Sunday, February 03, 2008

Pardon me, while I talk about politics (gasp!)

So you all know that I never talk about politics here, or anything really except books. But I do want to explain my "Crafters for Obama" button that's over there in the sidebar now. Twin and I both have always steered clear of political debate, though our family is full of political junkies. But she's recently become a very vocal supporter of Barack Obama. And she's certainly got me convinced. I, too, find his message inspiring -- and I had not thought it possible for my cynical self to be inspired by a politician. ;)

You can read Twin's very eloquent words here. Check it out. Crafters for Obama is the fundraising campaign she's started among her circle of crafting bloggers. I'm very proud of her for taking a stand and doing so much for a cause she believes in.

If you're in a state having elections on Tuesday, don't forget to get out and vote!


CindyS said...

Just wanted to let you know that it is great to see people get inspired by a politician. I'm afraid I'm still jaded and cynical but I think that's the way of us Canadians - and we don't have too much to complain about!

Good for you and twin!!


Anonymous said...

Can I ask an irrelevant political question? Just came into my head when I was listening to the news this morning.
Say McCain (sp?) became the Republican candidate for President, and then died before that election. Would the position default to the next most popular Republican candidate, or could the party choose someone different, or would they rerun this set of elections?

And has it ever happened?

No reason for asking - except that I was thinking how old McCain looked compared to the others on the TV coverage last night, and then when they were forecasting his success on the BBC this morning, I wondered 'What happens if?'.

Marianne McA

Jennie said...

Cindy--You Canadians are really lucky. I remember when Bush was elected (sort of) there was talk about people trying to emigrate to Canada and how hard it was to do that legally. ;) But then, I don't think I could handle your climate!

Marianne--Very interesting question! And one I'm not sure I know the answer to. I imagine that if McCain died, then his running mate would become the presidential candidate. But I'm not sure. And I don't know that it's ever happened. I'm going to ask my brother, because he knows everything about politics and this is just the sort of question that he would love to speculate on.

And I saw McCain speaking on television the other night, and he kind of scared me. He's so military-ish. Big turn-off for me. But I don't think he's all that old--compared to some of our presidents (like Regan, he was ancient). I guess it seemed that way because the others are all younger--especially Obama, he's only 48 or something.

Jennie said...

Marianne--Lol, I asked my brother and his answer was the length of a book. So yes, not an easy question. And it sounds like it would be a huge mess--the way we elect presidents has always confused me; the words "electoral college" make me want to run screaming from the room. I'm not sure how much info you want (or how much about American politics you know, since you're in the UK, yes?), but here is his answer (can you tell he's a lawyer?):

If a nominee dies before the general election, his party could presumably nominate somebody else. This would depend on each party's rules, although the nomination would probably, as a matter of custom, go to the deceased candidate's running mate. But neither federal nor state law could require this result: it's a matter for the party to decide. However, party rules in this case matter less than state law: whether the new nominee could get his name on the ballot would depend on how soon before the election he died because each state imposes a deadline for putting candidates on the ballot. (There could be as many answers to this question as there are states; it would be a mess.) Remember, though, that we don't elect presidents directly; instead, we elect people to the electoral college, which in turn elects the president and vice president. The presidency goes to the candidate the electors choose, not necessarily to the one whom voters actually support on election day.

I gave the impression that the deceased candidate's running mate would get the party's nod to be its presidential nominee, but that might not be the case. There might well be a fight over selecting a replacement standard-bearer. If John McCain is nominated, he will not choose Mitt Romney to be his Vice President. But if McCain were to die before the election, Romney might feel entitled to the nomination because he was primary voters' second choice, and voters did not get to choose McCain's running mate. That fight could take place within the party if there's enough time before the election to get a new nominee on the ballot. If there isn't enough time, or if the people chosen as electors don't like the party's decision, then the battle would be fought out among the red-state members of the electoral college after the November election. The only thing I know for certain is that it would be a mess--particularly if the deceased candidate's party were to win the election. That fight would be interesting to watch, but your reader's question points out that our system for choosing presidents is anachronistic, unwieldy, and in need of change.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, that was fascinating.

Will you thank your brother for me?

I know less that I thought about American politics: I did a very short optional course in Lower VI, but from your brother's reply, I've completely misremembered the system - I thought these current elections were for the electoral college - that they nominated two candidates, and then the public chose between them.

Obviously completely wrong.

(Lower VI was a looooong time ago...)

Funny, we've so much coverage of the election, but very little about how the system works.

Chastened, I shall go read an Article on Wikipedia, and educate myself.

Marianne McA

CindyS said...

Marianne McA - At least you had some knowledge, I still get antsy when someone tries to explain the US system - how does someone win the popular vote and not become president?

I *think* they tried to get us in Ontario, Canada to do something similar and I voted a resounding NO. In our system you win if the number of people who voted for you is the greatest. I guess where I get all fouled up is the idea that the people elect someone who then elects the president. (I think) At that point I would be all 'hell no!!' I can cast my own vote for president thank you very much.

I'm such a rebel ;)