What is fact?

13 03 2008

Having been busy recently, I have had neither the time nor the willingness to write anything about anything. This is despite recent events such as the budget, or the storms hitting the UK, or the death of Michael Todd, or English crickets continuous woeful form.

But today I saw this. And felt compelled to add my two cents worth.

Now on some level I think I agree with Geraldine Ferraro. She has, in my eyes, highlighted a very important issue which tends to be overlooked. “Racism works in two different directions. I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white” she said, and said that anything negative about Obama was instantly seized upon as being racist. For me, it should be much more widely accepted that racism does indeed work both ways. The culture in which we seem to live is that being racist only works towards black people. This should definately not be the case. It should be noted and accepted by society that white people can just as easily suffer racist abuse from black people as vice versa.

However, I completely disagree with her when she suggests that Obama was doing well because he was black. For me, he is doing well because he engages with Joe Public much better than Clinton. And I’m not still not sure that he plays the race card as frequently as Clinton plays her woman card. This whole issue seems to suggest to me that the whole Clinton team is beginning to feel the squeeze as things are moving towards the end of the race. Obama, apparently coolness personified, just plods on, doing what he is doing, very focused. Even the problems that he has faced, he has taken in his stride.

This is epitomised by events last week, as Hillary insisted she was given a raw deal by having to field the first question at every event the pair attended. Despite the success she had last week, she still trails Obama, and I think the pressure of being runner-up may be starting to really show now.

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Let’s all be friends…

20 02 2008

I hadn’t really thought about it before. Not until I saw the news today at any rate. And I really should have.

For Obama and Clinton, winning is everything. There will be no place for the runner-up. Seriously. The pair, I think, are growing less and less fond of each other as the days pass and Obama gathers momentum. The public smiles when gathered in the same place seem to mask the very private dislike the pair have of the other. Of course I could be wrong, but with Hillary losing her grip very quickly (Obama has just won in Wisconsin, and seems likely to take Hawaii too), the feeling of antipathy between the pair seems to be growing.

Both have been critical of the other during their campaigns, and I am left wondering, given they are still on the same side, whether they could ever really work together after this race is over, regardless of the outcome. More importantly than this is whether they would want to work together. Both, it must be noted are able politicians, they both have some good policies, and they both have some bad policies. I feel that they could work well together, had fate not pitted them against each other in this contest. For the failed candidate, will it be the end of public recognition? Those Republican candidates who have fallen by the wayside seem to have disappeared from the public eye. Thompson, Romney and Giuliani have all declared their backing for either of the two men left in the fight, but apart from that, little, certainly on this side of the pond, has been heard from any of them.

I suppose this is where the issue lies, media coverage. The media concern themselves with the real news, that is, those people who still are important, be it Clinton or Huckabee, Obama or McCain. The others are yesterdays news, chewed up, thrown around and rejected by in favour of the continuing process.

I return therefore to my initial musing. What will happen to either Obama or Clinton when they lose this race. To my mind, I am less fearful for Hillary. She has a reputation attached to being a former president’s wife, and a Presidential nominee. She, I think, will be fine. For Obama though, the future would be less clear cut, certainly from a public perspective. He would, like many before him, drop out of the public psyche and float around for a few years, until one day he releases a film about how cows are bad for the world, and claim the nobel prize for it.





Is Ignorance Bliss?

13 02 2008

As America continues its search for someone to replace GW, I have become intrigued by the democrats and their campaigning. I will say at this stage that, although I believe there to be little between Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama, I would prefer to see Obama win the contest.  I believe his politics are better and whereas Hillary seems keen to remind us she’s a woman, Barack does not insist on repeating the fact that he is black in order to sway some of the voters. There are a couple of places I check to see what is happening. Usefully these are the Conservative and Labour club blogs from my university, and they keep me up to date with the local opinions of the elections.

However, my issue here is not with who does or does not win, instead, as a Brit looking in, I am wondering whether it is better that I have a view on American politics, despite me having really little in the way of comprehension about how the system actually works. Or is it better that, as someone ignorant of the system, I do not need to wade in with my own opinions about the candidates?

I would be keen to say the former, as I believe any engagement is better than no engagement with current affairs. However, this still leaves me in the position of not really understanding how either Obama or Clinton will actually win the race. I know there are delegates, and there are primaries and caucuses. But I cannot tell you how they really work (despite several readings of the bluffers guide on the BBC website), or why the number of delegates is more for the democrats than the republicans.

The whole system seems too damn complicated for my little brain. Whatever happened to keeping it simple? From what I can gather, the system is a ‘first past the post’ one, but the democrats and republicans are running completely different races, with different rules. This doesn’t make any sense to me. Why not have a universal system across the whole USA, and save simpletons like me worrying about whether the caucus or primary will resolve the election matter.

Oh, and the so-called “Super Tuesday”? Was that the biggest over-emphasis of a day ever? It had the potential to be huge, granted. But the fact that, in all reality, it did little to seperate the two democrats, only to me seems to show how tight the race is, and will be until the end. Consequently, hyping it up before hand as the potential day which will almost decisively swing the vote one way or another seems to me to be flawed.

But then what do I know. I’m a simpleton.