Posts Tagged ‘Justin Webb’
A new radio series, America, Empire of Liberty has started on Radio 4, past episodes you can listen to on the web – with an introductory debate on what events shaped America today, chaired by by Justin Webb. This is a regular Monday to Friday starting from 15th September lasting six weeks. Plenty of stuff going into detail, with the first week covering lost civilisations to English Planters.
The title is inspired by Jefferson:
“We shall divert through our own Country a branch of commerce which the European States have thought worthy of the most important struggles and sacrifices, and in the event of peace on terms which have been contemplated by some powers we shall form to the American union a barrier against the dangerous extension of the British Province of Canada and add to the Empire of liberty an extensive and fertile Country thereby converting dangerous Enemies into valuable friends.”
The Radio 4 programme is hosted by David Reynolds, Professor of International History at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Christ’s College. In three series it will charts the development of the United States, exploring three key themes: Empire, Liberty and Faith.
Which has come at the right time as I am halfway through reading Matt Frie’s (Webb’s fellow man from the BBC in the States) Only In America. Walking through the Washington Mall in DC made me fall in love with the Capitol so reading about Frei’s experience living there and reporting has been enjoyable. His injection of humor and turn of phrase makes the book a page turner while covering such events as Katrina, the White House, and trying to get a driving license and living on Tilden Street.
The more well known John Sergeant (who survived the first cull in Strictly Come Dancing on TV, with the 64 former BBC political editor being described as a warm Uncle on the dance floor) said of Frei’s work:
If you are searching for a book to describe the current mood in America, look no further… He moves from high politics to daily life with an engaging confidence
Is America a world guarantee of liberty or an evil empire? The debate programme covers in part religion giving a false moral rationale to justify actions (rather than a cause of) – such as Palin describing US troops being deployed in Iraq as “a task that is from God” being routed in the Puritan past. I agree with Biden’s (remember him?) comment that Bush did not ask god if he should go into Iraq – rather he prayed that it was the right thing to do having made the decision. Religion in American politics is a cover, rather like sheep’s clothing, that allows you to do things that would be considered questionable if not outright wrong.
However, if people really think they are instruments of god and that inexperience is therefore not a problem, may want to give us pause. That a well formed world view is seeing Russia from your bedroom window, rather than having a battered passport, give us a concern that they should get out more. Like a fire bell in the night the question of how Palin is considered Presidential material alarms, as the bell weather states warm to McCain over his running mate.
All I know is that I audaciously hope John McCain has a long life well into his 80s. I wonder if we can get a mantra going on that?
It would seem unthinkable unless there was a huge scandal that has yet to come out about Obama; calling a reporter sweetie is not one. Reminds me of when I said “Sorry love” to a rival female candidate during last years local elections. She lived in the local ward I was contesting, though she was standing at the county level. I had padlocked my bicycle to her railings which she took umbrage at. My apology caused her to reveal who she was, and make the comment that it was because I was a liberal and that she was Labour that she would not allow me to safeguard my bike. And that I was not her love – it is very much a regional address (like “my flower” or “me duck”) that is not meant to be degrading but I accepted the rebuke with good humour and campaigned the harder for it.
The only scandal I can think of that may have rocked my political career involving my bike is that in racing to the ballot box in my own ward, the British National Party candidate looked after my bike so I could vote in time. Whether having a racist politician look after your bike while you voted would not make you a credible candidate I am not sure. It was telling that they were the only candidates staying there to the close of the polls and that they were very presentable in ways that their policies are not.
So does Obama have anything worse than that in his closet that could yet make the super delegates turn to Clinton? Realistically that is the only hope that Clinton has of winning the nomination. The other is that Clinton can convince that come the election in November she can get the vote out better than Obama – to this her 67% to 26% win over Obama in West Virgina. Super delegates are coming out for Obama, and Clinton may try to claim she is the biggest swinger in town (or at least in turning Swing States that the Democrats would not otherwise win).
As I have pointed out before in my weblog, under the old nomination rules where winner takes all Clinton would be the winner. That must hurt seeing as she advocated the change in the rules.
Meanwhile another prediction comes true – that Edwards would support Obama. I based that on how his supporters refused to greet Clinton. I honestly think that Edwards leaving it till this late to declare his support will make his chances of the Vice Presidency more likely – it also may help Obama in November to reach out to those that voted for Clinton. Justin Webb disagrees that it benefits Obama, but makes Clinton’s case that Obama is a sinking ship not a credible one. I think Webb does not recognise the fact that Edwards will get the Democrats that Obama may not.
The wheels have not come of the Obama campaign, and no scandal seems to be on the horizon – the only ones seem to be past associates that Obama has distanced himself from, a wacko pastor and a crooked businessman. Short of finding out that Obama used to visit Neverland during school breaks his nomination seems assured and not the fairytale that Bill Clinton once called it.