Some observations from an 'outsider'

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by neiltc13, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    May 27, 2006
    #1
    I don't visit this part of the forums often, primarily because my interest in the US elections is minimal. But since I've arrived in this forum tonight I've noticed a few things and I wanted to share them with you.

    The most striking thing is that everybody's obsessed with Sarah Palin. Whether it's because you think she's a different choice or because she might have a pregnant daughter (like a lot of American people!), she gets a LOT of coverage here.

    I noticed that there is a huge bias here in favour of the Democratic Party and that many of the so-called Democrat supporters are eager to talk about nothing but Republicans.

    Wait, what?

    Yes, you people who are so into Obama are desperate to tell us about McCain and Palin. This is a completely alien concept to me as a resident of the United Kingdom.

    Here, parties campaign based on policy and very, very rarely engage in the promotion of their opponents in the way we see here and across the US media. Politicians here want to talk about themselves and the media compares them. We don't see adverts spewing out nonsense about a candidate's family or church, it's all about them and their policy - isn't that what matters?

    Lastly, I'm totally sick of this now. It has been going on for well over a year and it's getting very wearing. Here you're lucky if you see a candidate campaigning a month before the election, never mind this far ahead. Do you guys honestly think that anything you say today is going to influence the vote in two months' time?

    It will all be forgotten by then and I cannot wait. I'll finally be able to watch BBC or FOX News without constant Obama this or Palin that.

    I just hope that all of you folks who invest so much time in this think it's worth it.
     
  2. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #2
    First of all, thanks for the condescending and really, quite pointless post. If you aren't interested in the US elections, then why do you come into this forum in the first place?

    Now that that is out of the way, we discuss these people because whether we like it or not, they will have a huge influence in the world. I must say I love your characterization of those of us who support Obama- tells me pretty much where your bias lies. We don't support him because we think he's perfect- indeed, he's quite flawed. However, he's the better option at the moment.

    Palin is an astonishing choice by McCain because of her serious flaws. We're discussing her because she's a very frightening candidate for VP, given her past. How much more do you think we'll discover in the coming months? I'm betting quite a bit.
     
  3. Queso macrumors G4

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #3
    Would you prefer it if we all talked about Alex Salmond's latest land-grab against Scottish Councils by removing their ability to set their own budgets?

    Politics these days is based on personality. Negative campaigning is becoming as widespread in the UK as in the US, it's just our politicians use their puppets in the media to launch the attacks rather than commenting directly. And of course the US election is getting the most space here, it is after all only two months away.
     
  4. neiltc13 thread starter macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    #4
    No, I'd rather we talked about how we can remove him and potentially restore order by abolishing the Scottish Parliament, but that's not what this topic is about.
     
  5. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #5
    I'm still confused as to why you started it in the first place since your interest in the US elections is "minimal". Something tells me you're angling for something else here besides what you already have stated in your OP.
     
  6. neiltc13 thread starter macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    #6
    By minimal I mean that I'm not running around handing out flyers, but I still watch when things are on TV or read when they are in the newspaper. I just don't feel the need to tell everyone how bad the candidates I don't support are as if they had killed my cat or spat in my face.
     
  7. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #7
    neiltc13,

    Do you often barge into a room and proclaim all the discussions meaningless, or is this a special case?

    Yes, this week many of the threads are focused on Sarah Palin. Up until November, expect most of the threads here to be focused on the election, the candidates and the issues.

    Of course, once that's over, this thread will move on to Terrorism, Israel, women's rights in Sudan, or some other topic. During the invasion of Georgia, there were two threads discussing that issue.

    So, I think your survey methodology might simply be flawed. Maybe, rather than just popping your head in once, you could stay around and add to the discussion.
     
  8. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #8
    Well, I will say the OP does expose an irony which reveals itself, in part, in these forums:

    That although we do wish to talk about the issues, and on a rational level they are important (perhaps the most important) basis for our political decisions - even the most thoughtful of us can't help but fall into the trap of discussing the much shallower issues shoveled at us by the Campaigns and/or Media.

    It is interesting how we can be co-opted - in that we are forced to engage in a discussion about sometimes trivial things, if only to point out their very triviality - which, then makes them less trivial.

    I will say that I have not been pleased with the discussion waged here or in the larger media regarding ms. Palin. I find most of the topics raised concerning her to be somewhat ridiculous. Of course, this is because they are the topics promoted, and we still have a dearth of real substantive issues about her to begin talking about.

    To use her as an illustrative case - McCain may have pulled a fast one on us, by co-opting the media by throwing out these asinine issues around her, to distract from the fact that we don't have anything more substantive to discuss. On a larger picture, the Media also has a (financial) interest in discussing more gossipy topics than the more mundane, but important, substance issues.

    That said, it is always healthy to discuss and disseminate the truth in whatever issues are out there for discussion - but I can't help but think we've all been pulled into, and perpetuate a rather wierd system...
     
  9. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #9
    Two things, addressed to the OP:
    1 This is a US-based site, with a predominantly US-based membership, so in an election year it is hardly surprising that the candidates are getting a lot of attention. If you do not want to see it, don't look. There are other threads to participate in, or you can start your own.
    2 The US political scene can be somewhat confounding in its differences from the UK system or others: the political dialogue can appear extraordinarily crass and personal from our point of view, but that's just how it is. Get used to it.
     
  10. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #10
    Agreed on all points. Yes, our political system is truly messed up, no doubt. But it's what we have to work with unfortunately.
     
  11. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #11

    I couldn't disagree more. British politics has a great history of insulting your opponent that has sadly been lost with our current generation of automaton career politicians:

    • "Winston had devoted the best years of his life to preparing his impromptu speeches." F. E. Smith on Winston Churchill.
    • "A sheep in sheep's clothing." Winston Churchill on Clement Attlee.
    • "It's like being savaged by a dead sheep." Denis Healey on being attacked by Geoffrey Howe.
    • "He has not a single redeeming defect" Benjamin Disraeli on William Gladstone.
    • "A modest man, who has much to be modest about." Winston Churchill about Clement Atlee
    • "I am not going to spend any time whatsoever in attacking the Foreign Secretary. If we complain about the tune, there is no need to attack the monkey when the organ grinder is present." Aneurin Bevan on On Antony Eden & Selwyn Lloyd.
    • "If Gladstone fell into the Thames, that would be a misfortune, and if anybody pulled him out that, I suppose, would be a calamity." Benjamin Disraeli on William Gladstone.

    The only recent insult of note has been about Gordon Brown by Vincent Cable: "This House has noted the Prime Minister's remarkable transformation from Stalin to Mr Bean in the past few weeks."

    I think that the problem with the current US political insults is that they lack any imagination. "He's a liberal!" Oooohhh! :rolleyes:
     
  12. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #12
    I think we have to fall back on Gorgeous George Galloway for the truly imaginative insults these days.
     
  13. scotthayes macrumors 68000

    scotthayes

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    Birmingham, England
    #13
    Bob Marshall-Andrews has a few of his own too.

    To the OP. Were are just as bad over here, only difference is we do it on the cheap.
     
  14. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #14
    Statistically, a man of McCain's age has a one-in-three chance of dying between 2009 and 2013.

    This means that if McCain is elected, there is only a 66% chance that Palin would not take over as President at some point over the next four years. Those are very frightening numbers.

    It also would appear as though Palin is woefully unqualified for such a task, and it would appear as though her GOP handlers are painfully aware of this and are taking every measure available to hide her inadequacy from public scrutiny.

    When's her appearance on Meet the Press scheduled? Oh, right.
     
  15. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

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    #15
    To the OP - I think you are missing some critical information, which is evident in your post.

    To begin with, many feel this is one of the most important elections in years, maybe decades. The past 8 years under Bush have created close to a totalitarian state in this Country. The very Constitution, the framework for our system of laws and freedom, has been reduced to non-existence, by an imperial presidency, which thumbs its nose at us and our laws. Our economy is in the tank. We are the greatest threat to world peace. And, the list goes on.

    We might not survive another four years of republican rule. But, we now have an exciting candidate, who has once again rekindled hope. But, the republicans are fighting tooth and nail to keep from losing both houses of Congress and the administration. Their campaign strategy changed many years ago. They really cannot win by debating issues. So, they went to attacking the opposing candidate. Over the past few elections, democrats have tried to stick to issues, and take the high ground in smear campaigning. The net result has been defeat after defeat. Many of us democrats have been frustrated by the party's lack of aggressiveness, for not fighting back.

    Well, that has finally changed in this election. Speaking strictly for myself, I hate this type of campaign. But, it is the way it is, mainly because the American public will not call BS and punish those who engage in it. Most Americans are mentally lazy. That is what you get from 50 years of watching TV. It is only a small percentage who read a newspaper and stay informed like the citizens of the UK are. So, they are easily deceived and mislead.

    The recent news blitz, and commentary about Palin is very easy to understand. A week ago, people would have said, "Sarah who ....?" Now she is on the ticket to be VP to a sick old President. So, she is being vetted by everyone. usually, a VP choice would be widely known. She is becoming known in a very compressed period of time. It turns out she has skeletons in the closet. All of this is going to draw a great deal of ink for awhile.

    You seem to want to make comparisons between the UK and US. However, we are miles apart, and not just geographically. Personally, I wish we were more like the UK. I am one of the few Americans who does not watch TV. However, I do not see much hope for us changing. So, you can choose to ignore this, or try to understand it better.
     
  16. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #16
    I fear you may have a rather too rosy view of UK politics. :)
     
  17. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #17
    At least a centerist in the UK is actually a centerist rather than someone whose pretty right wing.
     
  18. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

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    #18
    Skunk,

    The majority of my time in the UK was in 1990 and 1994. "Questions for the Prime Minister" used to be my favorite program, and I seldom missed it. I watched it through the majority of John Major's time in office, and Tony Blair's first few years. However, they changed the broadcast time to something like Sunday at 4PM. I was seldom near a TV, so I got out of the habit of watching it. Eventually I quit watching TV altogether, so .....

    I have long kept in contact with my friends Alan and Pamela (Cell, Tunstall, Stoke-On-Trent). We discuss politics quite a bit, but usually it is about foreign affairs nowadays. I also read the Sun and Guardian, as well as the BBC on-line.

    The bottomline is that much has changed in the UK, since I spent any appreciable time there. My general knowledge has many major gaps in it. But, I still recall the habit of selecting newspapers from the stand, and reading them was the much better substitute for the evening's entertainment. I certainly would expect that has not changed, or has it? That is what I was referring to in my post, when I said I wished Americans would read, and become informed, rather than watch mindless network TV programming.

    -S
     
  19. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #19
    [​IMG]

    There are other forums available to those who dislike this one. Perhaps a UK political forum is in order for you? Maybe there you can wait until a month before the election to discuss the candidates' campaigns and clearly only talk about the issues.


    Consider for a moment the fact that America has many fundamentalist Christians who would love to have positions of power from which to proselytize and impose their own values upon everyone. It says quite a lot when a champion of Christian family values raises a puck slut.
     
  20. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

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    #20
    She's the Viagra that will stimulate the flaccid conservative base to thrust McCain/Palin into the Oval Office.
     
  21. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

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    #21
    I know! :( My parents (both 55) pride themselves on being "moderates" who vote for the candidate and not the party. But whenever I talk politics with them, they always say how I "must have just gone liberal at art school." They're both voting for Obama, but don't see TOO much wrong with McCain, other than his voting record syncing up too nicely with Bush's. And they can't stand Palin.

    For the record, they voted Clinton both times (92, 96) and Bush both times (2000, 2004).

    It's weird. We're so far behind politically here. I don't feel very "liberal" at all. Maybe it'll get better when (sad to say) my parents' generation dies off.
     
  22. Beric macrumors 68020

    Beric

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    #22
    Wow, I love your quotes, being an American who loves British history. :D Absolutely hilarious.
     
  23. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #23
    Were you here a few months ago, you would have seen people talking about Obama the way we are now about Palin. There's not much else we can cover about policy unless something new comes out. There's plenty more about personality and gaffes, but many of McCain's were ignored, as Biden's seem to be, while Obama was raked over the coals over every little thing, and now Palin is because no one knew anything about her, and what we're now finding out doesn't seem so great. Sure, it would be nice to talk more about policy. I futily still continue to post in the Iraq thread. But most of us know policy already. And those that don't, sadly focus on things like personality. The nature of American politics, and our ratings driven media. McCain wasn't very interesting, Obama was. Biden wasn't very interesting, now Palin is. All there is to it. Media likes controversy, and they define the narrative.
     
  24. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #24
    neiltc13, I think you're spot-on.

    As government has become larger and ever more intrusive, the control of the federal budget has become ever more important. That's the basis for the inter-party warfare.

    Given what's known about selling to the American public, courtesy the good folks of Madison Avenue, the politicos merely follow well-established paths in selling their product. Since the opinions of such as Oprah and suchlike seem to sway certain blocs of voters, much of the political rhetoric is aimed at those audiences.

    Matters of substance cannot be adequately described in thirty-second sound-bites, so they're glossed over in favor of personal chest thumping or in personal attacks against opponents.

    Most of it is meaningless trivia, much like the thread about Palin and the airplane, or about family stuff. Similarly for arguments over Obama's religion, whatever it is.

    Sadly, the increased importance of political power over the federal budget has gotten this country into unending campaigning. Our two-year elections are now immediately followed by fund-raising activities, and our four-year elections now have two years of babble. The result, mostly, is boredom on the part of about half of the electorate. No matter who wins, the society loses.
     

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