Well, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who closely allied himself with the Bush Administration, "suffered a comprehensive defeat." Not just a defeat but a comprehensive one. (sigh here and allow hope to wash over you).
I spent a day with some Aussies a week ago, and we talked of their upcoming election. And of the differences between here and there. I made comment that if Hillary got the nomination I didn't know what I was going to do, I may not vote and I admitted how hard not voting at all would be for me. I was asked if I would "abstain." You see in Australia, by law, you MUST vote. Can you imagine? And so if you don't like any of the candidates you still go and fill out a ballot to abstain. I know this is true in Brazil too thought the penalty there for not voting is nominal.
I also learned that the candidates were flurrying videos to YouTube to directly reach voters. That method got a lot of regular news coverage and then secondarily coverage of the issues that the candidates released videos on. It struck me that here the candidates are not using YouTube nearly enough.
If you know of other voting and political practices in other countries, do share in the comment section below. Americans don't hear enough of how the rest of the world organizes their civic and political affairs.
Speaking of YouTube - the Republican CNN/YouTube debate is finally happening this Wednesday the 28th.
Why so long after the Democrats? Well, originally the Republican YouTube debate was scheduled for September 17th, but candidates kept pulling out. There was much harrumphing that the Republicans were scared to face an a real audience with real questions. I think there's some truth to that, so I expect the debate to be hot and I plan to tune in.
Romney objected to the snowman who asked a question. And the snow man responded:
And Grover Norquist submitted a question, as you can guess, about limiting any tax increases. If you don't know who Grover Norquist is - well, he is another porcine Republican (Rove being the other) who is an under-the-radar organizer of Republicans who held weekly meetings every Thursday to coordinate political attacks.
Officially, he is president of Americans for Tax Reform. He believes that you starve the beast (the federal government) and then it'll be smaller or collapse. He doesn't seem to care that it would not be shrinkage but outsourcing, with a higher bill to taxpayers, that would occur and outsourcing to incompetent cronies at that.
He infamously remarked just two days after the Kerry defeat in 2004 (I was still sobbing) that Democrats just needed to get accustom to their neutering and Washington would return to civility. It was just a paragraph in the Reliable Source (it's the second bullet under "Squibs), but boy oh boy did it rile folks.
And here's Norquist's question (it's sure to make the cut) Don't you think he sort of looks like a pig?: