Last night’s events

Last night there was a gathering of the Sojourn Group, Mr. Rabbit excluded as he has been away; spending his time in the bush. The evening was somewhat of an occasion in that the Ombudsman was back in Sydney (not so rare) and he was allowed out by Mrs. Ombudsman (very rare these days). It was also a chance to play some four-man games of 500. And, with the gathering of certain members of the group, it was a chance to really discuss some politics. You all know my level of interest. St. Ives Correspondent is very keen as well, so too is Pope Francious, with the Ombudsman somewhat, and Andrew on the fringe. There is, however, varying viewpoints on each matter.

We know who’s stripes Pope Francious wears – John Howard’s. It is my belief that he is a supporter of him as much as I am a support of Kevin Rudd. As a consequence, the Pope has called the next election to be a Howard retain with four seats. He says that the swing that Rudd needs will be contained to pockets of the country, and that he won’t be able to win the sixteen seats. He does, however, readily acknowledge that Liberal control of the Senate is a ticking clock.

St. Ives Correspondent is a Rudd supporter, and believe that when the swing is on, the swing is on. S.I.C. says that Rudd will win the House, and I can’t recall what he said about the Senate. He also thinks that there will be pockets of Labour super-popularity, but enough hotbeds and distributed enough so that Labour wins.

I stayed quiet (surprisingly) as the discussion between these two progressed for two reason. One, I was happy to hear the Pope’s argument before I countered with all of the evidence I’m accumulating that points towards him being wrong. Second, the Pope doesn’t read my blog, whereas S.I.C. does and the Ombudsman does, so I would really be repeating things I’ve said before. Additionally, S.I.C. and I have regular Australian politics discussions through the week, so I don’t want to labour my points to my allies.

However, when invited to give my view on what’s happening by S.I.C. (who I suspect had noted I was keeping mute, and knew that I’d be prepared to counter everything the Pope said) I opened with: “I’ll tell you the sixteen seats they’ll win right now”. This conversation was handy in timing because I’ve got a post just waiting to go up, that has been researched with polling and socioeconomic data, as soon as the election is called.

The discussion turned into something that I didn’t expect: civilised. It even finished on such a happy note that we could move onto our next political discussion of the night: American politics.

Somehow the Pope has got onto the Democrats side of things there, and supports Obama like me, and from what I’ve gathered for roughly the same reasons. He does, however, think that the Democrats primary race is already locked up by Clinton. I don’t, and I was able to explain my views on that – another surprise for the night. S.I.C. seems to have got off the Edwards boat and is just floating in the water, hoping to be picked up by Clinton or Obama – whichever win the race.

Our discussion turned to Gore and I finally made a hard call for the election – that Gore wouldn’t announce (and is a call I’m retracting as of now). I weighed this up with the timing and the fact that he will miss the first few states. I asked myself if I actually believe that Obama can go through and win if he wins the Iowa caucus, then whether Gore announces or not shouldn’t matter.

It was around now that S.I.C. said something that shocked me – shocked me because I totally didn’t see it coming. He said that the Democratic presidential ticket will be Hillary Clinton for president, Gen. Wesley Clark for vice president. Now, before he said that, I knew that, on the 15th of September, Gen. Wesley Clark, Democratic primary candidate in for the ’04 election (failed in his bid), and possible runner for this race, had endorsed Clinton. I was bummed, because I throughly like Clark, but thought it was for the best. What didn’t register was that there was possibly a deal organised with Clinton to be the VP.

Why didn’t I see this? It’s a glaring indication, endorsement. I’ve been so focused on the Obama campaign, and not even caring about the Clinton, that I’ve neglected a lot of what could be happening if she wins the Democratic nomination. And I’ve always thought that if she did, she would pick Obama as the VP as naturally as the sun comes up.

But in a time of ‘war’, national tensions, foreign policy debacles, tarnished national image, and in an election where the Democrats will want to get their base, the moderates and the centre, running a female candidate would best be supported not by the relatively inexperienced Barrack Obama, but with former supreme allied commander of NATO, four-star General Wesley Clark.

It appeals to the military, to the jaded moderate Republicans, the Democrat party in all corners, and those swing voters who might have worried about a woman and a black man running the country.

Is this the best ticket? I’d argue no, as it doesn’t give Obama the experience he needs to win the next election he can run in. But is it a good one? Damn straight its a good one. It’s one I’d get behind if the alternative was anything from the Republican side of the spectrum.

So my thanks and cheers go out to S.I.C. for bringing this to my attention, and having a wider scope than I do for the Democratic race.

The rest of the political discussions were dominated by Republicans – making jokes out of them, saying that Giuliani probably should be on the ticket with McCain as VP, but it may very well be Romney with anyone.

However, despite how great the conversations were, the service was very average that we received. One person serving was a woman, another a teenage boy. The woman was fantastic, the boy quite bad. And anyone who knows me knows that I can be very finicky about service at a restaurant.

After the meals, we left, made back for S.I.C.’s home, played some cards, and all went our separate ways – glad to have had the evening, not so glad that we would have to wait until election night before we might be able to do this again.

Thomas.

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