View Full Version : Another view from across the pond...

10-18-2008, 02:40 AM
Not sure if this really merits a new thread, and apologies for the long missive. Anyhow, they showed the last debate between McCain and Obama on the BBC the other night and me and the wife caught some of it. So I can give you an outsider's view that you probably aren't much interested in anyhow, but what the heck. Joe the plumber aside, one thing that struck me was that they were both running highly focused advertising campaigns. McCain was playing to the almost universal American public distrust of government interference and basically saying "You can trust me. Your tax dollars are in safe hands, but you can't trust that other guy. He'll bleed you dry". Obama was, in turn denying this and playing to the almost universal disaffection with the current administration, playing the visionary role with his new, progressive plans for the future. When the credits rolled, I said that if I were an American voter I'd have to go with Obama because he at least seems to be offering something different, something hopeful. McCain had nothing of substance to offer, no vision, no future. My wife replied that Obama was full of exactly the same sort of crap that we saw over here from Tony Blair years ago, and that she'd go for McCain anyday as a safe pair of hands. Who'd have thought it? An argument in leafy old England about the US presidential campaign? But her words did get me wondering, because Blair's party (Labour), when they were in opposition, made contact wtih the Clinton administration when they were in power and received tons of political advice. And the result? All we got was an administration that was hot on spin and cold on delivering policy. For example, on 9/11 a member of team Blair sent out an email to all departments suggesting that "this may be a good day to release any bad news that you didn't want to make headlines". And the point of this missive? I think, and fear, that Obama will get elected and that the US will get a similar government that's big on pre-election promises but vacant on implementation. And I speak as a person who, if a US citizen, would be a natural Democrat voter.

Plot Device
10-18-2008, 03:01 AM
As a supporter of Obama, all I can say to this is: "duly noted," and then "I guess we just have to wait and see."

10-18-2008, 03:36 AM
The fact is we don't know if either Obama or McCain are offering empty promises, until one of them actually become President. Then we'll judge by their performance, much like we did with Bush. Did GWB deliver his promises? Did he bring compassionate conservatism back to Washington? Was he the uniter?

Only time can tell. Much like what you did with Blaire. Didn't like what he did -- booted him out.

But the alternative is we don't trust either of them and we elect no one.

10-18-2008, 03:51 AM
Only time can tell. Much like what you did with Blaire. Didn't like what he did -- booted him out.

But they didn't boot out Blair. He announced some while in advance that he would resign as PM at a particular time, and did so. And, until he hooked up with Bush in the Iraq War business, he was pretty much okay with the British public. He served longer as PM than anybody.

Now, I was living in the U.K. when they did oust Margaret Thatcher, or, rather, her own party ousted her, in an uproar over a massively unpopular regressive taxation scheme she hatched. So, yeah, it does happen. Parliamentary systems of choosing a leader don't seem to get into the level of hero-worship that goes on in the U.S. with our more direct election system.


10-18-2008, 03:52 AM
We've seen both candidate make a major decision that could directly affect the future of the country. One the most important decisions, the choice of a running mate.

One candidate made his pick after a thorough search, and ended up with seasoned veteran, someone who's been in the game thirty years, and is indeed ready to take over from day one.

The other candidate made his pick almost on the spur of the moment, choosing someone he didn't really want - he preferred Lieberman, without a careful investigation. He ended up with someone who clearly wasn't ready, and will probably never be ready.

These decisions fit in with the overall pattern of behavior of each candidate during their primary and general campaigns . Obama is steady, measured, almost too careful. McCain is tempermental, erratic, and prone to unneccessary risk taking.

So your wife's immediate impression of Obama is interesting, and sounds very much like the sentiments expressed by many when Obama first came on the scene months ago. If you've been following the election closely, it's hard not to see McCain as one of the shakiest hands around. Obama's been the steady one throughout the primary and the general.

10-18-2008, 07:15 PM
In my learned opinion, this is a case of the devil you know vs. the devil you don't know.

Since I know I don't want what the devil I know has to offer, I can only hope the one I don't know will deliver something different.


10-18-2008, 07:30 PM
I can't risk assuming that either or both candidates will not deliver on their promises. Because if I do that, why vote at all?

10-18-2008, 07:44 PM
I can't risk assuming that either or both candidates will not deliver on their promises. Because if I do that, why vote at all?
I can't answer your question, but if you assume that either candidate will deliver on their promises, you're ignoring a long history to the contrary.

10-18-2008, 09:07 PM
Even if they try, there is always Congress to impede and water the dream.