Thursday, February 07, 2008

Edwards withdrawl - the untold story

I have only recently become aware of who it is that John Edwards favours as the democratic nominee.

Telling isn't it...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hillary vs Who? and What?

My ha'penny on Super Duper Tuesday.

Hillary is going to be the nominee for the Democrats. There I've said it. I know loads of people think that Obama has loads of momentum after the last few weeks and that he is well placed now but the fact remains he has fallen short and he need really big wins in really big states, exactly the type of place he didn't get close to winning last night. It seems that where the Dems are weakest he has been able to gee up the base more. States that have been so red that declaring yourself a Democrat is accompanied by a coming out party and the number of a sponsor.

Obama has to win a clean sweep of the Chesapeake Primaries (Maryland, D.C. and Virginia) next week or else Clinton will simply moving further ahead of him. By March 4th (the old Super Tuesday) Obama would be requiring landslides in the big states after in order to draw level, and I can't see that happening. Some might say that the surge came too late but it might also be that it simply made him viable.

I expect both camps to play nice over the next few weeks as the idea of having a ticket which has Obama on as Veep sinks in, perhaps even with the hint being dropped that he might get to run in 4 years time. If he can bring out the same youth vote, then it could have a big impact in the Congressional races too. It hasn't been done quite this way before but a person on the ticket who plays up their advisory role and ability to assist in agenda setting has happened before and it was Hillary herself who talked up her role with Bill. One of the benefits to being VP for Obama is that he does haven't to say or decide anything allowing him to sidestep many contentious issue that he would have to take a side on in the Senate, the downside is that he is tied to her performance in office not his own.

So despite the initial impression that the Democrats are going to I think their race is almost settled. As for the incumbent party, oh dear

Republicans -

The talk seems to be that McCain is the presumptive nominee and that it is all over bar the shouting. I actually think they're the party with problems that will right the way run to the convention. and remember they have the shorter run from the convention to election day. Usually a benefit but not if you have a pie fight live on television that gets replayed for the first 3 weeks of the campaign proper.

For the Republicans there is a different problem winner takes all states keeps the game alive in that candidates can dream/project/hope for marginal wins in the states that get them up the delegate numbers. McCain is on 559 which while well ahead of the others individually is only 265/169/16 = 109 ahead of them all together.

The problem for McCain is that while he is the candidate to win over the independents required to secure victory in November, he can't be confident of the south. He wasn't able to break 40% in any of the southern states that have voted yesterday and that means if at least some of the 60% who voted for someone else (include 10% for Thompson in Tennessee) decide to simply stay home then he is in trouble. The Republican don't have a solid southern strategy this time especially if someone runs ads repeating the Republican attacks against him regarding pro-choice and immigration.

The difficulty the republican find themselves in is entirely of their own making since no one told the religious right/moral majority that the Republican party is also a coalition of interests and that while they were a significant part and indeed the single most numerous part of the party in recent years that they were not a majority and had no right

Do not bet against the republicans having a war over the convention as the religious try and create a platform that McCain won't run under. Is it more likely common sense will prevail yes but is it a possibility undoubtedly. If the RR/MM think the election is already lost to the party they may come to the conclusion that the convention and campaign should be about what the party is to become rather than chasing after elected office that is speeding away from them.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Tuesday

I know my record is all over the place at this stage but I'm going to throw these out there just so I can say "I completely got that wrong".

I think Obama should take Georgia and Illinois handily enough and may just swing
oddly enough Utah,
Missouri and

That would leave Hillary with

New York
New Jersey

and the greater number of delegates but not enough to close out the race and there are big states to come like Ohio, Texas, Penn.

Romney may well take California but McCain is going to win too many other states for it to matter, if Huckabee had made this about who gets to be VeeP, he might have swung some more Romney voters in the South.

It's all about character

I find the conniptions that many on the Republican right seem to be having over John McCain being the likely Republican nominee for the Presidency of the United States quite revealing. The president is supposed to be the person that the buck stops with. I would expect the person so charged to be able to understand policy but not that they be the fount of all knowledge when it comes to policy. Instead the Limbaugh's of the world want to know what the nominee thinks about each and every issue in advance and is he/she sound on that issue. Rather than consider the concept that the right choice might be the person who can make a judgment call on a issue that is yet to arise. So McCain failure to be onside regarding immigration has made him a villain to the right.

As Sorkin said via Michael Douglas "I've been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation: Being President of this country is entirely about character."

I would also suggest that if someone from Huckabee's team were to suggest in a manner that gets the message out there without being too defeatist that the race for them is now about who would be the best conservative VeeP to keep McCain in line then he might be able to swing some southern states that appear to be out of reach for him at the moment with the conservative vote too split between Romney and Huckabee. It is entirely possible that if McCain runs away with the primaries that he will do his own thing with regard to VeeP. Remember he is 71 and he will know that the VeeP have to be someone that can do the job as McCain would do it. He could even decide to step outside the usual Senator/Governor from a swing state. That might involve plucking a congressman or even a figure outside current mainstream elected politics. Say Christine Whitman, who would put New Jersey in play.

All about the Budget numbers

As the budget numbers fall apart, the media seems to still be buying the line that everything is on track. See the problem with the budget has always been that anyone can add 2+2 and get 4, it's ensuring that 2 is in fact going to be there that is the problem.

Cowen had 20,000 net jobs for 2008, the Central Bank last week said 16,000

Cowen had growth of 3%, the predictions are now ESRI 2.4% Central Bank agrees with the minster .

House prices which according to those in the market would at worst be stagnant dropped 7% last year and now they're saying a drop of 5% (does that translate to a 12% drop? ) the problem is of course not alone one for first time buyers who paid over the odds in 2005/2006 but those who traded up and took on significantly larger mortgages along with the parents of the first time buyers who either guarantor on the mortgages or perhaps took out loans themselves to provide them with deposits. The problem will be that they may come to be much less willing to spend and if so that directly impacts on the service industry.

All this at the very beginning of the year, how much worse could it all become?

Again we have to wonder how real the numbers coming from the department of finance were back in Spring 2007.

  • GDP will increase by 3 per cent in real terms;
  • 24,000 new jobs will be created with the total number at work increasing by a little over 1 per cent;
  • Inflation will ease and the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices will average 2.4 per cent