re right, he’s not electable, but that Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter have to spend so much time attacking him shows that the conservatives are really worried about the Frankenstein monster they’ve created.

  4. It’s not a good look when the same day that the Fed Chairman addresses the House Budget Committee the market drops another 3%.

    Remember the oracle? Chairman Greenspan would talk in tongues (well, he may have well have been!), and the market would rally.

    This is NOT, a good look, neither for Ben or Washington, who were all talking about bi-partisan hands on deck, all yanking the bilge pump as hard as they could in tandem.

    Definitely not a good look.

  5. KR – Here he goes again, the line about the Bible & the Constitution is direct from the manual of the Christian dominionists:

    “Huckabee links gay sex to bestiality, abortion to slavery”

    ‘… “The Bible was not written to be amended. The Constitution was,” he said, announcing his intention to amend the document if he were to be elected president in November to ban abortion and establish that life begins at the moment of conception. Leaving it up to individual states to outlaw abortion within their own borders is not enough, he said.’


  6. 458
    jaundiced view

    And did you spot the swipe at Mormons, JV? Look closely:

    “Well, I don’t think that’s a radical view, to say we’re going to affirm marriage. I think the radical view is to say that we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal,” he added.

    Oh boy, that Huckster is one hell of a preacher, ain’t he? I mean, in one go, he’s got every gay person doing it with a goat (and even, shock horror, underage goats!!), and inviting their Mormon friends over as well!

    Just wait ’til Mitt hears about this! LOL

    If it wasn’t so tragic it would be funny. But it’s not just Southern Baptists, I was listening to some ‘ethicist’ on behalf of the Catholic Church trying to tell us that 150 cells is a human being. Aaaargh, and they bang on about Isalmic fundamentalists!

  7. KR – Yes, I do see that swipe at the Mormons. Not so much a stiletto as a 14 lb hammer. Both Huck and Mitt will go down and out of the race in a flurry of punches that will appear from the outside to be along the lines of: “My ignorant weirdo medieval fantasy knocks yours into a cocked hat!”

  8. JV, do you remember the Republican debate when they all got asked to put up their hands for evolution?


    The world’s superpower, in the 21st century! And they’ve got this lot of hicksville snake wranglers for presidential candidates.

  9. By the way JV, Huckelberry and McSurge are neck and neck in South Carolina in the latest Rasmussen poll. But both are on 24%. So where’s everyone?


    In a race that has already seen four different candidates with the lead, much could still change in the coming days–7% of voters have yet to make up their mind, 10% say there’s a good chance they could change their mind, and another 24% might change their mind.

    …inspiring the troops, eh?

  10. KR – I didn’t see that Repub debate, but I assume no-one put their hand up for evolution? Or maybe halfway up?

    On Sth Carolina, it doesn’t look an easy bet. McCain is favourite on Betfair at $1.62 with Huckabee at $2.34. Surely Huck’s spaced-out comments couldn’t increase his chances, could they? But McCain is a bit short at present.

  11. jv@458- Surely even Huckleberry is aware that the Bible has been altered on many occasions, with whole books added and left out according to the whim of the day?

  12. 464 Diogenes
    He could be, but there’s so much in the current version to keep him happy that no-one has had the heart to remove – like killing non-believers, an eye-for-an-eye, stoning wrongdoers etc. etc. What more does he need? All the intolerance remains for the extremists to take up, just like in the Koran

  13. Diogenes @ 464. No they don’t even consider the issue of the current Bible’s formation and the political sculduggery that was behind it. Their eyes don’t see past the leather-bound book in their hand. For them, that is the inspired Word of God (esp if it’s the King James version cos we all know God speaks in Stuart English). All the Church Councils did was confirm what was always His will.

  14. It’s a bit ironic that the two more obvious religious nutters in Huck and Mitt will flame out leaving most likely McCain who will eagerly continue the crusade in Iraq. The acceptable moderate face of Christian colonialism.

  15. 468

    Romney is the likeliest for Nevada. Big money, big organisation, and apparently there are some Mormons there as well.

    Big Mac might not cut through that lot.

  16. Oh dear, look at that!

    Thought I’d check the US futures market before the bell, and yep, up a tad, but what caught my eye was the yield curve on US treasuries.

    I ain’t never seen nuthin’ like that, no siree! (Well, only in text books).

    It’s inverted.

    If you haven’t come across this phenomena, look it up, it basically denotes the big “R”.

  17. KR,

    …but with the rapture to come,why worry? Just paste on that ‘happy,clappy’ smile and wait for …..Brian?

    Can’t say they haven’t been warned.

  18. KR

    JV, do you remember the Republican debate when they all got asked to put up their hands for evolution?

    I must have missed this. Do you have a youtube link for this (or anything else with more detail)?

  19. I’m very pleased and surprised that most of the Repugs believe in evolution. It is a fundamental question of their ability to think rationally and most passed it. Huck has a good excuse not to, at least his opposition shows he is consistent in his beliefs, but Tancredo and Brownback have a lot of explaining to do IMHO. It does make me a lot happier to think McCain, Giuliani or Romney could be the next US President if they can buck the trend of 70% of Repugs not believing in evolution. BTW can I point out a common misconception about evolution which is that we descended from monkeys. Evolution does NOT say this, it says we share a common ancestor. Also, Darwin did not like the term “evolution”, he preferred “descent with modification”.

  20. Diogenes @ 478 – interesting that Darwin’s expression wasn’t ‘ascent with modification’ – as in further up the evolutionary tree; or more advanced.
    His choice of ‘descent’ was prescient though in the case of the Huckabee and the other 2 zealots who have ‘descended with modification’ into a primordial ooze of profound beaming idiocy. Such a mutation should, surely, not be one to assist with their survival in the competition for the nomination.

  21. 480 jv- The survival of the candidates views and their propagation if successful would be referred to as “memes” by Dawkins. It remains to be seen how successful the “evolution” and “creation” memes are. I know George W has some time for “intelligent design” but I’m not sure if he is a creationist. I’m assuming all the Democrat candidates would be evolutionists but I could be wrong.

  22. Yes Diogenes – assumptions about any of the candidates are dangerous in the US of A, but I’d be inclined to think that all 3 leading Dems candidates would have a public position on evolution and religion that differs from their personal views. That is, they must be seen to attend church, which to me is pathetic, but they all seem sensible and rational otherwise cf the 3 Repub wierdos. The only one about whom I can’t see any evidence of religious practice is Edwards.

    Meanwhile, Clinton has had a crack at Obama before the Nevada vote. Does this mean she’s worried. She might take Nevada, but Obama would appear to have a mortgage (hopefully not sub-prime) on S Carolina:


  23. Thanks Stephen-
    looking good for Obama in the vote but not in the delgate stakes. Does this mean ultimately he is a goner, or is it possible that he will gain more delegate support if he polls well. Or are they rusted on for Hillary?

  24. Jen @ 484

    It would appear Hillary has a great deal more support of the Democratic establishment which can be seen by the number of superdelegates who have said they would support her. Superdelegates make up about 20% of the total delegates for the national convention so having their support is a massive advantage. They are however free to change their mind at any time. This mean that a good result by Obama in primaries may get a few to move across. Also Edwards is likely to pick up a large number of delegates before the convention. It may not be enough to win but it could be enough to push Obama over the line if they are pushed in his direction. It is a long way from being over.

  25. With the South Carolina primary imminent, amazingly the talk in the US is how the weather will affect the outcome. Evidently it’s freezing in SC except on the coast. McCain’s support is mainly on the coast (evidently lots of military there) and Hucks is inland. One argument is that this will favour McCain coz it’s too cold for Hucks lot to get out and vote. The other argument is it will favour Huck coz the less committed voters favour McCain and won’t be so fussed about not going out to vote for him.

  26. 466
    Ferny Grover @ 466

    No they don’t even consider the issue of the current Bible’s formation and the political sculduggery that was behind it. Their eyes don’t see past the leather-bound book in their hand.

    The real problem is that most of them don’t get much past that leather-bound cover and actually know little of what is inside. They mostly rely on what their priests tell them it says.

    A classic example is the 10 commandments. 99.99% will tell you they’re mostly about coveting your neighbour’s ass, etc. Not so. They, and there are 17, not 10, were on the original tablets as per Exodus 20, but they aren’t called ‘commandments’, and Moses smashes the tablets in a fit of rage before they are presented to the people. So Moses is instructed to shlep another two stone tablets up the mountain and what are, for the first time, called ‘commandments’ are carved onto them. But, with one exception, they are not the same as the 17 of Exodus 20.

    Note to all the ass coveters: Hallelujah, brothers and sisters, covet all the ass you want because it ain’t no sin! 😉

    IME, us atheist often know more about what is in the good books than the believers whether they be Christians, J*ws or Muslims. Perhaps that’s why we’re atheists.

  27. Mayo, I too am an atheist but if you read the so called 17 commandments (or 16, 15 or 14 for that matter) you will notice that on occasion a few although separate should really be categorised as individual items.

    When this is done, 10 categories seems about right (some creative arrangement is needed though) with the difference between the religions being the groupings.

    A far as number 10 goes…coveting is OK just don’t take your neighbours ass for a gallop…it’s all far too close to home.

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