The real question, of course, is who will takeover from Bush. The mid-terms will be a telling signal of what is to come. Either the Republicans will be punished, or they will stagger on unscathed. If the Dems do win the House, they may well ruin their chances at re-winning the presidency by alienating the electorate. The Dems haven’t sorted out what they stand for yet, unlike the GOP, who dominate the American political agenda. Clinton won’t make it. She is doomed by the early advantage. Nobody in American politics who goes into a presidential election the favourite comes out the other side. Al Gore may well reemerge, and John Kerry will almost certainly have another go. John Edwards is still in the frame, but generally speaking the Democrat lineup isn’t looking flash. They need another Clinton to emerge from nowhere!
ihategeorge: it'll be interesting to see where the leading Democrats position themselves on Iraq. Will a Democrat stand a chance if they advocate a withdrawal or is McGovern's legacy too strong? Will the economy be an issue that'll hurt the Republicans and who'll their leading candidate be - is McCain a likely runner?With changes almost certain in the British government, leadership at least, a major change in the US leadership could trigger changes in Australia too.
The Dems have a really good story on the economy, if they tell it right. The Iraq position will be critical, and although the American people seem to be opposed to the war, I'm not sure there will be votes in pledging to pull out either. It's going to be a really tricky issue.Rice has to be a leading contender for the republicans, although could suffer the early favourite disadvantage. As for Aussie, just how much longer can Howard hold on?
Howard could hold on for another election I suspect. There's yet another rumour that he'll go around the end of this year to give Costello, or some other, time to settle in before the next federal election. Interest rates have gone up and the scandal about the Wheat Board is impacting on his position but the opposition are nearly cohesive or coherent enough to keep him on the backfoot long enough... If he goes, the first issue will be who replaces him as Costello may not have an easy run. The alternative is probably someone like Downer but he'd take hits for his brief term (pre-Howard). An outside is new Wentworth MP Malcolm Turnbull - he'd be a strong candidate but would probably lack caucus and popular support.
"Nobody in American politics who goes into a presidential election the favourite comes out the other side."This is simply not true. An article (soon to be a book) by Cohen, Karol, Noel, and Zaller show that since the primary reforms in the 1970s the early leaders in donations and insider endorsements tend to go on and win the nominations. The article is available here: http://www.polisci.ucla.edu/faculty/zaller/APSA_Parties%20Are%20Back.pdfExamples? W was a clear early frontrunner for the 2000 GOP nomination and won the presidency. Kerry was the early leader among insiders in the 04 race and wone the nomination. Cohen and coauthors talk about many others in their paper.So Clinton is not doomed by being the frontrunner. My prediction is that she will win the Democratic nomination because of her huge name recognition among the base and her huge money advantage. That will, I think, be a long term disaster for the Democrats because current trial heat polls have Clinton losing handily to either McCain or Giuliani. On the GOP side, I think it will be either McCain or a right-of-Frist firebrand (but not Giuliani). Clinton has a chance against the firebrand but I don't like her chances against McCain.
Rob, I recall Dean being the favourite going into the last few months until his infamous "howl" but I'm interested in your point nevertheless. W was clearly the leader in a thin market for the GOP and perhaps his success, which must surely be a function of name recognition, points to a way Clinton can win. I've no idea how Bill will play things in an election, for every voter he pulls, there'll be others who he alienates. You're in the US, what's Giuliani up to now and what's his profile like? I see McCain popping up every now and then and note that he's playing nice with the current Administration which I find odd.Thanks for the link also, had a quick squiz and it looks interesting.
So Dean was certainly popular among the net nerds and the grass roots people, but he only went that route because he was decidedly unpopular with the big and influential donors. The main reason Dean spent all that energy raising money on Blog for America was that his attempts to raise money through donors were coming up short. For the party insiders, Kerry was the early favourite.Giuliani is, as far as I can tell, keeping a low profile for now. I think most of the presidential hopefuls have to do that until after the midterms - it might be seen as bad form to overtly campaign for the presidency before the incumbent is even a lame duck. This may also explain McCain's agreeableness - he has also been busy mending fences with the Christian right (who he called all sorts of names in 2000). To be fair, McCain has always been fairly hawkish on the war, so lack of criticism there shouldn't be too surprising.I like that there is both good political stuff and good rugby stuff on this blog. I vow to become a more regular reader...
I didn't know that Dean was anything other than a strong candidate - not being the US, I'm pretty much constrained to light reading online. That he managed to do so well without strong institutional support is interesting though. I wonder which other political campaigns will try to emulate his approach - in the US and outside. I think Farrar's site works well not only 'cause he's got time and contacts but also because his constiuency is disgruntled and online - the left have blogs that are popular but lack the committment.Thanks for the positive feedback - rugby and politics remain my favourite distractions.
Interesting question about the use of blogs in campaigns. Pete Fitzjohn and I have a chapter on that issue (in the NZ context) coming in the Levine/Roberts book on the 2005 election. I think the short answer is that the blogs can be a nice short cut for getting the media to pay attention to an issue or to do journalists' research for them. What they can't do much of, however, is to mobilise people or to raise money - NZ campaign finance laws (lax as they may be) make the money raising function uncecessary, and the readership of overtly political blogs is already politically interested, thus limiting mobilisation opportunities. I'm not sure how that is developing in the Australian context. Are there Farrar-esque blogs around Oz? Have they branched out into fundraising?
I'll be interested to see your chapter Rob. Your point about the audience being politically active already makes a lot of sense. Fund raising though needn't be the primary issue, I think that where blogs like Public Address and kiwiblog can be most influential is in attracting people and/or deeping their knowledge. Ideally, a political blog could both reinforce views as well as attract people inclined by not committed to a particular position. Has your research/study looked at whether blogs playing the role of the fabled "water-cooler" for any particular groups?
Oh and to answer your question, Tim Blair's blog seems the most likely Australian version of kiwiblog. Link is:http://timblair.net/ee/index.php/weblog/index/
Interesting comments about Clinton. Agreed she would struggle against McCain, but I reckon she could give the man from NY a run for his money.Will read the article about primaries, but I don't agree that it was just the web nerds that backed Dean. He was on the cover of time magazine and CNN nationwide polls had him as the early favourite. Of course, in the US popular support doesn't get you as far as money...Personally, I think a lot of the stuff on Farrar's blog is total rubbish. I'm not the slightest bit interested in his day-to-day life! But the left blogs are all very serious and lack the fun element of some of the right blogs. The left needs to have more fun...
Agree, lefty blogs are a bit earnest. Farrar's is fun because of the commentators but it can be frustrating. Thanks for your comments on this blog.
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