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Old 17th Jan 2007, 20:59   #1
Wavid
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Default US Presidential Election 2008

This seems ridiculously early, but the various contenders are clearly positioning themselves for bids for the presidency.

There are a couple of posts here already, but I think a dedicated thread to follow the 'action' is a good idea!

Barack Obama has effectively announced his bid, according to the BBC:

Quote:
Senator Barack Obama is taking the first step towards a White House run, raising the possibility the US will get its first black president.

Mr Obama, a Democrat, said on his website he had formed an exploratory committee, which would allow him to raise money and hire staff for the run.

He is one of his party's rising stars, having electrified the 2004 Democratic convention with a powerful speech.

He opposed the war in Iraq and has a solidly liberal Senate voting record.

In a video announcement posted on his website, he said Americans wanted to move beyond partisan politics to find common-sense solutions to problems.

"Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions," he said.

"We have to change our politics, and come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans."
The Guardian has a simple summary of all the main contenders:

Quote:
Democrats

Hillary Clinton: Seen as a potential candidate since first elected senator for New York in 2000. A fundraising powerhouse, but ambiguous about the Iraq war, which could hurt her. May make a declaration this week.

Barack Obama: Junior senator from Illinois and a rising star since his electrifying speech to the 2004 party convention. His lack of experience is made up for by his appeal to audiences from New Hampshire to Kenya, where his father hails from. Opposed Iraq war.

John Edwards: Veteran of the campaign trail as John Kerry's 2004 running mate. He has staked out ground on the left, with an anti-poverty platform. Opposed Iraq war.

Republicans

John McCain: Former navy pilot and senator from Arizona owes his military credentials to the years spent in the "Hanoi Hilton" after being shot down in Vietnam. Backs George Bush on the troop surge.

Mitt Romney: A Mormon and son of a former Michigan governor, Romney rose to prominence for organising the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. As a Republican governor of liberal Massachusetts, he approved a ban on assault weapons and made no move to restrict abortion rights.

Sam Brownback: Kansas senator expected to make a formal announcement on Saturday, and will run on the issues that move the Republican base. Opposes abortion and stem cell research, and what he calls the "homosexual agenda", and supports creationism in state schools

Rudy Giuliani: Former New York city mayor's interest became clear this month after a strategy document was leaked. Moderate image may hurt him among primary voters.
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Old 18th Jan 2007, 4:00   #2
rick green
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Default Re: US Presidential Election 2008

There was a slyly funny spot on the radio (NPR) today describing the new Senate's proposals for Iraq. Every Senator the announcer mentioned was considering a presidential run, there must have been five or six of them, half of whom I'd never heard of before.
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Old 18th Jan 2007, 6:23   #3
Beth
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Default Re: US Presidential Election 2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavid View Post
This seems ridiculously early,
I would call this deliciously early, Wavid! It's never too soon to start scoping the field here. There are many in the ring already, and I'm surprised that there are actually more than two strong runners at the moment. I would put in order of strength to weakness McCain, Obama, Clinton, and Giuliani. The others just don't factor in yet.

McCain is so overpoweringly fearsome to the core of the Republican party. He actually invoked Toqueville's Democracy in America during the primary debates in 2000 and used the word 'venerating' to describe a moment in Hanoi when he and another prisoner secretly affirmed Christ to one another. He's the kind of thinker that terrifies the ideologues and Christublicans (my own goofy term for these mega churches that print 'voter guides' for congregants and attempt to legislate from the pulpit). I see his attempts at cozying up to the religious right as pure politics, no cynicism. I think he's a genuine consensus builder (ie his group of 14 that worked together to prevent a filibuster over judicial nominees) a blurb about that and is confident enough to tolerate people he doesn't agree with. He needs the entire party to get elected. Someone mentioned the Straight Talk Express as an exercise in dishonesty, but I think McCain is truly an honorable man. I would vote for him over Giuliani, whom I see as a preening womanizer who stabled a mistress in Gracie Mansion and dumped his wife publicly without informing her that he was going on television to do so. No amount of WTC dust on the man can erase those news conferences from the minds of many women. Same with Hillary, the woman voter factor. Imho, many women see Hillary as a facade with no real internals. She wears black, she talks in a measured voice, she's pretty collected, but she appears to have cared more for power than for any integrity of her marriage by covering for Bill's philandering. And I think many women feel a twinge of pity for her that she is singleminded in her pursuit of power at the expense of any real, personal power. Ugh, rambling, it's late.

Obama is wonderfully present, in that sense that Americans love. He's an intellectual but doesn't appear to lord it over those around him. He's shockingly young, handsome, has the ability to rivet his audience to his words, and very little experience. There is true gentleness to the man, nod to Rick Green, and that combined with his unapologetically liberal Senate votes, adds up to intoxication for many! All this is how I see things at the moment, and it seems that electability here is more about not making any fatal mistakes than it is about emblazoning specifics in the minds of voters. But it's shaping up to be a most interesting election. What are the thoughts and feelings in your land about this? I'll have to do a Gordon Brown search here in the spirit of reciprocity! Something about head scarves?...
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Old 18th Jan 2007, 13:35   #4
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Default Re: US Presidential Election 2008

Did anybody see the BBC 4 documentary on the role of bloggers in US politics last night... really well done.
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Old 22nd Jan 2007, 11:41   #5
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Default Re: US Presidential Election 2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by wshaw View Post
Did anybody see the BBC 4 documentary on the role of bloggers in US politics last night... really well done.
Sorry w, looks like everyone missed it.

Hilary is definitely in, then, and some chap called Bill Richardson too.

The BBC have their own summary of the runners and riders here, which is quite nicely done.

Following up wshaw's point, it will be interesting to see how the candidates use the web to get their message across, especially after Howard Dean's attempts last time round.

Hillary Clinton's site has a blog space, but they aren't doing much with it - though it is clear (I think) that the posts will be written by Clinton supporters and not by Hillary herself (or someone pretending to be her).

Interestingly, her website also refers to her supporters as 'Hillraisers'. I will leave you all to make up your own minds about that.
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Old 22nd Jan 2007, 11:54   #6
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Default Re: US Presidential Election 2008

I'm sure Storyville will be on again, and soon, such is the way of BBCs Three and Four.
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Old 24th Jan 2007, 18:44   #7
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Default Re: US Presidential Election 2008

Looks like the Daily Show's coverage of 'Indecision 08' is up and running - We beat em to it!

Personally, I thought the finest coverage of the last US general election came late nights on either BBC2 or Channel 4 - I forget which - courtesy of Otis Lee Crenshaw, or Rich Hall as he's also known. I hope he'll be doing it again for this next bunch.
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Old 25th Jan 2007, 11:11   #8
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Default Re: US Presidential Election 2008

I know it's not really about the election in 2008, but I liked this guy's tag cloud of the current President's 'state of the union' address.

...Guess which words come up the most often!
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Old 27th Jan 2007, 20:14   #9
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Default Re: US Presidential Election 2008

Interesting piece in the Guardian about John McCain:

Quote:
When Senator John McCain appeared at the Conservative party conference in Bournemouth last October as the presumptive next president of the US, the stars seemed fixed in the firmament for him. The myth of McCain appeared as invincible as ever.

His war story - a bomber pilot shot down over North Vietnam in 1967, held prisoner for five years and tortured - is the basis of his legend as morally courageous, authentic, unwavering in his convictions, an independent reformer willing to take on the reactionaries of his own party, an "American maverick" as he calls himself in his campaign autobiography.

The titles of his books reflect the image: Character Is Destiny, Why Courage Matters, and Faith of My Fathers. Defeat at the hands of George Bush in the battle for the Republican nomination in 2000, in which he was subjected to dirty tricks, completed his canonisation. The press corps so venerated him that he called them "my base".

McCain's political colleagues, however, know another side of the action hero - a volatile man with a hair-trigger temper, who shouted at Senator Ted Kennedy on the Senate floor to "shut up", and called fellow Republican senators "shithead ... fucking jerk ... asshole". A few months ago, McCain suddenly rushed up to a friend of mine, a prominent Washington lawyer, at a social event, and threatened to beat him up because he represented a client McCain happened to dislike. Then, just as suddenly, profusely and tearfully, he apologised.

Many Republicans who have had dealings with McCain distrust him (not just conservatives but traditional Republican moderates too). While taking rightwing positions on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, his simmering resentment of Bush led him virtually to caucus with the Democrats in early 2001 (before September 11). Then, abruptly, he rushed to embrace Bush.

McCain's political advisers believe that he would easily be elected president in 2008, but fear that he might not capture the nomination. In 2000 he did not win a primary state where the voting was restricted to Republicans. So McCain decided to let the election take care of itself as he won over the party faithful. He campaigned enthusiastically for Bush in 2004. He sought to reconcile with the religious right, whose leaders he had called "agents of intolerance" in 2000.

McCain had belatedly taken the lead in opposing Bush's torture policy, an issue that could not be more personal for him. But after the supreme court last year declared Bush's secret tribunals for detainees and use of extreme interrogation techniques illegal, the president sought congressional approval of his version. At first, McCain fought Bush, but the right attacked him. McCain quickly capitulated, even agreeing to suspension of habeas corpus. Someone close to him explained to me that McCain calculated he could continue to play the issue when he became chairman of the Senate armed services committee in the next Congress. Asked about the chance that the Democrats might take control, McCain declared: "I think I'd just commit suicide."

As the neoconservatives abandoned Bush's sinking ship, McCain welcomed them aboard. "McCain began reading the Weekly Standard and conferring with its editors, particularly Bill Kristol," the New Republic magazine reported. And he hired a board member of the neocon Project for the New American Century, Randy Scheunemann, as his foreign-policy aide.

McCain positioned himself as consistently belligerent, even to Bush's right: in favour of bombing Iran and North Korea. He also proposed a "surge" of troops into Iraq, an idea gleaned from the neocons. If Bush had adopted the Iraq Study Group approach of diplomacy and redeployment, which McCain had assailed as "dispiriting", the right would have hailed McCain as a prophet with honour. However, importuned by the same neocons who had sold it to McCain, Bush seized upon the "surge".

McCain had trapped himself. He is now chained to Bush. As Bush's war has escalated, McCain's popularity has nose dived. Still the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, he might have made himself more acceptable to the base, but his political strategy has shattered his myth. Bearing the burden of Bush, he may have become unelectable.
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Old 27th Jan 2007, 22:34   #10
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Default Re: US Presidential Election 2008

Very interesting, Wavid. Hmmmm, I've heard McCain has a hair trigger temper and nothing is more frightening in a person. I'll have to research Scheunemann. Unfortunately, it looks as though a mass infusion of troops is as necessary now as it was in the early days of the war when it was recommended by Shinseiki and should have been implemented. Absolutely crushing scenario we are facing. Far as I'm concerned, the war is the only issue at the moment. We have to choose someone who can get us through this.
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