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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

US Presidential campaign « Previous | |Next »
December 22, 2007

I've started trying to follow the US presidential campaign to see where things stand. From what I can make out the media's version is a story of five candidates and two rivalries. On the Democratic side, it is Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., against Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill with suggestions of a Clinton-Obama ticket. On the Republican side it is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney against former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson.

This narrative makes former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), former Sen. John Edwards (D) underdog candidates. I know little about Ron Paul, another underdog, other than he is a free market capitalist man who opposes "big government and defends constitutional freedoms.

Glenn Greenwald says that the centerpiece of the Edwards campaign:

is a critique that is a full frontal assault on our political establishment. His argument is not merely that the political system needs reform, but that it is corrupt at its core -- "rigged" in favor of large corporate interests and their lobbyists, who literally write our laws and control the Congress. Anyone paying even casual attention to the extraordinary bipartisan effort on behalf of telecom immunity, and so many other issues driven almost exclusively by lobbyists, cannot reasonably dispute this critique.

Greenwald adds that argument indicts the same Beltway culture of which our political journalists are an integral part, and further attacks the system's power brokers who are the friends, sources, and peers of those journalists, they instinctively react with confusion, scorn and hostility towards Edwards' campaign.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:11 AM | | Comments (12)


It seems that its only Clinton Obama. There is nobody else that is realistically in the game.

Guiliani is running as a continuation of the Bush presidency (authoritarian and 9/11 ... 9/11). Romney appears to be going for the evangelical vote but Huckabee is more a "one of them". Huckabee has all sorts of governance/corruption issues though from his time in Arkansas. Romney actually had a better chance of running on his record than appealing to the evangelicals who care little for merit and vote on identity first.

Paul appears to have a good netroots backing and regularly raises unexpected amounts of cash. His style if liberalism is popular in Texas and the South-West which have natural antipathy to Washington DC.

The Democrat side of things is more cluttered than the anaemic Republican candidates. Clinton is running as a big powerful political campaign. It is well funded, disciplined, and plays by the normal political campaigning rules. Obama's campaign is similar but Obama is wonderful orator. More like Bill Clinton in that respect. I don't think Edwards is competitive. He is using the same message as when he was a presidential and vice presidential candidate in 2004. I think Obama's narrative and policy prescriptions are more seductive than Edward's narrative. Though in health policy you couldn't fit a penny between their policies.

My guess; Obama is the next President of the US. I dont think that will be a bad thing. I suspect he will be a good international president.

it is difficult for me to judge at this distance. The Australian press is not good on this issue so I have to turn to the American webloggers. I've lost contact with them during the Australian election.

I agree with you about Barack Obama. The bits I've heard from him talking indicate that he is an orator in the sense of classic rhetoric.

What is being reported in the Australian press is how Hilary Clinton looks. She looks ugly because she is old.

A Republican style attack.

That is the way women in power are always portrayed. If they are old they are ugly and old. If they are tough they are a potential lesbian.

I read the election as a white women against a black man.

some of the lower profile candidates are interesting.....In this interview with David Brody, Mike Huckabee, for instance, talks about the private contempt that the moneycon-driven Republican Party has for evangelicals like him:

They were more than happy for us to come to the rallies and stand in lines for hours to cheer on the candidates, appreciated us putting up the yard signs, going out and putting out the cards on peoples doors and making phone calls to the phone banks and — really appreciated all of our votes. But when they got elected, behind closed doors, they would laugh at us and speak with scorn and derision that we were, as one article I think once said "the easily led." So there's been almost this sort of, it's okay if you guys get a seat on the bus, but don't ever think about telling us where the bus is going to go.

The Washington Republican elites grab the votes and dough and then treat the evangelicals as village idiots.Sounds pretty right to me in terms of a critique of the Beltway elite in Washington.

Yes thats a bit colourful. I would agree with you that evangelicals are village idiots.
Though thinking about it I wonder if having money would make a person more of a "Happy Idiot" rather than a village one. I tend to see the village variety as hanging around the town square with buck teeth dressed in old clothes ranting occasionally.

Despite the limitations you refer to John Edwards is an interesting political figure though----he grew up in a small town in rural America in a red state (albeit only once) and his politics are based on ending povert) and highlighting a target (greedy corporations and their hit men in Washington). A Democrat populist?

Gary, His narrative is a bit used up. America heard it over and over four years ago. Also he doesnt fit the times, he didnt four years ago either. The problem the Bush presidency poses is more of a classist reading of politics. I think that is why Obama and Paul have more empathic narratives. The mess Bish/Cheney is leaving isnt one of domestic inequity, it is the erosion of American power, values and liberty. I think this is why Paul's platform is resonating so well.

Obama is selling redemption---just like Oprah.Oprah sells redemption: easy, instantaneous redemption, sold as a product line.

Obama offers redemption that comes in the form of a few words, hope, change etc.

I've read that women are deserting Hilary Clinton. They don't trust her and they find her cold, dishonest and calculating. They are troubled by their reaction to her as they would really like to see a woman as President. Is that what your reading?

The Guardian reports the following:

The latest poll in New Hampshire, conducted by the Boston Globe, shows Obama with 30%, Clinton on 28%, and John Edwards on 14%. A month ago, Clinton led Obama by 35% to 21%.There was a similar shift in the Republican race, with Mitt Romney's 32% to 17% lead over McCain being reduced to a three-point margin. Romney polled 28% to McCain's 25%. Rudy Giuliani was on 14% with Mike Huckabee on 10%.

Does New Hampshire--or even Iowa---actually matter? I appreciate that New Hampshire stands for grassroots, town square democracy that still actually exists in the United States. New Hampshire is not that significant in the overall scheme of things of the presidential nomination is it. You can win in New Hampshire and lose the nomination.