Saturday, February 02, 2008

West Wing series 8 now playing across America

I watched the Democratic Presidential Debate a couple of days ago, and I thought it was fantastic. Two extremely able people discussing healthcare, immigration and foreign policy in a serious and thoughtful way. Either would make a great President.

The last month in American politics has been like a kind of West Wing series 8, with twists and turns for both Clinton and Obama which wouldn't have been believed if they had been in a story, and a supporting cast of caricature Republicans including John McCain as the token good Republican, Mitt Romney as the comedy bad corporate Republican and Mike Huckabee as the jolly Christian bigot Republican.

I don't know how the voting on Tuesday is going to go, but unless it gets really bitter and nasty, whichever out of Clinton and Obama gets the Democrat nomination will walk all over the massively over-rated John McCain in the general election.

There are some British lefties who disdain both Clinton and Obama as centrists, and complain that it is a sad indictment of American politics that the left-wingers John Edwards and Dennis Kuchinch had to drop out. I think it is a mug's game to try to construct some absolute standard of left-wing politics - the political context of a country where there is no universal healthcare, a constitution designed to prevent things from changing and where the right-wing have been totally dominant means that what centre-left politicians in America prioritise and argue for will be different from those in parts of Europe.

A story to reinforce this point. Back in 1983, a friend of a friend moved from Britain to Sweden. He had been an enthusiastic Bennite, and voted Labour in the election, arguing enthusiastically for their 'suicide note' manifesto. Upon arriving in Sweden, he studied the policies of the different parties. trying to find the Swedish equivalent of Michael Foot and Tony Benn's Labour Party.

He ended up voting for the Swedish Conservative Party.


At 11:12 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

I thought it was going to be Giuliani for the Republicans, so I clearly don't know anything. But I still find it hard to believe it'll be McCain - surely Rove and his pals will fall square behind Romney now and do everything possible to stop McCain? Fair enough, there isn't much time before Super-Tuesday, but already we've had the bizarre spectacle of Ann Coulter saying she'd prefer Hillary Clinton to McCain.

That said, McCain has already made a number of compromises to the right-wing of the Republican party, and I could believe he'd make more in his choice of advisors were he to get the nomination. I said before that the most interesting contest would be Obama-McCain, which is difficult to call - I think Obama would swing it though. Less confident about Clinton beating McCain, especially if McCain got some of the Bush campaign team.

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