Click HERE to take the survey. I'll publish the results later in the week.
UPDATE: Toby Harnden explains how Obama has overtaken Hillary HERE.
political commentator * author * publisher * bookseller * radio presenter * blogger * Conservative candidate * former lobbyist * Jack Russell owner * West Ham United fanatic * Email iain AT iaindale DOT com
Iain, As Ken Clarke said on Question Time a couple of weeks ago when talking to James Rubin - if he were in the USA he would consider himself a Democrat.
The modern Conservative Party have far more in common with the Democrats than Labour do.
Barack Obama is doing really well and it would be foolish to write him off. Obama is the US version of David Cameron. The world would be a much better place with Obama in the Whitehouse.
Barack Obama is the bright light for the future. The Republicans have had their sorry day - they will never win the election.
It's Hillary or Obama. Both would be good news - but Obama really is an amazing person.
I'd like to see Rudy win the nomination, aside from McCain he has the best shot on the GOP side. I can't see it happening though sadly. He's in decline.
I misread question four as "Would it make any difference to your vote if the candidate was a moron?"
What? No Libertarian Party option? OUTRAGEOUS!
Romney looks like the best potential President among the candidates. Republicans don't win two terms as governor of Massachusetts without being very good at their job. Only Guliani has had a similar record of success in an executive position.
Two of the three main Democratic candidate are economic protectionists who could wreck the global economy if they win power. So reluctantly Hillary Clinton looks like the best Democrat.
RON PAUL 2008!
Good idea, Iain! In my view conservatives, libertarians and classical liberals in Europe and all over the world should hope for a GOP victory:
- Republicans favour free trade, while Democrats are rather protectionist.
- Republicans support school choice via school vouchers, while Democrats adhere to the status quo of highly unionised government-run comprehensive schools with strict catchment areas.
- Republicans prefer strict constructionist judges who interpret the constitution faithful to the framers' intent and to the notion of divine preexisting rights inherent to each individual, protected by a limited government. Democrats tend to nominate activist judges with a political agenda who reinterprete the constitution and legislate from the bench, weakening state rights (Roe versus Wade!), misinterpreting the separation of state and religion in the Establishment Clause, and undermining individual rights, such as the Second Amendment.
- Republicans favour free-market solutions to make private health insurance more affordable for low-income families via deregulation, private health savings accounts, medical liability reform, HMO portability reform and a US-wide health market instead of 50 separate markets. Many Democrats however prefer central planning and a state monopoly like in Britain or Canada that would stifle innovation, reduce consumer choice, and misallocate scarce resources, just like our NHS.
- Republicans want to replace Social Security, the government-run pay-as-you-go retirement system, by more sustainable private pensions savings accounts thereby enhancing what they call the ownership society. Democrats however adhere to the unsatisfactory status quo which goes back to Roosevelt's New Deal.
- Republicans want to overhaul the US litigation system, the most expensive in the western world, by limiting punitive and non-economic damages, and reforming the class action system as well as the joint and several liability rule. Democrats oppose tort reform as they receive substantial donations from wealthy trial lawyers.
As a libertarian, I very much like Ron Paul whose candidacy is inspiring a new generation of libertarian Republicans. Mike Huckabee is witty, charming, eloquent. He excelled in all GOP debated I watched. Though Paul and Huckabee have quite different ideological roots, they both champion the Constitution and believe in preexisting individual rights: the right to property, free contract, free choice; the right to peacefully cooperate at the marketplace. They both want to abolish the IRS, income tax, inheritance tax, capital gains tax, and they both believe in the Second Amendment and in a Life Amendment to overcome Roe versus Wade. Paul and Huckabee could unite Libertarian Right and Religious Right in a Big Tent coalition.
I also like Mitt Romney, the only GOP candidate with considerable business experience as Bain & Company CEO and Cain Capital founder; Romney did well in Utah, got elected in a heavily Democratic state (as did Huckabee, of course) as 4th GOP Massachusetts governor in a row, he turned a deficit into a surplus and introduced health insurance for all by implementing free market reforms and deregulation to reduce costs. I did not like Romney’s performance in the YouTube/CNN debate though, where he espoused unacceptable views on issues such as torture or in-state college tuitions for highly talented students who just happen to be children of illegal immigrants. Nevertheless, he would be a good candidate - as would Giuliani, who has a superb record in New York City. So the GOP can be glad to choose from a broad spectrum of brilliant candidates, and there is a realistic chance of winning next year.
Ken Clarke's a Tory?
Paul for 2008 btw.
I'm hoping Hillary will win, we know what we will get with her. It's unfortunate about Obama, he is like David Cameron, trying to sell a vision without any substance, and frankly, looking for the future can we cope with TWO spin doctor type leaders?
The republicans have no decent candidates at all, perhaps Romney.
I know Ron Paul is a figure of hate amongst the neo-cons in the Republican party, and is widely charicatured as the 'internet geek choice du jour', but have a look at the amount his campaign has just raised today. If the GOP ignore the groundswell of people behind his libertarian worldview, then I think they deserve all they are going to get. Oh, and where is the Libertarian/small government wing of the Conservative party these days?
With a bit of luck John McCain will manage to sneak in on the republican side.
A man of principal.
Otherwise I cant see any of there other candidates taking the tough decisions there.
He's head and shoulder's better than the pack and they all know it.
First the DEMOCRATIC field:
HILARY CLINTON has had a VERY tough month, due partly to incompentent attacks against Obama, but mostly to collapse of her "inevitablity" strategy. Of course its way to early to write her off, thanks to to her toughness, bankroll AND most especially her hubby. BUT Hilary MUST come in 1st in either Iowa or New Hamsphire to remain in the game. Today's endorsement by Des Moines Register is very good news for her, though no guarantee of success (look up the history yourselves!)
BARACK OBAMA survived his own doldrums precisely because he is just the kind of breath of fresh air the American people are longing for, after 15 years of Bush v Clinton. AND the Oprah endorsement tour (difficult for Brits to appreciate her impact) came at just the right time to give him a boost, esp with non-college educated women (key to IA & NH) and African Americans (key to South Carolina, Florida, etc). IF he places in both IA & NH and wins one or the other, then he is almost sure to win South Carolina, because he will have demonstated to Blacks that he actually does have sufficient support among Whites to be a viable nomineee.
JOHN EDWARDS has put all his cards on Iowa, and will live or die based upon the result. MUST come in 1st or 2nd there to remain even marginally viable. Has potential to achieve this thanks to his strong field effort in the Hawkeye State; we'll see just how strong on Jan 3. My guess is not strong enough, mainly due to fact that his populism is not distinctive enough compared to the rest of the field.
2nd Tier Dems:
JOE BIDEN is running for Secretary of State.
BILL RICHARDSON is running for Vice President.
CHRIS DODD is running for ???
MIKE GRAVEL is ????
DENNIS KUCINICH must be really pissed off at Ron Paul, who has stolen almost all his thunder even with lefties
With respect to the IOWA CAUCUSES, keep in mind this is NOT an election, but rather a series of meetings. So good organization is paramount. One wrinkle: small turnout in rural townships can trump big turnout in big (for Iowa) cities: precisely the reason Dick Gephardt beat Paul Simon back in 1988.
Also, in IA caucuses, within each precinct candidate MUST garner 15% of attendees to elect ANY delegates. IF they don't make this threshold, then supporter can either go home OR choose to back another candidate. FEARLESS PREDICTION: 2nd-place support will tend to swell the ranks of Obama & Edwards.
Now for the REPUBLICAN field:
MIKE HUCKABEE has enjoyed a metoric rise, but whether or not he still has the "Big Mo" is an open question; interestingly, the GOP pundits seem to think not. In past week made serious gaffes (cluesless about Iran nuke report; the "Devil = Jesus's brother" smear against Romney). MUST place in Iowa or he is toast, and thanks to near total lack of organization is absolutely dependent on religious right (esp. pro-lifers) to achieve this. Best thing going for him: he's the most personable GOPer AND clearly an outsider in a year when voters are in a (guardedly) insurgent mood.
RUDY GUILIANI is starting to look a bit like the Ed Muskie of 2008; the frontrunner with feet of clay. His only real appeal his 911 mantra, and that is wearig thin (though of course Bin Ladin & Co can still do their usual bit to help out the NeoCons). Plus Rudy is precisely the kind of New Yorker that people west of the Hudson River love to hate. Not to mention that the New York Times will keep on pounding his past sins up his you-know-what. Also note that RG has bailed out of Iowa (after disasterous visits where he appeared to be surprised that farming is such a big deal!) and is depending on Huck to hold the fort against Mitt. Finally, Rudy's bet the farm on winning in the big states . . . so fact that he's dropped to THIRD in latest Florida poll is NOT good news for him. And do NOT discount the problems caused by his intersting family situation, esp. fact that his own kids appear to hate his guts (publically, not just privately the way that W clearly despises #42).
MITT ROMNEY appears increasingly well-positioned. His speech on his Mormon faith did him some good (as has the Huckabee smear). Virtually assured of at least 2nd in Iowa (thanks to organizational clout) and should do well in New Hampshire. BTW, reason he got elected twice as Gov of Mass had (at least) as much to do with hubris of state Democratic officialdom as with his own qualities. That said, Mitt DOES have the best resume in the race (Dem or Rep) and has handled his flip-flopping very pretty well (in contrast to Rudy).
JOHN McCAIN is the Lazarus of the campaign, or better yet the Timex; as in his glory days at the Hanoi Hilton, can still take a licking and keep on ticking! Too early to write him off (he lives or dies by New Hampshire) but hard to see how a guy so despised by the GOP establishment can ever be nominated.
2nd Tier GOPers:
FRED THOMPSON is the biggest dud since Real Coke
DUNCAN HUNTER is using race as high-profile exit from Congress, where he clearly doesn't relish prospect of at least 2 more years in the minority.
TOM TANCREDO is only running to highlight his Know Nothing stand on immigration; interesting how little publicity he's garnered for his cause.
RON PAUL is indeed the "flavor of the season" with strong appeal to Libertarians both right and (because of his anti-war stance) left. BTW, notion that RP is a "figure of hate" with NeoCons or anyone for that matter is just not true (unless your talking about wacked-out bloggers). Will be interesting to see just how many delegates Ron Paul can win; but the notion that he's got a shot for the nomination is ludicrous on its face.
Speaking of ludicrous, Iain, how come you're dissing ALAN KEYES???
Iain, Why don't you list peoples names in alphabetical order when you do these polls?
I wonder if you put your least favourite people at the bottom of your lists?
Dear Jaz - A winning ticket would be Obama and Clinton, together, P & VP, no particular order. One or the other in the Whitehouse would satisy me - but my heart is with Obama. He is brilliant.
To say that David Cameron lacks substance is an empty cliche.
... DC rocks.
This feels like deja vu - it is David Davis and David Cameron all over again.
God help us (Americans) if either Obama or Hillary get in. They both hate what America stands for, have no solutions for any of our problems (except to raise taxes sky-high on the middle-class) and have no experience whatsoever leading a U.S. city, let alone a state or a COUNTRY.
God, I don't even live in that country and I'm already thoroughly sick of that stupid election.
The latest is that Huckabee's son has a bit of a Dahmer-esque history, and Huckabee has interfered on his behalf in ways that are not 100% kosher.
Carrying a concealed weapon onto a plane:
torturing a pet to death:
PS(did I already say thank-you for fixing the comments?)
Ron Paul raised over $6m last night - no actually his supporters put together a scheme to raise money and did it, breaking the fund-raising record they set in November. When the votes are counted, the opinions of the media pundits don't mean a lot compared with the enthusiasm of millions of individuals going out to vote. My money is on Ron Paul to upset the establisment big-time.
Mike Huckabee is witty, charming, eloquent...
"There are no primates in my family tree."
Giuliani won't win because he is from metropolitan New York. Whatever his politics, native New Yorkers living in New York are just perceived as different from the rest of America, by both sides. He is not perceived as New Englander, and would probably struggle in upstate NY.
Ron Paul raised $6 million in 24 hours yesterday. Freedom and liberty are waking up. The Welfare-Warfare hegemony represented by the rest of the Tweedledum Tweedledee candidates can and must be defeated.
Who will run in 2012, because I can't see anyone in this field being a two term president
Ron for the Reps, Richardson for the Dems. Heart / betting reasons respectively.
The Clinton crime family must never again be allowed in the White House and I say that regardless of whatever party Hillary professes to support today.
It'll be Obama vs Romney, but remember it's rare for a Senator to be elected President as there's usually too much baggage and a paper trail tho' in Obama's case it's limited as he's only a first term Senator who hasn't done much.
It's a pity Brad Pitt has no political ambitions.
If he did, he could be the running-mate for Mike Gravel. The dream team.
The RON PAUL for President 2008 campaign is an amazing phenomenon, and was EVEN before RP shattered the internet fundraising record.
BUT so was the HOWARD DEAN for President 2004 campaign.
And HD had way more than the 7% support garnered by RP in the latest Iowa polling.
Biggest differences between Paul & Dean:
--Dean was a viable candidate for the nomination BEFORE he crashed & burned; Paul is NOT.
--Dean was REALLY running to be the next President; Ron Paul is running to show the flag for libertarian conservatism (or conservative libertarianism if you prefer).
--Dean believed his own (and Joe Trippi's) hype UNTIL "the Howl heard 'round the world"; Ron Paul (as contrasted with his zealots) has his eyes on the stars BUT his feet on the ground.
--Dean garnered the lion's share of his support from Democrats; whereas a significant portion of Paul's backing comes from Democrats and Independents who (except for some of the zealots) are MUCH less likely to actually attend a GOP precinct caucus (though on the other hand, zealots are more likely to turn out on a cold night in Davenport, Decorah or Dubuque).
--Dean had to settle for consolation prize as chair of DNC; Paul will indeed be nominated and elected . . . to another term in the US House.
BULLETIN - US Senator Joe Lieberman (Ind-CN) has just announced his endorsement of JOHN McCAIN for President. Minimal impact on Iowa (where JMcC is tied with Ron Paul at 7%) BUT should help McCain in New Hampshire.
Canvas - Obama is am amazingly vain and greedy person. To be running for president with all the worldly experience of two years as a freshman senator is just too absurd.
He also claims to be "black". Gosh, I wonder what voting group he is after ...? But he's 50% white. BTW, middle class and rich black people won't vote for him.
Also, his background is much too exciting.
I have a Republican soul and I could go for Romney. McCain would be my first choice.
Sea Shanty Irish - Interesting analysis. Thank you. I'd be interested in your personal opinion of Obama, who I loathe. I don't see professional-class black people, or rich black people for voting for such an inexperienced, overly-aspirational individual.
The Guiliana-Ed Muskie comparison - right on the button! Walter Mondale, Mr Nowhere, would be a good comparison, too.
Lisa - Agree, but if it has to be a Dem, I am hoping for Hillary. At least she has some experience as does her husband. Also, I cannot see how she can lose with Bill C shilling for her.
I used to think Hillary was the American politician I hated most, but then along came freshman senator Obama, posing as "black".
Why doesn't he pose as "white", as he is 50% white?
To my neighbor RAINCOASTER up in beautiful BC:
You think that YOU Canucks are tired of the endless presidential campaign? Imagine how us Amuricans feel!
As for the antics of Huckabee's brood, please note that Americans are quite used to stupid, criminal and/or downright vicious presidential relatives. Remember the sons of FDR? Don Nixon? "Billy Beer"? Not to mention faux pas of W's daughters?
Except as tabloid fodder, zero impact of misdeeds by kinfolk UNLESS the candidate is directly involved.
If Mrs Clinton wins the Dem nomination then the GOP have the election in the bag.
From a U.S. conservative: Gov. Huckabee's recent rise comes from the (totally warranted) conservative dissatisfaction with the other top-tier candidates. But reservations are climbing as people learn more about his politics--tax-and-spend big-government expansionism, in-state tuition for illegal aliens, pardons and paroles for violent felons. Now it's being reported that he lied about having a theology degree. I predict he'll be coming down to earth pretty soon. Thanks to all U.K. conservatives who are paying attention to our election. It's nice to know we have some support from across the pond.
I just saw this post...Iain, As Ken Clarke said on Question Time a couple of weeks ago when talking to James Rubin - if he were in the USA he would consider himself a Democrat.
That tells you everything you might want to know about Ken Clarke doesn't it? Jeremy Cardhouse lives!
At least if Hilary plays with the staff there will be no stained dresses.
My money is Romney, to win in 2008. He's organised, he's got money, and his track record as governor in a normally Democrat state speaks for itself.
If a Republican is going to win he's going to to have to find an answer to the systematic voter fraud that the Democrats have set up in relation to the illegal immigrants.
It's not unlike the Labour Party postal vote scam really, But even worse.
Ron Paul Ron Paul Ron Paul. All the rest are either bad, mad or damned right evil.
If that lunatic wife of lunatic lying two faced BBC pin up boy Bill Clinton gets anywhere near it, I think I will have a heart attack.
If it has to be a Democrat, Obama might at least turn out to be sane.
I tried to read that womens book.
I have never read such utter insanity since..............sorry In fact I have never read such insanity ever in my entire life.
If she were not so rich and well connected she would be weaving baskets for a pass time.
Sea Shanty Irish: W clearly despises #42
I find that unlikely, given W's involvement with his father's campaign in 1988. Although... I seem to remember him being key to the selection of Dan Quayle as running mate, so maybe you're right.
Sea Shanty Irish: BTW, reason [Romeny] got elected twice as Gov of Mass had (at least) as much to do with hubris of state Democratic officialdom as with his own qualities.
He was only elected once, and served one term. He did run for Senator a few years before that, losing convincingly to Ted Kennedy.
to GREGG - you are right, I was wrong re: Gov Mitt & stand corrected, see bellow.
to VERITY - thank you for your appreciative critique BUT think you are off-base re: BARACK OBAMA on several counts:
Historically in the USA, having ANY African ancestory ancestory menat that a person was most definitely Black UNLESS so light-complected as to be able (and want) to "pass for White".
Rest assured, Bull Connor or David Duke would have ZERO doubt but that Obama is Black (though they would use a word starting with N) And back in Alambama 1863-1963 he'd have ridden in the back of the bus . . . . or risked getting lynched as being way too "aspirational".
Re: Obama's support among upwardly-mobile Blacks, you are 180 degrees off here, in that his greatest support from African Americans comes from the beter-educated, higher-income middle class. Core of his Black opposition is old civil rights establishment which resents the "Young Turk" at least as much as you do, Verity.
As for working & lower middle-class Blacks, they LOVE Bill and like Hilary. BUT if Obama actually shows he can win votes from White people in places like Iowa & New Hampshire . . .
re: his lack of experience, note that FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT was dismissed as a lightweight by the puntocracy AND the Democratic establishment right up to the day he was first inaguarated. FDR only served 4 years as Gov of NY and before that in the NY State Senate.
Similar sitation with JOHN F. KENNEDY his record in the US Senate was hardly earthshattering. Most politcos & pundits wrote him off as a pretty boy overpromotted thanks to his daddy's ill-gotten gains.
As for Obama's own burning ambition, this is not noticably more than any other candidate. ONE difference: the huge number of eager Dems who URGED him to run. In part because he is TRULY inspirational; I at the 2004 Dem convention when he made that speech, and the way he lighted up that jaded yet still in their hearts still idealistic crowd was absolutely amazing. Not quite Wm Jennings Bryans "Cross of Gold" in 1896 or FDR's acceptance speech to the 1932 convention, but not far off.
re: BILL CLINTON, he's definitely Hilary's ace in the hole. BUT he's not a guaranteed trump card. Because Bill naturally likes to talk about HIMSELF as much as he talks about Hilary, and more about the PAST than the future. Now Democrats LIKED that past (more than the present, anyway) BUT they are focused upon the FUTURE . . . which is what Obama is all about.
re: RUDY GIULIANI way too early to write him off. He's too tough, articulate and bankrolled. Also, no about of debunking (even by FDNYers) will EVER take away his shining moment as the Fighting Mayor of New York
to RUSH-IS-RIGHT - you are way off-base re: Dems & illegal immigrants stuffing the ballot boxes. Just ask "B-1 Bob" Dornan, former GOP congressman from California, who lost a close race in the late 1990s and claimed it was due to just what you allege. Now at that time the GOP controlled the US House, and could have conducted its own recount (as occurred in Indian 8th Dist in 1986) and overturned the result. EXCEPT they looked into it, and decided Dornan was full of it. Course they didn't issue a press release to that affect, because they still want to beat the "voter integrity" drum to rally the faithful AND help depress Democratic turnout. OF course, most GOPers are sincere when they beat that drum . . . and EVERY eligble voter has the inalienable right to have her or his vote counted fairly WITHOUT being diluted by illegitimate votes OR disenfranchised by vote suppression.
to GREGG - I stand corrected, you are right about Romney being one-term Gov, thanks for catching that error. How could I forget the unforgettable (?) Gov. (and later Amb. to Canada) Paul Cellucci???
BUT my basic point remains: that the string of GOP govs from William Weld (who was considerably more liberal than the 1992 Democratic nominee) thru Mitt Romney was the result of the arrogance & incompetence of the State House Dem establishment. Note: current Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick (1st Black gov of Mass) was elected to succeed Mitt by a landslide partly in large measure because he is NOT a State House Dem.
Fact that Mitt lost to Ted Kennedy for US Senate NOT a demerit; EMK is Senator-for-Life.
FYI - see link for great piece by CARL LEUBSDORF the DC colunmist for the Dallas Morning News
Re: the graphic. You do know that Vilsack dropped out 10 months ago? (Is now supporting Clinton.)
OK, here is what Ron Paul is reported as saying today by LGF:
"In a rare campaign appearance in Iowa, Congressman Ron Paul said going to war with Iraq was ‘one of the worst things’ the country has done under the rule of President George W. Bush.
"We were told it had something to do with 9/11. We were told the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction, that they were a threat to us, and that our national security was threatened. And none of these were true," the 10-term Texas Congressman continued.
The Republican also reminded the audience that while the White House has been favoring hostile action since World War II, America has not even managed to win a single war.
What a patriot, eh? Well, he's just made enemy of every military family in the United States,and those folks are Republican voters.
Why is the (ridiculously useless on Newsnight just now) Clegg advertising for members at the bottom of this post?
Whatever would the Maidstone Association say?
Sea Shanty - Thanks for your reading, but I still think you're off base about Obama. Of course, I'm not there, and you may well be right that middle class and rich black people will support him. I can see the reasoning.
Yet this is a dangerous man. Way, way over-ambitious in an unrealistic sort of way. The man has zero experience and he thinks that others will make him the most important person in the world. I sincerely hope you are wrong. He hasn't even been a one-term governor. He's a fresher senator, for God's sake! He's done nothing!
He's not even a black (50% white) American in the traditional sense. His family weren't taken by Arab traders as slaves; he isn't involved in the unique strand of American history that is the black slave civilisation. His family had nothing to do with developing the underground railroad in the late 19th Century and preparing for the day black people would be free citizens. His family history is not woven into the society of what black slaves achieved through their own efforts, which is extraordinary.
I don't like the guy and he makes my hackles rise.
(At least FDR had served four years as the Governor of a populous and difficult state. John Kennedy, of course, had no background except his Daddy's ambition. I'm glad the toxic stream of the Kennedys is almost out of American politics. Do you realise that more people died in Ted Kennedy's car than died in Three Mile Island? I wonder why Jane Fonda never made a movie about Teddy Kennedy's car.)
I am sorry to hear that professional class and rich black voters may go for Obama because they are the smart ones and should be able to spot a phony. And suspect they can.
This is a dangerous invidual. Much more toxic than Keith Ellison, although they're in the same stream.
Our one hope, the boy from Hope. Unlike you, I think he has the ability to stay focussed and these two are a tight team. Hillary for the Dems.
If Obama, by some bizarre quirk, got it, the Dems have lost. He has CHANCER written all over his face. Let's hope he gets the nomination and a Rep sails in.
Canvas writes above: "Obama is the US version of David Cameron." That is one of the most delusional things I have ever read on the internet. And that's going it some.
Verity - am I deluded or are you in denial?
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