US Presidential Election 2012

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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Eldorion on Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:13 pm

By the time that the party conventions happen (usually in late August or early September) the parties have written platforms that usually match their nominees proposals. However, there's still a great deal of showmanship, as you put it, and in my experience the debates tend to be more about trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator rather than actually discussing politics. Any candidate who appears particularly knowledgeable is generally jumped on by the media for being "too professorial". Because Americans want someone to lead, not to read. Rolling Eyes

OTOH, I don't remember seeing (or even hearing about older elections) that ever had quite this much crazy in them. There have been plenty of candidates I've disagreed with over the years, but not even George W. Bush ever descended into self-parody to the extent we've seen in this election cycle.
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:41 pm

Hopefully you can clarify something about the US system for me Eldo.
In the Uk a political party has a leader. When an election is called you vote for the party and the parties leader is PM. If during the term of the Parliament the party in power changes leader the new one becomes PM, without a further election (because it was the party voted in not the leader- which is one of the reason I am against televised Leadership Debates, it doesn't fit with the UK system).
But it seems in the US system whilst one party will have a President, and when its not an election period, that the party not in power don't have a leader? It seems like a bit of a free for all as too who gets run for the Republicans- wouldn't it be more sensible to have sorted that all out before election season not as part of it? And when a party is out of government, such as Republicans at the moment, who sets the direction and policies of the party?
And can the Democrats for example put up someone to sand against their own President?

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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Tinuviel on Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:27 pm

I stopped caring about who ran the country since this year. Preferably, I'd like Obama to stay in the whitehouse. Sure he hasn't done much, but he hasn't done anything outrageously bad either. Better than the candidate so far... Banghead

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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Eldorion on Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:37 pm

Party power and structure is actually one of the key differences between the UK and the US political systems, so I'm glad you brought this up, Petty. Smile Hopefully my longwinded explanations aren't too stale and boring for you! Officially, the Democrats and Republicans both have national party organizations and technically there are leaders (chairmen). However, the role of parties in the US is very different than in the UK: their primary role is to provide fundraising support and minimal ideological coordination, but they are very decentralized.

More importantly, in US elections, people vote for candidates, not parties. Each party nominates a candidate (more on that in a second) for each office, such as President, but individuals vote for whichever candidate they like, regardless of which party (if either) they're a registered member of. It used to be that parties were stronger and the backroom elites would pick the nominees, but in the 20th century that changed. In modern times, the ordinary voters who are registered members of a party pick that party's nominees by voting in a special election several months before the main election.

That's what's going on right now: the primary election. Various Republican politicians who fancy being the President are all declaring candidacy and trying to convince specifically Republican voters that they are the best choice to represent the party. Over the course of several months, starting in January, Republicans in each of the 50 states will vote in primaries and eventually at the party convention the candidate who won the most primaries (weighted for state population) will become the Republican nominee. Only then will the two party's nominees compete directly against each other for the votes of the entire country.

Also, in the US, the Presidency and Congress are quite separate. Whereas in the UK the PM is also a MP, the President is (in theory, anyway) kept separate from Congress, although they do have to cooperate when it comes to lawmaking. The parties within Congress have their own hierarchies and leaders that are semi-separate from the national party organizations. However, when a party has the Presidency, the President is generally seen as the de facto leader of that party, although they don't hold an official title that says that. It is possible to challenge a President in their own primary, but that is rare and the incumbent President usually wins the primary (though it's interesting to note that incumbent Presidents who face primary challengers usually lose the general election, though cause and effect for that process is unclear).

Technically, the current leader of the Republican National Committee is Reince Priebus. If you haven't heard of him, don't worry; I had to use Google to find out his name and he doesn't really matter. The parties do not exert a lot of influence over candidates; rather, it is prominent candidates and elected office-holders who (to a large extent) determine the direction and ideological makeup of the party. The purpose of the primary election is to select the strongest representative of your party to move forward to the general election. The struggle of the Republican party is finding someone who can stand up to public and media scrutiny, which all of the recent front-runners have failed to do.
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Eldorion on Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:42 pm

On the matter of parties not holding the Presidency: sometimes there are prominent or important members of Congress who can step forward to lead a party or at least provide some sort of guidance even when they're out of the White House. Certainly such people give the media a focus, and many of them will later run for President. However, the current Congressional GOP leaders are anything but charismatic and appear to lack Presidential ambitions, which contributes to the urgency of finding a nominee/leader.
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:45 pm

Who are these registered voters? And how does it work. If I was a US citizen could I join the Republican Party and the Democracts and thereby get a vote in any nominations for either party for example?

The US system, at least to UK eyes, seems very unfocused. Its no suprise its so hard for anyone to get anything actually done in the US.
If you are a US politician where's th epower? Are you better off being a career Congresmen for example than being in the White HOuse?

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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Eldorion on Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:53 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Who are these registered voters? And how does it work. If I was a US citizen could I join the Republican Party and the Democracts and thereby get a vote in any nominations for either party for example?

"Registered voter" is just that: a citizen who is registered to vote. When you register you can pick a party, and in most states that determines which primary you can vote in. For example, in Maryland, if you're a registered Democrat you can only vote in the Democratic primary elections, and Republicans can only vote in Republican primary elections (not to mention the general election). Some states do it differently, but I think most of them follow basically the same system. The important thing: the people who choose nominees are ordinary citizens with no special political knowledge or experience.

(On a side-note, the Democrats have had some bad experiences with this system, so they instituted a practice known as "super-delegates" that allows a small number of career politicians to contribute towards picking the nominee. However, most of the decision is still based on the results of primary elections. Republican nominees are picked solely through primary elections.)

The US system, at least to UK eyes, seems very unfocused. Its no suprise its so hard for anyone to get anything actually done in the US.
If you are a US politician where's th epower? Are you better off being a career Congresmen for example than being in the White HOuse?

There's certainly a lot of decentralization in US politics, and because the creators of the US Constitution liked that there are still a lot of people who advocate decentralization. However, over the past 200 years power has been increasingly concentrated in the hands of the President to an extent that would horrify the founders of the US, most of whom distrusted strong executive leaders. As a career Congressperson one could influence the legislative process (much of the Congressional hierarchy is based on seniority, though it also depends on how well you get along with the elites in your party's Congressional delegation and if your party is in the majority).

The President, however, also plays a role in the legislative process (another late development to US politics) and has public and media attention and can create laws on certain matters through Executive Orders. So if you're looking for power, President is the way to go. Wink That said, Congress does still have a number of responsibilities specifically delegated to it (especially budget powers) which necessitates the President working with them and vice versa. This was as the founders intended: the separation of powers. However, when the President and Congress don't get along and compete with each other, you get huge political messes like the US had with the debt ceiling earlier this year.
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:58 pm

But in reality does it not all end up as party games being played? If the Congress has a strong Republican element its surely going to do anything it can to make a Democractic President look bad and weak (and vice versa of course). Its hard to imagine an opposing party would want t help a President of the opposite stripe. Does this not in fact discourage acting in the best intrests of the nation in favour of scoring political points?

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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Eldorion on Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:02 pm

That does happen, and in fact has happened several times in the past year or two. As I understand it, in theory, the President and Congress (and Congresspeople of different parties) are supposed to work together because if they don't the voters will kick them out for not getting their job done. Sometimes the system works and stuff gets done. However, the US has become much more polarized in the past few years than it had been in quite some time, so at this point refusing to cooperate can actually gain one popularity with certain voters. It's certainly inefficient at the best of times, and at times like this I agree that it can be detrimental to the entire nation.
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Lorient Avandi on Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:07 am

Well my vote, if I could vote, would go to Romney. He definitely seems like the one candidate who actually knows what he's doing. I belive that he could greatly help in turning the economy around. He knows Wall Street, how it works, and realizes we need it to make the county run well. All this "occupy wall street" stuff is absolute garbage. Obama isn't terrible, but he isn't great. I would love to see Romney win.
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Eldorion on Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:09 am

Funnily enough, my opinion about Obama is actually somewhat similar to yours, Lorient, though I suspect for different reasons. Razz And Romney certainly strikes me as one of the most reasonable and palatable Republican candidates. (I do like Huntsman but he has no chance of winning the nomination.) Out of curiosity, though, what is so "garbage" about Occupy Wall Street?

(Yes, I know I'm helping to open up a big can of worms. Very Happy)
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Lorient Avandi on Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:18 am

All these people who think all the country's debt, overall declining economy, and other woes are the banks' and stockbrokers' faults. Well sorry, but the country needs wall street and everything it does to run properly. Without it, the economy would really drop. This is why Romney needs to be elected, he knows we need it, and he knows how to help the economy. This is why he is backed by some of the biggest companies on Wall St.
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Eldorion on Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:19 am

I'm pretty sure the Occupy Wall Street people are at least as upset with the government itself as they are with the financial institutions of this country. In any event, I don't think many people want to get rid of Wall Street, they just want reform and regulation to prevent out-of-control business practices and recklessness that can destroy people's life savings; as well as limiting the role of money in government in order to preserve the integrity of the American democratic system (which falters when money buys political power). I don't think that's terribly unreasonable, and I am rather wary of any candidate who doesn't think that any sort of financial reform is/was needed in response to the recession. I don't know what Romney's opinion is when it comes to financial reform, though.
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Orwell on Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:29 am

If there is mo money going around, how do people expect there to be no tightening of belts? I assume these sit-ins are to do with economic cutbacks.

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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:59 am

There is money about Orwell, plenty of it. Enough to fund billions, if not trillions in wars for example. Its a matter of what you prioritise. For example the UK government is commited to billions of investment in a new aircraft carrier and a replacement for the Trident nuclear program. We paid billions for trident and never needed any of it and now they are obsolete we are going to scrap it and spend billions more replacing it with something else we will never need. The aircraft carrier is if anything even worse as we don't actually have the planes anymore to put on it! We would be as well digging a big pit, putting billions in it and setting fire to it for all the difference it would make.

The US way is let the rich be as rich as possible and they will generate wealth by investment and so job creation for everyone else, and that worked to some degree, but when those who are accquiring the most choose instead just to keep it the whole thing collapses. Lending to new or small businesses stops and growth stagnates. Things are so bad the banks won't even lend to each other because they have so little faith in each others financial dealings.

Lorient the country may need Wall Street but it was the lack of regulation and scrutiny which started this whole economic meltdown. It was banks in the US who were the root cause of this- it is very, very clear that the World's Financial Markets have become a self serving closed shop. How can you even have countries which claim to be democractic when the elected governments are less powerful and have less influence than unelected, unaccountable financial institutes?
The Financial Sector has been holding governments to ransom and still are. And this has serious ramifications for the very notion of democracy. In Greece and Italy the elected leader has been removed, not by the people but by the Bonds markets.
I don't know what happened in the US following the collapse of the banking sector but in the UK our politictians spoke tough, lots of changes, curbs on bonuses, new legisaltion to scrutinise etc- none of which has materialised, the truth is they don't have the power to do it and the banks have got away not only scotfree but even better off as all their debts have been paid off by the tax payers.
Private enterprise cannot be alowed to have it both ways- keep the profits when they make it and expect the tax payer to bail them out when they fail. Its neither fair not sustainable. As captailism globally has been allowed to run rampant unchecked the rich have become much, much richer and the poor much, much poorer. It cannot just keep going on like that, eventually the people will no longer stand for it and Occupy Wall Street will seem like a little thing in comparison to what will follow.

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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Lorient Avandi on Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:14 am

Everyone has their opinion, (doesn't mean they're right though Wink )
Eldo, the protests are not protesting the gov, they are trying to encourage the gov to come in and take over Wall Treet and run it, hence the term "Occupy". of course you will need changes in order to help the economy. This is why Romney is such a great candidate because he knows finances inside and out. Reforming Wall Street and the other financial businesses is certainly not the answer though.

Petty: I can see where youre ideas are coming from, but all that stuff is not true. The banks and stock companies are not in power the way you propose. Yes they are a power, but that is because they are so important to the gov and economy. These politicians who propose financial reform do so to gain support. They can't follow through not because the companies stop them, but because if they did the economy would plunge into utter turmoil.

(you must understand my viewpoint though. I'm the son of a stock broker) Very Happy
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Eldorion on Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:41 am

Lorient Avandi wrote:Eldo, the protests are not protesting the gov, they are trying to encourage the gov to come in and take over Wall Treet and run it, hence the term "Occupy".

Really? Has everything you've heard about the Occupy movement come from FOX News? The use of the term "occupy" refers to the nature of the protests, which is about "the people" (an admittedly nebulous concept) taking back power. Furthermore, one of the cornerstones of the entire movement has been protesting the incestuous relationship between corporate and government interests.

Try getting news from reliable sources. The Guardian has continually distinguished itself through its coverage of the Occupy movements. Here's a snippet from one of their most interesting pieces:

The Guardian wrote:The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create fake derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

Pay attention to No. 3 in particular.

Lorient Avandi wrote:of course you will need changes in order to help the economy. This is why Romney is such a great candidate because he knows finances inside and out. Reforming Wall Street and the other financial businesses is certainly not the answer though.

Okay, so you say reforming the financial institutions whose risk-taking was the cause of the financial meltdown is not the solution? Sure. So what changes should be made, then? Alternatively, if you don't believe that Wall Street (and its deregulation by the government) is to blame, then what do you think is the cause?

Lorient Avandi wrote:Petty: I can see where youre ideas are coming from, but all that stuff is not true. The banks and stock companies are not in power the way you propose. Yes they are a power, but that is because they are so important to the gov and economy. These politicians who propose financial reform do so to gain support. They can't follow through not because the companies stop them, but because if they did the economy would plunge into utter turmoil.

Er ... you do realize that all national politicians (and many state and local ones) are beholden to their financial backers, right? And that banks and corporations are some of the biggest movers and shakers when it comes to making financial contributions to political causes. And that banks and other sorts of corporations often take political action to oppose laws and regulations that would limit what they can do and how much easy money they can make at other people's expense. This is a commonly-known fact so I'm not sure if I need to go find specific references for you, but I can if you like. Wink
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:32 am

I would also add to Eldo's comments Lorient that you really should read up on the bond markets and the role they have played in forcing political change, unelected, on countries in Europe, particulary Greec and Italy.

There is a difference between being in power and having power too Lorient. The stock markets and their traders, companies etc do not hold any postions of power but they do hold power over governments and as someone who believes in the broad concept of democracy that dosn't sit well with me. Our elected representives should be able to pass law to prevent excessive greed destroying economies for the majority at the benenift of the few- but they can't because the global markets collective have more power than any individual governemtn.
If say the UK government decided to crack down on poor practice but Japan , the US or others did not then trade would simply move to those places destroying the UK economy, in practice the companies hold the government to ransom, making the government unable to enact the will of the people, which is not to stifle trade but to regulate it to prevent this sort of catastrophe happening again.

The US political avisor James Carville once said '“I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the President or the Pope. But now I want to be the bond market: you can intimidate anyone.”

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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Eldorion on Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:09 am

Election has-been Rick Perry is jumping on the new campaign ad bandwagon, and his "contribution" lacks even the redeeming quality of Ron Paul's pickup truck-inspired piece.



Aside from being offended by the anti-gay message, I'd like to point out that:
  • The idea that people can't openly celebrate Christmas in America is a blatant lie (as if I needed to point that out), and just an example of the ridiculous persecution complex that some Christians have, despite being an 80-90% majority in this country.
  • There is apparently some hope because the YouTube likes versus dislikes for Rick Perry's ad are about 322,000 to 7,000. Although that does make me very concerned about those 7,000 people who like Perry's message. Mad
  • There are no laws against praying in schools, and if kids want to they're absolutely free to do so. The only restrictions on school prayer are that the school cannot specifically set aside time for this, however, many schools do this anyway and some courts have weaseled their way around previous decisions by saying that so long as only "God" is mentioned, it's not specifically Christian, as if anyone is fooled.
  • America was founded largely on secularism, and of the religious beliefs espoused by various influential figures in the founding of America, the one that came through the most in documents such as the Declaration of Independence (which mentions "nature's God" but has no legal significance) is deism. The Constitution mentions no God whatsoever.
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Lorient Avandi on Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:02 am

What a moron Laughing
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Eldorion on Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:49 am

As strange as it feels Razz I agree with you, Lorient.

Also, it seems that not only is Perry an idiot, but he (or whoever runs his YouTube channel) is a coward. Comments have been deactivated on that video for some time, but thousands of people have left overwhelmingly negative comments on the channel page itself. Every single recent comment has been marked as spam by Perry or his staff. To be fair, many of these are mindless angry comments that don't really serve a productive purpose. But apparently the Perry camp finds comments like this to be spam too:



I realize that it's pretty inconsequential, but I see this sort of close-minded, juvenile reaction to any and all criticism as just the icing on the cake.
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Eldorion on Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:55 am

On a calmer and funnier note, take a look at Perry's jacket.



Laughing

The joke:
The top image is from Brokeback Mountain, colloquially known as "the gay cowboy movie".
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:07 pm

I watched the Perry thing, and his interview on the Fox site- horrifying, frightening, out of date, insular, primitive, tribal, xenophobic.....just awful. Evil or Very Mad

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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Eldorion on Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:44 pm

Perry is of course an extreme example (and he's obviously pandering to the extreme far-right like the Tea Party, which moderate republicans can't stand), but sadly your description applies to far more than just Perry in American politics. No
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Re: US Presidential Election 2012

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:07 am

Not really about the election but sometimes I really do despair at your country Eldo. Crying or Very sad


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