Tuesday, November 07, 2006

America Votes

As I write this Americans are bustling at the polls voting in the midterm elections. The outcome of which will help drive the US political agenda for alot longer than just the last two years of George W. Bush's presidency.



If we place any importance on the expert predictions, and with a bit of luck, by tomorrow the Democrats will have taken control of at least one of the Houses Of Congress. Most likely the House Of Representatives, but possibly the Senate too. Just taking one of them will mean it'll be the first time since his election that George Bush has had to operate without a Republican stranglehold on both.

And this is important. It would temper the Republican elephant beast's march onwards, the march which had looked like it was set to shape several decades of US policy. Bush will finally be faced with the hinderance of Democratic oversight of policy matters for his last two years, and stripped of some of the power that has enabled senior Republicans pulling his strings to strive towards leaving such a lasting imprint on the political landscape. The Democrats will be able to influence domestic matters such as reversing Bush's tax cuts and opposing his ridiculous healthcare cuts. Perhaps best of all, they'll be allowed to set up investigative comittees to examine and hold to account the last six years of Republican rule. Inquiries into the use of pre-Iraq intelligence and the like. If that provides enough dirt then the Republicans could be sufficiently damaged that 2008 would deliver a Democratic White House.

Of course, nothing the Democrats do will dramatically alter anything. This is US politics afterall. But a win in either house tonight would be a real boon to democracy because it's never healthy for any one party to dominate proceedings without a formidable opposition. We know that ourselves just by looking closer to home in the last ten years.

The most fascinating aspect of these elections has probably been the campaigning. Amid the (eventual!) domestic shiftiness about what's happening in Iraq, the Republicans have ditched their previously successful electoral focus on war and security. It's of no use to them now. Instead they've had to revert to just their old conservative values of being anti abortion, anti gay marriage, anti 'illegal aliens' (a hilarious phrase), and portraying Democrats as soft pussies. Then there's been all the smear campaign TV adverts, where both sides have managed to be as bad as each other in shameless opportunism. One of my favourites is a Republican advert that shows a Democrat congressman (played by an actor) out "partying with frat boys" (students?) when he should be, erm, I don't know... reading a book? In the bath? It's basically a nothing story, but anything either side can get on the other - however tiny it may be - is used against them. It makes you cherish how comparitively civilised British politics is anyway. You really can't go amiss with a bit of decorum every now and again.

But my very favourite election TV advert this year has to be the one below. Vernon Robinson is a Republican running for Congress in North Carolina, and this is his rally against the state of America as he sees it. Don't laugh - it really is real, and really has been shown on US television over the last few months.



Go Democrats!

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good news for democracy

November 08, 2006 1:00 pm  
Blogger Paddy said...

Indeed.

November 09, 2006 12:37 am  
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November 10, 2006 11:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What with the Democrats emboldened, this is bad news for your small business pads. Maybe $800 would come in handy.

November 10, 2006 2:15 pm  
Blogger Paddy said...

They can take my taxes but they'll never take my dignity.

*beats chest*

November 10, 2006 10:44 pm  
Anonymous Franco said...

I wish we had adverts like that.
Fair enough it is a little offensive but you can't deny it was much more entertaining than the panto-dame piffle we get here.
I think we should all chip-in for them to record another one in colour. Ane fingers crossed it might even be more offensive. He left the Jews alone in the last one..he could have a go at them in Part II.

December 29, 2006 10:34 pm  
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