Like most wonks we take an interest in the Obama phenomenon.
Obama at 39, McCain at 32, in new poll - 21 hours ago
by John McCormick NASHUA, NH -- Sen. Barack Obama has jumped into double-digit lead in the latest CNN/WMUR nightly tracking poll for New Hampshire. ...
Our question is:
Will Republicans outside of Iowa, and New Hampshire voting in primary preselections later tonight, be of similar ilk i.e. pissed at President GW Bush and wanting a change along with Democrat voters but so antagonistic to Hilary/Bill Clinton that they prefer Democrat Obama?
At least in sufficient numbers to remove the Grand Old Party aka Republicans from the White House in USA national elections in Nov 2008?
If this is a real threat to the Republicans as in Iowa then we greatly fear the USA relations, or non relations, with Iran will become a dangerous dimension of the domestic primaries to preselect Republican and Democrat candidates.
No less than Robert Macnamarra in the chilling documentary
instructed all future generations and governments on about 11 sobering lessons he took out of his incredible war mongering career: One of these lessons (so compelling after the David Kelly docudrama The Government Inspector last night on ABC TV re Iraq war and missing WMD):
6. Get the data:
Which we at SAM here interpret as: Get your facts right - in the film he refers to a naval clash near Vietnam in the early 60ies, which later turned out to be bogus analysis of what actually transpired. But the diplomatic and political consequence was set in train (or manipulated?) leading to USA open warfare in Vietnam.
All the newswires today are running a story that Iran and the USA navy have had a tense stand off and near run conflict in the Straits of Homouz (spelling?).
Sound familiar? Complete with the Iranians denial of a real clash and that there was nothing unusual in the dynamic of this latest interaction in Hormuz.
Only it's the New Hampshire primaries today?
What is even more concerning is that there is a well known policy point of contention between the rising Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton going into the New Hampshire primary vote later tonight (our Sydney time).
The Pentagon and/or the Bush regime wouldn't be promoting potential warlike conflict with Iran in its PR for the base political reason of sewing dissension in the Democrat camp? And to damage Barak Obama? Surely not.
Yet this election blog from the US does make it clear the opportunity and motive of the Republicans to do just that back in Oct 2007:
Barack Obama has now joined John Edwards in slamming Hillary for her vote for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which says Iran is responsible for problems in Iraq and designates the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization:"Senator Clinton obviously in 2002 voted to authorize the war in Iraq," Obama told ABC News' Sunlen Miller. "And her willingness to once again extend to the president the benefit of the doubt I think indicates that she hasn't fully learned some of the lessons that we saw back in 2002."
"We have to be very cautious in how we approach these kinds of issues, because we've already seen enormous damage done to U.S.'s prestige around the world, the U.S.'s strategic interests in the world," he added. "Part of the reason Iran has been strengthened is because of that war that had been authorized in Iraq."
The Hillary campaign has just hit back in this statement sent over to us moments ago by Hillary spokesperson Phil Singer in which he says Obama's attack is motivated by dropping poll numbers and a "flagging" campaign:It's unfortunate that Senator Obama is resorting to the same old attack politics as his poll numbers start falling. He knows that Senator Clinton was one of the first in Congress to say that Bush must seek an explicit authorization from Congress for any military action against Iran and that she is the lead co-sponsor of legislation by Jim Webb to prohibit funds for military action in Iran without approval from Congress. A flagging campaign is not an excuse to distort anyone’s record.
Hillary supporters will also note that Obama co-sponsored a bill designating the Iran Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, though the Obama campaign has said that their objection to Kyl wasn't to that facet of it but to the fact that it blamed Iran for problems in Iraq.
Late Update: Obama spokesman Bill Burton emails this response to Camp Hillary's response:
"It's clear that Senator Clinton can get irritated by questions about her Iran vote but the Lieberman-Kyl amendment does indeed make a case that military action against Iran could be a part of the ongoing war in Iraq. And in 2002, the vote to authorize war in Iraq was not a vote for diplomacy and inspectors. Senator Obama is focused instead on ending this war in Iraq, and preventing another disastrous foreign policy mistake."
Postscript #1 9th Jan 2007
Leftish columnist Phillip Adams fears for Obama's ability to survive the very frightening violence of US culture in a very factual and tightly written piece. It's a very fair and prominent piece there in the so called 'Govt Gazette': 8th Jan 08 Obama must be wary of the assassin's gun | The Australian
It reminds us of this thrilling finale of West Wing TV show series 1 referred to here by the ever helpful Wikipedia entry:
specifically this one
The West Wing episode
Bartlet being ushered away during the shooting
which played way back in 1999-2000 indicating how behind the viewing times Australia really was given we got to see it about 2005 here(?). This has changed apparently these days with much greater synchrony of international scheduling in the age of internet download threats.
This episode virtually guarranteed a series 2 if only to answer the question: What the f*** happaned?! Answer - the good guys all survive with mercurial/goofy Josh Lyman character recovering in hospital. Unlike Benizir Bhutoo RIP in Pakistan recently. For real. Good article Mr Adams.
We once saw Mark Latham as the 2004 electoral aspirant for John Howard's crown in a Darling Habour forecourt next to the roadway as we innocently drove our van in there to get some pics of the ALP national conference. If memory serves the eager still hopeful Mark was hob knobbing with the odd press gallery reptile including Matt Price out in the open exposed to the public.
We distinctly recall thinking this public access to a VIP is not so secure or wise for a guy doing so well in the polls at that time at least. On the other hand maybe we were so well known for our scruffy strict adherence to Gandhi philosophy by those ever alert CBD surviellance cameras it was all in hand? Who would know? We can say we once unwisely drove a donated unregistered (by a few days) van through the CBD and sure enough were booked and fined a painful $550 for our sin (in 2006) by an unmarked police car. Number plate recognition software? One wonders.