Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 00:53 | SYDNEY
Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 00:53 | SYDNEY

The strangeness of America


Sam Roggeveen


18 December 2007 09:01

My post on The West Wing yesterday mentioned Barack Obama's poll surge but didn't note that Hillary Clinton maintains a twenty point opinion poll lead nationally. That is a formidable advantage and still entitles her to strong favouritism, though it would concern her that, in the early primary states where she and Obama have campaigned most, the polls are about dead even. It suggests that the more voters see of Hillary, the less they like.

The same Washington Post piece cited above also notes the steady rise of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee among Republican nominees. Huckabee made news recently for asking, in a NY Times interview, whether it was in fact that case that Mormons believe Christ and Lucifer are brothers (Mitt Romney, another leading Republican presidential candidate, is a Mormon). But as Atlantic Monthly blogger Ross Douthat pointed out, the same interview was much more important for revealing how poorly prepared Huchabee is on foreign policy issues. Dan Drezner backs this up with a quick dissection of Huckabee's recent Foreign Policy magazine article.

One more thing on Huckabee. His latest campaign commercial hints at just how different American politics and culture are to our own. It's not just the overt religiosity of American politics (that's fairly muted in this commercial), but the sacharine sentimentality. Of course, if it wasn't for the writers strike, American comedians like Jon Stewart would be all over this ad, so it's not that Americans aren't self-aware. But a spot like this would never even make it to air in Australia: