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Monday, August 09, 2004

The race for the Presidency

So I was in the United States, staying just 70 miles away from the Democratic National Convention, Boston was deserted, the routes into the City were largely closed off or restricted, all the protestors were kept in a cage and most of the TV channels were restricting coverage to a few hours for the whole week in case they bored too many Americans.

My overall impression was that the whole thing was very predictable. It is early days yet and I hope that I am wrong but from watching the Convention and following the subsequent campaign tour it seems that Kerry/Edwards lack the edge to be able to beat Bush. The polls have them tied with about 10% undecided, largely because of the Iraq war. Many Americans seem to be disllusioned with this war but remain united in their opposition to terrorism and the belief that their Commander in Chief must be totally committed to that fight. The undecideds have to be convinced that there is a good reason to change the CiC midstream.

Although they are addressing the issue of terrorism, it seems to me that Kerry/Edwards are largely fighting on Bush's agenda. That will not win over any waverers. Unless they start to link the unpopular Iraq war with an increased terrorist threat and demonstrate convincingly that the World is a much more dangerous place because of the actions that Bush has taken, that America is consequently more vulnerable and that they have a way out then I am afraid they will lose. That was more than amply demonstrated by the way that Bush used incumbency to underscore his advantage. It was only days after the end of the Convention and suddenly there are terrorist alerts all over the media based on four year old information. People don't like to change horses when they are frightened.

The one star of the Convention was of course Barack Obama, the Democrat Senate candidate for Illinois. I watched his speech live and there was no doubt that it was a compelling performance. His potential is enormous. All he needs now is to (a) get himself elected and (b) find something original to say. He has a blog as well. Perhaps if he actually wrote it himself then I would be more convinced.

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