Saturday, May 31, 2008

D-Day for Clinton: Florida / Michigan

Dear Daniel,
Michigan & Florida - Make Sure They Have a Voice!

Millions of voters in Florida and Michigan are depending on you to help make sure they have a voice in this race. Will you stand up for them today?

Thanks to your efforts, thanks to the hundreds of thousands of people who have already spoken out, the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee is meeting May 31 to make a decision about whether or not the votes in Michigan and Florida will count.

Now I need you to urge the DNC to make the right decision on May 31. I need you to remind them that in the Democratic Party, we count every vote.

Tell the Democratic National Committee to count the votes of Florida and Michigan.

On May 31, the DNC has a chance to make it clear that the people of Florida and Michigan have a voice in our party. The decision is especially critical given the important role these states will play in November.

And your voice could make the difference for the millions of people who went to the polls in those two states to make their choice for president.

- See here's my problem with the Clinton message, the lesson of 2000 was that every voter should get an equal chance to vote and have their vote counted. And we all can see that in Florida and Michigan many voters did not get an opportunity to participate in a fair and open primary process. To now retrospectively discount the votes of those who could not choose the candidate of their choice is just plain wrong.

And for that reason I believe that to seek to claim the nomination on the basis of a partial primary process in these two states is illegitimate. Senator Clinton has run an inspiring race but to now try and claim the nomination while ignoring those excluded from the Florida and Michigan primary processes is unbecoming the person and candidate that people have come to know her to be.

In the Democratic Party, everyone gets to vote for the candidate of their choice, every vote is equal and then and only then every vote is

Social networking and suicide article in IT today

Have a small contribution in the Irish times today on a piece on social networks and suicide, (subs. reqd.). I must get around to posting the larger, longer and more rambling version of my comments here later. Overall, I think the piece steers a careful path through what are very choppy waters for such a discussion.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

As many FF Voters as FG are opposed to the Lisbon Treaty

From the poll in last weekend's Business Post a rather basic fact appears to have been overlooked which is that as many FF people as FG people have yet to be convinced of the merits of the Treaty.

Quoting from the Post article. "The intensive campaigning by the new Taoiseach Brian Cowen, who has risked his political honeymoon on the success of the referendum, is bearing fruit with Fianna Fáil voters who now favour the treaty by a huge margin. For the first time, an absolute majority of Fianna Fáil voters say they will support the treaty.

However, despite an active Fine Gael campaign and the appeal by party leader Enda Kenny to ‘‘put the country first’’, Fine Gael voters are evenly divided between the Yes and No side. This may be explained by many voters identifying the referendum as a proposal from the government and, therefore, something to be opposed."

The full report as posted by RED C

So FG support is supposedly 28% and FF is on 40%, and we heard that FG is evenly divided on the subject while an "absolute majority" of FFers are supportive of the treaty which I believe we are to take to mean 50%+1 of the FF support meaning 20% of the electorate. Allowing for the same amount of undecided voters within FF and FG and the general electorate which is 25%. So we get

FF 40%, of which 20% Yes, 10% undecided, 10% No.
FG 28% of which 10.5% Yes, 7% undecided, and 10.5% No.

Since this is a poll, and we're dealing with a margin of error of +/- 3%, I think it is reasonable to suggest that An Taoiseach Brian Cowen has as many of his own supporters to convince to not vote No as does FG. And he actually has more voters in total to win over than does FG.

After all when you go into the polling station a single FG vote is worth no more that a single FF vote.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Brian Cowen is Michael Noonan 2.0

To paraphrase from Seamus Mallon, "Brian Cowen is Michael Noonan for slow learners". Noonan had an established talent for marking his opposite spokesperson, a neat turn of phrase (read some of his budget rebuttals) and was very popular with the party stalwarts for his willingness to get stuck into people he was debating with. And yet for those same reasons he was the wrong person to lead Fine Gael when he came to the position. Bertie Ahern was the embodiment of the expression "trying to nail jelly to the wall", getting in close and making digs and punches did nothing for your side of the argument.

Noonan as a man wasn't as needlessly aggressive as Cowen can be but his appeal to the party footsoldiers was similar. People in political parties love someone who can take the hits for them and come back out fighting. Yet the floating, middle ground people who pay only superficial attention to politics are completely turned off by what they see as unnecessary antics.

I suspect that someone somewhere within FF will take Cowen off and attempt to do what they must have done to the Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue last summer and get him in touch with some Zen master. Otherwise, he is going to blow his top every other week.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Voting on Lisbon - update 1

After the weekend that was in it, the comments from Brian Cowen, and the mood music coming from the IFA, I would judge that the No vote has breached the 40% barrier and then some, I would even put it as high as 43%. Why?

Well, Cowen has probably with a single comment made a percentage of people from an Fine Gael inclined background decide that they can't be bothered to come out and vote for what they now see as his effing Treaty. It's not a very sensible attitude but it is entirely understandable. This may back to more difficult to

The IFA seem to be itchy for a fight and could talk themselves into a corner that they could only be got out of by Cowen going 12 rounds with Mandelsohn live on telly.

I would rate the Yes vote at 55% and the remainder spoiled - we're going to see a quare amount of spoiled votes in my humble opinion, over 2%.

Shifting the blame so early

I’ve read some attempts to shift the blame for failure in my time but rarely so far in advance of the end of the contest. Noel Whelan’s column, Irish Times May 24th, followed so closely by the comments from Brian Cowen that the onus for the success of the Lisbon Treaty was on Fine Gael rather than the government of the day has to take the proverbial biscuit.

Let us recall that the main government party spent much of the time it could have spent addressing concerns about the Treaty conducting a swansong for its outgoing leader, while telling anyone who had concerns that they were lulus who were only interested in making a holy show of us by voting no and just stopped short of sending them to bed without their supper.

If the government were serious from the outset about meeting head on the genuine qualms that many people had expressed they would have selected someone other than a man who would cause Americans to harbour doubts about the loveliness of their mothers and the tastiness of apple pie. The smug condescension from the junior minister with special responsibility for European Affairs can have convinced few floaters to choose the ‘Yes’ side.

In terms the Taoiseach might be more familiar with, his comments are like those of a player who never turns up for training, and upon coming back from suspension for ungentlemanly conduct enters onto the field of play at the county final with ten minutes left. He then demands rather then asks that all those who have been there from the start of the championship must dig deep, give 110% and sweat blood all the while he has yet to kick a ball in anger. With ‘encouragement’ to the Yes side like this, does the No side require any more help?