US elections: killer facts, what happens now? And Palin the poet

The December issue of my favourite current affairs magazine, Prospect, has some great analysis (laced with whimsy) of the election and transition. Top billing goes to an insightful assessment of Obama’s likely direction by Michael Lind. Lind cautions against euphoria, drawing on the already over-used comparison with FDR in predicting that Obama’s first term will mostly have to be devoted to dealing with the economic crisis. Sorting out the US health system will probably have to wait for a second term when, like FDR, reformers will need to think big. (Man of the moment Paul Krugman thinks Obama has to think even bigger than FDR – writing in the New York Times, he said ‘the truth is that the New Deal wasn’t as successful in the short run as it was in the long run. And the reason for FDR’s limited short-run success, which almost undid his whole program, was the fact that his economic policies were too cautious.’

Prospect also has a handy guide to the most influential thinktanks and other influences on Obama from Martin Walker at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He gives the nod to the Center for American Progress, the Brookings Institution and Lind’s own New America Foundation.

Here are a few killer facts from the issue:

The 2008 Presidential election cost $2.4bn, slightly less than Coca Cola’s annual advertising budget

In 93% of house of representatives races and 94% of senate races, the highest spending candidate won.

Obama has roughly $160m left in his war chest. Will he spend it on post election grassroots organizing through a new political action committee, modelled on Newt Gincrich’s 1990s Republican GOPAC?

Both 2008 candidates were left handed. George W Bush was the first right handed president in 30 years. (Now that’s sinister)

Oh, and Sarah Palin improvised a perfect 17 syllable Haiku in front of 30,000 people:

What’s the difference
Between a hockey mom and
A pit bull? Lipstick

Prospect also claims to have spotted a 14 line sonnet in her post-election comments on Africa (but I checked and it’s not really verbatim – they’ve had to do some judicious editing) and reckons she’s a shoe-in for America’s 47th poet laureate.


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4 Responses to “US elections: killer facts, what happens now? And Palin the poet”
  1. Wayne Diamond

    Palin the Poet – the latest recruit to Neo-librettism?
    Ah, sweet Calliope can inspire blooms to grow in the most desolate soil. Palin is but the latest recruit to the New Rhyming Right (or should we call them Neo-Librettists?) . Donald Rumsfeld, founder of the movement, is best known for the Robert Frost inspired “The Unknown”, but there are many other gems to be unearthed in his rhetorical dust (without any editorial interference)
    You’re going to be told lots of things.
    You get told things every day that don’t happen.
    It doesn’t seem to bother people, they don’t—
    It’s printed in the press.
    The world thinks all these things happen.
    They never happened.
    Everyone’s so eager to get the story
    Before in fact the story’s there
    That the world is constantly being fed
    Things that haven’t happened.
    All I can tell you is,
    It hasn’t happened.
    It’s going to happen.
    —Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing

  2. Duncan

    OK, how about this famous collection of W’s sayings from the first term. collected by Richard Thompson of the Washington Post….
    I think we all agree, the past is over.
    This is still a dangerous world.
    It’s a world of madmen and uncertainty
    and potential mental losses.
    Rarely is the question asked
    “Is our children learning?”
    “Will the highways of the Internet become more few?”
    “Do you have Blacks in Brazil?”
    “Why dont’t the French have a word for ‘entrepreneur’?”
    How many hands have I shaked?
    They misunderestimate me.
    I am a pitbull on the pant leg of opportunity.
    I know that the human being and the fish can coexist.
    Families is where our nation finds hope,
    where our wings take dream.
    Put food on your family!
    Knock down the toll booth!
    Make the economy gooder!
    Vulcanize society!
    Make the pie higher! Make the pie higher!

  3. Wayne Diamond

    South-Paw presidents since Nixon (who was right-handed and not a crook):
    Gerald Ford: Left Handed
    Ronald Reagan:Left Handed but Right-Winged
    George Bush Sr: Left Handed
    Bill Clinton: Left Handed
    George Dubya Bush: Right Handed
    Barack Obama Binliner: Left Handed
    BUT Jimmy Carter was right-handed. So the ‘leftie’ streak runs only from Reagan to Clinton.
    But prior to these modern southpaw prezzies, there were apparently only 3 other left-handed Presidents:
    James Garfield
    Herbert Hoover
    Harry S. Truman (did you know the “S” didn’t stand for anything – he added it in to make him sound more intesting)
    So on average 8 out of 44 have been more ‘sinister’ than usual = 18% – whereas the adult population in the US seems to be about 10% left-handed.
    For what it’s worth, Joe Biden is right-handed… as is Sarah Palin.