Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bush's half-term report

The US electorate yesterday delivered its half-term report to the Republican administration and it wasn't a good one. Indeed Donald Rumsfeld has already taken full responsibility for getting a consonant wrong and invading Iraq instead of Iran.

The Republicans would surely have taken an absolute hammering (as opposed to a pasting) had the economy not still been in fairly good shape, the enormous twin deficits and falling housing market aside of course. As the Tories have always known in the UK (and Labour were forced to acknowledge), the incumbent will be well-supported provided that people remain fairly optimistic about employment and their finances.

It's a testament to Bush's ineptitude that he's been able to move in a near linear fashion from a 90%+ approval rating in the aftermath of 9/11, to one below 40% today. All this of course despite doing what he has always promised....keep Americans safe from terrorism (no attack since 9/11, at least not yet). Unfortunately for America the combination of a lame-duck President and a Democratic Congress is likely to ensure political inertia until 2008.

Although last night's results will give the Democrats a valuable boost of confidence, they will be well-aware that the Presidential race will be a tighter affair not least because they will likely be up against the more moderate John McCain who retains stronger appeal amongst independents. Although Hilary Clinton remains the most likely Democratic candidate, she is a divisive character with very liberal tendencies who does not hold universal appeal. Meanwhile, the possibility of the US electing a first black President has increased thanks to the rapidly growing groundswell of support for Barack Obama, the new political superstar of the left.

Although young (45) and a political 'lightweight' (particularly in the realm of foreign policy), he perhaps represents the man most likely to be able to reunite a very divided nation, and more importantly rebuild America's damaged image in the world. Ideally he would wait until 2012 or 2016; however in 2012, if there is not already a Democratic President, he would be facing an incumbent Republican whilst in 2016 he will be 55 years old and the buzz and ambition might have faded.

Punters on Betfair have taken notice - Obama is now 13/2 to be the Democratic candidate whilst the party candidate is 4/5 to win the election, implying odds of about 12/1 to be the next President. I sense that Americans are ready for a change, even one as radical as this, so this might be a bet that even Derek 'Killer' Hales might fancy.


At 3:30 AM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

Damn, what odds would I have got on Obama when I put his name forward in July 2004? See

At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 4:46 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

Obama is an outstanding orator and very media-friendly. His best attribute might be the fact that he's not tarnished by the Republican administration (by definition) nor the worst attributes of the Democrats (by virtue of having only been a senator since 2004).

He is a lightweight but Clinton was hardly a heavyweight but was one of the best post-war presidents.

At 2:44 AM, Anonymous james chappell said...

clinton best post war prez? maybe, but u & ny addick are forgetting he had the 'restriction' of a republican legislator. rather than restricting the executives power as u say, it can often serve to focus policy away from issues concerning base supporters, religious nutters (and you worry bout iran and n korea!) and gun owners (perhaps u'll be able to stop ur kids shooting each other!). infact many difficult desicions could be made without either party being held totally responsible. the most worrying thing bout the us' future is the twin deficit, though i'm fairly sure china wontscrewu. & dont pull out of iraq, tho i'm sure democratic congress will stiffle ur brave lad's cash. u shouldn't pull out of a 50-50 u'll only injure yourself and lose the ball. u should have sacked ur manager in the january(2004) transfer window!!!!!!!!


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