Daniel Hannan, Guido and the American Right

Guido is terribly proud that Daniel Hannan’s speech, straight out of the Guido playbook of diagnosing Gordon Brown’s “pathologies” and wrapping himself in libertarian bollocks, has become something of an internet sensation. Noting that the clip has attracted the attention of such illustrious organs as the Drudge Report, he declares:

Cometh the hour, cometh the man – we are all ditto-heads now; Rushies and the Co-Conspirators.

He slightly surprises me with his eagerness to take up the mantle of “dittohead“, but it fits like a charm. After all, doesn’t Guido’s blog have exactly the same right-wing echo chamber effect as Rush and Fox News do for the US? Isn’t his comments thread full of the same brand of half-sentient hate-spewing twats that call Rush? Guido seems to be embracing the comparison before any of his regular critics really articulated it properly, just to block off that particular line of attack.

Anyway, on to the clip itself. Since it was released on Tuesday, it has become remarkably well exposed; yesterday it was the most watched clip on YouTube. So is it all that remarkable? Well, to be fair, it’s well crafted, to the point, snappy, and clearly expresses Hannan’s position. What’s more surprising is that it achieved this without much exposure at all from the MSM in the UK. Interestingly, Hannan has become something of a hero to the US right, with Rush Limbaugh (de facto leader of the Republicans) endorsing his words, Fox News cheerleader for the markets Neil Cavuto interviewing him, and well known crazy person Glen Beck inviting him on his show too.

Why, then, are the UK Conservatives not more proud of him? Hannan seems to be viewed by his own party as a slightly loose cannon, being one of the more headbanging eurosceptics in the party, a cheerleader for joining the loony fringe of Europe, and in fact he’s already been expelled from the EPP himself.

In many ways, the interviews with the US media are rather more revealing than the speech itself. In the Cavuto interview, he pretty much takes ownership of being the”do nothing” party (look at about 3 mins in), and answers “yes” in response to the question “in the same situation [of the US banking crisis], would you have said “Let ’em rip”?”.

I have to say, watching those videos is quite entertaining in at least one respect: the right wings of both our countries are currently maintaining that their particular screamingly socialist government is taking their country to much lower depths than are to be found anywhere else in the world. The result, when you bring the two together, is a pissing contest. Witness much claiming to have it worst from both sides of the pond.

The most amusing bit, though, is this big stompy red quote from Guido: “It is the speech that many Republicans wish they had someone to deliver to Obama“. Um, no. The Republicans have plenty of populist ranters who could deliver a little mini-speech like this. Trouble is, none of them could say it with a straight face, because unlike Gordon Brown, Barack Obama hasn’t been in the driving seat for the last ten years. He’s been there for three months. If the Republicans tried to pull this, they would rightly be derided, because it was George Bush who turned a surplus inherited from Clinton into a deficit.

Daniel Hannan is said to be somewhat perplexed at the traction he has achieved in the US. Let me help you out, Daniel: It’s a distraction. Like so much that the Republican noise machine does, it’s a talking point to try to prove a point from a country with different circumstances to those of the US, and then import the “take home message” to the US, without people noticing the bait and switch they’ve just been offered whereby something that reflects badly on the Republicans becomes the fault of “socialists” over there in Yerp. There’s a reason they’d rather talk about the backstory in someone else’s country: it’s because they’ve only been the opposition for three months, and most of that backstory in the US is their backstory.

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It’s Not Over Yet

As Kos’s map shows, the senate results are not yet in.

There is a post explaining what’s going on with these races that are yet to be called here. The presidential result is already determined, so the electoral college predictions are largely academic (give or take an LDV mug).

But the Senate races are important. The Democrats had hoped that they might come out of this process with a filibuster proof senate. If they are to achieve this, the four yet to be called races all have to go that way. That’s a tough call on the face of it. But lets just look at those a bit closer (from the Kos posting linked above):

We’re currently at 56 seats with Sanders and Lieberman. We need a clean sweep in Alaska, Georgia, Minnesota and Oregon to win.


Alaska
: With 99% of precincts reported, Ted Stevens (R) leads Mark Begich (D) by 3500 votes.

There are reportedly over 60,000 absentee ballots filed, so no one has called it yet.

Georgia: Saxby Chambliss (R) leads Jim Martin (D) 50-46. However, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that over 600,000 early votes have not been counted. Martin led handily in early voting, so it’s highly likely that Chambliss will end up below 50% and this will go to a runoff.

Minnesota: Norm Coleman leads by less than 600 votes now. All outstanding ballots will matter, and there’s the possibility of a recount as well.

Oregon: Gordon Smith (R) leads Jeff Merkley (D) by 15,000 votes with 75% of precincts reporting. Not looking good.

So Oregon looks like a write-off, which is a shame. But even so, there is every chance of 59 Democratic caucusing Senators by the end of all this.

Minnesota could get nasty, with lawyers piling in on both sides. Al Franken is talking up his chances of changing the result:

The Associated Press uncalled the Senate race at about 9 a.m., saying they had prematurely declared Coleman the winner.

Franken said this morning that he intends to exercise his right to a recount.

He also said his campaign is investigating alleged voting irregularities at some polling places in Minneapolis, and that “a recount could change the outcome significantly.”

“Let me be clear: Our goal is to ensure that every vote is properly counted,” he said.

It will be some time before we know what happens there, with the recount not expected for some weeks.

Alaska looks, initially, bizarre. They seem to be about to re-elect a convicted felon, but as Kos point out, there are absentee ballots to be added. More importantly, even if Stevens wins, he is likely to be forced out of the Senate if his appeal fails, and that will trigger another election to fill his seat.

If Georgia fails to give Saxby Chambliss an overall majority (which looks likely), then that too will trigger another election, a runoff between the two highest voted candidates (the Rep and the Dem).

So in Alaska and Georgia, there is a significant chance for what remains of the Obama war chest to be put to good use trying to win a couple of extra senators, not to mention spending it on lawyers to help Al Franken’s efforts to inch it in Minnesota.

We may not know for some time exactly what the Democrats’ Senate position is going to look like. The only thing we can be sure of is that they seem likely to fall short of that all important 60 seats. Oh well.

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US Election Night

Sofa and TV: Check

Several tabs in Firefox on laptop displaying various websites:
LDV’s liveblog when it arrives: Check
Maron v Seder: Check
538.com to see how their predictions went: Check
CNN Results page: Check
Political Betting: Check

Popcorn with which to enjoy the looks on the inhabitants of Fox News’s faces: Check

…yup, all set!

Final Presidential Debate: Liveblog

If you’re up for the debate tonight, join me below.

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Obama’s Ground War Looking Good

It’s been known for some time that the Obama campaign’s strategy in the US Presidential Election is rather different from the McCain campaign’s. The former is fighting what we Lib Dems might find a rather familiar concept: the ground war. Meanwhile, the McCain campaign is fighting the air war, winning news cycles by feeding the national media new stories and “events” as often as they can. when national overall polls started, after the nomination of Sarah Palin, to show a McCain lead, some Democrats started to feel a little nervous about this strategy. Those with a stronger constitution urged them to hold firm: not only was the ground war a sound strategy, but Palin’s initial popularity would burn out fast, they predicted. Both factors are now beginning to play out, it seems, with Palin’s shielding from the media and inadequacy when she does appear becoming ever more obvious to journalists, and Obama’s target states strategy (in states which weren’t what you might call obvious blue states) now beginning to look like it will pay off. Particularly interesting is this report from Rasmussen, a polling organisation:

Barack Obama has a two-point advantage over John McCain in the traditionally Republican state of North Carolina.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the Tar Heel State shows Obama attracting 49% of the vote while McCain earns 47%. A week ago, McCain held a three-point edge. This is the first time in eight Rasmussen Reports polls that Obama has held any kind of a lead in North Carolina, though the candidates were tied once as well.

This is pretty extraordinary. In 2004, North Carolina voted solidly for Bush, with a +12.4% margin. A quick look at this summary of state-by-state polling data tells an interesting story: not one 2004 Kerry state is currently leaning McCain-wards, but 5 2004 Bush states are now looking as if they could well go to Obama.

Random Comedy Video Clip of the Week

from Maria Bamford, whose Edinburgh Fringe show I saw in 2006. It was good.

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Some Great US Election Analysis

The Real News has posted some great stuff on the US primaries, including a glut of post-Super Tuesday stuff the other day. Amongst the best of it is the following:

Two part interview giving a rather pessimistic outlook for the Democrats:

Trying to make sense of the votes:

Two part interview on the specifics of the latino vote:

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