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The Unbearable Lightness of Obama

by Helen Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 11:57:21 AM EST

It was Matt Taibbi who first identified the real problem with Barack Obama, that he is a largely self-satisfied exponent of the status quo. Jerome's recent (and necessary) evisceration of his foreign policy statements only underlines the fact that, should Obama become US President, nothing much will change. Not on the foreign policy front, and, especially, not on the domestic front.

But it has to. More than any other western economy, the US is in trouble. Big Trouble. And an incoming President will, in 2009, face a country that requires many drastic interventions across all parts of the economy just to stabilize it, let alone improve it for the majority of its citizens. Yet neither of the likely winners of the Democratic Party nomination want to address the issues, preferring feel-good, "Morning-in-America" type messages.

Progressives don't expect anything from Republicans, indeed Cheney has taught them well that he can outdo their imaginations on Constitutional depravity by a country mile. Yet this has only served to increase the burden of expectation that will be put on any incoming Democrat to sweep the stables clean and change things for the better. Or at least stop them getting worse.

And that is where a real problem is building. They know who Hilary is, they know she's a Republican-lite triangulator who may tinker at the edges but who has no concept of root and branch change. But if she gets the nomination she will probably stop things getting worse and they will live with that.

But it's different for Obama, they believe in him: And he can't deliver on those expectations; nobody really could, but he won't even try. Items already announced, such as a bigger military really will make things worse. And where do progressives go then ? It isn't despair that hurts; you can live without expectations. It's hope that will break you, every time.

Fran noted at the Paris meeting that ET-ers are mostly all of "an age", not necessarily how many growth rings are in our heads, but a seen-it-all-before, won't-get-fooled-again attitude that looks at politicians with a hard-eyed reality. It was her observation that, conversely, Obama supporters, those who truly bought "the audacity of hope", are the ones who are most fired with enthusiasm and are consequently the ones must susceptible to disillusion.

Maybe I'll be wrong and Obama will confound our Old-Europe cynicism, but if he doesn't then it may be the progressives, the one real hope for America, who disintegrate under the burden of disappointment. And that, not another failed Presidency, will be the real disaster for America


Display:
Well, it looks like Obama is trying to out-do Hillary in the Republican-lite competition; he's recently been making commercials in which local Republican politicians endorse him...   This is IL.  The GOP is kaput here.  It has zero credibility in IL.  That he is turning to them for endorsements is truly bizarre...

As for the age factor; I don't know what the threshold for that is, but I don't think the jaded=older, enthousiastic true believers=younger thing actually reflects reality.  Most "Deaniacs" were, contrary to pop. opinion, "of a certain age."  I'm one of the youngest I know of, and I'm in my 30's...

What I do suspect, and what terrifies me, is that there are young voters who don't have any real appreciation of what America was like, politically, before Bush.  They do seem to embrace Obama.  But what looks on the surface to be enthousiasm and hope I think is truly some kind of real nihilism.  Like this is American Idol and not a political process...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:13:07 PM EST
This is Obama's ad featuring Senator Kirk Dillard, a state Senator from Illinois.

This is the link to the press release where Dillard endorsed John McCain.  As Jerome Armstrong over at Mydd put it.  Obama's Republican really is one.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 12:45:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When you mentioned this diary title in Paris, I said something that I think bears repeating.

The hopes around Obama, young, good-looking, charismatic. Promising a new kind of politics.

This reminds me of nothing so much as the young, pre-1997 Tony Blair.

New Labour's theme song was the dance single "Things Can Only Get Better" by D:Ream. That feels a lot like where Obama is pitching his campaign.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:17:38 PM EST
Yes, that same air of self-satisfied support for more of what went before.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:35:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Edwards were the front-runner, would we be trying to poke holes in him as well?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:22:43 PM EST
Obama is not the front runner...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:30:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but deconstructing Hillary is hardly worth the effort.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:32:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, "Deconstructing Hilary", the Michael Moore / Woody Allen collaboration.

(This is due in 2013. Woody Allen stars in the fiction segments as a neurotic writer dating Chelsea's daughter.)


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 07:23:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand the thrust of his question tho'. Clinton and Obama are simply head and shoulders above the rest and the shoot-out will between the pair of them. Edwards is well-respected but gradually losing headway.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:33:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton and Obama are simply head and shoulders above the rest and the shoot-out will between the pair of them. Edwards is well-respected but gradually losing headway.

I understand how you could get this impression from the US media, but the truth is somewhat more complex.  First, national polls have no meaning, because the first actual election comes in the Iowa Caucuses where the polling is entirely different with Edwards far in the lead, followed by Clinton, with Obama and Richardson (this being something recent) fighting for third place.

The Iowa caucuses are notoriously unpredictable, because in order to get a polling stations votes, you have to reach viability, which means that if you're candidate isn't above a certain threshold, you have to vote in what amounts to a second round.  It's vaguely runoff electionish.  Edwards has a tremendous group of supporters in Iowa that have been in place since 2004, and has consistently led in polls of that state.

Once a candidate wins Iowa, they have on average seen a 14% jump in the polls.  So for example in 2004 John Kerry saw his polling in the next state to vote, New Hampshire, saw his poll numbers rise by almost a third, while the then frontleader in national polls, Howard Dean crashed.  

Iowa is the only state where polls have any real meaning at this point.  Giving the shift in the election calendar pushing many states to Feb 5 or earlier (Iowa will vote in early January.), the results of the Iowa caucuses will be even more important than before.  And national polls will have even less meaning.

The media though, doesn't seem to have gotten that particular memo.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 07:31:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But as all of the state primaries seem to be leap-frogging each other to the earliest possible date right now, it's quite likely that the result in Iowa will have little effect on creating a momentum cos the election will probably be over in a couple of weeks.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 08:51:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the primaries should either be all simultaneous, or else run in order of increasing number of electoral votes.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 09:00:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The leap frogging is likely intensify the effect of Iowa.

Because there's such an extended primary season (well over a year in the current election), with the exception of voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and the perhaps quarter of the population that's deeply involved in politics, no one is paying attention.  

Iowa tends to create a huge bump for the winner in the primaries until what's called super Tuesday, when a large number of large states all vote at once.  So whoever comes out of Iowa with a win has an automatic advantage going into super Tuesday.  

This year, super Tuesday is going to be even more super, as more and more states vote on that day.

Some states, like Florida, have jumped clear past super Tuesday on Feb. 5, to right after New Hampshire.  There have been persistent rumors that Florida well attempt to  vote earlier than New Hampshire.  The DNC, Democratic National Committee, the federal party, has made clear that if Florida does so, it's delegates will be decertified.  Which means that Florida voters will have no say in who the Democratic candidates is.

If Florida jumps, the, New York, California, and Illinois are likely to jump clear past New Hampshire in response.  At that point the DNC has to either tell New Hampshire that they've lost their place in line, or decertify the results of elections in New York, California, and Illinois.

Remember that voting early generates about $250 million in economic stimulus for New Hampshire in hotel and food costs for campaigns and reporters.  This is not something to be sneezed at.

We could very easily arrive at a situation in which almost a third of the elected delegates have been decertified.  Which means that the role of the 800 superdelegates (DNC members, governors, Congress, Senate, etc) will be magnified, because a close election in which the winner of Iowa took early states only to lose later on, leaving them without a majority from delegates allocated by voters.  Sounds like gibberish.  Here's a chart detailing how 2004 DNC delegates were allocated.  

There are roughly 4,300 delegates. If you start yanking the delegates from California (~500) Florida, Illinois, New York (~250 each), that 1,250 delegates gone.  So now you have a base of 3,050 delegates.  Around 2,250 of those are elected in the primary election.  The rest are superdelegates.   The more states that decide they want to leapfrog, the more enhanced the role of superdelegates in the election.

I've got to go know, but I may post a diary on this later.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 12:39:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We could very easily arrive at a situation in which almost a third of the elected delegates have been decertified.  Which means that the role of the 800 superdelegates (DNC members, governors, Congress, Senate, etc) will be magnified, because a close election in which the winner of Iowa took early states only to lose later on, leaving them without a majority from delegates allocated by voters.  Sounds like gibberish.  Here's a chart detailing how 2004 DNC delegates were allocated.

At that point the DNC needs to take the calendar away from the states and institute some sort of standard procedure.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 12:45:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They can't.

The US is a federal system.  Primary elections were only instituted in the early 20th century, and are subject to state law.  Different states have different laws, and they always have.

The poor, blacks, and women have all at one time or another been disenfrachised.  Up until the 1840's various states required citizens to hold a certain amount of land property in order to vote.  This led to actual political warfare, that being the kind involving guns and militias, in Rhode Island in 1841 or 1842, called the Dorr Rebellion.  Rhode Island then had a law requiring the ownership of property worth $134 to vote.  By the 1840's this had disenfranchised all but 40% of the white males in the state.  

The story of how the abolition of class limitations on voting changed America is largely unknown, but the story of who women and blacks became able to vote is much better known.

Back to my point.  The DNC can't tell states what to do, they can only threaten to decertify delegates.  And that creates the potential for the final say on the nominee to be determined by superdelegates.  And it also, may force Iowa and New Hampshire to move back their calendars.  So far as I know, there's nothing prohibiting Iowa and New Hampshire from moving back as early as November 9, 2007.

It's a mess, and it's going to be very dependent on Dean as the DNC chair to clean up.  I don't envy his position.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 02:20:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So it is the states and not the parties that organise primaries? Interesting. Does that mean that it is the states that pay for it too?

Is there then any formal reason why only two parties gets primaries organised by the states? Or to put it another way, can other parties get primaries and ge3t the states to pay for it? Has any party tried?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 08:15:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, is the the state legislatures as opposed to the parties themselves that decide to shift the calendar?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 05:07:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 11:23:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a reasonable question, one that Jerome faces on Kos.

My view is that Edwards seems to accept that there are real problems in america that require something more systemic than the tinkering offered by Obama or Hilary. So whilst I may have reservations about some of his policy proposals, I feel that he is, at least, asking some of the right questions.

But he isn't the front runner nor will he be and so the question is moot. One may as well ask what Ming would do if he were PM.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:30:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For a second there I thought you were asking what I would do as PM. LOL

I seem to have a rather negative memory of Edwards from the 2004 run.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:35:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think most of his support comes from what he's done/said in the last 2 or 3 years...  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:39:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't hear as much of the "ambulance-chasing laywyer" character assassination. but again that might be because he doesn't look like he'll win the nomination.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:43:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Edwards has positioned himself as the 'We had a representative candidate but oh what a terrible shame he didn't get then nomination - so now everyone should pull together and support Obillary.'

Barring Gore, he's the only one who might pass for a candidate interested in making some kind of a difference. Which of course means he has no chance at all of being nominated.

Democracy in the US is effectively dead. A whole lot of TV time and punditry is expended on a process from which the mob (as the insiders see it) is effectively excluded.

The mob is allowed to spend money and provide funding, but that's about the extent of democratic involvement.

Meanwhile here in the UK, we're barely even allowed to spend money and provide funding. If Democracy is dead in the US, over here it has morphed into an horrific shuffling zombie-like undead thing - spurned by most of the population, but still going through the motions, even after long decades of neglect have ripped its heart out.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:45:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was going to say, it's rather rich of you to declare our democracy dead when you just got a new PM w/out any general election whatsoever...

What's that about?  (No seriously, can someone explain why there was no election?)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:50:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a parliamentary system. The Prime Minister comes from the Parliament. There is only need for a new election if the Parliamentary majority is inadequate.

Why didn't the US have an election when Nixon resigned?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:55:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was not an election year.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 01:16:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not very knowledgeable about British politics.

In America, both the President and Vice President are elected.  It's known when you vote that the VP will replace the President if the President cannot perform his or her duties.  So you go into the voting booth knowing that.  Apparently it's also a fine way of keeping a country from impeaching the President: pick a nasty VP...

And every 4 years there is an election.  

When Tony Blair was elected, did people know Gordon Brown would be his successor if Blair stepped down?  Or could Blair pick anyone he chose, so long as they were of the Labor party?

Also, I don't understand the term limits.  Do they have them?  Why could Blair step down and appoint a successor instead of having to serve out a term at the end of which would be a general election?  They have something like "confidence" votes, right?  To see if they can stay on?  And if they win, then the only thing that prevents them from stepping down and putting a friend in charge is a Parliamentary election?  Are those done on a regular schedule?  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 01:31:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our terms are 5 years max, but the PM can choose to go earlier if they wish (and they usually do).

Blair did everything he could to stop Brown becoming PM, but had so commpletely neutered the party that any credible alternative had already been ruined. Brown wasn't appointed, he just won by default.

We have a parliamentary system where we vote a party, not for the Prime Minister. So the person who gets to be PM is a matter for the party and not the people. and if the individual concerned chooses to resign, that remains a matter for the party.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 01:58:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But Spiro T. Agnew was elected vice-president, not Gerald Ford. And none of the remaining presidential line of succession are subject to a nation-wide vote either.

Think of it this way: Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister (and Labour leader) in a similar sense that Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 02:02:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But Spiro T. Agnew was elected vice-president, not Gerald Ford. And none of the remaining presidential line of succession are subject to a nation-wide vote either.

Quite right.  But, that was a rather exceptional case, and not how Presidents and VPs are normally elected.  It's plan B or C, not plan A.  

Think of it this way: Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister (and Labour leader) in a similar sense that Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House.

Ok.  I can try to think of it that way.  It's just compartmentalized in my head in such a way that I want to say "But the legislature and executive and the party apparatus are all very different things, with different responsibilities..."  (Yes, Pelosi is in line for the Pres. but like I said, that's a worst-case-scenario backup plan.)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 02:13:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no real separation of legislative and executive in Parliamentary systems.

The way if works is that the parliament is elected for a fixed term, and they appoint a head of government from their own ranks. The head of government can dissolve the parliament ahead of time, and they can also resign or be voted out with a motion of no confidence, in which case a new head of government needs to be appointed. If the parliament cannot or will not appoint a new headof government there is a new election.

As Labour has an absolute majority of the House of Commons, Brown's appointment should be a formality. He's widely expected to call an election next year, one year earlier than expected and two years ahead of the end of the 5-year term.

In more proportional systems with multiple parties and coalition governments if the government fails usually a newcoalition cannot be assembled and a new election is called. But this has not been the case with Balkenende in the Netherlands during the previous term. He had several cabinets with changing coalitions without having to call an election because he was always able to assemble a new coalition. Also, recall the Czech parliament took several months to get a prime minister who could pass an investiture vote because the parliament was split exactly 50/50.

It's not like the US constitution, but it's not wrong.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 03:32:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't saying it was wrong, I was trying to figure out how it was democratic.  And I mean that sincerely, not rhetorically.

Do you think there is a much more distinct difference between parties in the UK than in the US, and that those who represent them stick to a clear platform?  Is there as broad a spectrum in the Labour party as there is in the Dem. party in the US (from Kucinich & Welstone to Lieberman & Casey)?  Could 2 individuals from the same party have very different platforms?  And if so, how do the people ensure the leader they get upholds the values of the majority and not that of some opportunistic wing of the ruling party?


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 03:47:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you could tone down your rhetoric a bit.

The UK has a First-Past-the-Post system like the US, so the system tends naturally towards a two-party system as in the US. However, in the UK there is a sizeable third party at the national level (the Liberal Democrats) and a number of regional parties such as the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru (Welsh Nationalist), and Sinn Fein (Irish Nationalist) which are able to win seats by using their local strength. And there's also the Green party

I think the differences between Labour and the Tories have been largely diluted at the national level because of the poll-driven chase of the political centre that all Western democracies seem to have embarked in. In countries with proportional representation you see less of this, with the largest two parties engaging in this game but the rest of the parties stake out more well-defined platforms.

The introduction of Proportional Representation in regional (and European) elections has helped "third parties" in the UK, too, so I think people who differ too much from the party line just split and form a different party. For instance, the UK Independence Party seems like the rabidly anti-EU wing of the Tories. But bth the Tories and Labour have (at the level of national leadership) strayed to far from their core constituency and have left a huge number of disaffected supporters.

how do the people ensure the leader they get upholds the values of the majority and not that of some opportunistic wing of the ruling party?

I don't think that is a problem plaguing most western democracies right now. The thing is, if one of the two main parties has a leader that seems more opportunistic, it's likely they'll lose the swing voters in the centre. I think that's ultimately what's going to hurt David Cameron. He's even more opportunistic than Brown or Blair have ever been.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 03:59:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you could tone down your rhetoric a bit.

I don't know what you are talking about and this conversation is ending here.  I have no place for unecessary nastiness in my life right now.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 04:29:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm talking about you being shocked, shocked every time something about the political process is not like you're used to. It seems to recur every few months and you always end up being offended.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 04:32:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to say I didn't see the outrage in poemless's posts. Looked more like a "dude, how's that work?"


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 07:16:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The US national political parties have structurally been coalitions of state political parties ... and with the US anti-parliamentary system of balance of powers, which entails in part no party loyalty in the legislature required for the Majority party to retain its status as the party in charge of the executive, there is by design more independence for members of Congress from the national party apparatus than for MP's in a parliamentary system.

Indeed, if everything had gone according to the intentions of the Founding Fathers, a party system would not have arisen at all, but at least there are limitations on the institutional power of political parties in the US system.

The parliamentary system in Australia is, in part, an effort to meld parts of each system, with half of each state's Senate delegation elected in each Senate election, acting as a genuine Balance of Power institution against the party in power in the Australian House of Representatives ... provided that the governing party does not also hold the balance of power in the Senate. The recent experience in Australia of working without a check on the actions of the governing party seems likely to restore a position with a third party ... probably the Australian Greens ... with the balance of power.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jun 30th, 2007 at 12:32:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The mechanics of PM appointments in the UK are somewhat different from those in countries with written constitutions. See wikipedia
There is no term of office for a prime minister. The prime minister holds office "at Her Majesty's pleasure". As however to gain supply (control of exchequer funds) that requires that the government be answerable to, and acceptable to, the House of Commons, in reality the convention "at her Majesty's pleasure" means "at the pleasure of the House of Commons". Whenever the office of Prime Minister falls vacant, the Sovereign is responsible for appointing the new incumbent; the appointment is formalised at a ceremony known as Kissing Hands. In accordance with unwritten constitutional conventions, the Sovereign must appoint the individual most likely to maintain the support of the House of Commons: usually, the leader of the party which has a majority in that House. If no party has a majority (an unlikely occurrence, given the United Kingdom's First Past the Post electoral system), two or more groups may form a coalition, whose agreed leader is then appointed Prime Minister. The majority party becomes "Her Majesty's Government," and the next largest party becomes "Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition." The head of the largest Opposition party becomes the Leader of the Opposition and holds the title Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. By tradition, before a new Prime Minister can enter 10 Downing Street for the first time as its occupant, he or she is required to announce to the country and the world that he or she has kissed hands with the monarch of the day, and thus has become Prime Minister. This is usually done by saying words to the effect of:
"Her Majesty the Queen [His Majesty the King] has asked me to form an administration and I have accepted."
Although it wasn't required, Tony Blair also said these words after he was re-elected in 2001 and 2005.


Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:21:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"But the legislature and executive and the party apparatus are all very different things, with different responsibilities..."

That's on paper. In practice, the Preznit says "Congress must act on this urgent issue" and has a Congressperson introduce the legislation that the White House has prepared already. And the White House works in concert with the party apparatus to support (or undermine) local and state politicians.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 04:19:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AttorneyGate being one of the most obvious examples of that.

The US wins by having at least a nominal culture of representation, where no one seems to believe that contacting a representative to express a view on an issue is a strange thing to do.

The representative probably won't listen and it may not influence how they vote - they have their business colleagues to keep sweet too - but it's just as possible that s/he will and it will.

The UK doesn't have that. MPs are used as local authorities in disputes - if you don't like the new road plans, talk to your MP - but there's absolutely no real sense that they represent local people in parliament, or that local people expect them to listen to their views.

Some MPs actually do represent their constituencies quite thoughtfully. But one of the turn-abouts of the Blair years has been the erosion of that process into irrelevance.

What happens now is that Party HQ picks MPs and tells them what to do. 'Party loyalty' is a prerequisite for promotion, and means voting to order and speaking to order, often against your personal views.

Independent rabble-rousers, like Ken Livingstone and George Galloway, usually leave their home parties and go independent. And it would take a complete overhaul of the UK system to turn this around.

What's not talked about is the fact that politics in the UK is utterly corrupt. The revolving door between business and politics means that politicians can use their time in Westminster to lay-out an employment case for themselves.

Not all MPs do this, but enough of them do it to make the process as a whole democratically irrelevant.  

So Westminster now is mostly political pantomime. The opposition tries to score points, but no one really takes it all that seriously. And I think most people would laugh if you suggested a 30s, 40s or 50s style public service ethic might be important.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 04:51:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MPs are used as local authorities in disputes - if you don't like the new road plans, talk to your MP - but there's absolutely no real sense that they represent local people in parliament, or that local people expect them to listen to their views.

That's something I absolutely don't undestand. Every time a problem is discussed at our child's school, people immediately suggest going to the MP without trying to deal with the relevant authorities (the ones that have actual decision-making power over the issue) first. And if you had to go to the central government you'd go to the department of education, or something, not to the MP, surely?

It seems like a throwback to feudal times to me.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 05:05:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems like a throwback to feudal times to me.

Throwback ?? What makes you think it was ever different ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 05:15:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does it actually work? Can an MP really lean on the LEA and change something about after-school services?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 05:24:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, if he wants to and if he has enough clout. Civil servants at all levels can sometimes be quite resistant to requests from MPs if they don't feel like complying for any reason.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 05:38:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's my point: the MP is not even on the buraucratic chain of command.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 05:40:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the nature of our politicians I'm sometimes glad that our government doesn't really work properly.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 05:49:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When asked to describe the UK in one word (I'm a foreigner living just ouside London), that word is "Feudal". (No, I refuse to diary!)


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 07:18:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you also refuse to meet?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 07:21:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, as long as I'm not on camera. (Excepting the ubiquitous CCTV "security" version which are of course always good.)

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 07:40:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With over 100 registered UK users we must have an ET meetup.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 07:41:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where and when?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 08:09:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Saturday in the second half of July? Somewhere nice?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 08:17:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to my weather guru, August or September will be a better choice.  Somewhere central?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 08:42:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Make it September, then.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 09:01:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
any idea as to a where?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 09:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll nominate this part of the world, on the grounds that it's easy to get to, it's not London, and it's really rather scenic.

Obviously I have a vested interest. But even so - if not here exactly, there's always Oxford.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 10:11:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where's this part of the world?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 11:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Somewhere nice?

Oh, so not in the UK after all.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 09:46:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, come on!

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 09:51:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, we've done London & Nottingham.

Maybe we ought to do a poll to find out where our members are so that we can plan accordingly. No use keep doing it in London if everybody's up north. Good for you and me, but possibly not anyone else.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 10:44:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about Ludlow, home of the Slow Town and Slow Food movement in Britain?

I don't mind taking a train to wherever, to be honest. Someone should post a diary about a September meetup and try to get the 100 lurkers out in the clear.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 10:57:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good idea...I'll be there...

Edinburgh might be another alternative...

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 12:23:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You wouldn't go to a Whitehall department, because Whitehall is even more hermetically sealed against the public than Westminster is. Tell the Department of Whatever that you don't like what they're doing and they will laugh in your face.

The idea is that you go to your MP because your MP is allowed to deal with the relevant authorities, while you most certainly aren't.

Local councillors are mid-way between the two. They get some local power over local issues, but they still have to defer to Whitehall and Westminster on most issues.

So it's actually easier to talk to an MP because s/he will be one point of contact and can find the correct pressure point. If you try to find that point yourself you're more likely to end up being bounced from one place to another, with no one taking an responsibility - never mind bothering to answer your letters and emails.

Metaphorically, people in the UK are subjects, not citizens, and the political environment still reflects that.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 05:26:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose, then, that electing an independent MP isn't actually an improvement.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 05:33:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope, utterly useless.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 05:39:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The largest cracks seem to be in local council elections. People mostly don't care who gets elected and don't see them as important - turnouts are reliably low. So if - hypothetically - a group of people decided to infiltrate one of the major parties and make the lists, it would be a lot easier to make a difference than in almost any other way.

The media and academic battle is still the most important one, I think. Think tanks and consultancies are far more influential than MPs or councillors are. With the right leverage you can make a far bigger difference with far less effort, time or money.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 07:18:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The European Parliament elections also have reliably low turnouts, but the constituencies are much larger so a much larger number of votes are needed to get elected (for instance, 160k votes in London), and the number of candidates is much smaller so the parties have an opportunity to exercise much more control over the shortlists.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:02:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... people in the UK are subjects, not citizens ...

Great quote, I'm going to steal that and use it out of context. ;)

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 07:20:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Constituent service has become a major aspect of most democracies.  Legislators figured out that if they became ombudsmen in the 1960's that the could get reelected unless they were found with a dead girl, or a live boy.  

This is the secret to incumbency, and at least in the US it generates something like a 5% advantage at the polls for an incumbent.  I imagine this matters less in Britain where politics is more fluid with no less that three parties being serious players.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 07:20:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Helen [I don't have statistics], in the UK constituencies are even less likely to change party hands, so the power of incumbency is even higher. This may have something to do with "captive voters" who are beholden to one party or another for social/communitarian reasons (as in "my family has always voted Labour").

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:04:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]

But the legislature and executive and the party apparatus are all very different things, with different responsibilities...

That's on paper. In practice, the Preznit says "Congress must act on this urgent issue" and has a Congressperson introduce the legislation that the White House has prepared already.

That's on paper too! From Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution:

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;

The annual "State of the Union" speech derives from this, but so does the recommedation of legislation throughout the year.

Incidentally, I had completely forgotten about the next part of that sentence:

he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper;

I don't suppose that this has ever been done.

by Toby Bartels (toby+8190809933@ugcs.caltech.edu) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 09:37:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you saying the president has the power to adjourn the Congress?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 02:28:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Well, only "in case of disagreement between [the House and Senate]". And since those bodies usually convene and adjourn independently, then one should be able to argue that they have agreed on such independence, rendering the President powerless. Also, the "adjourn to" language makes me suspect that he would have to state a time of their reconvening. Plus, every two years there's a new Congress, so things should return to default status then.

But I'm just trying to interpret vague language that, as I said before, has probably never been used. After all, it's a myth that our (the U.S.) Constitution was all written down in 1787, as our "strict constructionists" pretend. Really, we rely on tradition just as much as the UK's unwritten constitution, and even Supreme Court decisions have recognised this. So if any President tried to activate these powers, then this would cause a constitutional crisis, just as if (in the UK) the Sovereign were to try to exercise theoretical powers that have not been used for centuries. ("Sorry, Mr Blair, I don't accept your resignation, and I refuse to appoint Mr Brown, because I don't like his looks.")

by Toby Bartels (toby+8190809933@ugcs.caltech.edu) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 11:14:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And BTW, I see and hear of and participate in a lot more grassroots democracy here in America than I ever even see reported on ET.  I was at an informal pot luck Monday night with a group of candidates who recently ran for Chicago city council as reformers and independents (a.k.a. democrats against Mayor Daley), some of whom won, some of whom were in run-offs, some of whom lost, all of whom helped give Daley his biggest defeat (losing a significant number of allies in city council) and all of whom did it with only the support of grassroots (DFA) and organized labor.  It was pure democracy in action.  And even with those who lost, everyone was excited and empowered and ready for the next election.  It was the kind of thing our founders envisioned.  

I just don't hear many such stories here on ET.  There was someone (Detlef?) who ran for a local seat and won.  There have been policy papers written, LTE's etc, but I don't see much participation in direct democracy, in the process itself.  Not like you see at MyDD or Daily Kos, where people are actively doing organizing, field work, running for things themselves.  In America the process is broken -campaign finance & media consolidation being the culprits- but people are actively trying to fix it, to improve it, to do something besides complain about it.  And while there is a long way to go, the tide is turning.  You can bitch about the end product being the same, that the new dems are no better than the old GOPers -we do too!- but the process is undergoing a change.  There are places in this country which have had no progressive political organization for 35 years or more.  That's going to take a long time to change, but it is being changed.  People all over are being educated on how to run campaign, new media outlets are popping up and gaining influence and attention, candidates are starting to pander to activists instead of just to millionaires, at the local level seats are being challenged for the 1st time in decades, and if they aren't won, they have the effect of making incumbents defend their records.  I'd invite you to come spend a week in my shoes and still tell me democracy is dead in America.  It's not dead in my America.  Yet.


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 01:13:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A valid criticism.

Except that in every legislature, real power is concentrated at the centre. I'm sure it was very energising to be so invovled in Illinois politics, but Cheney still pulls the strings everywhere. Habeas Corpus has gone, the Constitution has been shredded and the foundations laid for the Imperial Presidency, the Unitary Excutive, unless a significant group of National figures choose to do something about it.

Meanwhile back here, you're right. We don't get invovled. In the UK even MPs have been rendered irrelevant, nobody even knows what local councillors do, except that they can get sued if they get it wrong.

And lacking a primary system, unless you scratch the right backs, you never get to positions where you get elected anyway.

No, we don't participate, because we've been deliberately excluded. But then again when you look at who might get to Washington, is there any place for non-squillionaires either ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 01:30:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cheney might control national politics and foreign policy -everything you see- , but daily-to-day matters like if a Walmart can be built in your town or how safe your neighborhood is or affordable housing laws, gun control, etc. are decided at the local level.  And for many Americans, these are more pressing matters than USAttorney-Gate...  

And the big plan Dean has -basically modelled after the GOP's rise to power- is that these local politicians can start out in the ward or town board and work their way up to Congress.  It's called a "farm team" - like in sports.  Minor leagues->Major Leagues.  

Can a non-squillionaire win?  It's certainly difficult.  I bet not simply because of fundraising, but having friends on boards of networks, or having no qualms about taking money from Big Pharma, etc.  But if it puts anything into perspective, Obama, in his race for Senator, ran against a self-funded millionaire in the Primary.  The millionaire lost...  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 01:42:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That kind of democracy is still active here too, up to a point. If you make enough noise the big store won't be built - probably. The new road from nowhere to nowhere and the shopping development in the town that doesn't really need one may not be built either - perhaps.

But when it comes to core issues, which are more or less the same as the ones in the US - health care and education, economic policy, foreign policy - ordinary people are completely disenfranchised.

We aren't given the choice to vote for populist, bottom-up policies. The rules are set by Big Money, Big Oil, and Big Death, and they're the ones who are steering the ship.

We're allowed to rearrange the deck chairs. But we're not allowed to avoid the rocks or join the pillage party in the big ballroom.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 03:29:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of the non-squillionaires, I followed Bill Wyatts run in the preisdential primaries of the Repbulican party in 2004. This is what wikipedia says about him:

Bill Wyatt is a liberal Republican and was a candidate for the U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination, 2004. He is a 43-year-old T-shirt maker and father of three from California. Wyatt left the Democratic Party to become a Republican after Democrats voted for the war in Iraq, an action he saw as a betrayal. He hopes to have a greater voice as a member of the Republican Party.

Wyatt has traveled 12,000 miles and spent an estimated $20,000 on his Presidential campaign. He managed to qualify for ballot status in New Hampshire, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, and even the Democratic Primary ballot in Arizona.

His early showings were disheartening but not surprising. He finished tenth in the New Hampshire primary with 0.23% of the vote (153 votes).

However, a major upset occurred on Mini-Tuesday when Wyatt won just over 10% of the vote in Oklahoma. He also placed second in Missouri, where he gained 1,268 votes (1.03%). Wyatt also received 233 votes (0.10%) in the Arizona Democratic primary.

Wyatt has stated that the Louisiana primary was his last stand, since it was the final state where he qualified for ballot status. He gained 4% of the vote there, which he considered a symbolic victory against George W. Bush that sent a message to the Republican Party. Wyatt has declared that he will be a candidate in the 2008 presidential election.

What was particulary interesting was his failed attempts to get on the primary ballots in the first place. The reason he ran in the Arizona Democratic primary was that the republican was cancelled because of lack of other candidates then Bush. That he was a republican and wanted to participated did not matter (this was also the case in a number of other states). So he ran in the Arizona Democratic primary to get more votes then Bush in Arizona.

To be a candidate for the presidency in the US you apparently have to be a candidate accepted by the media or have enough money to be buy media time. As a comparision: to be a candidate for the presidency of Iran you have to be acceptable to a group of mullahs (or possibly buy their acceptance).

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 10:35:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also worth mentioning, I think the Federalist nature of the United States of America really undermines any feeling of government centralization.  The current admin, once pro-states rights, it trying doggedly to change that, but the state of politics can really vary quite radically from one state to another.  There isn't really anything culturally or politically homogenous about America, even right down to the way the democratic process is conducted, laws change from state to state.  So it may look to you like we are all under the thumb of Cheney, but here in the US, a person is just as likely to feel more under the thumb of their Governor...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 02:04:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dear lady, I would have to offer some disagreement, not in terms of your central argument about the current American Administration and its actions, but with the overall effect. One sometimes sees certain situations as having broader application than they really do.  Yes,  "Cheney.. pulls the strings everywhere", but he is not the only puppet master.

The Administration and Congress may have diddled with Habeas Corpus, but by no means is that process or American justice in its death throes as a result; and the justice system is still more than capable of dealing with any liberties that have been taken with the Constitution and law.  

This New Yorker article makes interesting reading.  I dare say the fight is not over.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 03:59:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And lacking a primary system, unless you scratch the right backs, you never get to positions where you get elected anyway.

Some parties are more internally democratic than others, but generally the party apparatus controls who can get on the "shortlist" that is presented to the membership for candidate selection. I think in the US the barriers to enter a party's primary are as low as simply having to change your partisan voter registration.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 04:23:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the big gotcha in UK politics. You can nominate whomever you like, but if Party HQ doesn't like them, they won't stand. And Party HQ always has the option of parachuting in an Obxridge drone if they want to promote one of their own for good behaviour.

Independents often stand and occasionally win. One of the best moments of the last election was watching the father of someone who died in Iraq laying into Blair in public on election night, because he'd stood as an independent in Blair's constituency and won a good proportion of the votes.

But generally it's the party machine that keeps things running, and parties are very definitely run top-down - to the extent that Westminster is almost irrelevant anyway.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 04:36:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I think in the US the barriers to enter a party's primary are as low as simply having to change your partisan voter registration.

Yes, compare Michael Bloomberg (mayor of New York, and this week's media fascination as he coyly denies that he's running for President). Since he couldn't win the mayoral primary in his own party (the Democrats), he registered Republican and won that way. (At least that's how Newsweek reports it.) This is not seen as unfair, just unusual; it's up to the primary voters to decide whether they accept it.

by Toby Bartels (toby+8190809933@ugcs.caltech.edu) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 09:09:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cynthia Mc Kinney was allegedly unseated by the Republicans in 2002 by contesting the Democratic party primary, as the Republican candidate in her district has zero chance of getting elected.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:08:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think Denise Majette was ever a Republican (but I could be wrong. Still, an African-American woman who's a Republican would be slightly unusual). Or are you saying the Republicans put up another candidate in the primary to take away votes from McKinney?

(And why I would know Majette's name of the top of my head remains a mystery even to me)

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:36:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm saying enough Republicans voted in the Democratic primary to bring Majette over the top, instead of their own primary where they were going to be selecting an eventual loser. At least that's the allegation coming from McKinney.
McKinney protested the result in court, claiming that thousands of Republicans, knowing they had no realistic chance of defeating her in November, had participated in the Democratic primary to vote against McKinney in revenge for her anti-Bush administration views and allegations of possible voter fraud in Florida in the 2000 Presidential Election. Like 20 other states, Georgia operates an open primary: voters do not claim a political party when they register to vote, and may participate in whichever party's primary election they choose.


Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:45:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aah, I see what you're saying. That's perfectly possible.  

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 07:00:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The grip of political parties in Europe stifles grass-roots involvement.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 03:35:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No ability to work from within the parties?  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 03:48:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The stifling of dissent by only promoting like-minds prevents this. Grass roots with new ideas are frozen out from any position of influence and involvement.

Nowadays it's worse as there's a professional political class who have been working as advisers and media consultnts for years till they get parachuted into safe constituencies. Jobs for the boys (and it usually is boys)

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 03:56:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This professional caste of politicians gets started in the youth sections of the parties, or in student associations, and quickly graduate into the party apparatus. Many young rising stars of many European parties have never been involved in anything other than partisan politics or the party apparatus.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 04:05:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(Yes, because the girls marry the boys and get the money without needing to work for it.)

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 06:50:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really.

Party membership is very small and it's really hard to join and make a difference because the local party will essentially be a clique (or a few of them).

Also, note that party membership implies paying dues. There is no equivalent of partisan voter registration and voluntary involvement from outside the party is minimal. And, in addition, public finance of campaigns means that parties don't need to (and often can't really) reach out for donations.

A question about the US: what is the difference between a sympathiser, a registered voter, a volunteer helper, a donor, a dues-paying card-carrying member, and a member of the apparatus of the party? Which categories are important and which are not (or are even nonexistent?)

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 04:04:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

A question about the US: what is the difference between a sympathiser, a registered voter, a volunteer helper, a donor, a dues-paying card-carrying member, and a member of the apparatus of the party? Which categories are important and which are not (or are even nonexistent?)

In my time, I've been a registered in

  • the Democratic Party,
  • no party,
  • the Green Party
  • the Peace and Freedom Party, and
  • the Libertarian Party.

Having recorded my voter registration with the State (Nebraska, then California, now Nebraska again), I am a member of the party. My citizenship (along with my age and my lack of felony conviction) is my dues. (Some people would say that their taxes are their dues, but —unless you lose the franchise through a felony conviction for tax evasion— that's actually irrelevant.)

I'd say that I sympathise, in various ways, with the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and the various small socialist parties (which include Peace and Freedom), although none of them really represent my views. I might also say that I sympathise with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and (somewhat) the small-government wing of the Republican Party, even though I certainly don't sympathise with the parties themselves.

I have been both a volunteer and a donor; ironically, all of my party volunteer work was before I was 18 (voting age), so I was not a party member. For that matter, most of my donations have been to candidates of different parties. I've never donated to any party's campaign committees, but the Democrats keep asking me to, and I'm sure that they'd accept my money even though I haven't been a Democrat for years. (I even got a solicitation from the Republicans once, even though I've never been a member. Clearly these people are just using rented mailing lists, like the charity solicitations I get.)

As for member of the party apparatus …, you should talk to somebody from Iowa about that.

by Toby Bartels (toby+8190809933@ugcs.caltech.edu) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 09:29:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Toby, welcome to ET. I hope you will be commenting here without Migeru reminding you. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 01:35:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Thanks, Fran!

by Toby Bartels (toby+8190809933@ugcs.caltech.edu) on Tue Jul 3rd, 2007 at 11:27:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Partisan voter registration seems like a terribly dangerous privacy violation from a European perspective. I don't know whether that's because Europeans have a stronger memory of political repression or what, but it would be unthinkable to introduce that system in Europe.

The converse is making European parties closed dues-paying social clubs, which raises a lot of eyebrows among American ETers.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:11:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
difference between a sympathiser, a registered voter, a volunteer helper, a donor, a dues-paying card-carrying member, and a member of the apparatus of the party?

Sympathizer:  Anyone can sympathize with whatever or however many parties they choose.  Though mostly there is little sympathy for any party.

Registered voter:  Anyone who votes.  I believe the laws vary by state, but often you have to choose a party if you want to vote in the primaries.  All this means is you tell them what ballot you want.  You don't have any obligation to whichever party you choose.  Some states don't ask you to declare a party at all.  The problem with this is that it can lead to abuse of the primary system.

Volunteer helper:  Anyone can volunteer for any candidate they choose. They can also go to their local party organization and ask to volunteer, to do precinct work, canvassing, etc.

Donor:  Anyone can give to any party they want, though there are limits on how much you can give.  Or you can sidestep the party and give directly to a candidate.  Again, there are limits on how much you can give them.

Dues-paying card-carrying member:  I am not aware of any "dues."  I do know that if you donate any money at all, you get on a mailing list.  I don't know if you get a card, but I don't think it really means anything if you do.  The card doesn't give you special access to people.  Connections and money do...  

Member of the apparatus of the party:  Depending on your role, you can be elected or appointed.  It varies widely from area to area, and from the local party to the national party, from position to position.  It's really confusing.  I think in most cases you can just start going to meetings, and after you've committed so much time, you can become a voting member, and then you can run for chair of your local party and be elected by fellow voting members.  Technically, anyone can do this.  Then there is the state-wide party.  I don't know if seats in it are elected or appointed.  But they don't really do anything either...   Then there is the national party: RNC, DNC, etc.  You can be hired as a staffer or elected as a voting member.  The DNC members I know are basically go-getter politicians.  Like the dif. between being a diarist and nd admin at ET.  Either way, the main role of the national party is fundraising and nominating a Pres. candidate, which is a formality anyway because this is decided by primary elections.  The main role of the local party is fundraising, precinct organization and sometimes community organizing.  But all of this varies widely from place to place.  The party apparatus is composed of self-organizing entities which are usually devoid of any organization...  Bylaws?  What are bylaws?  sigh....

Then you have every variety of caucus: by region, race, creed, gender, special issues, etc. etc. which can represent a party.  I could set up an organization called "Chicago Democrats to impeach Daley" and it would be perfectly legal.  The party goons here have no respect for the law, so I might end up with bricks tied to my feet at the bottom of the river, but I could legally do it.

So far as party organizations go, outside the national level, it's really the wild wild west.  Which means they can be as corrupt as they want to be and disenfranchise everyone, but you can also start your own organization if you don't like the one you have.  This does happen and sometimes these organizations become very successful.  But the party apparatus really is a fundraising, gate-keeping entity which few regular citizens ever have any interest in or contact with...  

For the average Joe, parties are like sports teams.  You pick one and root for them and hope the other team loses.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 11:48:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could set up an organization called "Chicago Democrats to impeach Daley" and it would be perfectly legal.  The party goons here have no respect for the law, so I might end up with bricks tied to my feet at the bottom of the river, but I could legally do it.

You're lucky the party goons haven't caught on to the possibilities of trademark law. The Democratic Party could decide that they want to defend the use of the label "Democrat" as a trademark and defend it by sending out cease-and-desist letters.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 11:53:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could no more do that than trade-mark the term "Catholic" and regulate the use of it...  

People can identify however they want.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 12:04:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if you can patent Yoga I wouldn't be too sure ...


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 07:12:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can't patent Yoga. What Bikram did was copyright a sequence of Asanas, that is postures or exercises. He postulates that it is unique, however the postures are not his creation just the sequence in which you do them. Ridicules in my opinion. He was able to do this in the US, so I don't know if this is acceptable in Europe or India.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 11:07:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The grassroots democracy that poemless refers to does not seem to exist in the actual electoral politics of the US. One has a choice between two candidates to "represent" you. If neither is to your taste, the answer is too bad; you should have fought harder in the selection of the candidates. The result is the left wing has been basically destroyed. The left wing is so far removed from American life that it looks like most people do not even know what left wing means. The electoral contest between David Duke and Edwin Edwards get to the heart of what American politics are about. There is no way being forced to choose between these two is in any way democratic.

The smaller the political arena the more power there is in the US system. So yes it may be possible to get, for example, greens elected to city council, but here too an effective take over of the political process is required. So some times it is one group that is frozen out of the political process, and some times it is another group that is frozen out. I don't think I would use Richard J. Daley and his 21 year reign, eventually followed by his son and his potentially longer reign as an example of Democracy in action. It reminds me more of Monarchy and the battles in trying to reign in the Monarchy.

That anyone can run to represent a party means that it is a popularity contest - a money contest - a corruption contest, but not a political contest. It would be easier for an individual to run for the Democratic nomination in the US over me running for party nomination in Canada. I can get a government much closer to my views with Canadian parities than US parties because there is the ability for like minded people to band together and put forward their ideas instead of being atomised and pitted against the majority. (And I haven't mentioned the effects of gerrymandering.)

Even though the Canadian system is basically broken as all first past the post systems are, it is still true that I have, on election night, a much greater chance of having a representative that actually shares some of my values than I would in the US.

The US system is not democratic, but rather it has elements of democracy. In particular it is a tyranny of the majority.


aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 06:40:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So basically, the Canadian system is as broken as the US' system, but Canada's system is better. Got it.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 06:55:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No - not all first past the post systems are equal. The US has an extreme version of first past the post.

The ability of new political parties to form and to share power in all levels of government shows the difference between the two countries.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 07:08:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That I'll agree with. I still see the same sort of pro-business, anti-environmental decisions coming out the Canadian system, though. The medical system is an enormous plus.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 07:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My feeling is that in some ways the pro business policies of Canada are worse than in the US. Look at how we are selling our resources to the United States. Look at how deep the inroads US companies have made in Canada.

While the US is beholden to US multinationals, Canada is beholden to US multinationals too.


aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 07:39:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And BTW, I see and hear of and participate in a lot more grassroots democracy here in America than I ever even see reported on ET.

That is reasonable and the opposite would be surprising. ET is mostly about the european level of politics, mainly because local politics is shifted along national and laguage boundaries. When I participate in swedish politics, ET is not the main forum for me, as there exists other local forums which are better suited for that purpose (and they are in swedish). Though I try to report some nuggets of it here, that is not the same as seeing the process in action at MyDD or Daily Kos.

So, I see and hear of and participate in a lot more grassroots democracy here in Sweden than I ever report on ET.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 11:00:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.. a Prime Minister I'd be!
With a spin, spin, spin,
and a spin, spin, spin ...

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 06:23:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... they would be different holes.

It would be pointed out that he is a progressive in the American sense of the word, offering specific goals for progress in specific areas, and in a sense as moderate a progressive as practicable, given the scope of the problems that the country faces ... and not a "progressive" in any sense of being ideologically to the left on a broader global ideological spectrum.

It would be pointed out that he only offers moderate centrism in foreign policy, and while a shift from military power as a first resort back to military power as a last resort is a welcome change, the true progressive position is in support of a new international order in which the US weans itself from geopolitical dependence on a global imperial system that drains economic resources from investment in domestic productive capacity. Any appearance of progressivism in his foreign policy position within the US media bubble is only because of the massive rightward swing of the conventional wisdom about American foreign policy.

It would be pointed out that his New Energy Economy plan is only 3/4 of a plan to arrive at Sustainable Energy Independence and address global warming, and it largely ignores the needed changes in modes of transport.

... oh wait, maybe those things would be pointed out in any event, but if he was the front runner they would get more play in the progressive blogosphere.

On the other hand, while it clearly has big holes, his program covers more and leaves less uncovered than the program of any other candidate that can make a serious run at the White House.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jun 30th, 2007 at 12:17:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Helen, your France trip seems to have inspired you - you seem to have catched a writing fire. :-)

I am not sure I made the comment about the age of ET'ers in connection with Obama. Though looking at the people present in Paris I would say the age was higher than I would expect from a internet group.

About Obama, I still think if he becomes President his followers will have a hard awakening. Not because he is bad, but because he is not defined. I still don't know what he really stands for. To me he is like a Rorschach ink blot, you can project on him what ever you want. Unfortunately, it seems like many people are projecting all their hopes and expectations for a better future on him, but I doubt that he will be able to fullfil all these projections.

I think the awakening with Hillary would be less rude, not because she is better, but her weaknesses are better know and thus maybe the expectations not as high as with Obama.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:28:13 PM EST
for your comments, Fran, and Helen, for the diary.

I heard Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic convention and was moved and inspired. He's an excellent speaker.

Yet, as I've been reading and hearing about him of late, I am bothered. Something doesn't quite connect regarding Obama, and I haven't been able to put my finger on it. The discussion here comes as close as anything I've seen to clarifying it for me.

And I'm very glad to know it's not just me, being grumpy and not quite trusting him--apparently, a number of people feel that way.

by Mnemosyne on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 09:29:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be honest, I was very worried by the 2004 Democratic convention, and I couldn't understand what all the hoopla about Obama was about after hearing his speech. I think that indicates he basically has an emotional appeal that works mostly, if not exclusively, on Americans.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 02:41:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That convention reminded me more of a Rock concert than a political even, at least compared what we have here in Switzerland. And despite the nice words from Obama I was wondering why the people were screaming and swooning like groupies. Maybe people here are just not as easily starstruck - I don't know!
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 08:22:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gore. I have a feeling he's running. And we need him. I will give money...even...and I don't have any.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 02:58:25 PM EST
I want to find out where I can get this kid's t-shirt:

(from the Vermont Daily Briefing)

I gather it's a new Marc Jacobs line (I'm not kidding) but the Marc Jacobs site is so horrid I can't through it to find the freakin' t-shirt.  I'm afraid to know how much a Marc Jacobs T-shirt is anyway...  Not CafePress prices, I'm betting...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 03:19:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of whom, an interesting poll out of the early primary state of New Hampshire. Not bad for a guy who's not a candidate (yet?).

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 06:08:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everybody's talking about an autumn announcement. But right now I'll take that as being as meaningful as the september re-assessement of the Iraq situation.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 06:18:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Gore run for the nomination would have some good parallels to Jesse Ventura's run for Minnesota governor back in 1998. He ran against two of the most stereotypical, partisan, vapid, politics-as-usual candidates from the two parties that the public was not high on, and presented himself as a no bullshit sort of guy that got people's attention (a lot of Americans are, actually, really excited to throw away their cynicism when they are given a reason to). Of course Gore was the same "politics as usual" sort back in 2000 and ended up losing the election to one of the weakest candidates in history because of it. Since that time, though, he has created a sort of cult-of-personality and is willing to say a few things outside of the accepted pro-corporate, pro-military lobby that has an absolute stranglehold on American national level politics.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 07:05:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus he can put any opponent in a headlock!

Say what you will about entertainers and musclemen and porn stars going into politics, sometimes the jester is the only person worth listening to.

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 07:29:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jesse Ventura had more common sense than most politicians.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 07:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He did. The political establishment hated him with extreme passion, so you know he was doing something right.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 12:12:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He was madelaughing stock in Europe as well, because our press just quotes the MSM uncritically (what's the point of sending a correspondent to the US for that) and because it looking down on a pro westler turned successful politician is just so much up the alley of European intellectual snobbery about the US. When I went to the US and I found out more about him, heard him speak (on radio shows), etc, I got a completely different picture of him.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 12:24:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Blue collar, straight from the hip. No cronies, no silver tongue, no cashing checks behind closed doors, no baiting the public. I wanted him to run for president in '00 and '04 like you can't imagine.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat Jun 30th, 2007 at 03:24:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, it'd be a mistake to assume that Obama could govern on a different basis than that of the dynamics that brought him to power.

If he reaches the presidency by pandering to the middle with national security issues and waffling on Iraq, he won't benefit from a mobilization of the left to push for a progressive agenda which renders such a course very unlikely. I think most people know that, but they don't necessarily vote accordingly.

by Fete des fous on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 03:11:00 AM EST
The thing with Obama is that he's running too much for the David Broder vote. I get the feeling that he's running a campaign for the media, not so much the people.  Of course a candidate needs to have a smart media campaign and to package proposals in a way that makes them sell, but there's a line where the packaging becomes the content and I'm not sure Obama is making that distinction.

Obama's domestic politics aren't all that bad, healthcare aside where I hope he'll be pressed into proposing a more comprehensive plan. As a Senator he's quite willing to get into the details of policy problems, I think he has more substance than Tony Blair in that regard. But he also has a tendency to seek bipartisan cover. Policy and politics aren't really that seperable. He should spend more effort on using his interests, smarts and rhetorical skills to make politics and make the right enemies.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 05:26:37 AM EST
We are at least two cycles of primaries away from a progressive bloc that can define policy.  Those of us who have watched the country descend into the slime-pit in the quarter century after Reagan's initial victory won't die of disappointment now, though the standard of living that we are able to save will diminish by a great degree with each cycle, still we have little real choice but to keep trying.  I think that the ability to communicate via the internet on a mass scale raises possiblilities that are particularly valuable for progressives, and that ameliorate the despair that progressives felt when we felt alone.  Dkos, for all its failures, is a remarkable engine that has driven some change for the better already; it is certainly not the ultimate, but rather a precursor.

I am hopeful that John Edwards will be the Democratic candidate, but whomever gets the nod will encounter tremendous pressures just to stop the fiasco: the biggest problem with the "right" is that it is wrong and doesn't work, and the piper must be paid.  That is going to create a fearsome pressure on this system of government and reality has a way of demanding to be faced eventually.

Sorry to go on so long, but I just want to say that I see some improvement likely in the short run, and don't think it is fair to say that there will be little difference with Obama, or even Hillary compared to the treacherous band of theives and pimps who are openly in the saddle now, even just forcing the masters of the current regime to work discreetly again removes some of their power.

We are not quitting, we are barely organized and the greatest danger is that the organizational tool with the most promise is neutered.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson

by NearlyNormal on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 03:06:50 PM EST
obama...style over substance...

the rhetoric is good, but the will isn't there, a bit like kerry, all the right moves, but with a certain authenticity missing, a fire-in-the-belly thing i guess...

he's quite likeably intelligent, and as fran astutely said, makes a good inkblot test, but i definitely get the feeling that what you see is not quite what you get, and that there is more symbol than reality going on.

his success speaks more for america's desire to have done with racism than his own personal qualities, imo, though as pols go, he's better than the average....damned with faint praise.

as future messiah/saviour/superman...don't think so.....

it would be really good to be wrong here...maybe he's the type who would find his will when really presented with the full responsibility of a presidency, which he ironocally might attain, due to the right's terror of having a woman as 'big daddy' (does not compute!!!).

yeah, heay, ok, so he's kinda cappucino coloured and talks all eddykated, but at least he's a MAN....

<snarque>

to me he's still a boy, playing nice to please, in love with his own charisma.

my thirty-year old daughter is lovestruck with him...there will be many like her, i reckon-

let's hope they vote in great numbers!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 01:46:13 PM EST
If this is true, this adds even more question marks on Obama:

Daily Kos: Obama and Impeachment

In congratulating Obama for reaching an incredible milestone of 250,000 individual donors (and rapidly closing in on the goal of 350,000 contributions) in the first two reporting quarters, a comment from One Pissed Off Liberal in this diary caught my eye.

What started out as a response to Liberal's outrage at Obama's rejection of impeachment has morphed into this diary.

The resentment of One Pissed Off Liberal towards Obama's anti-impeachment position extends from this item blogged by Steven Soto.  In it, Soto extends:

Obama came out against impeachment for either Bush or Cheney, saying that they've done nothing to merit it.

Gee, thanks for that window into your judgment Senator.

While that's not exactly what Obama said, the article referenced does note:

The senator, a Harvard law school graduate and former lecturer on constitutional law at the University of Chicago, said impeachment should not be used as a standard political tool.

"I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breeches, and intentional breeches of the president's authority," he said.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 02:07:40 PM EST


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