The Times they are a-changin’

The Times (of London) yesterday reported on what looked to me like a political horror story for Barack Obama, involving an Iraqi-born billionaire said by a Pentagon report to have “served as Saddam Hussein’s principle international financial manipulator and bag man”, a multi-million dollar loan conducted through a Central American finance company, and an admission from Obama of “boneheaded mistakes”. Yet it appears to be receiving little coverage in the US, the links in the chain being admittedly rather weak (though since when has that ever stopped anyone in presidential politics?). So Hillary Clinton will evidently have to hope for some other miracle to come along in the four days before the next primaries. The latest polls show Obama streaking ahead in Texas, and closing in fast in Ohio.

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.

436 comments on “The Times they are a-changin’”

Comments Page 2 of 9
1 2 3 9
  1. Kina, am I on the right thread?

    Am I mistaken that there is more than meets the eye or is the eye yet to focus?

    I’m concerned because there is an underlying direction as we have recently experienced, that will be the carte blanche afforded to the victor.

    Empires shine and wane…the energy is needed to prolong the power.

  2. Kirribilli, correct me if I am wrong, but this sub-prime fiasco is going to continue for some years. It is not a simple case of financial ‘indigestion’, but an ongoing series of crises, is that your interpretation? Each one will weaken the US incrementally.

  3. Might just have entered the wrong thread, just a hunch.

    Wonder what Ackerman would have done with the Rezko story if it were about Rudd and not Obama?

  4. not long to go.

    5 days until the end of 20 years of Bush/Clinton wretchedness.

    then the blowtorch gets turned on old Johnny Bomb Bomb.

  5. BF

    That is a tad fatalist if you pardon me.

    The mistake as I see it is the aversion to the fact by the FED…….they have done a great job…..but is it in the best interest in the long term?

  6. and when i say the blowtorch gets turned on Bomb Bomb, i should clarify it will be turned on the On The Nose party that he leads.

    Bomb Bomb is no threat to Obama. I think the Dems will let the ol warmongerer ramble on pretty much as much as he likes.

    It will be his Party and its “achievements” of the last 8 years that they turn the furnaces on.

  7. i think its a bit like the Rudd situation. None of the mud stuck because the voters wanted a change (and I guess there was not much substance to any of it)

  8. Ogmios, no, not fatalist , realistic is the term I would use. My god, the parallels now to the end of Vietnam are uncanny. All that money printed to finance an adventurist war leading to inflation, energy shortages, social upheaval etc. Even more scary are the right wing religious nutters who egg the neo-cons on in the hope for the rapture. Interesting times indeed.

  9. why is that with most of the primary polls, Obama starts out miles behind then comes storming home (eg in texas from way behind in 2 weeks)? Now surely Texan voters had heard about Obama 2 weeks ago???

  10. Oh Basil, just another stanza in history…..groundhog day???

    I understand your analysis of the times that lay ahead and it will be interesting to observe……will the neo-con dogma endure, or fade away into insignificance in the name of progress??

  11. 52
    Basil Fawlty

    yeah, it’s a systemic problem of cheap credit and lax oversight where money was being made by the simple act of someone borrowing what they did not have from someone else who didn’t have it either. This ‘creating something from nothing’ was bad enough, but Wall Street never knows when to stop, so they created a myriad ways to leverage this ‘imaginary’ money into massive derivative deals, and the whole show rolled along until the music stopped.

    So now there are contagions ripping through the credit markets, the bond markets, the housing markets and ultimately the crisis that began on Wall Street moves to Main Street and you have BIG problems.

    Like they say, a trillion here a trillion there, and soon you’re talking real money.

    Put it this way, by November, there won’t be a sentient American that does not realise their country has been trashed by profligate policies and incompetent goverment, and that will be McCain’s biggest problem.

    (How long this goes on for is another matter altogether, but it’s possible this will be like a long drawn out thing like Japan’s post bust decade, and anyone who thinks not should understand that the Japanese had real savings, Americans do not).

  12. Looks like Bill’s endorsed Barack as early as 2004 – the scary ads obviously weren’t his idea:

    “UPDATE: A nice snag, from Bill Clinton circa 2004:

    “Now one of Clinton’s laws of politics is this: If one candidate’s trying to scare you and the other one’s trying to get you to think, if one candidate’s appealing to your fears and the other one’s appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope.”

    (Huffington Post)

  13. Hey, Basil F, after I posted my last to you I found this:

    Nevertheless, there’s a whole ocean of difference between an island nation with huge savings, a thrifty population and an enormously positive trade balance, and a stretched-out empire, possibly in decline, running record deficits in its external trade and internal government finances, with an aging, over-paid, over-indebted workforce. The former can tolerate deflation. The latter hasn’t got the stomach for it.

    …which sums up the veritable tsunami of debt crashing down on them. Just a week or so back I said to watch out for the Credit Default Swap market. Well America’s biggest insurer just reported a monstrous loss, and guess what? Yep…

    …the world’s leading insurance company, with a trillion dollar balance sheet, and net income greater than the GDP of some sovereign nations, announced that it had made a mistake. It had “discovered a material weakness in its internal control over financial reporting and oversight relating to the fair value valuation of the super senior credit default swap portfolio.”

    That loud sucking sound you hear is the tide rushing out before it rushes back in again and flattens all in its path.

  14. Andrew at 61: [why is that with most of the primary polls, Obama starts out miles behind then comes storming home (eg in texas from way behind in 2 weeks)? Now surely Texan voters had heard about Obama 2 weeks ago???]

    Sure, Andrew, they’d heard of him but a great many hadn’t focussed. As they do so BHO’s magnetism begins to work. He’s an exceptionally gifted communicator and after nearly eight years of The Imbecile, it’s like comparing a turd blossom with an orchid.
    Also, a lot of people eligible to vote but who havn’t before, are rushing to be registered after being touched by his finely honed media performances. Furthur many of these folk are holding down 2 or 3 part-time Mcjobs just to feed their families and stay afloat in the “world’s greatest democracy”, and have been previously swithched-off to all things political from torpor, inertia, apathy and cynicism.

    A hallmark of The Kid’s sizzle is his proven ability to alter those perceceptions and thereby shift parameters in a manner that is beyond the capabilities of HRC and McCain.

  15. Senator John McCain was “honored” to receive the endorsement of the Evangelical pastor John Hagee, but some Catholics aren’t amused:

    …time for John to re-watch the last CLinton/Obama debate to see how you ‘denounce’ someone that endorses you and still look credible! LOL

  16. Hi EC –
    re Bush/ Obama
    ” it’s like comparing a turd blossom with an orchid.”
    There’s nothing blossoming about him, EC.

  17. 68

    yeah, apart from calling the Catholic church the ant-christ, he’s also a whacky anti-semite who’s waiting for the Rapture when all J3ws get sent to hell.

    And, just to top it off, Katrina hit New Orleans as god’s punishment for the gay pride march that was scheduled.

    But McCain has actually been on stage with this nutter, and now openly accepts his endorsement.

    Guess you won’t be seeing anyone on Faux News asking if Senator McCain is anti-semite, then, huh?

  18. Just a brief general observation, Bludgers. William posted this thread at 3a.m. sandgroper time. There have been some three score and ten comments and all of the exchanges have been helpful, educational, civilised and occasionally witty; bloody good fun actually.
    On an adjacent thread covering domestic opinion polls which one just scrolled, there have been a couple of dead-set tossers on the loose and the whole thread tone became commensurately diminished. In the past I’ve been guilty of feeding trolls, but have now come to the conclusion, as indeed have many of your good selves, that they are a complete bloody waste of time and cyberspace. Like petulant attention seeking kids, if one ignores them they pop off some place else where they gratify their low self- esteem by negatively attempting to gain the attention they crave.

    *steps off podium*
    jen at 69, it’s what they grow in, mate!

  19. EC @ 71 – Snap – Just went over there to the other thread and scrolled down myself and it stands out like something very prominent (to use a Shane Stone-ism) that there are many troll blossoms (to paraphrase an EC-ism) in amongst the wise ones there at present.

  20. EC and JV-
    I just lowered myself to engage with the trolls. But having been away for a few days I just wanted a little bit of fun before settling into a more worthy use of my time.

  21. “UPDATE: Now Hillary has responded to Barack’s accusations of fear-mongering at a rally in Texas, saying that she doesn’t “think people in Texas scare all that easily.” Watch it:”

    Dear oh dear, it’s getting desperate and dirty now.

    Among other things – ‘There’s a big difference in delivering a speech at an anti-war rally as a state senator and picking up that phone at 3am in the morning (sic) to deal with an international crisis.’

    – that Obama in 2004 ‘basically agreed with the way Bush was conducting the war’

  22. JV –
    doubt it will wash. Americans have been living with the “We’re the only ones that can protect you” for years now and it isn’t working.
    She is desperate enough to use Republiican tactics, which will only associate her more closely with the neo-cons.

  23. Jen @ 74 – I all but responded to your comment ‘in the other place’ (as they say in Parlt) about environmental issues being a likely weak point with the Rudd govt, but employed postus interruptus for the aforesaid reasons. Anyway, I agree with you – and worry about the forests in Tassie and elsewhere. See P Wong’s remarks about Garnaut for the lead. And so, back to US politics …

    @ 77 Yes, I think it’s too little too late, although there is some possibility in the latest poll of a small late swing back to Hillary in Texas, bringing it back to 50/50, but still closing for Obama in Ohio.

  24. JV-
    even if Hillary and Obama got equal votes wouldn’t he still have the edge, in that she should have been the clear winnner by now – and she ain’t. So the delegates who actually want the party to win as opposed to honouring whatever wheeling and dealing has gone on, are surely going to support the guy most likely to beat the GOP – Obama.

  25. Hey Harry, you going to start counting down in hours soon? Nearing two digit figures now…

    why is that with most of the primary polls, Obama starts out miles behind then comes storming home (eg in texas from way behind in 2 weeks)? Now surely Texan voters had heard about Obama 2 weeks ago???

    This is something I’ve been wondering as well, and I’ve developed a vague theory. I think the thing to remember here is that elections in the US are very different from the ones in Australia (well, that’s a massive understatement) but in this context I’m referring to the importance of state-by-state battles.

    To us Aussies, it seems like there are only a few TV stations and a couple of decent newspapers, but in actual fact a lot of focus in the various states seems to be around the more local issues. State pride seems to be much more powerful over there than down here. Then again, the state of California alone is bigger than Australia, so that’s not really a surprise.

    To that extent, neither Obama or Clinton had been in Texas/Ohio media, apart from the news stories in the big primary battles. Except for those that have cable (or look online) there is no way to be soaked in coverage. And those that do bother to do just that have generally made up their minds. Thus there hasn’t been much to change the various perceptions out there, so the polls were stuck in the ‘Clinton inevitability’ stage from last year. The Obama momentum hadn’t hit home. I am willing to bet also that there have been more polls in Texas in the past fortnight then their have in the entirety of the two years prior.

    Then again, having never been to the USA, I can’t speak with any authority on the matter – this is all I’ve picked up from general knowledge.

  26. Jen @ 79 Well, that’s how I understand it will be with the ‘super delegates’, although there is some flexibility and loyalties in what they do. But not enough for Hillary to make it, because she is too far behind in already pledged delegates. If you were away you wouldn’t have seen this calculator someone put up last night, which is instructive to muck about with:

  27. Thanks JV –
    I’ll have a play tomorrow when I’ve recovered from trip to the Big Smoke.
    Gut feeling though (sorry psephs – but it does seem to have as much capacity to predict as the polls) this election is based on psychology more than policy. And Obama trumps Hillary on this more amorphous but perhaps more influential front by a proverbial country mile right now.
    Could change of course, but thus far… she’s still toast.

  28. KR et al a follow up from this morning…& a good read

    Smack oil & gas, Clinton(s) Bush ObL & the mafia…in one sitting

    A long road from Kosovo to Kurdistan
    By Pepe Escobar
    The ongoing saga revolves around two crucial, interrelated facts on the ground: Pipelineistan and the empire of 737 (and counting) US military bases in 130 countries operated by 350,000-plus Americans. In short: it revolves around the trans-Balkan AMBO pipeline and Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, the the largest US base built in Europe in a generation.

    It also lays bare continuity from the Bill Clinton to the George W Bush administrations – the US dictating the rules of the game as if in a one-party state.

    Yugoslavia and Iraq also “taught” the world two lessons. From Clinton’s humanitarian imperialism to Bush’s “war on terror”, it’s all a matter of exclusive Washington prerogative. Blowback, of course, as Putin has warned, will be inevitable.

    Fleshes out the three choice no choice election.

    Some may also find this intersting & useful

  29. Something is fishy here. Poor Harry’s patriotic, brave and dangerous assignment in Afghanistan has been blown by the naughty Newidea. Now Harry has to be withdrawn to Mumsy for safe keeping after 10 weeks in the Kyber Pass. It was supposed to be hush, hush and top secret for the sake of young Harry.

    If so, how come there are many TV footages of Harry doing the normal soldier things. Harry shaving, Harry shooting, Harry on the command post etc etc. In fact, there was a special on Skynews on Harry in Afghan. There’s more, Harry was interviewed and said that he was very well looked after by the Gurkhas. I can just imagine now, Harry going out on mission surrounded by 50 Gurkhas for every step he took. So much for the brave Harry.

    There’s even more, Harry’s arrival back to Mumsy will be televised live on Skynews with popsy Charles and brother William to give him a hero welcome home. Effing hell, give me a break. It was all Hollywood, spin and PR from the Palace.

  30. If the latest poll averages are the same on Tuesday then the delgates will be split something like this:
    Texas – Obama 98, Clinton 95
    Ohio – Obama 66, Clinton 75

    So, Clinton picks up a nett 6 pledged delegates making Obama’s advantage in pledged delgates (including supers) 86, reduced from 92, with 647 unpledged ordinary delegates, and 370 unpledged super delegates left.

    This will vary because of the splits between districts, caucus counts and suchlike.

    But, the main unknown is the accuracy of the bloody polls themselves!

  31. JV#40 If one were to buy a Russian sub, where would you get it serviced?
    Andrew #61 The other reason for the apparent “narrowing” is that typically the poll average weeks before the election is based on one poll showing Obama closer and a bunch of polls going back into 2007 when he wasn’t a serious prospect. Then about three weeks before the poll in a state they start polling it seriously and the weight of newer polls shifts the balance back towards reality. In other words, the narrowing started earlier but they only started polling recently.

  32. JV-
    maybe we should try tea leaves and chicken’s entrails, and see how we go.
    I’m actually pretty good with a pack of tarot cards.

  33. Oh no, Skynews was serious. It is now televising live the arrival of Harry back to Mumsy. WGAF and how dare they interrupt the sport news.

  34. Jen @ 89 – If chicken entrails can give the outcome, I had some nice chicken liver pate tonight and it was a little unusual, dark in colour and strong in flavour, which made me think that pate was from a cock bird which had been a fine orator among chickens in the yard, a rooster leader of chickens, and they came from the coops and rallied around him whenever he crowed from the weather vane, which was often.

    Could this be a sign??

  35. RB @ 88- [If one were to buy a Russian sub, where would you get it serviced?]

    If that’s all that’s stopping you there’s a boatyard near me that charges only about the average annual wage to service a 30 hp diesel. Do you want to form a syndicate?

  36. #94 –
    Thank God!
    though I must have missed even bigger news while I was away.

    there’s no doubt then .And it’s good on you know what , -t o a…

  37. Evening all 🙂

    Just passing through, finally taking a breather, and finding some time to kill, and catch up, on a Sat night ( I know, I know – I don’t have a life) – I see not much has changed? Hill’s still toast I see – just taking her time about it,
    I’ll go off and sulk for a couple of months.. but don’t worry, I’ll get over it 🙂

    Checked out some other fav bloggy-spots tonight too, and I found some clips from an American TV show, seems a bit like Chaser style of comedy skits,

    so on the lighter side, thought you guys might enjoy a chuckle:

    1st skit, on MSM treatment of Obama:

    and to be fair, a skit on Hillary (but I think it comes after some other stuff)

    Sorry, if you’ve seen them before – if not, Enjoy!


  38. #95 – I thought you guys are big on the Messiah, resurrection and all that. So no surprise then if Mumsy Di has been resurrected by Messiah Obama as the last miracle before the Texas chain massacre.

  39. Harry’s Mum shares with me and with Obama the honour of having been born in 1961. It was the year of the Ox – and like an Oxen Obama is ploughing steadily through the primaries increasing his lead slowly and steadily as he goes. I don’t know what was ox-like about Diana though (apart from a certain bovine emptiness in her expression).

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 2 of 9
1 2 3 9