…a rabble-rouser willing to throw bombs to score points …

Like it or not, after an election campaign that has regularly touched on the bizarre, whatever happens in US politics is global news. Special, one-sided, relationships and diasporas aside, the internal political health of the United States of America tends to impact on all of us. Yesterdays mid-terms produced the expected victories for the Republicans and the Tea Party, although by slightly less than the margins being claimed on post-ballot talk radio last night. Grander aspirations by the Grand Old Party to a 70-80 seat majority in the House of Representatives and overall control of the Senate were not met.

So, while Barak Obama will still have the Senate on his side, albeit with a narrow majority, he will be facing Republican (and Tea Party) pressure via the House. In reality, this will mean he can either go down the Clinton route after 1994 of assimilating the mid-term criticisms and compromise, or, he can spend the coming years trying to face down the House.

Maureen Dowd has a less than gushing piece in the New York Times on the man who has become third in succession to the US Presidency, new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who, after the victory

…could not resist taking a few jabs at the “liberal media elite” distorting things, and a few more at a puffed-up White House that got punished for not paying enough attention to people’s anxieties.

This would be the liberal media that doesn’t include Fox, then. In an election where conspiracy theories, anti-science and the absurd were accorded the status of reasoned debate, it hopefully isn’t a signpost to the future of political engagement on this side of the Atlantic (or are we way ahead of the curve on that score).

While the Tea Party is a curious entity that has yet to decide whether it is really a political party, the mid-term electoral strategy it shared with the Republicans did suggest that we may begin to see a decline in the emphasis on media-savvy political front men. With no obvious central figure acting as a campaign focus in either the Tea Party or the Republican Party the Democrats couldn’t manage to land punches on their opponents in the same way that President Obama acted as the central target to the Republicans and Tea Party. The lesson appears to be that not providing your opponents with an obvious target means the media cannot focus on obvious weakenesses, allowing you to succeed by default (in effect).

So maybe Reg Empey was ahead of the game after all.

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  • Cynic

    Let me come out – fundamentally I am a conservative but recently found myself trapped in a hotel room abroad where the choice was CNN or Fox News. At first I thought Fox was a parody…… it’s so bad that it is funny until you realise that for some Americans this is ‘reality’. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that its broadcast from some Federal Facility for the Mentally Incapacitated.

    Its even worse than Russia Today. The propaganda isn’t as subtle

  • circles

    I saw a piece here on German television last night where a Tea Party spout-piece was explaining that when they call Obama a socialist, the don’t mean actually that he’s a socialist in the classical definition of socialism but rather that they don’t agree with his policies.
    And people vote for this nonsense.

  • DC

    Ah good ole Russia today, where the most miniscule achievements of Russian modernisation and westernisation are amplified beyond belief to give the impression that Russia is changing wholesale.

    Russia Today, Moscow’s Hollywood.

  • Dewi

    Good to see Reid hang on fairly comfortably.

  • RepublicanStones

    CrossTalk on RT is usually good craic. Peter Lavelle sets the rules at the start ‘You can cut in any time’, then spends most of the show asking people not to butt in so much !

  • RepublicanStones

    Anything which doesn’t adhere to the libertarian, free market, poor should stay poor, small govt mentality of the Tea partiers is labelled as reds under the bed. It is utterly ridiculous. These people routinely describe themselves as Christian, ignoring that Christ (if he existed) was a socialist. Just look at the way their poster boy, Glenn Beck, paints Liberation theology, as if its one of the worst evils in the world.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    On the election itself……..I was glad to see that the wife of the wrestling guy Vince McMahon spent over $40 million dollars in Connecticut and still managed to lose. Sounds like a bad “storyline” on WWE……Mr McMahons wife stands for the Senate.
    Yet how the money is spent is less important than how its raised. “Newsnight” recently saw a Democrat track down the “Concerned Taxpayers” funding advertising attacks against him as TWO millionaire Taxpayers who run a hedge fund.
    Thats actually a bit sinister.
    But a sports entertainment multi millionaire gifting his aging trophy wife several million dollars to fund a Senate race is just bizarre. And funny. Especially if she loses.
    But in a way its been a heartening kinda weekend. The Senate result could have been worse and he pictures Ive seen from the Rally For Sanity and/or Insanity have shown another side of USA much different from the sheer nastiness of the of the Tea Party crowd. The sheer good humour of the Colbert/Stewart event showed the better angels in the USA psyche.
    Possibly without their intervention the result would have been much much worse for the Democrats.
    Yet Im inclined to think that the “Tea Party” element OUTSIDE the Beltway will be emboldened by the results. And conversely the “Tea Party” element INSIDE the Beltway will be emasculated.
    There are an alien species to most Democrats and an alien species to quite a lot of Republicans. They might just get bored and do something else with their lives.
    Yet its a bizarre situation that it was essentially comedians who saved it for for the Democrats.
    It wasnt journalists in the reviled (by bloggers) mainstream media
    It wasnt bloggers in the reviled (by journalists) blogosphere.
    Much has been made of O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck as rabble rousers and thats obviously true but they are actually less dangerous than a second division of wannabee rabble rousing millionares from £radio phone ins” in Arkansas and blogging from their parents basement in Kansas.
    Chris Matthews who many locals here will know as a point man for Tip O’Neill slapped down one of them…….her name eludes me…….for suggesting that John Kerrys Vietnam war wound was self inflicted.
    Risible? Of course. But surely we have all read irresponsible blogs where there is strange and ubsubstantiated and unlikey claims of responsibility for violent acts.
    Matthews to his credit said nobody would be using his show for such purposes.

    But perhaps its also a reality check for Democrats and “liberals” Obama is not Superman. As Europeans without a vote were endorsing Obama in percentages in the high 80s, I said at the time I could only give two cheers. He is after all an …American President…..who will act in the interests of the United States. As he should.
    And really the honeymoon ended with Honduras.

  • Jj

    Did you ever read what David Vance thought of Fox on one of his someday hopefully one-way trips to the States?

    “how the news should be” or some such praise. The born-agains stick together – without need of anything to do with Christ.

  • bigchiefally

    You seen Linda McMahon? I dont think trophy wife can be a description you could apply to her. Indeed given Vince’s biceps I think he could be the trophy husband.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I think ungallantly but accurately I referred to Ms McMahon as an “aging ” trophy wife.
    I think Mr McMahon indulged his wife a Senate race, in the way that Wayne Rooney indulges his wife with a shhopping trip to Milan and a luxury hotel in Dubai.

    Mr McMahon Im sure has many qualities. Fidelity is not one of them. At least if Ms MacMahon had been elected she probably would have spared us lectures on family values.