Monday, December 31, 2007

A Blog to Understand US Presidential Election 2008

Quite often, foreign authors analyze more in depth on American politics than Americans. Particularly, British and Canadians have an advantage, that is, a background very close to mainstream Americans but slightly outsider. Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, is frequently mentioned on this blog. John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldrige are very well known for their book, “The Right Nation”, which is an analysis on conservatism in American politics. In addition to British opinion leaders mentioned here, Canadians hold high profile positions. Robert MacNeil had co-hosted the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour of PBS for 20 years. Peter Jennings was the sole anchor of ABC World News Tonight until he passed away in 2005. Non-Americans are in better positions to watch America objectively and cool headedly.

In this post, I would like to introduce “Democracy in America”, which is a blog published by the Economist. This blog has made a special category, called “US Election 2008” in November last year. It is quite hard to predict the outcome of 2008 election, because none of the candidates, whether Republican or Democrat, seem to have determinant strength to win this election. Also, issues cover broad ranges of foreign and domestic policies. The Economist’s blog tells such complicated and wide range issues very lucidly. I would recommend this blog to understand basic trends of the forthcoming election rapidly.

While the media tend to focus on things associated with well known candidates, “Democracy in America” talks of grassroots movements, under-noticed candidates, and new style election campaigns. I would like to mention some recent posts.

In the most recent one, “Joe-mentum for Biden?” on December 30, “Democracy in America” explores why Democrat Senator Joseph Biden will drop out from the race. Senator Biden has been a leading figure in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a long time. Neither Hilary Rodham Clinton nor Barack Obama can match his experience. Also, he is smart and aggressive in debate. However, this post points out that Joseph Biden has not raised enough money to attract media attention, because he is not as exciting as top three candidates, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. I think it is a pity that money and easy attention count so much on the election.

In another post, “What Might Define the Next President” on December 13, a comment by Professor Brian Balogh at the University of Virginia is quoted. According to Balogh, presidential candidates today pretend themselves outsiders than those in the past. However there are some contradictions with current candidates’ behavior as shown in the following.

I think she's actually trying to have it both ways. I think part of her message is: I'm an outsider; I'm a woman; we've never had a woman president before. And part of her message is: I'm the ultimate insider, I was there for all the crucial decisions -- at least the decisions that worked out -- in my husband's administration.

This post is linked to remarks by current candidates and presidents in history such as Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, and Franklin Roosevelt. I hope readers will enjoy vistiing these links in this post.

Finally, I would like to mention “The YouTube Debate” on November 29. This post presents a short analysis why Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has emerged so impressively. The post is linked to the Republican debate on a CNN program. It is helpful to understand how YouTube videos place influence on voters’ impression.

“Democracy in America” is very concise, and this will be of much help to see American politics from objective viewpoints. British analysts are in a very good position for this purpose. Particularly, I would recommend this blog for those who are too busy to read lengthy articles in academic journals.