lundi 6 octobre 2008

The World According to Le Monde

View from abroad

The coverage offered by Le Monde of American politics, especially around elections, has always been nothing short of spectacular. Below, my quick and dirty translation of Le Monde's wrap-up of the issues being reported by a broad spectrum of the US press. Not just the New York Times, but also the San Jose Mercury News. I don't read the latter, and I don't always have time to read everything in the former. But I am thankful for Le Monde, which reads and digests the newsflow from my country better than any other source available to me. The smart-ass parenthetical remarks are mine; Le Monde would never stoop so low. As for me, I stoop to conquer.

Now that Congress has passed Paulson's bailout plan in "bipartisan" fashion, the race between Republicans and Democrats for control of the White House has resumed with a vengeance. With just four weeks to go, the most recent polls show that Obama's lead is widening (see RealClearPolitics). If the election were held today, the Dem would get 273 electoral votes - which is three more than he needs to get into the White House. And this comes from none other than former Bush advisor Karl Rove. (Translator's note: You can bet that Karl Rove has his Rolodex out right now and is "spinning" it furiously, because that's what he does. Spin, baby, spin.)

Nine US states that traditionally vote Republican in presidential elections could tilt in favor of Barack Obama on November 4, according to Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny (The New York Times). The "maverick" campaign is spinning its wheels - John McCain has given up in Michigan - and getting radical. Sarah Palin has accused Obama of "palling around" with "terrorists" - Bill Ayers, a former Weather Underground militant who now teaches in Chicago, according to the San Jose Mercury News (Translator's note: Sarah doesn't talk one way in San Jose and another way in San Francisco -- she skips San Francisco altogether).

The financial crisis and the current economic situation are at the center of this campaign (Translator's note: where they should be!), which gives the Democrats a considerable boost. The Los Angeles Times quotes McCain advisor Greg Strimple, who says that the Republicans want to turn the page on the financial crisis and go back to talking about the agressively leftist voting record of Senator Obama and the risk that this represents for Americans. (Translator's note: If only it were that simple to get rid of the financial crisis - poof poof - and just get back to talking about the real issue: that leftist threat hovering over our poor American heads.)

More and more US publications are making their endorsements, like The New Yorker, which notes that "Obama would make a better president" after "eight years of Republican disaster." (Translator's note: Has it been eight years already? How time flies!)

Just as voter registration deadlines approach - on Monday in many states - the number of registered democrats has increased considerably, according to the Washington Post. And the Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas) states that 13.2 million have registered in Texas.
The number of voters removed due to death or change of address is not known. The Chicago Tribune reports that a Federal law encouraging the creation of state-by-state databases is being contested in a number of jurisdictions. "There is a court hearing campaign going on undeneath the presidential campaign" according to the paper, in particular in places where the race is tight.

Voting has begun in states that authorize early voting by mail. This is the case in Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and in California, where nearly a third of the 16 million registered voters have asked for permission to use this process, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. (Translator's note: They're afraid the Republicans will try to do what they did in Florida back in 2000 - i.e., discourage voters from going to the polls in certain heavily Democratic counties by setting up police roadblocks. That's right, folks. Your tax dollars at work. Keeping those dangerous leftists off our roads and out of our polling places. Whew! I feel safer, don't you?)