Monday 20 Aug 2018 | 10:45 | SYDNEY
Monday 20 Aug 2018 | 10:45 | SYDNEY

Live from DC


Michael Fullilove


6 March 2008 15:06

This is my first American Interpreter post from Washington, DC, where I’ve just taken up a position as the Lowy Visiting Fellow at The Brookings Institution. My family and I arrived at Dulles Airport last weekend in one piece – or rather, with eight pieces of check-in and indeterminate pieces of carry-on.

We’ve flown into the middle of the most fascinating fight since, I don’t know, Cain vs Abel in ‘00. Yesterday, Sam Roggeveen speculated that if the results out of Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont were close, Senator Hillary Clinton ‘may yet surprise us and go quietly’. Sam obviously has a more generous view of human nature than I do. In my experience, politicians rarely depart the stage voluntarily (good morning, Mr Howard!) and they never do it quietly. Furthermore, Hillary is no mere politician, she’s a Clinton; and Bill’s impeachment fight showed how effectively the Clintons can kick and punch and scratch to hold their ground.

As it happened, Senator Clinton defied expectations last night and won three of the four Super Tuesday II primaries, including the two biggies, Texas and Ohio. She’s now likely to stay in this campaign until, as her husband once said in the snows of New Hampshire, ‘the last dog dies’. Sure, the delegate maths look very difficult for her, but she’s won almost as many votes and delegates as her younger and more gifted (though less experienced) rival, Senator Barack Obama. Besides, you never know your luck in a big city. Hillary Clinton has every reason to stick around and no reason to bow out.

The Obama-Clinton brawl will be completely absorbing, yet for me the most striking vision on American TV last evening was that of Senator John McCain – long-term maverick and thorn in the side of the GOP establishment – accepting the Republican nomination for President of the United States. McCain gave an impressive speech, and he will be a formidable opponent for the Democratic nominee.