Presidential election minus 19 weeks

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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.

2,113 comments on “Presidential election minus 19 weeks”

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  1. Bloody hell, you cant even go to sleep,
    and wake up to the screaming headline that PB has lost 2 bloggers,
    Oh my heart is shattered and soul has surrendered,
    Who gives a hsit about:

    Mugabe more isolated
    Angry questions follow ferry sinking
    US welcomes EU sanctions on Iran
    Pakistan adrift without a leader
    Landmark NKorea nuclear declaration expected Thursday
    Nigeria: The Case Against Gambari
    Chile extends whaling ban as meeting eyes Japan
    EU approves new sanctions on Iran
    ‘Peace Valley’ launch cancelled
    Faction fighting continues in northern Lebanon
    Another Female Suicide Bomber Kills 15 in Iraq.

    Sweet William oh, i want them back,
    pleeeeeeease, especially my pet,
    ’tis not a fair contest that is 3 Vs 30,
    ’tis more fair is 3 vs 32.

  2. Seven in 10 worry that McCain’s policies would be too similar to President Bush’s, while half are concerned Obama’s changes would go too far. Almost one in 10 say Obama would be a less effective president because he is black, while nearly one in four say McCain, 71, would be less effective because of his age. People prefer a Democrat to a Republican representing them in Congress by 10 percentage points.

  3. Finns on the previous – ha! 🙂 Close, but:

    “Although many people initially assume that the song is about the famous Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, Van Zandt has denied this, and the lyrics are not easily reconciled with the historic details of Villa’s life and death.”

  4. I note too Democratic Senate candidates are headed for landslide victories in New Hampshire, New Mexico and Colorado.

  5. How do you reckon the sort of candor below will play out? As well as Howard and Haneef, or better?

    “We saw how that might play out early in the campaign, when one good scare, one timely reminder of the chaos lurking in the world, probably saved McCain in New Hampshire, a state he had to win to save his candidacy – this according to McCain’s chief strategist, Charlie Black. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an “unfortunate event,” says Black. “But his knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who’s ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us.” As would, Black concedes with startling candor after we raise the issue, another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him,” says Black.”

  6. Progressive @ 10,

    I don’t think Colorado is the bag yet, but New Mexico, New Hampshire and especially Virginia are all probable Democratic pick-ups.

  7. New Mexico and New Hampshire are looking good for the Democrats, and maybe Colorado too. Outside of the greater DC area, Virginia is a tough nut to crack for the Dems; but they have a good Senate candidate in the shape of former Gov Mark Warner (who, coincidentally, is running for the seat vacated by John Warner, former husband of Elizabeth Taylor). But I think Obama is dreaming if he thinks he can carry Virginia in the pres election.

    Demographic changes are pushing all four states (NH, NM, Virginia and Colorado) closer to the Dems; but Virginia and Colorado have a long way to go.

  8. Touche, amigos. But in the interest of balance as an unbiased contributor, some nice designs storming about in this teacup too 🙂 :

    “So since the Republicans have been beating the drum on Obama’s alleged presumptuousness and lack of respect for the seal of the President, when’s the GOP going to take down its seals for the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s Republican Presidential Task Force, Republican Senatorial Inner Circle, and Republican Presidential Roundtable?

    Also offensive, no?”

  9. GG and Finns, gosh, I’m stunned. So now all has been revealed. Obama lacks judgement because his seal had a similar eagle on it to the presidential seal. And Finns, my god – please no, surely it’s not, not, not a sign of h-u-u-u-bris??

    And boys, don’t forget about Obama not wearing a flagpin earlier this year. Apparently that was a sign of his lack of patriotism.

    I’m looking forward to more of these illuminating discoveries. I guess by the end of it, we will be thanking you for not electing the anti-christ. After all, you guys saw it all right from the start, eh?

  10. The disposable Presidential seal there is more than meets th eye Yes the GOP have foolish seals , no question The GOP’s are about teh Republican Party & is in bad taste , but this seal imlys aan annointed one Poor judgment guys yes , but also elititism arrogoance ‘they cling to their guns , they cling to their religion’ Even a Roman Emperor’s coroination is one of the last qualities you’d want to see in a nukie Countrys head But then it seems in the US as with PB , perception has become reality before examination & a disowning of michelle may havr no effect on this “virtual reality” election

  11. Yeah, the seal was a mistake, but the reaction to it is typical “Gotcha” politics. It’d be awesome if the media bothered to cover key policy differences, rather than just inanely focussing on gaffes. I guess it’s what sells paper and grabs viewers though.

  12. GG, [Is he wearing any “policy” clothes?] – policy clothes? i have not seen any. You can judge a nation very much by the way it looks after its people. Healthcare. If one thing that Obama Admin can really do for the American people is to introduce a Universal Healthcare.

    But guess what? who was the real champion of the Universal Healthcare? It was our candidate Ms. HRC.

  13. Noocat,

    Here’s the killer quote allegedly from the man himself:

    “One Obama aide told Fox News that the widely panned seal was intended as a one-off for Friday’s event. But reported that the candidate himself felt the image had been a “silly mistake”.”

    What other silly mistakes are there and when are they likely to happen?

  14. ah FINNS , yes absolutely Universal healthcare for our countrys people

    ….and a countrys people’s future people ? ……..Kyoto

  15. GG – that’s a fair indication of class I’d say. While aides are spinning, Obama announces ‘mistake, move on’.

    Finns – still with the Hills hangup? Once Obama has won the election with his less threatening stance, both Elizabeth Edwards and Hillary will be at the centre of debate and implementation of the most revolutionary healthcare policy the U.S. has ever seen.

  16. [What other silly mistakes are there and when are they likely to happen?]

    GG, you’d better sit down for this one. Obama will probably make some more “silly” mistakes in the lead up to the general election because he is an imperfect human being.

    The same goes for McCain. Expect him to make some more silly mistakes over the next few months too. He also is an imperfect human being.

    And it was the same last year with Rudd. He admitted to making some mistakes on the way to the federal election. Rudd too is an imperfect human being.

    The point of difference between all these imperfect human beings, which should be your main concern, is how they handle the “gaffe”. Do they have the courage and personal dignity to admit to making a mistake or do they try to run away from it? Obama (like Rudd last year) has already demonstrated the former. Howard was of the latter. Let’s see how McCain goes over the next few months…

  17. Noocat,

    I’ll remember all the forgiveness and goodwill you extol. It is a charming credit to your character and so consistent with the views of the Obamaphiles on PB towards John McCain. (Wanders off laughing uncontrollably).

  18. Pancho, two critical issues that Obama has not led at all but waiting to be led.

    1. Healthcare
    2. Kyoto

    me and my amigos have nailed these from way back. Our flags are flying high, where’s yours?

    i think i am going to enjoy on the top Machu Picchu, shouting “i told you so, i told you so” on about 4/11/08.

  19. Why should the next American President ratify Kyoto? They’ve missed the boat already through the inaction of the Bush 2 and Clinton administrations. The commitment period is already here (2008-2012) and their greenhouse emissions have increased by 14.7% to 2006 from 1990 levels. In 2006 they had a total greenhouse output of 7054.2 Tg of CO2 equivalent, which represents a Kyoto exceedance of 904 Tg (just under a billion tonnes). Under Kyoto they would then take a hit of 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent during the next commitment phase (on top of their other commitments), through the inaction of the previous governments. The next commitment period needs to bring on board all developing countries and institute large reductions in GHG levels; much larger than the 5% reduction attempted by Kyoto… more like 30%. A 30% reduction in addition to the extra 1.2 billion tonnes reduction would force the US to push for a 50% reduction by the next commitment period.

    Given the current economic climate in the US, the better option is to chase the 6% target by 2012 as rigourously as possible, then come on board for the second commitment phase. The thought of US ratification of Kyoto sounds good, but in practice, I don’t think it would work.

  20. Finns – “i think i am going to enjoy on the top Machu Picchu, shouting “i told you so, i told you so” on about 4/11/08.” What a coincidence!

    Two points. First, you seem to forget that there is an inherent difference between campaigning on the one hand, and governing on the other. No elected government will ever do everything they have promised, and most will pull things out of the hat that they couldn’t, or wouldn’t publicise in a campaign atmosphere. It is my belief that Obama’s longer history shows him to be both politically savvy (he obviously knows how to play politics and win elections) and principled. We obviously differ on how we see him approaching both healthcare and climate change, and there will be no proof puddings until a couple of years into the Obama administration.

    My second point is related to the first. While you spent most of the primaries admonishing Obama for being unreal and promising all sorts of things, you now seem to be the one with the kumbaya cap on. Trumpeting universal healthcare in an election atmosphere just gives the Republicans a reason to hit Obama, and claiming he could ratify Kyoto would be a lie, given this is done by Congress. So while I admire your political optimism, demanding pure ‘Healthcare’ and ‘Kyoto’ from Obama in a campaign atmosphere lacks a little pragmatism, and dare I say it, has more than a whiff of kumbaya about it.

  21. Noocat
    “The point of difference between all these imperfect human beings, which should be your main concern, is how they handle the “gaffe”. Do they have the courage and personal dignity to admit to making a mistake or do they try to run away from it? ”

    You are just too partisan to see the US is non compulsory There are 3 voters options , McCain or Obama or no vote Rudd had 3 problems 9Burke, terize’s money & his drunkem boogie fixed all 3 immediately Lets use youer standard The pastors you tube comments were playded to obama on 15th February Obama m 8 televised quoted TV interviews re the Pastor from 15th february to the ist May , each different , each one slowly untanfgling himself from the pastor from 15th February to 1st May (including his alleged Gettysburg address You remember that one at Philly don’t you , the greatest speech of all time Its already been forgotton because it was about one of his 8 Pastor “positions” Why did it take Obama so long ? because he had no one else to blame So on your criteria he fails The sea l,, there’s someone to blame , but he made the original approval on itand AL says its a mistake , yes a mistake but also an unsavoury character insight like bittergate

  22. Chris,

    Clinton never sent the Kyoto to the Senate for ratification, and

    Gore, who often serves as the administration’s point person on environmental issues, said the U.S. intends to press for “meaningful participation by key developing nations.” Until that happens, the administration will not seek a ratification vote in the Senate, Gore said.

    The Byrd-Hagel Resolution passed unanimously in the Senate on July 25 1997 (95-0) stating that the Senate would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol in its present form. Sure Clinton helped draft it, but Bush isn’t the only POTUS not to have ratified it.

  23. FINNS & GG

    Here the Panch goes agaiin trying to hide the Obama lie on Kyoto Obama does NOT support the ratifiaction of Kyoto Obama will NOT say he supports the ratification of Kyoto So the panch stop trying to deceive your less read supporters her , because you don’t deceive the 3 amifgos with that bullsh.t

    The second stain of the panch’s ‘tale’ is to elect a POTUS not on what he says he will do !!! No not alll , but insteads elect him on what the panch thinks he will do ,crap Rudd like most Polliticans for electon put all his policys out there before the election , so did hillary on both universal healthcare and Kyoto etc What we hve seen from Obama and McCain is useless healthcare , Kyoto and other FA & domectic polices

    For 3 months these Obamabots have run fantasy Obama ‘promises’ that they cann’t quantify

  24. Ron, let me just say that we are talking here about “gaffes” that are almost inconsequential. The flagpin, the seal, and whatever else, really say nothing about the kind of president Obama would make.

    The meaning attached to them by the Republicans or by the media is FAR beyond reality. It’s just point-scoring, nothing more.

  25. All fired up Ron!

    But back to reality – do you dispute the fact that Congress and not the President ratifies? Do you dispute the fact that no Congress will ratify at this stage given there is no way that the US can make the goals set for it when they signed but not ratified Kyoto given over a decade of inaction and that we are now in the 08-12 period that Kyoto is running?

    Come on, lift the chip off your shoulder and be honest with yourself pal!

  26. I think this is not fair on the old man, but he still got the moral authority. It’s time for Nelson Mandela to make a statement on the Zimbabwe issue. The South African president Thabo Mbeki is really pathetic. In fact, the whole ANC is a pale shadow of what it was.

    The next leader in waiting for the ANC, South Africa’s former Deputy President Jacob Zuma, has a real murky past. he was charged with corruption and rape but acquitted. He is also linked to a “S Africa’s controversial arms deal – Mr Zuma says he will quit as ANC chief only if a court finds him guilty Despite his unequivocal election victory as leader of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), Jacob Zuma is by no means assured of the presidency in 2009”

    I heard a BBC radio documentary on him. It’s not good. It will not be good for SA’s reputation and moral standing if he became the president.

  27. Panch stop seemleslly deceiving posters here FINNS went down this path with you for a day and you avoided him as well The fact is Obama will not say he supports the ratification of kyoto

    Supply a quote where Obama says this No you can not because he refuses to say it Obama always ducks the question

    YOU HAVE NEVER challenged the accuracy of this statement from either FINNS or me You are a dishonest blogger & continue to use up cyber space with this Obama Kyoto fraud

    (AL i will address your valid points separately so the panch can not misquote)

  28. Pancho, for you:

    [TWENTY years ago yesterday, James Hansen, a climate scientist at NASA, told the world that he was “99%” certain that humans were already warming the climate.

    “The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now,” Dr Hansen said then, referring to a string of warm years and the accumulating blanket of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and other gases emitted mainly by the burning of fossil fuels and forests.

    To many observers of environmental history, that was the first time global warming moved from being a looming issue to breaking news. Dr Hansen’s statement to a Senate committee helped propel the first pushes for legislation and an international treaty to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. A treaty was enacted and an addendum, the Kyoto Protocol, was added.

    In his testimony, Dr Hansen said, he will say that the next US president faces a unique opportunity to galvanise the country around the need for a transformed, non-polluting energy system.]

    As Obama is big on symbolic things. he can galvanise his nation by doing a very simple symbolic thing, just say “I will sign Kyoto”. That will send a very powerful and simple message to the World.

  29. Yes Finns, Mbeki has completely dropped the ball on this one. Seems totally disinterested since losing the party leadership last year.
    My wife has just returned from SA for the first time since she left in 1998, and says the whole place is falling apart, crumbling infrastruture and unimaginable violence. As uselss as Mbeki is, I think think your right, Zuma atrocious, we are in the process now of trying to get as many of my wifes family over to Australia.

  30. Finns

    I’ve been thinking the same thing about Mandela. Mugabe and he are not great mates so it’s not out of loyalty to Mugabe that he’s not spoken up. Mbeki is a pathetic stooge who seems to think AIDS is a good population control measure. The US looks set to take the Zimbabwe elctions to the UN Security Council.

  31. Ron – I’m not having a go here, but bear with me. My point has continuously been that I think you are asking the wrong question, and to ‘groupthink’ a phrase, it seems to me a gotcha question, for the following reasons.

    1. The President does not ratify instruments such as Kyoto, Congress does. Therefore it is neither here nor there if Obama says he wants to ratify, and it would not be politically astute of him to announce that he intends to force through ratification when Congress (including many conservative Democrats) will just cut his legs from under him, and give the Republicans talking points about his leadership and the fact that the economy is crashing while Obama tries to slug them further.

    2. I don’t believe that the US ratifying Kyoto in mid 2009 will see them attain the goals they were set over a decade ago. This has been because of the Bush admins general inaction, as well as a lack of desire to move on this issue throughout the wider US body politic. For this reason there will be little instrumentally gained by the US signing on at this late stage. AND the fact that the US won’t make its target, and would be fined heavily, is another reason why Congress will not sign on.

    3. Reasons 1 and 2 are why I think it more important that Obama has pledged to work within the UNFCCC towards a post-Kyoto agreement. This is alongside his plan to create a G8+5 agreement you have previously mentioned. See page 4 on this link:

    So in short – no I don’t believe that Obama will ratify Kyoto, but nor do I believe that he can honestly, or politically astutely promise to. But I do see his policies as heading in the right direction with regards to climate change, and am hopeful that his nuanced position could create enough of a concensus to get the majority of US lawmakers onboard.

  32. 47 ec

    The technical term is “survival cannibalism” is it’s purely out of starvation. If it becomes more for revenge, it’s called “exocannibalism”. 😀

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