Monthly Archives: May 2008

Beyond the Blogroll

I just updated my blogroll with all kinds of blogs dealing with the 2008 presidential election and politics in general. I will also be adding more as I think of them/find them. But, just to bring them to your attention, here is a list of my favorite blogs that I think you should check out:

Wonkette– Not for the easily offended. Formerly of the tagline “Politics for People with Dirty Minds,” the DC-based Wonkette explores the dirtier side of politics, with snarky and sarcastic comments about everything from major political scandals to everyday life on the campaign trail. Fun read, all around.

Calitics– A blog focusing on the OTHER November races: those in the state legislature and on other, more local levels. If you’re not already interested in California politics, you will be after reading this blog.

Daily Kos– One of the most visited blogs on the internet, and the most popular of all progressive blogs. I don’t always agree with everything on the site, but they have a huge audience and indeed a ton of power in politics. Never dull.

MyDD– Similar to DailyKos, an always-active blog about progressive politics around the country. A little more open to unpopular opinions than Kos.

Justin Webb’s America– A really cool blog by the North American Editor of the BBC. Talks almost entirely about the American presidential race, which is interesting to hear about from a foreigner.

There are lots others. Check ’em out.

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Accepting the Inevitable… Finally… I Guess

Ed. note: Sorry for not updating in a while. My life of the past few weeks has been plagued by “finals,” a terribly debilitating disease caused by frequently attending college. But I have since been relieved of this disease, and I will try to update this blog at least once a week, if not more frequently.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Hillary Clinton is not doing so well these days. Political-wise, I mean. With a large defeat in North Carolina, and a big-but-not-big-enough victory in Indiana, her fate was basically, mathematically, realistically sealed as the “runner-up.” This is tough for me to admit. I’ve got a lot invested in this race (most notably, shamefully, my pride and stubbornness), and I don’t like to admit defeat. Neither does Hillary, clearly. Because even though, barring something extraordinary, she will not win the Democratic nomination, she keeps plodding on, vowing to stay in the race until Convention.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have no problem with Hillary staying in the race. I tend to think the spread-out system of primaries and caucuses, while making sense from the perspective of a candidate, doesn’t make sense from the perspective of democracy. John Kerry’s nomination–the fabulous success that that was–was practically wrapped up within the first few primaries in the 2004 election. This method leaves a huge chunk of the electorate: Super Tuesday states like New York and California and Massachusetts and Ohio, as well as later states including Florida and Pennsylvania, with votes that are basically worthless.  John Edwards withdrew after failing to win a single state on Super Tuesday, leaving John Kerry as the presumptive nominee.

Hillary Clinton staying in the race, therefore, allows voters in all states, including those with primaries in May or June such as Oregon, North Carolina, and Kentucky, have a voice in the nominating process. Even if “bringing democracy” to every state is not her main intention, it certainly works. And while admitting that she remains in the race just in case Obama gets assassinated (a la Bobby Kennedy, as she suggested a few days ago) seriously toes the line of tactfulness, it isn’t entirely unreasonable to stay in “just in case” something unexpected happens.

That said, however, I have come to terms with the fact that she will probably not win. Indeed, with the Bobby Kennedy comment, as well as her almost-race-baiting suggestions about white people not liking Obama, and her assertions about her lack of faith in “experts,”  have seriously frustrated and disenchanted me with her over the past few weeks. I’ve subtly removed myself from her “fans” on Facebook, and noted the end of my internship with her campaign as February, when California voted.

So I’ve moved on. I’m not going to go around waving a white flag to Obama supporters (a.k.a. most of my friends and almost all of my fellow College Democrats), but I’ve stopped supporting her campaign. I won’t jump on the Obama train until it’s made official in June, when it becomes more about the party and less about the candidate, but I do expect to work very hard to make sure he gets elected.

This is in addition, of course, to fighting the gay marriage amendment. Since the California Supreme Court cited the Equal Protection Clause in the CA Constitution as reason for allowing gay and lesbian couples around the state to get married, it has become a major issue in state politics. Protect Marriage, a coalition of religious groups, has gathered over a million signatures in order to get a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the ballot in November. I have always been a strong advocate of gay marriage and will be doing everything I can to fight that amendment, starting hopefully with getting an internship at Equality California in San Francisco. Add that to the Obama campaign and, oh yeah, my 32-hour-a-week job, and I have a packed summer ahead of me.

I guess this blog post is therefore more about me than Hillary Clinton. It worked out well that Hillary’s campaign is flailing just as my support is weakening, because it means I don’t have to entirely denounce her and can instead move on to the next thing. My only hope is that the next campaigns I’m on– those of a presidential candidate and an amendment that threatens civil rights– are more successful, because now it matters more than ever.

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They Like Us (Kinda, Potentially) Again! 2008 US Elections, Abroad

In preparing to travel abroad this summer (to Italy this summer with my family- I’ve never been to Europe before so this is very exciting for me), and study abroad next year (in Turkey from late January 2009 to early June, I think), it has come to my attention that the 2008 US elections (oh, have you heard of them?) are “all the rage” abroad. Apparently, non-Americans (particularly Europeans) are kind of excited about no longer having to deal with George W. Bush in the White House.

“There is a desperate sense of need that there must be something better than Bush out there,” said Dean Godson, head of a conservative research group in London called Policy Exchange. Or, as Thomas Valasek, a spokesman for the Center for European Reform in London, put it: “The world at large has a massive stake in the outcome of the elections. Never before has the U.S. had such a terrible reputation, a terrible image.”

Source: New York Times

If you thought people obsessed over the election here, wait until you talk to people in Europe:

“Of course it’s our election,” said John Gordon, a founder of Intelligence Squared, organizer of a series of public debates attended by London’s well-heeled set.

Gordon has left dinner parties to watch coverage of the U.S. primaries. “American policy is inextricably linked to our own,” he said. “We are the 53rd state. We know every intimate detail of Michelle’s hair.”

Source: International Herald Tribune

Or Asia:

“People know the decisions of the American president will affect Indonesia, and that is why many are watching carefully the elections in the United States,” said Bonar Tidor, 45, a human rights activist in Indonesia.

Source: New York Times

Or Mexico:

“There is a whole nation of Mexicans living in the United States,” said Fausto Zapata, a former diplomat in Mexico City. “And the connections with relatives, friends and partners in Mexico are immense, almost gigantic. Almost any movement in the American economy affects Mexico, negatively or positively.”

Source: New York Times

And who would they vote for? Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, almost overwhelmingly.

“[Barack Obama is] what the rest of the world dreams America can be,” says JacquesMistral, a transatlantic specialist and director of economic studies at the French Institute for International Relations in Paris. “He looks like a Kennedy type, and that he’s black is very new. In Europe, the idea that a woman can win is accepted. But for a black person to win would represent a radical change – for the US, and the world.”

Source: Christian Science Monitor

“I would vote for Hillary Clinton, because she is quite well versed with Indian society which she knows very well because her husband was also the president of the United States,” said a man interviewed on the street of Bangalore, India. “It will be a great advantage for the Indian stock market… I hope it will be a great boost for the Indian Stock Market as well.”

Source: Current.com

I must say that, if I wasn’t already excited enough for this whole “election” thing, the reactions of people abroad make me even more so. I really love the United States. A lot. I think about it all the time. But it has been really painful to watch what the Bush Administration has done to our reputation abroad. It’s sad to me that non-Americans have been so overwhelmed by the bad things about America that they haven’t gotten to see the good things. Being a part of this election- my first-ever election- gives me an incredible sense of pride and gratitude that I live in the US and am able to help elect the most powerful person in the world.

By the way, if you are at all interested in this subject, I highly suggest that you read my source articles. They are all really interesting and include way more fascinating quotes than I could ever fit into one blog post:

International Herald Tribune- US Election is All the Rage in London

Christian Science Monitor- Abroad, fresh image of U.S.

New York Times- U.S. Race Captures World’s Eye, and Holds It

Current.com- US Election Fever Abroad– A bunch of interviews with non-Americans about the elections.

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