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Showing posts from June, 2008

Could Obama Lose the Election?

Business Times - 01 Jul 2008

Yes, he could!

And that may happen if there's a new conflict in the Gulf before the November election

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

IT IS not surprising that Barack Obama's supporters, who seem to believe that their candidate can walk on water, greet each other with a winning fist bump these days.

After all, according to the recent opinion polls, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Obama is now the clear front runner in the race for the White House. He is leading in most polls by an average of 6 percentage points. And new polls released last week suggest that he has now a double-digit lead over his rival, Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Hence a new Newsweek poll puts Mr Obama 15 per cent ahead of Senator McCain while according to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, in a two-man contest, 49 per cent of respondents favour Mr Obama while 37 per cent would vote for Mr McCain. If the two leading independent presidential cand…

This and that

Please read my What if We Leave the Middle East? (We Won’t Be Missed in Taki's magazine. Also my review of Scott McClellan's book in The American Conservative is available online. And more words of wisdom here and here.

The sensible way to bridge the Sino-US gulf

Business Times - 24 Jun 2008

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

+THE New York Times, in a front-page story last week, reported that against the backdrop of the American housing and financial crises and the continuing economic boom in China, Chinese officials have been projecting a new sense of self-confidence in their dealings with their US counterparts. The Chinese, it seems, are less willing to put up with the typical American bashing of their management of their economy while expressing their own criticism of American economic policies.

But what The New York Times didn't report is that the new Chinese attitude is a mirror-image of the American stance, with US officials and lawmakers exhibiting a certain humility during their exchanges with the Chinese these days. Indeed, in the aftermath of Iraq and Katrina, the sub-prime mortgage mess and the financial crunch, Americans are recognising that they are not in a position to lecture the Chinese on how to manage their economic sys…

Bernanke not to blame for America's economic woes

Business Times - 17 Jun 2008

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

AT first, the US Federal Reserve chairman was criticised for his slow response to the housing crisis and credit crunch, with critics arguing that he should have started cutting interest earlier on and more frequently.

In this narrative, in which Americans are losing their homes, going bankrupt and are in fear of losing their jobs, the boss of the US central bank emerged as the villain who is partly responsible for the ensuing economic downturn aka 'recession'. But now, Mr Bernanke is being criticised for the fact that he has been cutting interest rates too often and by too much. In this other narrative, dominated by rising energy and commodity prices, the Fed chairman is the villain who should be held accountable in one way or another for what looks to some observers as inflation.

While economists continue to debate whether we are now in a recession or are under the threat of inflation, or whether that old arch e…

Stufff

Checkout my TAC posts on politics,the election, and the Middle East.

And on Takimag.coma review of Pat Buchanan's new book on WWII and a review of a new film with Adam Sandler.

Obama pips McCain on perception front

Business Times - 12 Jun 2008

Most polls show that American voters believe the Democratic candidate will be more effective in managing economic policies

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

AS THE US presidential campaign enters its final and crucial six-month round, the conventional wisdom is that the electoral strengths of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic candidate, lie in his relative youth (46), personal charisma and energy, and his image as an agent of 'change'.

Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican candidate, is disadvantaged in the race because of his age (72), his poor oratorical skills, his disappointing performance as a campaigner, and his identification with the failed domestic and foreign policies of President George W Bush and the political status-quo in Washington.

Mr Obama's strengths and Mr McCain's weaknesses were clearly evident last week when Mr Obama claimed the Democratic presidential nomination before close to 35,000 suppo…

My review of Scott McClellan's book

Image
Has been published in the new issue of The American Conservative.
It's pasted here. To read, click on the pics and print them.


Can Obama Win in November?

Business Times - 05 Jun 2008
He needs the support of critical voting groups that traditionally vote for the Democratic presidential candidate

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

SENATOR Hillary Clinton won the Puerto Rico Democratic primary on Sunday in a landslide, beating Senator Barrack Obama - her rival for the party's presidential nomination - by a huge margin of 68 per cent to 32 per cent.

Unfortunately for the former first lady, her victory in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico - a semi-autonomous colony of the US and whose residents do not get to vote in presidential elections - is not going to make it more likely that she will be returning to 1600, Pennsylvania Avenue any time soon.

In fact, after the last Democratic primaries of the season in South Dakota and Montana - which together send 31 delegates to the Democratic convention - Mr Obama was able to claim during an address before more than 20,000 supporters in St Paul, Minnesota, that he had amassed enough pledged …

Movies and Politics

See my latest film review and political posts here and here and here and here.

Republicans outraged by insider's book on Iraq war

Business Times - 03 Jun 2008

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

WATCHING the pro-Bush administration television talking heads bashing Scott McClellan, the former Bush White House press secretary, who has just published a book bashing his ex-boss, you would think that Mr McClellan has been brainwashed by a bunch of left-wing anti-war activists, if not by Al-Qaeda experts on psychological conditioning techniques. To say that President George W Bush, his aides, the neocons and the many operators who belong to the media outlets and front organisations affiliated with the Republican Party are angry at their former colleague would be an understatement.

And you can feel their rage, as they describe Mr McClellan as a 'turncoat' who had sold his Republican soul to the anti-Bush devil, in exchange for...what? Was it money (perhaps a huge advance on his book)? Publicity (after all, Mr McClellan has been interviewed by every major media organisation)? Revenge (disgruntled employee gett…