Tag Archives: Hillary

Are Republicans after the Anti-Bush?

John McCain Hangry

Lost in the analysis of the ever-changing complexion of the Republican primary—more specifically the ascension of John McCain—is why conservatives seem to be bucking conventional wisdom by gravitating toward someone who hasn’t simply bucked party principles but has been the party maverick, the one most likely to appear first under results of a ‘Republican outcast’ Google search.    

Some pundits cite a less than stellar field as a rationale for McCain’s popularity, and perhaps they’re right. Others believe it’s his electability, in so much as he might be the only one that can knock off Hillary Clinton. But there is one motivation for the McCain surge not making the editorial roundtables—Bush fatigue. Usually mentioned in connection with Democratic frustration and voter turnout, it’s rarely mentioned as an explanation for McCain’s emergence.

Republicans haven’t forgotten McCain-Feingold or his roguish ‘gang of 14’. They also don’t share his view on immigration. From Zogby:

“An overwhelming majority of American adults say a candidate’s stance on immigration is important to their voting decisions, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows. More than 76 % of the online poll respondents said a candidate’s position on immigration is a “very important” or “somewhat important” factor in their decision on who to vote for in the presidential elections of 2008”

So obviously, many Republicans are ignoring recent history with regards to McCain, his amnesty proposal and his forever needling of conservatives. Maybe they too want change and are looking for the anti-Bush.

Who better than that Republican who has been most openly critical?

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Hillary’s freefall; Is Barack the man to beat?

Living in Italy gave me an opportunity to learn about European politics, but it also gave me an education on American politics, only from their perspective, not The New York Times. For political geeks like me, election year entertainment is wall to wall TV coverage and site to site web reportage. But until I moved to Italy and had lived there for a while, I didn’t realize Europe’s level of interest in U.S. politics, and how significant American elections are and were abroad.

Headlining Italy’s Corriere della Sera is Hillary Clinton’s freefall from favored status. Another major Italian magazine, Panorama, calls Barack “the man to beat in New Hampshire.”  France’s Le Figaro leads with “Hillary Clinton in turmoil” and goes on to say (with Google translator’s help):

“The campaign of the former first lady, long time favorite of the Democratic primaries, seems mired in disarray. Officially, her staff ensures that the setback in Iowa hasn’t influenced its plans and that there is no need to change strategy. The emphasis is always on “experience” and to “swallow” the hope embodied by Barack Obama to the rank of perilous adventure”.

Germany’s Der Spiegel explores how populism and fears of a recession have factored into the success of Obama and Edwards—the angry crowd rouser who “speaks with rage” against the existence of  the “two Americas.”

I wonder though.

Are these European writers sympathetic to an electorate driven to the polls by 4% unemployment and $3 dollar gas? As mentioned in my book, The Absentee Ballot, as of last year, Italians were paying almost $6 per gallon for unleaded gas. European journalists and their readers suffer taxes, gas-prices and employment rates much higher than populism enthusiasts. American voters who are attracted to the message du jour see a nation filled with problems, while many others around the world see a paradise full of opportunities.  

 This election is closely followed, not just in the U.S, and is paramount, not only to the American people. It’ll be interesting to watch their reactions to Hillary’s fall, Obama’s rise and whichever Republican gets the nod.