I've said elsewhere that this was probably the last election where the Republicans stood a real chance of gaining the American Presidency with a program that mainly appeals to prosperous suburban whites and holds little appeal to most women and almost no appeal at all to racial minorities.
If the GOP is to survive, what do you think it would have to look like? What could it possibly look like?
HOWEVER, your PM is chosen, do you think the UK is on the verge of having a PM of color (colour for you)?
Strange as it may seem, in the US, a candidate can lose the popular vote by a bit and still be elected President, and that's because of an electoral system designed to give less populous states a bit more oomph in the process, much in the way that our Senate is composed of two senators no matter the population of the state they represent.
Yes, Arcus it was implicit that Tony Blair would be the PM - I had no idea he was going to be the kind of PM he turned out to be, mind you. He was pretty much an unknown when Labour took power. Who knew?
I can say in his favour, that he postponed formally converting to Catholicism until he left the post of PM, saving the rest of us the embarrassment of having our esteemed leader declaring for Sky Daddy.
I am a Yes,Minister and Yes,Prime Minister addict. Have you read the books? They are amazing, they are written as diaries and you can get them on Amazon. They also do quite a good job of illustrating how the UK government works, as a sideline.
Arch I understand a lot more about the way politics works at State level than at Federal level. I have had need to spend time in the Vermont Legislature, and I have to tell you that the sincerity and effort they put into their activities is very inspiring - the transparency too, was impressive.
Comparing and contrasting the UK and the USA election techniques is probably something that could take a ton of pages to do, and its not my intent to waffle on. Both systems work, but very differently, to achieve their own kinds of democracy. Both have flaws.
One of our worst flaws is that we do not have a restriction on the number of terms a PM can serve. Yours is 8 years. From my experience, any of our PM's that were incumbent for more than 8 years, began to evidence signs of autocracy and were headed towards being indistinguishable from dictators. They started out well, but I truly believe your 8 year limit is a very useful safety limitation.
Unseen, I'm not ignoring you, just running out of column space. If we have an election where the party has chosen a leader of ethnic minority, I don't think that will make much difference to the voting. I can see it happening, but we would have to swap the party in power, because we don't have the benefit of the rule of an 8 year limit.
RE: "8 year limit" - actually, Strega, there was no limit until the middle of the last century. FDR was so popular as a President, it was evident at the beginning of his second term, that he would likely run for, and win a third (no one could predict he would die in office), so the rule was made that no President could serve more than two. And I agree with you, that two is enough.
Jefferson said he thought this country should stage a revolution every 20 years. Limited terms is our (nearly) bloodless compromise.
@Strega: I just find it a bit incredulous that what was most likely a disagreement about a few choices in the waning part of his PMship (I presume the Iraq war) color your whole portrait of him. He was, after all, strongly considered to become the "PM of Europe" for a good 3-4 years, and completely reshaped all labor parties across Europe, especially with regard to his NPM focus.
It begs the question of whether or not you are still a Labour supporter or have switched your political affiliation?
(I also need to check out the books, I was not aware of them up until this point.)
I have no idea where this post will come out, but to Arcus... I have noticed that with strong Statesmen, they have a completely different image internationally than they do nationally. Very often, a PM disliked for his internal policies, may have laudable external ones. Or hers. Actually Thatcher was a good example of the two images.
Is that just Brits or do you think that's true of all the major powers?
Tony Blair lied to parliament about Sadam's WMD. Flatly lied. I really didn't like that. It wasn't the war issue which is another thing. It was the fact he was starting to get that Omnipotent twitch. That's why I think the US eight year limit is a good thing.
I don't know whether Blair lied, or whether he was just gullible enough to believe his buddy, Little George W, who lied.
I think it's clear Bush was fooled, too, by a particular Iraqi expat who had an agenda of his own, and who insisted that Saddam had WMD's. Apparently Bush forgot Reagan's dictum: "Trust but verify."
Remember, too, that Saddam didn't make verification easy and certainly ACTED like he had WMD's.
My personal opinion is that he didn't care, as long as he had deniability, he was free to do what his daddy started. I also believe that that is why Powell resigned, because he was too honorable to continue working for the diabolic trinity - Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld.
The Big Myth on the left is the "Bush lied, people died" canard. The right answered by creating their own Big Myth which is the "Obama is a muslim socialist" lie. Unfounded and unsourced rumors which doesn't conflict with one's own political stance and weltanschauung tend to used as facts.
As to the complete fumble the Iraq war was, the CIA has accepted that it did a bad job and provided an analysis as to why it happened. But hey, why bother to use credible sources anyway?
The biggest lie told in modern US politics remains Kennedy's "Missile Gap" which almost hurled the world into global nuclear war, but he's been sainted and become beyond reproach.
RE: "Knickers go in a twist. Panties go in a bunch." - I'm trying SO hard to learn political correctness! So what goes in a knot?
BTW - John Major responded to your comment on the other (Morality) thread --
A tie goes in a knot. A stomach goes into knots.
-- as mine is beginning to!