International: October 2008 Archives

Obama's secret voice coach.

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Apparently he turned to Flat Stanley. OK, I can be as cynical as the next person or often more, but this is properly warm and fuzzy Jim'll Fix it territory. What's more, McCain didn't reply. Perhaps he was still looking for Joe the Plumber, who is, as we now know, neither called Joe nor a plumber. The tale of how he missed the rally made me weep with laughter.

Must surely be this man. If you have an interest in rhetoric, you have to watch this.


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mccain-nope.jpgWith the American election now just ten days away, it's been widely called for Obama. The bookies are almost as newsworthy as the pollsters nowadays, and Paddypower paid out on a Democrat White House a full nine days ago. 

Obama is having to warn against complacency, which would certainly be my main concern if I was working for him. Why vote when your man's won already?

The signs are clear. Huffington Post's 55-point headlines (surely the largest on the web) have assiduously tracked the disarray among McCain's team, while Politico also notes how the Republican circular firing squad has assembled early.

Nate Silver has Obama's chances of success at 94.9%, albeit that's slightly down from yesterday, and Electoral Vote currently predicts a two-thirds one-third split in the electoral college. States like North Carolina are tentatively shaded blue (why oh why don't the Americans get with the colour-coding programme?), and Montana and North Dakota could go either way. Even Georgia's in play.

Finally, the actual votes are piling up already. Almost a million residents of Georgia have voted early so far, to pick one example, with black turnout massively up.

In this climate, counterfactual speculation has begun. The widely respected Charlie Cook raises one such interesting question, albeit one he dismisses as irrelevant given the headwinds against the Republicans:

"If the senator from Arizona had waged this battle more as John McCain 1.0, the 2000-vintage candidate who was more of a maverick and less of a partisan than the 2008 version, could he have succeeded because he was less tied to his Republican Party and less joined at the hip with President Bush?"

That's certainly plausible, or more plausible than his dubious path to victory now (bomb Iran, anyone?). However, he ran as McCain 1.0 in 2000 and couldn't get nominated: the party (and many of the operatives he hired this year) smeared and vilified him. He would almost certainly have won that year if nominated.

However, he had to become McCain 2.0 this time, the new and not improved Bush-loving and Bush-endorsed version, in order to secure the nomination. That same manoeuvre is now what looks like being fatal for him in the general election. 

But I get anxious with all this talk of landslides, and I don't believe it's over. My insurance bets are in: 5-1 on McCain, and 12-1 on the narrowest Obama victories, and I'm hoping to be out of pocket on both.

It happened to Homer first.

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homerchoice.pngThe American voting machines are at it already, with the first reports of Obama-to-McCain switching in West Virginia. It's not clear if they're Diebold machines, but that would be a safe first guess, all things considered.

Because the Simpsons isn't comedy, it's documentary, the US equivalent of Panorama, you can watch the same thing happen to Homer here

You can see the logic from the designers' point of view. A sewing machine is better at sewing than you, an espresso machine is better at making espresso than you, so a voting machine should be better at voting than you (where, for the company owner, that means voting more Republican).

Greening Canada.

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elizabethmay.jpgThe Canadian election is today, and Elizabeth May, the leader of our sister party over there, is standing in a constituency which coincidentally includes New Glasgow. If she wins, I'm going to suggest formally twinning her with Patrick.

They have to work with a first past the post system, so any victories are a long shot, but not impossible - May herself is just seven points behind in her area. 

One of the pleasures about joining in the Greens is being part of a global movement like this, and having a direct interest in almost every election. I wonder if SNP supporters are urging on the Bloc Québécois?

Political insult of the day.

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elk.jpgAndy Martin is a hard-right Fox News talking head and anti-semite being wheeled out to play join-the-dots with Obama's past, and whose blog advises McCain to "Go negative almost exclusively, and relentlessly". 

The Los Angeles Times reports on his past as follows:

When he ran for Illinois governor two years ago, Martin quoted a nearly 30-year-old Tribune editorial that called him "an absolutely brilliant campaigner" when he was running for a Senate seat. He didn't mention that the same editorial said he "has no more business in the U.S. Senate than an elk has in a phone booth."

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the International category from October 2008.

International: September 2008 is the previous archive.

International: November 2008 is the next archive.