Saturday, November 6, 2010

Palin and Le Pen Presidents - the Ultime Nightmare!

In the Economist this week, Lexington reminded its readers of the worst possible nightmarish scenario, now that the House has an overwhelming Republican majority :

Sarah Palin could win the presidential elections if Michael Bloomberg ran as an Independent in 2012, and deprived Obama of a majority in the electoral college and leaving the final vote to the Republican-controlled House.

That's what John Heilemann came up with (see the original article here) and it sounds as bad - if not worse - as having Marine Le Pen win the presidential elections in France in 2012. (Newsweek compared the two in a recent article).

Lexington says it would "a miraculous concatenation of improbable events to make her president". Yes, but we have come just a weeny bit closer to this "miracle" with these results.

By the way, what is the opposite of 'miracle'?

NOTE: Well of course, on th positive side of having Sarah Palin in the limelights, there's Tina Fey:

And the not-so fun....

Yes, the Republicans made big wins this week - not only have the Republicans picked up 60 seats, thus exceeding their previous record of 1994, but they also have the largest majority in the House since the 1940s.

On the other hand, the Democrats kept the Senate thanks to the Tea Party candidates (even some Republicans say so.), and that's no small accomplishment in this environment. (Sure, it still means possible gridlock... and definitely a fight between th Executive and Congress, but the Republicans may a heavy price as they did in 1997).

There's also comfort to be found in the fact that voters seem to quickly change their minds these days and there's a chance it'll swing again in 2 years. After all this is the most volatile period in the last 50 years: the House has changed majorities twice in 4 years which is the most rapid turn-over since the early 1950s. (see The Economist).

What is more annoying is that the Republicans have gained about 10 governorships with the possible electorate advantage of redrawing congressional districts - thank God the people of California, Florida and Minnesota, voted reforms to end gerrymandering (i.e. redistricting for political purposes).
And even more worrisome is how special interests and lobbies have been playing such a huge role in these elections, and will play an even bigger role in the future
And by the way, I wish the media - even in Europe - stopped repeating the myth that the Tea Party is a grassroots movement. It is NOT. It has actually been bankrolled (and even manufactured) by billionaires like Murdoch, the Koch brothers (see this great extensive article in The Newyorker) through an organization called the Americans for Prosperity or special interests groups like Freedomworks. (NYT). As Paul Krugman pointed out, they're Astroturfing (i.e. fake grassroots).

Here's my only kind of Tea Party :

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Fun-ny Stuff about US Politics.

One thing I like about American politics that the French don't have is its... diversity and weirdness, and most of it you find at a local level of course.
While European media focus on the Democrats losing the House and keeping the Senate, they hardly ever mention the other local election results - the state legislatures, the governors, or, sometimes even more interesting, the ballot initiatives. (although, French newspaper Le Monde did).
Now, that's a fun (or scary or-both) American concept and both France and Europe have been struggling with the idea.
The reason I like ballot initiatives so much is because they can be very creative. Of course, the best known state for ballot initiatives is California with its Prop 19 that would have legalized marijuana (and surprisingly, it was defeated despite its huge debt, its liberal spirit and the great hypocrisy of medicinal pot).

But there were about at least another 160 ballot initiatives in almost 40 states.

  • Meanwhile in Oklahoma people overwhelmingly voted to amend the state constitution to ban international law—specifically sharia law—from being used in their state courts. Not that it has ever been... but who knows.... After all, some Muslims even dare to sue the state!
Here are some other interesting local results :

Three of Iowa's Supreme Court justices were voted out of office pretty much for legalizing same-sex marriage but on the other hand, voters in Lexington, Kentucky's second-largest city, have elected the city's first openly gay mayor and the fourth openly gay member of Congress was elected by the people of Rhodes Island.
And the first black Republican since the 1800s was elected in the Deep South.

But the most amazing result is the election of a dead woman to the state Senate of California! (here).