Archive for the ‘US presidential elections’ Category

Election Day

November 4, 2008

In the US, voters cast ballots for individual candidates who are not bound to any party program except rhetorically, and not always then. Some Republicans are more liberal than some Democrats, some libertarians are more radical than some socialists, and many local candidates run without any party identification. No American citizen can vote intelligently without knowledge of the ideas, political background, and commitments of each individual candidate.”—Ben H. Bagdikian (American educator & journalist)

Months of campaign has finally brought the Americans to decide and vote on November 4, 2008. They have been treated with presidential debates, talk show humor, media analysts’ opinions, TV advertisements and radio commentaries, but still there is a pall of uncertainty whether the electorate really is deciding for the best candidates who’ll defend their interest.

Certainly, there are those who think passionately that they are doubly sure of their choice taking into account not only the economy, but also the culture USA is taking. And there are also those who are spooked by the immensity of the candidates’ eloquent promises which beg for action.

Today the voters silently cast their vote. It’s a regular working day for most Americans who approach the polls in their own terms. Whatever they decide will define the course of their lives and the whole nation. (Photo Credits:; m4roon3d)=0=

Refusing to take off from the campaign: a clue to Obama’s questionable decision making?

September 25, 2008

With Sen. Barack Obama gaining fresh lead over Sen. John McCain, the presidential candidate of the Democrats, in projecting that he can do multi-tasking if elected, repudiated McCain’s call to temporarily stop the campaign and postpone the political debate with Obama on Friday September 26, 2008 to help in solving the financial crisis that threatens collapse of the economy, the worst since the Great Depression.

In a display of bipartisan leadership, McCain takes another smart move which if successful, will make Obama puny in governance and inexperienced in setting priorities. It’s from the backlash of the financial crisis on the Republicans that he earns a significant lead over McCain, a GOP member tied up by party affiliation with the Bush administration.

Obama wants to pursue votes instead of being with the legislators to tackle the $700 billion bail-out package proposed by the administration and objected to by the Democrats. But Obama,confident that he can do many tasks at the same time, agrees to meet with Pres.George W. Bush and McCain on this issue. The readiness of McCain to sacrifice losing an election to solve a high-profile economic issue is suggested by his decision. He halted his campaign including a stop on all his advertisements.

McCain comes along consistent with his campaign message of putting the country “first” above all other ambitions. But surely, the Democrats dismiss his decision as part of a McCain’s “photo op” with the congress. It remains to be seen whether the maverick in McCain will have windfall in his decision the same way he got in choosing Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. Certainly, the financial crisis is tops on the minds of Americans right now. Photo Credit: Mario Zucca; Afrael=0=

America is as plural and diverse as ever

September 5, 2008

It’s really exciting to see reactions on issues about the US presidential election in real time. The power of the media has somehow provided an avenue of understanding (or misunderstanding,) but as I pointed out, the partisanship makes it hard for ordinary Americans to make their choices. The public is now compelled to winnow the chaffs from the grains as the political fight comes closer to the election. Hoping that the saturation of information will reach the inattentive, I think by and large, a good number of Americans will decide based on their guts.

From my perspective, I can say majority of the media outfits favor the Democrats—there are more liberals than conservatives in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Washington Post, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, Atlanta Herald, Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post, New Orleans-Picayune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Minneapolis Star, San Francisco Chronicle,……They complement the secular progressives in the MSNBC, CNN, and CBS. And almost all comedians in American late-night TV are liberals as much as movie-director Michael Moore and his stars in Hollywood.

Academics in many learning institutions, like the traditional UP professors, are generally known as liberals too, many left-leaning and socialistic; majority is anti-establishment. Whether they do that because many of them do not find a lucrative niche in society (as much as the flashy entrepreneurs in business and government) is subject to debate. In spite of the preponderance of Democratic support, they still have to win the electorate to their side.

On the rightist and conservative front, I notice Fox News leans towards the Republicans in spite of their claim of being “fair and balanced.” Talk radios which have gained popularity in recent years, have broadcasters like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’ Reilly, Laura Schlessinger, Michael Savage, and few more lending support to conservatives.

Partisan programming could be the result of the repeal of the FCC Fairness Doctrine which required that stations give free air time for answers to controversial opinions. Now, it gives more burden on busy citizens to be informed lest they only listen to what they want to hear. There’s a price to pay for missing the views of the opposite side.

The American heartland is as plural and diverse as the birds of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. One cannot be all the way supportive of one party without missing the goodies of the other. Put it in another way, one can’t brush aside a party without seeing the folly of the other. That’s why Ron Paul, an eccentric hardworking American who didn’t get the presidential nomination in the Republican ticket also wages his own political battle on the side. So let’s look what happens on the day of election. (Photo Credits: Pierre Marcel; Mark Berry; photobyrich)=0=


The US Presidential Elections

September 5, 2008

Every time the US presidential elections draw near, I yawn. I do not even think it is a newsworthy event but since the US media lords it over the international networks it will seem to many that it is a big event. Hell, US presidential elections are not even good to the world.

I chuckle at the thought that when the great former German Chancellor Kohl was nominated he was ridiculed for his relative lack of education and sophistication as compared to his predecessors and to other major Western European leaders. But he turned out later to be well-educated and a deep thinker.

US presidential and vice-presidential candidates will pale if compared to Western European leaders. But that is just okey for the US electorate since its elections campaigns mainly consist of negative personal attacks unlike in Europe where it is a battle of political parties and party platforms. In the US candidates will “smooth over” their positions so they can garner more votes. It is normal for them to cater to interest groups and vested interests.

It is the Republican party that brought down US elections to the gutter. They even hire specialists in negative campaigning and they spend a good amount in research to bring up dirt on their opponents and to place in the media malicious innuendoes. Mondale was “mush”, Kerry a “fake war hero” are examples of this. One will have to go back to Old Ike to find a Republican candidate that did not use negative campaigning (but with his popularity then he need not to).

I wonder what the Republicans will do to Obama this time (no, I’m not sympathetic to him; I think he’s too raw). And McCain is the type that will use negative campaigning just to get elected.

I don’t like McCain either. I think he is another warmonger in the mold of Bush jr. Can’t the US two-party system produce better candidates than these two?

While Western Europe in the last 35 years has resolved so many historical and social problems and has moved to a higher level of cooperation and understanding the US did not move forward from the Vietnam-era type of world “engagement” (maybe  confrontation is the more accurate word). Even historical enemies with long-standing disputes like Russia and China are now more able to shelve animosities and cooperate for their mutual interests.

Oh, maybe it won’t matter in the long run. Anyway, this century won’t no longer be the American Century like the last. With the continuing rise of China and India and the further resurgence of Europe and Japan being a constant, I think this century will be more multi-polar. And with it probably US elections will just be as “interesting” as German, British, Japanese or Russian elections.