Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stars and Stripes-Gazing

I've been following the primaries--with particular interest in the Democratic ones--in the U.S. fairly closely lately. Although I'm a Canadian and therefore can't vote, I nonetheless consider it important to know what's going on politically with our largest trading partner.

As I mentioned, the Democratic primaries are garnering most of my attention. I know it's too early to make predictions (and that the pundits have so far been thwarted at every turn), but--given that there are even Republicans who are unhappy with the state of affairs in the U.S.--there seems to be a sea-change brewing, and it seems that the Democrats, if (and ONLY if!) they can stop the divisive squabbling, may be able to tap into that and use it to real advantage.

Now, I'm not sure who'd I'd rather have leading the Democrats in the next election. While I'm leaning towards Barack Obama at the moment, I have gone back and forth on this matter and I have lots more time to do the same. I do know that if the U.S. is to elect another Republican president, I'd prefer John McCain, who is both intelligent and moderate, to the evangelical Mike Huckabee (need I point out what's happened to the church and state divide since the current evangelical commander-in-chief assumed office in 2000?) or to Mitt Romney, who--perhaps irrationally on my part--just doesn't sit well with me. But I digress...

Watching the Democratic debate on Monday night got me thinking seriously about who the eventual Democratic nominee would pick as a running mate--a choice that is arguably just as important as that which Democrats are making in the primaries.

Seeing how the candidates interact with one another, I'm beginning to suspect that should Clinton receive the nomination, she'll pick Obama as her running mate; however, I think that if Obama gets the nomination, John Edwards will be his VP candidate. Despite their differences, the rapport between Obama and Edwards seems collegial and generally respectful. Not so with that between Clinton and Obama.

I still think, though, that despite the hostilities, Hillary Clinton will need Barack Obama if she wants to succeed beyond the Democratic convention. From what I've been reading, a lot of people--whether they be Democrats, independents, or Republicans--still don't like her. She is a polarizing figure; much has been made, on the other hand, of Obama's unifying, bipartisan appeal.

But don't take my word for it. I'm far less knowledgeable about U.S. politics than all the talking heads that have been proven wrong by primary voters; my predictions should be taken with an even smaller grain of salt (if that's possible.) Still, I'll continue to watch and to think about all this regardless.


Erik said...

If we could get Americans to think as much as Canadians do about our elections, this would be a much better country.

The fact that we ended up with the candidates that we did is testament to the fact that Americans, in general, just don't pay attention. :(

This is the longest presidential race I can remember. During this race, our "representatives" have used the campaign for cover for their legislative activities.

The election appears to be a distraction from the legislation that is being forced through while everyone is arguing about who is going to be our figurehead and top diplomat.

Natalie said...

There's a lot of apathy amongst Canadians, too, when it comes to our own federal elections, so it's not as though we're any more politically-aware/involved. While I understand how people can feel alienated by their government, I don't understand the lack of the desire to effect change. As someone who was raised to be concerned, I've never gotten that and I don't suppose I ever will (at least, I hope I never will!)