…And the US elections get up and running

Meanwhile, back at the ranch! With all the republican contenders (bar one, more on that later) pulled out, it seems there’s nothing left but for Mitt Romney but to enjoy a victory lap in the primaries. Already Obama’s reckon’s the primary’s are over, and has already launched his re-election bid.

I reckon this will be a campaign fought on two issues. Firstly tax, the bulk of US billionaires pay a lower share of their income as many hardworking Americans. The richest person in the US, Warren Buffett, very famously pointed out last year that his secretary pays more in tax than he does. Clearly this has to change. Also in order for the US to solve its deficit crisis, spending cuts alone cannot solve matters. New taxes need to be introduced to redress the balance between what most Americans expect Uncle Sam to pay for, and what the nation’s current regime of low taxes, generates in income.

The other major theme will be the issue of national security. Of course, for once the Republicans, normally on safe ground here, but now they have a bit of a problem. Obama will no doubt point out, that while Bush bombed 2 countries (pissing off most of the world and spending what remaining post-cold war political capital the US had left) he failed, despite 7 years of trying, in finding Bin Laden. Obama not only succeeded where Bush failed (although I’d have preferred to see Bin Laden captured and put on trial). But Obama ended those 2 very wars, Bush started and repaired links with the wider world.

Again, I’d prefer to see Obama win, but it will be a tough fight. Inevitably, the Republicans will try, as they always do, bait and switch, with talk about gay marriage or gun control, or try and paint Obama as a tax and spend socialist. No doubt the extremists on Fox will be going on 24/7 about death panels, birth certs and FEMA death camps….not that Murdoch ever takes sides in an election!

Ron Paul, the not-so liberty loving libertarian
There is of course one group of refuseniks in the Republican party, Ron Paul and his fanatical supporters. Despite not wining a single state, and not having a snowball’s chance of winning and an official delegate count of just 80, he and his supporters are still convinced he can win. Google “Ron Paul can still win” and you’ll find many recent articles from his supporters which shows that they still haven’t got the message.

In part this is reinforced by Ron Paul’s so-called “delegate strategy” where his supporters have been taking advantage of the local party rules, to increase their tally. For example, they can have one of them elected to go to the RNC in Tampa to represent a district, where in theory they could vote Ron Paul, even if the state voted for Romney. Of course, I would point out that this is hardly terribly democratic. Now I may not see eye to eye with Republicans, but even I respect their right to vote (an ultimately pick who gets to loose to Obama ;D ). It is ironic indeed that the cult of Ron Paul, talk in such high minded terms about “liberty”, yet they seem engaged on a forlorn strategy to deprive others of their “liberty”. Not since the day’s of the communist party in Russia have I seen such behaviour!

As I’ve pointed out before, his policies simply don’t add up to rational scrutiny. As the situation in Europe has shown, harsh austerity, will generally just increase the deficit, not reduce it. Also, as the situation in Europe shows, such austerity is rarely popular.

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