When it comes to blood sports, few things beat American presidential politics during primary season. This isn’t a startling or revolutionary observation. I’m just saying that for all that people get worked up about provincial or federal politics in Canada, its single A baseball compared to what’s happening in the United States right now.
This is also a special round of blood sport. There is no president running for reelection. There is no vice-president striding into the field. I’m trying to think of the last time something like this has happened. Maybe 1968? So 40 years since there was this type of free-for-all in US presidential politics.
I’ve been chatting about this with a friend of mine in Nebraska since 2004. She was screaming Obama’s name at me ever since he got elected to the Senate. Hell, she might have been doing it before then. I dismissed him running for the presidency and was wrong about that. I dismissed his chances of winning the nomination and yet…
I thought Hillary Clinton had this locked. Even in recent weeks when there was sign of her campaign faltering, I thought it was just the usual pre-election jitters. This happens right before any election (or in this case, series of elections) when the news coverage suddenly starts to reflect a much closer race and the poll numbers tighten.
But yeah, it really seems to be starting to happen. It’s primary season, so God only knows. But the Democrats really do appear to be leaning towards picking Obama. Which I would have no real problem with. Yes, I like the idea of a woman being president, but Hilary leaves me cold. Which I suspect is not an uncommon complaint.
With the Republicans, I have no idea. It’s a mostly unimpressive field, with one candidate after another surging to the front of the pack, until the public then decides to take a closer look at them and throws them back with disgust. It’s Huckabee’s turn right now. Now part of me would love for the Republicans to nominate Huckabee, because I think once America at large gets a good, solid look at him they will recoil with horror making whoever the Democrats nominate that much easier to win. And for the most part, I suspect I would side with Democrats if I lived in the U.S. But it’s the U.S., so it’s entirely possible they could elect Huckabee, which would be terrifying.
It’s not that I oppose some of the hardcore Republican beliefs of smaller government and less taxes. It’s just that’s not what the Republicans are right now. They’re a political party controlled mostly by zealots and religious crusaders. There are people trying to fix that, but they’re out manned and out gunned, but good on them for trying. It’s kind of hard for me to get interested in that kind of party.
Who do I think is going to win? Well, I think I might have to change my pick from Clinton to Obama for the Democrats. If he takes Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which looks entirely possible right now, then he’s just going to ride that momentum right to the finish. What could be interesting is who he picks as his VP. I imagine there would be pressure to pick Hilary, but really, do you want Lady MacBeth as your vice president?
I have no earthly idea who the Republicans will pick. It’s a mystery at this point. I’m kind of thinking Mitt Romney, just because he’s slick and not too offensive, as long as you don’t find slick and a willingness to sell out what you believe in to get elected as offensive. At least it is a more stealthy offensiveness than Huckabee’s or Gulliani. The latter’s presidential run always perplexed me. Did people manage to forget that people in New York were getting ready to have parties for Gulliani's departure once his term as mayor was up? He was reviled on September 10, 2001. And the only people who have more shamelessly used September 11 as a political tool are the current president and vice-president of the US.
So yeah, this is all vastly entertaining stuff. I’m watching it with interest and I’ll be curious to hear what people think when I’m down in the States. It’s one thing to observe it from far away, another thing to hear people talk about it where the action is actually happening.
By the way, for those interested in this sort of thing, the three sites I read are the Daily Kos, Rolling Stone and Andrew Sullivan. The first two are completely pro-Democrat sites. Rolling Stone in particular has savaged just about every candidate except Obama, so it’s no problem to see where their loyalties lie. And I like Sullivan because he’s a fairly common sense Republican. There are plenty of links to follow at all the sites, which I also like.
Anyway, we shall see how it goes. Whoever is elected next can’t possible be worse than Bush. Oh right, I forgot about Huckabee…
Victrola - Sean Panting