Sunday, January 20, 2008

Who should Poles vote for, if they could, in US primaries?

Primaries and caucuses – the quaint but strange rituals of American politics, are now well underway and where 100,000 is seen as a ‘big turnout’. The Democratic race to find a presidential candidate is one of personality over policy, style over substance – but the issues in the Republican race will be a little more familiar to conservative Poles.

And they should be interested in the winners who will emerge to fight the election in November: the US is still, at present, the only super power in town.

There is the issue of visa waving for Poles wanting to travel to the US; there is the status of the many Poles in the US who are there illegally; and there is also the Polish troops, part of US-led occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq. What goes on in Washington should be of keen interest in Warsaw.

So what is there to get interested in? Though American political culture has yet to reach the zombied state that British politics is currently staggering around in – politics, in any meaningful sense, has simply died in my home country – US politics is in a pretty sad and vacuous condition. Take the three main Democratic candidates. The difference between Obama, Clinton and Edwards on policy is paper thin. In fact, the difference between the Democratic candidates and the Bush administration is not really that wide. Clinton, certainly, is almost as hawkish as Big Dick Cheney, for instance. Clinton the demo-con!

I would say that Barack Obama is the closest to most urban, ‘liberal’ Poles, as far as the issues are concerned. He did not support the invasion in Iraq – neither did a majority of Poles. And when President Kaczynski was in Washington last year Obama made a speech that included the following:

"The Bush Administration's policy of splitting Europe into "old" and "new" was not just wrong, it was counterproductive. Poland should not have to choose between its vital interest in closer integration with Europe and its alliance with the United States. America must repair its relationship with Europe as a whole, so that Poland and our other Central European allies are never put in that position again."

[…} We [the US and Poland] also share an interest in working with Russia to meet common security threats and to encourage Russia's integration into Western institutions. But we should also embrace, not abandon, those in Russia working to preserve their hard won liberty, and draw clear lines against Russia's intimidation of its neighbors. 21st Century Europe cannot be divided into 19th Century spheres of influence."

[…] If we can responsibly deploy missile defenses that would protect us and our allies we should - but only when the system works. We need to make sure any missile defense system would be effective before deployment. The Bush Administration has in the past exaggerated missile defense capabilities and rushed deployments for political purposes. The Bush Administration has also done a poor job of consulting its NATO allies about the deployment of a missile defense system that has major implications for all of them. We must not allow this issue to divide "new Europe" and "old Europe," as the Bush Administration tried to do over Iraq."

[…] Invite Poland to join the Visa Waiver Program. We should work to include countries like Poland that are members of both the EU and NATO into the Visa Waiver Program. Today's visa regime reflects neither the current strategic relationship nor the close historic bonds between our peoples, and is out of date."

The points about Russia, the missile defense system and visas chime with the new Civic Platform government – in fact they could almost have been written by Donald Tusk’s speech writers.

So for Civic Platform voters, Obama’s your man. But what of the more conservative Pole? Which candidate in the Republican race should they plump for?

Huckabee – the American Kaczynski?

The Republican candidates are split between small state, fiscal conservatives and the not so small state, social conservatives. This reflects the two parts of the Republican base – richer voters who want less tax and a smaller state made a priority, and are not so interested, or are even relatively liberal, on social issues; and poorer voters who are pro-life, anti-abortion but are not so interested in tax cuts that would not benefit them, particularly.

So on the coastal states, the fiscal conservatives will do better – Giuliani, Romney, McCain; in the poorer southern states and elsewhere then Mike Huckabee, the Kevin Spacey lookalike, has emerged as an obvious choice for the religious right.

Huckabee is certainly the candidate that many PiS voters would choose. He is the southern Baptist minister, God fearing, pro-lifer. Like the Kaczynski brothers he opposes same-sex marriage. He is against gays openly serving in military (what about when they are all in the showers?). In 1992, Huckabee said that "homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk." That could have been written by one of Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s speech writers. Like Kaczynski, he supports the death penalty.

Economically, Huckabee seems to support a progressive type of tax (based on consumption rates) and while governor of Arkansas he actually increased the tax burden and state spending. He is also, like Kaczynski, rather clueless about foreign affairs.

All and all, an ideal candidate for the PiS voter and Christian nationalists.

So the ideal would be a Obama, Huckabee contest in November. What we are probably going to get is John McCain – a little gentler than some on immigration, but chiefly known as Mr Surge after he walked down Baghdad high street with a security posse the size of a small army, declaring Iraq ‘safe’ – versus Clinton. These are the establishment candidates on both sides, which means the much trumpeted ‘change, change, change’ will not be coming to American politics anytime soon.


beakerkin said...

Lets see.

The clueless Beatroot forgets that the USA did not threaten those States that disagreed with its policies. The
forcing of sides was done by the condescending French.

The Beatroot also forgets that Germany also disagreed with the Iraq War and managed not to damage
US relations in the process. Sarkozy is working to repair the damage of Chirac's bombastic mouth.

Hillary is being propped up by Edwards. The second he decides to leave it is over.

Huckabee unlike Clinton or Edwards
has executive experience. You need to hit the books and learn what Govenors do in American politics.
He is more qualified by nature of that experience than any Senator.

Moreover, who decided that some paper pushers in Brussels should dictate local policies. The Polish
people should determine their own priorities. Perhaps the Beatroot waxes nostalgically for the good old days of Colonialism. Sorry but Poles can decide their own fate free of Colonialism lite from Salon
type expatriates.

Anonymous said...

Like Freakerknit, I support Ghouliani for the Republican nomination.

I also agree with the Freak that Poles should determine their own destiny (as per yesterday's article in the Washington Post):

REDZIKOWO, Poland -- Among the people living around this disused Polish air base, there is little enthusiasm for the missile interceptor station likely to be built here as part of a U.S. missile defense system.

Poland's new government is sounding increasingly skeptical about the plan, arguing that it won't boost Polish security, and that sentiment is echoed throughout this farming region near the Baltic Sea coast.

Also: Warsaw - Fifty-five per cent of Poles oppose the installation of controversial US anti-ballistic missile bases on Polish soil as part of a missile shield aimed at warding off a potential terror attack by rogue states. The Warsaw-based independent CBOS pollsters found 28 per cent of respondents said they supported the missile defence project while 17 per cent had no opinion.

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

The clueless Beatroot forgets that the USA did not threaten those States that disagreed with its policies. The
forcing of sides was done by the condescending French. mean the Iraq occupation! Bit cryptic there, old boy.

Moreover, who decided that some paper pushers in Brussels should dictate local policies. lost, now...

The Polish
people should determine their own priorities.


Perhaps the Beatroot waxes nostalgically for the good old days of Colonialism. Sorry but Poles can decide their own fate free of Colonialism lite from Salon type expatriates.

I think whoever wins in November should do something about the US education system. Reading, comprehension, that kinda thing.

'Poloes can decide their own fate..'

Freakshithead - Poles CANT VOTE IN THE US ELECTION.

You know? They can't.That was not what the post was about. But....oh, I give up...

~JS said...

politics in usa is not in a sad state...voters in usa are excited (did you see the caucus coverage? it did not seem like people were disinterested) and some groups who in the past may have been apathetic (minority voters) will vote with more enthusiasm and interest...

do not criticize until you understand...granted, it does appear to be complicated and incomprehensible to foreigners (and many usa citizens)...but once the reasons for the way things happen is explained, it does make sense...

the long primary season has a logic (i.e. gives small state voters some influence and stake, gives voters a chance to
know the candidates better) the electoral system has a logic (i.e. gives small states some significance in the process, forces candidates to care about small states)...sure there are abuses...but the more i understand the usa political process and compare to other democratic processes, the more i appreciate the hard work done by its founders...and early leaders...especially in the judiciary...

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

js - Hi man!

voters in usa are excited...

Just because they are interested in the contest and want to participate in the contest does not mean anything if the contents of what they are excited about is so meger and slim. Just because there is participation does not make it politics. Choosing the winner of dance with the Stars is not political behaviour.

This is a personality contest, not a political one. If a tear can change the result of an election, then this is nothing to do with politics. It's a kind of a reality TV game show.

American politics R.I.P.

the long primary season has a logic

No, the process used to have a logic. These days, like the rest of the election system, it is just silly. And the low turn out - because the turn out is always not representative of testimony to that.

But its charming, all the same.

beakerkin said...

Beaten ruthlessly by Beakerkin

Duhhhh all except the clueless knew we were discussing Iraq. However, you still neglect to point out it was the Fwech who forced people to choose.

You seem to have a running theme that everytime the Polish people should decide local matters they need to get approval from the salon types in Brussels. Sorry but the Colonialism lite smacks of delusional superiority of the salon types and disrespect for the Polish

Poles can vote in their own elections. Moreover, Iraq is but one issue in the US election. The surge is working quite well. Perhaps Chavez can get the true believers to go to Caracas and control the bloodshed over there.

Huckabe is an experienced executive
with a record. Your monomaniacal obsession about his relgious views
shows your own arrogance. Did he use law enforcement to harass gays?
Did he labotomize political opponents and place AIDS patients in lite version of gulags.

The religious views of political figures in a Western context is irrelevant. None of the candidates seeks to create a theocracy. FYI I have made the same comments about Romney and Obama's religious views.


The Beatroot is one of those reflexive anti-American types. His idea of change would be to run Hugo
Chavez. He also forgets that change for the sake of change also can create greater problems, ask the folks in Zimbabwe.

beatroot said...

You seem to have a running theme that everytime the Polish people should decide local matters they need to get approval from the salon types in Brussels.


What type of drugs do you take, Beakowhako? I think you come from another planet - Planet BeakFreaK - where they have, by law, all debates about something utterly different from the one that the other person is having.

Try and have a debate - just for once - with what is in the original post. You CAN do it. You just have to try...

beakerkin said...


You have me confused with some other blogger. If the Polish people do not want the bases that is fine by me. In fact I have advocated removal of European bases along time ago.

The rhetoric in Germany also got muted when a serious discussion of base closures took place at the start of the war. It seems like the far left got cold feet when real job losses were being calculated.

beatroot said...

Actually, Beak, you almost did it, just then. Not bad at all until the final sentence...and then we went back to the usual 'far left' nonsense. Beak, the far left died long ago. Now the 'left' is full of environmentalists - who are conservatives, not commies....

Anonymous said...

Anybody here familiar with American political journalism notice any familiarity between the witing "style" of Jonah Goldberg and Beakerkin?

Me neither.

beakerkin said...


Did you actually read Jonas Goldber's book? Perhaps you should read books instead of burning them.

Beaten Ruthless by Beakerkin

Lets start with the last one. There was serious discussion of closing the German bases at the start of the Iraq war. The German government
did not want the ensuing job losses
and toned down the belicose rhetoric.

The far left was indeed behind most
of the antiwar mania in Europe. Your ostritch like views that the far left does not exist are inane.

You obviously do not read your own blog. A constant running theme is the poland should do whatever the clods in Brussels say it should do.
Sorry, but Poles can govern themselves without self righteous expatriates preaching to them like a second rate Greek God in a B movie.

As far as American politics you are
equally clueless there. Obama does not worship the opinions of salon types in Europe. Your best bet is with the Clintons who worship the UN and seek the approval of the useless types in salons.

McCain and Rudy are similar in substance. Rudy has more charisma and leadership, but President McCain suits me just fine.

beatroot said...

Man this is heaavy medication you must be taking.

You obviously do not read your own blog. A constant running theme is the poland should do whatever the clods in Brussels say it should do.
Sorry, but Poles can govern themselves without self righteous expatriates preaching to them like a second rate Greek God in a B movie.

I seriously worry about your reading skills. Look at any post about the EU on this blog and you will see that it is not amazed at all about the EU. In fact, I think it is an anti-democratic institution and part of the reason why politics and participation in politics is a thing of the past.

Secondly, this post was nothing about 'Poles governing themselves..' it was about which US candidate would get most votes in Poland. And it was about which president would be good - in the eyes of Poles from different political positions - for them.

So, as usual, you are commenting on a post that does not exist.

beakerkin said...


I stand by the comments as made. Your condescending tone towards Poles is clear upon any basic reading of your posts.

Your understanding of American politics is skewed by your anti American obsessions. There are other subjects other than Iraq. Moreover, your posts on Cuban health care and pro Chavez sentiments indicate you are less than forthright about your own politics.

Anonymous said...

Ah, so Freaker IS a Jonah Goldfart wannabe. Thought so. The Goldfarts are even bigger headcase trolls than the Limburger dittoheads.

Goldfart came into some limited right wing journalistic prominence when his mommy convinced Linda Tripp to record her conversations with Monica Lewinsky. And like a good boy, he made a name for himself by defending mommy and Linda Tripp.

Certainly, a notable worthy of Freakersteinic emulation.

beakerkin said...


It is quite typical of you to pronounce verdicts on books you have never bothered to read. Then again you are just Beatroots serving chimp.
Kindly serve up the koolaide.

Anonymous said...

1.) Where did I pronouce a verdict on a book I never read?

2.) How is it typical of me to do so?

3.) How do you know that I never read Goldfart's poor excuse for a book?

Strike three.

Enjoy the kookaid, Kookykin.

I declare the war is over. You are too easy.

beatroot said...

Geez - I told you: he isn't responding to anything you wrote on the page...he is responding the the voices in his head...

luridtraversal said...

It is always entertaining to read Beakfreaks comments. Keep 'em coming comrade!!! And Beat, what say we retreat to our Salon and have a glass of wine and pray to the U.N. and Brussels...and collectively bargain something...

Unknown said...

...I'm buying...

~JS said...

Beatroot: If a tear can change the result of an election, then this is nothing to do with politics. It's a kind of a reality TV game show.

JS: Good point, but that would be an issue to take up with your colleagues, journalists and pundits. Why did they play & analyze the hell out of it? Who is buttering their bread?

What if that was a moment of authenticity anyway? The very thing we need to see shine from the cracks of manipulation and cynicism turns out to be what we cannot accept at face value anyway, so we deserve the vacuous spectacle we denounce.

Anonymous said...


When Germany disagree with the Iraq war their US relations were damage. All the Old Europe and New Europe speeches from Bush criticise Germany, too. Their relations were more than a little cold. This only really change when Merkel became chancellor in 2005. The CDU with Merkel as their leader were during all the time much more supportive of the USA than the SPD with Schröder.

By the way this don't mean that today the average German have a better opinion of the USA than during the Iraq war. That Merkel became chancellor don't have anything to do with her more positiv view of the USA than that from Schröder. Schröder nearly even manage to win the vote again despite a lot of inner political problems because a lot of people detest Merkel's positiv attitude towards the USA.

That Germany don't support the Iraq war has nothing to do with France. Germans have decided for themselves not to participate in it. In this case Schröder was speaking for the overwhelming majority of the population. A participation in the Iraq war would have been also against German laws because it was a war of aggression which is strictly forbidden.

By the way that the USA want to closure their bases in Germany wasn't big news in Germany. A lot of people even like it that the U.S. soldiers move away. The only people who did have really problems with it was the people living near the bases because of income and job reasons. That German politicians were speaking against the moving of the bases is no wonder. Each time people are loosing jobs politicians say what the affected people want to hear. Everything else would be political unwise. This don't mean that the closure of the bases were very important and determine German politics. There were a lot of inner political issues which were much more important for German politicians and which were in contrast to the closure of the bases not just news for one day.

By the way that Merkel became chancellor was not the only reason why the relations between German and American politicians improved in the last few years. Bush changed his rhetoric towards the whole of Europe and manage to sound much more diplomatic. He wanted help from Germany and other countries after it got more than obviously that it is not as easy as planed to reform the Iraq into a peaceful democratic country.

Anonymous said...

js wrote: What if that was a moment of authenticity anyway? The very thing we need to see shine from the cracks of manipulation and cynicism turns out to be what we cannot accept at face value anyway, so we deserve the vacuous spectacle we denounce.

Maybe Hil-ry's tears were real. I do doubt it, but I can't see into her soul. Then again, I do see the Clintons as the ultimate political manipulators -- which is not always a bad thing but is in their case when they allow robotcalls using the name Barack Hussein Obama and radically distort his records and positions.

Also, istm there's a double standard when Edmund Muskie (a Polish American btw -- who was the leading Dem candidate in NH back in 1972)cried during a campaign stop because a newspaper editor had made a vicious attack against his wife.

The torrential barrage of criticism that followed allowed McGovern to win the nomination that year. The media mantra then was that Muskie was incapable of leading the country if he was a crybaby. With Hil'ry, the media kicked in with analysis for the most part indicating that she's human after all. If anybody tried to dish out the same treatment that Muskie got, they would have been ridden to hell in a handbasket for making an unfair example of a woman.

Anonymous said...

And speaking about getting ridden to hell in a handbasket and media circuses, check out what's happening to Oprah Winfrey, an extraordinarily popular black woman TV talk show host with the biggest all-time audience draw of both black and white women:

My guess is that this brouhaha was indeed largely orchestrated by the Clintons.

beatroot said...

Jen, that was interesting, but I don't think he will read it through to the end.

Geez - the Times piece notes:

In the original post, a reader called austaz68 said she “cannot believe that women all over this country are not up in arms over Oprah’s backing of Obama. For the first time in history we actually have a shot at putting a woman in the White House and Oprah backs the black MAN. She’s choosing her race over her gender.”

Proof, if it were needed of the non-political nature of what is going on here. How would it be different if a male Clinton or a female one got into Whitehouse? No ideas, vision, policy can be expressed by one's biology. But that seems to be all that matters. It's the absurd conclusion of 'identity politics'.

American politics: RIP

Anonymous said...

So, "real" politics exists where? Or even "existed" where?

And what would the Polish response be to a teary candidate?

Anonymous said...

I think Giuliani would be the best however unless he comes in as a darkhorse he will be out of luck. The balance of the candidates are really weak. Guiliani, even with some of his shortcomings would make a strong, respected leader who I believe will put the US back on the right track.

luridtraversal said...

Hey Beatroot...My Polish isn't the greatest, but I was watching the Warsaw news on TV tonight, and they were talking about the bridge near Dworzec Gdanski, and how it is in very bad shape. But instead of fixing it straight-away, I swear they said that they are now lowering the speed limit (something they can't/won't enforce) to 30 and are also going to try to make it so there are not 2 trams on the bridge at the same time. Is there anyway you can verify what I heard? I saw it on the local section on TVP...please tell me this is my mistake due to horrible Polish ability!!!

beatroot said...

It sounds great. Am investigating.

When I was a we lad, politics was very mich part of people’s identities. If you were a member of the labour club, or a member of the conservatives, really meant something. Membership of a trade union, the meet at the local church, etc were all bound up in someone’s social identities. In the UK that is gone and it is going in the US.

Think back to the US forty years ago. The tears of a politician would have just seemed odd, but they would not have swung opinion. OK, when Nixon looked old and grey on that televised debate with JFK, he looked bad. But that was because there was two different visions going on in that election and the images backed that up.

These days they struggle to find a real cause to get behind. The ruling classes are very confused.

Anonymous said...

Uh, 1972 was 35 years ago when Muskie cried and that was his end.

And I don't really think that Hil'ry's tears or her female identity swung enough voters to make an impact.

The Clintons' started to campaign on racial lines in NH. That's what brought about the swing and that's what's still the great dividing line in the US.

There's a phenonemon known as the "Bradley effect" which got its name from the black Mayor of LA who outpolled his opponent by a considerable margin. When folks voted in the privacy of the election booth, however, a considerable number turned against him.

Brad Zimmerman said...

Who should have Americans voted for, if they could have, in the recent Polish election?

An equally odd question.

However, I would think that Poles ought to vote the same way that they ought to be voting in Poland: for the candidates and/or parties that best represent their views and values.

Saying that Huckabee is similar to Kaczynski is like saying a Ford pickup truck is similar to a Maluch. Yes they are both religious, but Huckabee's nuttiness is absolutely no where near the rabid, blithering scream-outloud insanity that Kaczynski represents.

Obama isn't similar to anyone here, nor is Clinton. The bottom line is that they represent change because they are simply different. When's the last time a Jewish person or woman held the office of President?

President: Oops, never.

There has been, at least, a female Prime Minister: Hanna Suchocka, '92-'93. Only woman to be Prime Minister.

The rest of the Republicans and Democrats represent very small variations on the same thing: They will claim to do whatever it is you'd like from the government (lower taxes, more services (ignore the dichotomy), a little less war or a little more war, a bit less immigration or a bit more, etc).

By now someone out there is pressing the "Fire!" button, but just wait:

Democrats: touchy-feely, liberal, not very religious, pro-choice and environmental. I like that because as far as I can tell it's getting hotter and the ice caps are melting and I don't remember us having cheap flats on Mars or the moon. The only problem is that I also like my gun rights and they are not very gun-friendly. Plus they traditionally represent "bigger" government although the Republicans sure as hell have given that stereotype a run for it's money.

Republicans: Bible-thumping, conservative, not pro-choice, gun nuts, traditionally for smaller government but obviously this is not longer true. My problems with these guys is that they're just as smug as the liberal Democrats and I hate all that talk about religion.

The way it's set up the Libertarians never have a chance and they're the only ones I'd actually feel ok blindly voting for because at least they're for smaller government and less getting in everyone's business. Less environmental, usually, but gotta take the good with the bad.

I'll vote for Obama or Clinton purely on the basis that they're different and I like a bit of change. I doubt that, if elected, either of them will do a much better or worse or more good/bad deeds than anyone else because, don't forget, they have an army of aides, advisers and everyone else telling them what to think, say and do.

For the rest of the Americans here, if you aren't registered to vote for certain, check out takes a long time to get everything processed and mailed, so start now. When I checked with my elections office they told me to expect my new voter card in about two months.

beatroot said...

Who should have Americans voted for, if they could have, in the recent Polish election?

An equally odd question

It is not an odd question. When there is one super power then the government of that power is everybody's business. Besides - it was a comparison of Polish and American politics. Nothing odd in that.

Brad Zimmerman said...

While America has quite a lot of say about what goes on in the world, it doesn't have all the say and, frankly, I think that everyone has given the US more say than it deserves.

Countries go along with what the White House wants in order to stay in it's economic good graces. But have they really benefited? Remind me again, please, what the UK got out of the war? What did Poland get? Visa waivers? No, a proposal for a missile defense "shield" that will have the Russians targeting Poland with their own missiles. I feel safer all ready.

Anyway, I don't think you can really compare US and Polish politics. Yes, there is the occasional odd person getting elected (Jesse Ventura!) but by and large American politics is about maintaining momentum, not rocking the boat much and, somewhere in there, looking out for your constituents.

I don't really see those sorts of things happening here.

Frank Partisan said...

You are most likely correct about Polish thought about the elections in the US from far.

Polish politics is more colorful and fun.

Obama and Hillary are reduced to arguing over who is fonder of Ronald Raygun's communication skills.

This election will be 1964 for the Republican Party. The Republicans are all inheritors of the Bush legacy. I don't have to remind you about the visceral hatred the liberals have toward him.

beatroot said...

Remind me again, please, what the UK got out of the war? What did Poland get?

What we have is a political class in the US, UK, Poland acting against their own interests by invading Iraq etc. We live in very starnge times.

Anonymous said...

This year, for the first time, expatriate Democrats can cast their ballots on the Internet in a presidential primary for people living outside the United States.

Democrats Abroad, an official branch of the party representing overseas voters, will hold its first global presidential preference primary from Feb. 5 to 12, with ex-pats selecting the candidate of their choice by Internet as well as fax, mail and in-person at polling places in more than 100 countries.

U.S. citizens wanting to vote online must join Democrats Abroad before Feb. 1 and indicate their preference to vote by Internet instead of in the local primaries wherever they last lived in the United States. They must promise not to vote twice for president, but can still participate in non-presidential local elections.

Members get a personal identification number from Everyone Counts Inc., the San Diego-based company running the online election. They can then use the number to log in and cast their ballots.

Their votes will be represented at the August Democratic National Convention by 22 delegates, who according to party rules get half a vote each for a total of 11. That's more than U.S. territories get, but fewer than the least populous states, Wyoming and Alaska, which get 18 delegate votes each.

Everyone Counts has been building elections software for a decade, running the British Labor Party's online voting since 2000 and other British elections since 2003, chief executive officer Lori Steele said.

Online voting may give absentee voters more assurance that their ballots are being counted, since confirmation is not available in some counties. The Everyone Counts software even lets voters print out a receipt, unlike most electronic voting machines now in use in many states.

Steele said a number of U.S. states had contacted her company to inquire about online voting for the 2008 presidential election.

"There are many, many states in the U.S. that would like to be offering this to their expatriate voters, their military voters and their disabled voters," Steele said.

But online voting has been slowed by a lack of funding for pilot programs. In a floor speech this month, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., pushed for the distribution of money already approved under the Help America Vote Act so that states can improve ex-pat voting before the general election.

Some 6 million Americans living abroad are eligible to vote in U.S. elections, but only a fraction do so. Until recently, the only option was to mail absentee ballot request forms to the last U.S. county of residence, then wait in hopes that shaky mail systems would deliver the ballots in time to vote.

The system is so unreliable that of 992,034 ballots requested from overseas for the 2006 general election, only 330,000 were cast or counted, and 70 percent of those not counted were returned to elections officials as undeliverable, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission found.

In 2004, Juliet Lambert took her Oregon ballot to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, where drop service is available because of Mexico's notoriously undependable mail.

"I had to go through security to drop off my ballot, and I remember thinking I really must want to vote," said Lambert, a 37-year-old caterer who works with Democrats Abroad in Mexico. "I think it can be really daunting for people."

This year, Lambert is voting by Internet, "because it's easier, and I'm always online anyway."

Republicans Abroad has operated independently of the Republican Party since 2003, and therefore can't hold in-person or Internet votes abroad. But it is organizing to get more overseas Republicans registered back home before the primaries, Executive Director Cynthia Dillon said.

Republican votes from overseas could be more decisive because even small margins can make a difference in their winner-take-all state primaries. The Democrats divide primary votes proportionally, assigning delegates according to each leading candidate's share.

"In the Republican primary, the overseas vote could actually have a bigger impact: That vote could be the tipping vote, so to speak, that decides an election in a close race," said Steven Hill, an elections expert who directs the New America Foundation's Political Reform Program.

With so many states having moved up their primary dates, overseas voters should hurry up and register no matter how they plan on voting, Hill said. "These compressed timetables really make it difficult."

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Obama is all style, little substances. But what a style that is. He gives brilliant speches, nicely written and beautifully delivered. I din;t know politicians could speak inspiringly anymore.

Here is a long's great.

beatroot said...

And this is his best one. This is when he just lost new hampshire...and he is still great. The timing is amazing.

Anonymous said...

How can you really determine how much "substance" any of the candidates have until they become president?

Consider Pope John XXIII. Nobody thought that this low key guy would have brought about any kind of change in the Roman Catholic Church but it was he who brought about the Second Vatican Council which opened a lot up, at least for a short time.

They are all essentially programmed talking heads right now, and maybe if and when they make their way into the White House, that'll continue. But there's some humanity there too even if it rarely if ever shows (and I'm not talking about Hil'ry's almost-a-tear).

Except maybe Mitt Romney who sure looks and acts like a robot.

What I do like about Obama is that I think he has more potential than any other candidate to bring people together on common ground. Plus a black guy with an Arabic name ain't gonna hurt America's image abroad, either.

Anonymous said...

That said, it seems pretty clear that it will be Hillary vs, McCain come November.

Or I'll eat one of those horrendous hard dried up pretzels they sell on the streets in Krakow which are worse than eating a hat.

beatroot said...

How can you really determine how much "substance" any of the candidates have until they become president?

You got it round the wring way, Geez. They make the promises, they do the vision thing, when they are not in power. When they are it turns into another grim struggle for survival.

Anonymous said...

Now who's the pessimist?

beatroot said...

The last Clinton thing was this way. Vision thing. Third Way thing. And then get into office and cling there like a clingong, doing, literally, fuck all...apart from bombing the odd make-up lady in a TV station in Serbia...

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