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Speaker: Two Ticks

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  • Russell Brown,

    From the WaPo discussion: biggest Democratic turnout ever.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    The traditional candidate selection process in New Zealand, then?

    Yeah, but at least that happens amongst party officials. It has no place in a popular election.

    Democrat results are here, BTW.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Just under 220,000 Democrats caucused tonight. About 115,000 Republicans did. That is a very big vote in itself.

    The next pres will be a Dem no doubt about that. 335,000 people get to have a direct and personal say in who the next most powerful person in the world will be - not a bad story in itself.

    Looks like Obama has a generation advantage. Younger and with cute young family.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    335,000 out of 300 million. In America, they call it "democracy".

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Ellis,

    Iowa has a population of 3 million. So that is 335,000 represents 11% of the population, including those under 18 who cannot vote.

    If the rest choose not to vote, that is an equally democratic choice.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Of course, it is highly probable that (if the system were to permit it) "no confidence" would win over any of the listed candidates, especially for the Republicans. Which is the likely reason for the much lower Republican turnout -- their choices are pretty much as characterised by Craig above. (Not unlike certain NZ constituencies. I mean, seriously, Banks!?) So the numbers shouldn't be seen as a direct "Democrat vs Republican" vote at this stage.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Superb speech by Obama ...

    I'm not completely clear on his policies, but my god he has charisma ....

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    If the rest choose not to vote, that is an equally democratic choice.

    Given the timing and limited duration of the caucus - a two-hour window on a weeknight - I don't think it is entirely a matter of "choice".

    Seriously, if a country held an "election" where the poll was inconveniently timed and open for a very short window of time, they'd be laughed out of town. It's a basic tenet of democracy that the polsl should be accessible. Iowa's aren't.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Given the timing and limited duration of the caucus - a two-hour window on a weeknight - I don't think it is entirely a matter of "choice".

    Seriously, if a country held an "election" where the poll was inconveniently timed and open for a very short window of time, they'd be laughed out of town. It's a basic tenet of democracy that the polsl should be accessible. Iowa's aren't.

    This would all be a good point if what happened today (yesterday) was an election, not a primary. I don't necessarily think that we should have primaries or caucuses or anything similar, but the US system of choosing presidential candidates is an attempt to be a lot more democratic than the NZ method, where the Prime Minister is in effect chosen by the caucus.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm not completely clear on his policies, but my god he has charisma ....

    I'm not sure when he picked up the style, but his way of speaking is quite like a non-religious version of MLK. Not just his references to the man and his message, but his way of speaking, and what he says.

    I half expected him to say "I have been the mountaintop..."

    Not a bad tactic at all. You can see why young people are flocking to him.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Not a bad tactic at all. You can see why young people are flocking to him.

    It's not just the MLK cadences, but the cool. He seems assured and natural, which I think lends him credibility. I can't help but find him quite exciting. Matthew Yglesias is electrified.

    He should hope Huckabee keeps on and wins, because Huckabee would make questions around Obama's experience just go away.

    Instapundit et al are very sour tonight, which in my book is a good sign.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Iowa has a population of 3 million. So that is 335,000 represents 11% of the population, including those under 18 who cannot vote.

    Something I didn't mention - it was nearly 3000 words as it was - Iowans who will be 18 at the election, but aren't yet, get to vote in the caucuses.

    We are one nation, one people

    so he's Don Brash :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    This would all be a good point if what happened today (yesterday) was an election, not a primary.

    It's a good point for primaries as well. I agree that parties can pick their leaders however the hell they want to, but if you wan't to claim the mantle of democracy, you have to meet basic democratic standards.

    I don't necessarily think that we should have primaries or caucuses or anything similar, but the US system of choosing presidential candidates is an attempt to be a lot more democratic than the NZ method, where the Prime Minister is in effect chosen by the caucus.

    That's because, by definition, the Prime Minister is the person who commands the support of the House (i.e. a majority in a confidence vote), and like any other Minister, must be a Member of Parliament (except for a very short period after an election). Westminster systems don't have full seperation of powers, but instead draw the executive from the legislature.

    I should also point out that a Prime Minister isn't a President, and especially not a US-style executive President. Constitutionally, they're princeps, not dominus - first among equals, not an elected king.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'm not sure when he picked up the style, but his way of speaking is quite like a non-religious version of MLK.

    Nope, Denzel Goes To Washington. Seriously...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'm not sure when he picked up the style, but his way of speaking is quite like a non-religious version of MLK.

    Nope, Denzel Goes To Washington. Seriously...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    I'm not sure when he picked up the style, but his way of speaking is quite like a non-religious version of MLK. Not just his references to the man and his message, but his way of speaking, and what he says.

    It's a soft version of the Southern inflection at the end of sentences (e.g. MLK). I found it intriguing, too. I'm not sure if it's a product of his accent mix, or a learned style.

    Interesting, though, that it's quite sporadic, and it's most pronounced when he made his (only!) reference to the US civil rights movement.

    And he used a lot of repeated sentences components ("Hope is..; hope is...") which intensified with repetition. It's a MLK trademark, but it's also pretty common nowadays. Of course, MLK was a *lot* more intense, but he had the voice and the power for it.

    Obama's no firebrand, but I think he strikes a good balance as being calm, intelligent and generally nice, whereas - crass as it may sound - I don't think he wants to be seen as a fire-up black man.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Obama's no firebrand, but I think he strikes a good balance as being calm, intelligent and generally nice, whereas - crass as it may sound - I don't think he wants to be seen as a fire-up black man.

    Well, yes, it was crass - I think Obama just doesn't want to be seen a hellfire-and-brimstone hyper-partisan, full stop. Like Russell (I think), I'm still rather fuzzy about where he is on most policy areas, but I don't feel an intense urge to put my fist through the wall as soon as he opens his mouth. That's a start.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I should also point out that a Prime Minister isn't a President, and especially not a US-style executive President. Constitutionally, they're princeps, not dominus - first among equals, not an elected king.

    But the Iowa caucus, or indeed any of the primaries, don't elect a President. It's a political party choosing a candidate for President. It's a lot more democratic than how most political parties choose candidates, for President, Prime Minister, or any other position.

    Not that I think the US President elections are actually very democratic, just ask Al Gore. But the presidential elections don't start until a Tuesday in November. You're complaining that the Iowa caucus aren't very democratic for an election, when it's not actually an election, hence the way it can be caucus-ed.

    Our Westminster Caucus isn't very democratic either, and it actually chooses the Prime Minister. Iowa is actually just choosing delegates to go to the convention. It's choosing the people that will choose the person who will run in the election.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And I don't mean to thread jack, but I wonder if our domestic pollies are going to be taking the right lessons from Obama. After reading Ralston's... err, rather peculiar HoS column this week, I'm not feeling overly optimistic. Might be the year to keep in mothballs any smug superiority complex towards the Yanks.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Not that I think the US President elections are actually very democratic, just ask Al Gore

    Take it as read that I wasn't a particularly happy chap on Sunday, September 18 2005. Just because a result is agonisingly close, and not to my liking, doesn't make an election 'undemocratic'.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    A great result for Obama and Edwards!
    But ...

    Having just watched (in Australia, no link, sorry) a documentary on the Diebold voting machines I have to say I'm very fearful of the future of any 'democracy' in the USA.

    Obama may look like a winner now, but all that matters is the final vote tally in November. And the documentary I watched proved that Diebold voting machines can be manipulated. Which explains how Kerry (and Gore before him) can win the exit polls, but still not have enough actual votes (according to the tally).

    NB: the doco featured these guys: www.blackboxvoting.org

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Slightly off topic;Graham alluded to a lack of transparency/accountability in NZ selection processes.

    If you like the idea of voting for your candidates - you could do worse than the Greens, who let their members choose their candidates in a 'list ranking process'. It's a secret, postal ballot, where members list the top 30. It is of course, not completely democratic - a committee adjusts the list for things like sex and geographic representation, but rarely significantly moves candidates.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    FYI: the doco was called Hacking Democracy. It was nominated for an Emmy ... from their website:

    The documentary, broadcast on HBO throughout November & December 2006, exposes the dangers of voting machines used during America's mid term and presidential elections. Electronic voting machines count approximately 90% of America's votes in county, state and federal elections. The technology is also increasingly being used across the world, including in Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and Latin America. Filmed over three years this exposé follows the investigations of a team of citizen activists and hackers as they take on the electronic voting industry, targeting the Diebold corporation.

    "Hacking Democracy" uncovers incendiary evidence from the trash cans of Texas to the ballot boxes of Ohio, exposing secrecy, votes in the trash, hackable software and election officials rigging the presidential recount.

    Ultimately proving our votes can be stolen without a trace "Hacking Democracy" culminates in the famous 'Hursti Hack'; a duel between the Diebold voting machines and a computer hacker from Finland - with America's democracy at stake.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Great to see Hillary take a face plant in Iowa, she is down, but far from out. She has proven recently that she is not a good campaigner, but she has a strong machine behind her and she is as tough as nails (putting up with Bill screwing around on her for 30 years can only have toughened her up even more).

    Obama is an amazing guy, very charismatic and honest and decent as far as I know, but he just doesn't anything in the way of experience to prepare him for the worst, most brutal job in the world. I am no fan of Hillary, but I would prefer her to Obama, she is a nasty bitch, which is not a bad thing in government (i.e. Helen Clark) and definitely not a bad thing in foreign policy.

    Obama is as naive as he is inexperienced; he would most likely be the next Jimmy Carter. Nice guy, means well but an utter failure as a President. Putin, Armadinijad (sp?) etc. would just laugh at a President Obama. They wouldn't laugh at a President Hillary.

    Huckabee, what a joke. I don't see him going the distance, and he would get wiped out in Nov, if he got that far.

    Dems definitely with a nose ahead going into the general, but they have gifted the Repubs with the tax issue to use against them, and the hip pocket is the most sensitive nerve. Reid and Pelosi have been as bad as I predicted when they won in 2006 and will help the Repubs.

    Hillary is definitely beatable as she has shown herself to be lousy on the campaign trail, and Bill is a hindrance as much as he is a help to her. Hillary is the only thing that could bring together and motivate Repubs this year, as they are still pissed off with overspending, the amnesty bill etc. and not excited about any of their candidates.

    Edwards has no show in the primary, but Obama could certainly win both the primary and the general.

    A fascinating election. There is a lot to criticize about US politics, but you can't say that it is dull. And of course the outcome matters a whole lot.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Obama is as naive as he is inexperienced; he would most likely be the next Jimmy Carter. Nice guy, means well but an utter failure as a President.

    I think you are over stating this point but there ibis some truth in this - compared to Hillary Obama he will be a bit of a novice at first when it comes to foreign policy. 8 years watching Bill deal with the world has to count for something.

    But I think that just means a rather steeper learning curve for Obama and if he is what his charisma suggests then that should not be a problem.

    Also, the foreign policy teams of both Hillary and Obama are full of people who worked for Bill Clinton so both candidates will have a very sound base in this area.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

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