Coward Old Universe…

by Jeremy G.

Posts Tagged ‘2008 Elections’

West Wing made the right prediction

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on November 5, 2008

The theme of the “Mommy Problem” developed by the now-defunct television series West Wing has been stunningly relevant throughout this campaign — as discussed here.

But more broadly, the screenwriters pictured the race with a surprising lucidity. Slate made an interesting video on the topic, though it could have said a bit more about the comparison between John McCain and Arnie Vinick.

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Posted in 2008 Elections | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Congratulations America

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on November 5, 2008

A display of democracy and resilience, the American way this time around…

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So FOX News does not have the monopoly…

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on September 11, 2008

… of political bias.

Two stories, here and here, within the past few days, published by the Washington Post and the New York Times respectively, have reported on the issues set by the partisan approach to the 2008 elections of MSNBC and specifically of two of its main anchormen, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. The strategy has not been as efficient in practice as MSNBC could have expected, as the channel now seems to prefer the less controversial David Gregory for news coverage and election night.

The efficiency of market and supply and demand forces is striking. Merely being provocative does not seem to be a viable strategy . This bodes well for the future of the political debate.

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Subliminal Message

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on August 24, 2008

I think I have just figured out how Obama might just loose the coming November contest.

The Democrats have presented a McCain victory as George W. Bush’s third term in office, contrasting with an Obama victory, a symbol of rupture and an end to Washington politics, or so they claim.  However, by choosing  Delaware  Senator Joe Biden to complete his presidential ticket, Obama  has  given conservatives an  unusual opportunity to reverse roles.  Indeed, Fox News commentators have repeatedly compared this ticket to the Bush-Cheney ticket, in which the Vice President was chosen for his foreign policy credentials and experience, in order to balance the ticket.  In other words, continuation is an Obama victory in November.

Admittedly, the theory is a bit outlandish.  But the real point is that McCain, the maverick, the unexpected Republican who would be president, could actually be the man who will best stand for rupture with past political practices, given today’s turn of events.  The conservative brand has greatly suffered from the past eight years and would hugely benefit from a gamble, as risky as it may be.  This is why I stand by what I wrote here, back in February.  It’s really time to be good.

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Giuliani’s right, Mr.Olbermann

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on October 16, 2007

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In an unusual display of hyprocrisy and intellectual dishonesty in his show Countdown, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC tried to belittle former New York Mayor Ruldolph Giuliani after the latter claimed that 23 terror attacks had been prevented since 9-11.  “Not even the White House claims that,” laughed Olbermann.  Little did he know that he was quite wrong.

Giuliani‘s performance was assessed by a non-partisan think tank, FactCheck.org, here and hereGiuliani ‘s statements were systematically analyzed and some were criticized, but not those remarks.  The same holds true in this article, published in Slate.

In fact, in my own research, relying upon the testimonies of Intelligence Officials in front of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I find that there have been 21 failed attacks against US soil up to 2006.  And that does not include the June 2007 plot against the JFK airport in New York.

Olbermann committed a big gaffe, and will never have to explain himself.  That’s how the system works, and I accept that, all the more so as Bill O’Reilly probably makes similar errors, but for the other side’s account.  The only take-home lesson, for me at least, is that I’ll have a hard time listening to someone telling me that Fox News is completely illegitimate and biased: although the latter might be true, the former is difficult to admit when one observes Olbermann‘s display of dishonesty.

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Posted in 2008 Elections, US Foreign Policy | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Giuliani’s momentum: Why the Thompson effect won’t matter

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on September 6, 2007

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Several reasons could lead an unregistered voter in the U.S. to hate a Republican nominee for a Presidential election.  Those include the abortion question, social issues such as gay mariage, and more broadly social conservatism.  Guess what…  None of these reasons apply to former Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, the current front runner in the Republican primary.

Giuliani has made a lot of enemies.  I discussed the hits coming from the left here.  Social conservatives, as Michael Gerson of the Council on Foreign Relations explains here, have a lot of trouble to imagine how Giuliani’s nomination could actually occur and continue to consider Giuliani’s success as an accident soon to reveal itself.  None of this will matter, though, in the long run.  My intuition tells me that once the Bush-era closes, and once Republican strategists will have figured out a way to clearly distance their candidate from the Bush legacy, Giuliani will be able to dominate whichever Democratic candidate he will face in the fall of 2008.

French analyst Bruno Tertrais gave a very detailed account of Bush’s 2004 victory.  The bottom line of his study is that it is impossible to win a Presidential election without the South.  This bodes ill for Hillary Clinton.  Her husband Bill was able to win the 1992 election precisely because he was a good fellow for a Southern State, Arkansas.  This is all but true for the former First Lady from New York, who even tends to be hated by some of Northeast acquaitances who have voted for the Democrat party ever since they can remember.

Rudy Giuliani’s case might just be similar, some may point out, since he too is from New York.  Nevertheless, in the presidential strech, he may have a much greater appeal than many of us have expected, as Peter Boyer of the New Yorker explains pretty clearly hereGiuliani has been very cautious about using the 9-11 image, to which he could have easily been associated to.  Instead, his campaign has focused on the image of the “fixer”, the individual who was able to repair the ungovernable city, NYC…  This image will play well in the South, where voters are most attached to moral values, and who could be attracted to such a “fixing” figure.  In the more liberal electorate, as stated above, Giuliani is not the guy you’ll love to hate. 

It’s hard to imagine what could damage Giuliani’s path today, or more precisely how Fred Thompson’s official arrival will change anything, contrary to what the Wall Street Journal Editorial claims hereThompson does not present any additional advantage in the South that Giuliani does not have.  But as a populist from the South, it seems hard to imagine how Thompson will perform well among undecideds.  There are many potential Giuliani Democrats out there.  The same does not hold for Thompson.  

One final question remains: Who are, at the end of the day, the crucial voters?  The Karl Rove school states that it is the Republican base that makes the difference in the end – i.e. whether or not they decided to go out and vote.  The 2006 election disaster for the GOP proved the limits to Rove’s strategy.  Perhaps America is not as polarized as claimed by Rove, and a uniting figure may help the country make the difficult choices to come.  Giuliani has a lot of potential from this perspective.

Posted in 2008 Elections | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

2008: Two Americas at War

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on July 9, 2007

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Should Clinton and Giuliani face off in the coming 2008 presidential elections, American politics would take an interesting turn of events.  It would be the confrontation between two visions, two histories and two futures for America: Clinton‘s is the story of prosperous America of the 1990’s, those Roaring 90’s.  Giuliani‘s would be the story of heroism in the wake of terror and fear.  The former mayor of New York summed up the choice – his own way, of course – in an interview to the Wall Street Journal a few days ago:

“I think that the president we elect in 2008 will determine how long it takes to prevail against the terrorists,” Mr. Giuliani says. “If you select somebody that is going to go back on defense, it’s going to take a much longer time and there are going to be more casualties. If you select a president that’s going to remain on offense, and even improve on it, it isn’t going to be easy, but it’s going to mean less casualties, faster.” It’s not an easy or comforting message, but Mr. Giuliani is not in the comforting business. Whether it’s a message the country wants to hear is something the voters will let us know.

What do Americans want?  One can be sure that the first vision is more attractive, but the second more realistic.  Current polls indicate that the Republicans are trailing in most configurations, including the one that would oppose Clinton to Giuliani

If both Clinton and Giuliani get the nomination, America’s 2008 choice will be all the more so revealing that Giuliani is actually a very moderate Republican on most other issues, most notably on abortion and gay rights.  Polls will or won’t confirm this, but it seems that such election would be a solid test of America’s willingness to go forward with its war on terror. 

Most commentators are saying today that a withdrawal from Iraq is now more than plausible, as even Republicans are not willing to risk their own elections – especially for an issue that is not a defining aspect of party lines or loyal voter support.  It will be interesting to hear what alternatives are offered, and how these will be received by the American public, which will not be able to ignore, though, the history between these two names.

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