Archive for the ‘election’ Category

Will Obama Defend Iraq’s Gains?

February 13, 2009

Preoccupied as it was poring over Tom Daschle’s tax returns, Washington hardly noticed a near-miracle abroad. Iraq held provincial elections. There was no Election Day violence. Security was handled by Iraqi forces with little U.S. involvement. A fabulous bazaar of 14,400 candidates representing 400 parties participated, yielding results highly favorable to both Iraq and the United States.

By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post

Iraq moved away from religious sectarianism toward more secular nationalism. “All the parties that had the words ‘Islamic’ or ‘Arab’ in their names lost,” noted Middle East expert Amir Taheri. “By contrast, all those that had the words ‘Iraq’ or ‘Iraqi’ gained.”
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki went from leader of a small Islamic party to leader of the “State of Law Party,” campaigning on security and secular nationalism. He won a smashing victory. His chief rival, a more sectarian and pro-Iranian Shiite religious party, was devastated. Another major Islamic party, the pro-Iranian Sadr faction, went from 11 percent of the vote to 3 percent, losing badly in its stronghold of Baghdad. The Islamic Fadhila party that had dominated Basra was almost wiped out.

The once-dominant Sunni party affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and the erstwhile insurgency was badly set back. New grass-roots tribal (“Awakening”) and secular Sunni leaders emerged.

All this barely pierced the consciousness of official Washington. After all, it fundamentally contradicts the general establishment/media narrative of Iraq as “fiasco.”

read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conten
t/article/2009/02/12/AR2009021203012.htm
l?hpid=opinionsbox1

Israel Lurches Right; Prospects For Peace Gone

February 11, 2009

Israel headed for political gridlock on Wednesday after its election produced rival winners.

Analysts said the country was as split as the Palestinians and the prospects of the two making peace were dimmer than ever.

Reuters

Centrist Tzipi Livni’s Kadima party won the most votes but had little chance of building enough support for a coalition. Right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu can get the support, but analysts said the likely coalition would prove dysfunctional.

“I won,” read the headline of the country’s biggest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, over photos of both leaders. But to some commentators, the rival claims showed Israel had lost. “One thing is clear to all Israeli voters,” said the paper’s Eitan Haber. “The political system is shattered.”

President Shimon Peres must now decide whether to call on Livni or Netanyahu, who then has 42 days to form a government.

Israeli media said it seemed he would have no choice but to tap Netanyahu if the majority rightist parties all back him.

But it would be the first time in Israel’s 60-year history that the winner of an election would be passed over.

The results, not yet official, gave Netanyahu 27 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, while Livni’s Kadima won 28.

She said she would be prime minister and invited Netanyahu to join a “unity government”. But Netanyahu said he would lead the “nationalist camp” in parliament, and control 64 seats.

“With God’s help I will lead the next government,” Netanyahu, 59, told supporters of his Likud party.

“Tzipi Livni has only the slightest chance, or none at all, of forming a government under her leadership,” said Abraham Diskin, a political scientist at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

HARD RIGHT IN PIVOTAL POSITION

Avigdor Lieberman’s far-right, anti-Arab Yisrael Beiteinu party, now third largest, emerged as a potential kingmaker.

“We want a nationalist government. We want a rightist government,” he said. A deal was needed as fast as possible because the state “has been paralysed for half a year”.

Read the rest:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/middleea
stCrisis/idUKLB505486?sp=true

Israel: Inconclusive Election May Make Middle East Peace Illusive

February 11, 2009

“I voted to improve security,” one man told CBS News.

The election is over in Israel and now a government has to be formed.

But the election showed how muchmany Israelis now worry about Iran, Hezbollad and Hamas around them.  This will make for a very difficult tals for thise seeking a lasting Middle east Paece.

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By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM – Inconclusive election results sent Israel into political limbo Wednesday with both Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and hard-line leader Benjamin Netanyahu claiming victory and leaving the kingmaker role to a rising political hawk with an anti-Arab platform.

Livni’s Kadima Party won 28 seats, just one more than Netanyahu’s Likud, in Tuesday’s election for the 120-member parliament, according to nearly complete results. With neither party winning a clear majority, neither can govern alone. Gains by right-wing parties give Netanyahu a better chance of forming a coalition with his natural allies.

The results set the stage for what could be weeks of coalition negotiations. Israeli media reported the first meetings were scheduled for Wednesday.

Such paralysis could dampen prospects for Egyptian-led attempts to broker a truce between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers after Israel’s devastating offensive in Gaza last month. Hamas might be reluctant to sign a deal at the risk of having it overturned by the incoming coalition.

Whatever government is forged, it is unlikely to move quickly toward peace talks with the Palestinians and instead could find itself on a collision course with President Barack Obama, who has said he’s making a Mideast peace deal a priority.

It’s up to Israeli President Shimon Peres to decide whether Livni or Netanyahu should have the first shot at forming a government. Peres will meet with party leaders to hear their recommendations, and then has a week to make up his mind.

However, the final word may be up to ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman, a former Netanyahu protege and perhaps Israel’s most divisive politician, whose rightist Yisrael Beiteinu gained four seats in the election to hold 15.

Lieberman kept his options open, saying he spoke both to Livni and Netanyahu after the polls closed. “We want a right-wing government,” Lieberman told party activists, but added that “we do not rule out anyone.”

Several hours after polls closed, Livni and Netanyahu staged rival victory rallies.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090211/ap_on_
re_mi_ea/ml_israel_politics_2

Former reformist Iranian president will run again

February 8, 2009

Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami declared Sunday he would run again for president, setting the stage for a major political showdown in coming months between the popular reformist leader _ who made dialogue with the West a centerpiece of his eight years in office _ and the country’s ruling hard-liners.

Khatami’s candidacy poses a serious challenge to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose mixture of anti-Western rhetoric and fiery nationalism sharply contrasts with Khatami’s tempered tones and appeals for global dialogue.

“I seriously announce my candidacy in the next (presidential) election,” Khatami announced Sunday after a meeting with his supporters.

AP

Iran's former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, left, seen, ... 
Iran’s former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, left, seen, at a ceremony organized by his party, a group of pro-reform clerics, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009. Iran’s former reformist president declared Sunday that he will run for president again in the country’s upcoming elections, posing a serious challenge to hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

He said he decided to seek the presidency in the June 12 vote because it was impossible for someone like himself who was interested in the fate of Iran to remain silent. The 65-year-old liberal cleric said he is “attached to the country’s greatness and the people’s right to have control over their own fate.”

Khatami’s decision to run against Ahmadinejad could significantly shake up Iran’s politics, appealing to citizens disillusioned by the country’s failing economy and Ahmadinejad’s staunch anti-U.S. foreign policy.

Relations between the United States and Iran improved marginally during Khatami’s eight years in office, and he encouraged athletic and cultural exchanges….

Read the rest:
http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009
/feb/08/former-reformist-iranian-presi
dent-will-run-again/

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/m
east/02/08/iran.khatami/index.html

Troubling Obama Trends Seen By Some In Military? Why Die For “Limited Goals” In Afghanistan?

February 2, 2009

 Not happy that President Obama didn’t make more of the election in Iraq?  There has been nothing like this election in the mostly Muslim Iraq in 40 plus years….

Below by Oliver North:

Failing to declare this election a major victory in the war being waged against us by radical Islam is a mistake. Obama could have mentioned the Iraqi elections in his “first formal television interview” — given on Monday to Hisham Melhem of Saudi-owned, Dubai-based, Al-Arabiya, satellite network. Regrettably, he never mentioned it.
.

Instead, he talked about “communicating a message to the Arab world and the Muslim world, that we are ready to initiate a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest.” He also responded to his interlocutor in ways that denigrated his predecessors with phrases like, his desire “to listen, set aside some of the preconceptions that have existed and have built up over the last several years.”

During the interview, Obama also spoke wistfully of the “respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago,” and added, “there’s no reason why we can’t restore that.”

Some will say it isn’t fair to make our new commander in chief stick to the facts. That’s the trouble with television interviews. They are on tape and stay around for years. If you are going to do them, it helps to know the facts.

Let’s see, 30 years ago — 1979 — the year that Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran, the “Islamic Revolution” was proclaimed, the U.S. was first described as “the Great Satan,” our embassy in Tehran was sacked and 53 Americans were held hostage for 444 days. That’s probably not the kind of “respect” Mr. Obama had in mind.

How about 20 years ago — 1989: While investigators were still combing the wreckage of PanAm flight 103, in Lockerbie, Scotland, Libyan dictator Muammar Ghadafi sent MiG-23s to attack a U.S. Navy Carrier Battle Group in the Mediterranean. Final score: U.S. Navy 2, Libya 0. Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie. Islamic radicals murdered the President of Lebanon and Saddam Hussein issued mobilization orders in preparation for invading Kuwait the following August.

Some “partnership.”

Unfortunately, the Al-Arabiya interview isn’t the only troubling talk coming from the Obama administration that could well leave members of our all-volunteer force wondering just what is expected of them. In congressional testimony this week, Defense Secretary Gates said that even though Afghanistan was the new commander in chief’s “top priority,” we also “ought to keep our objectives realistic and limited in Afghanistan.”

I have spent my life in and around our military. Everyone I’ve ever known in our Armed Forces believes in “realistic” missions and goals. But, I’ve yet to meet the man or woman in uniform who is willing to sacrifice all for “respect,” a “partnership” or a “limited objective.”

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,485929,00.html

Related:
 Obama Told His Actions On Gitmo Could “jeopardize those who are fighting the war on terror”

Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein

Israel Wants Peace and To Be Free of Gaza; But Ready For Hamas Attacks

February 2, 2009

“Peace cannot be postponed for another four years,” President Shimon Peres of Israel said on Monday.

Next week Israelis will vote and elect a new government.  President Peres wants to make sure the next government seeks peace with both Hamas and the Palestinians.

Israel wants peace so that it doesn’t find itself responsible for the rehabilitation, administration, development and social welfare of Gaza.   

“It’s possible that Hamas will try its luck again. And Fatah won’t give up on its path,” he said, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ rival movement. “We will need to choose between war on Hamas as a first option and pay its price, or progress in negotiations with the Palestinians – to expedite them, and complete them during the beginning of the next government’s term.”

But Peres added that, “It’s possible that we will need to combine the two, despite the contradiction.”

From The Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1233304
661466&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

From Haaretz:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1060876.html

Should Illinois and New York Voters Be Pleased With Their Governor’s Appointments to the U.S. Senate?

January 24, 2009

Spare us the circus.  States should elect their U.S. Senators….

Two Governors recently made single-man selections of United States Senators — a practice voters should no longer tolerate.

Governors have the power to appoint “interim” Senators in cases such as when a seated and elected Senator’s dies.  But in each of these cases, there seems to have been ample time and reason to hold special elections to allow the people to decide who they wanted representing them in the United States Senate….

Related:
Burris Caper Highlights Bad Thinking of Congressional Democrats, Harry Reid

 Rethink Practice of Governors Filling Vacant U.S. Senate Seats

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By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer

The departure of four Democratic senators this year has cast a new — and at times, unflattering — light on governors and their power to fill Senate vacancies.

While governors must call a special election to replace members of the House who resign or die before their term is up, 38 states allow governors the sole power to appoint an interim senator, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.

Just nine states require a special election to fill a Senate vacancy. In three other states — Hawaii, Utah and Wyoming — governors must select a candidate from a list of prospective appointees submitted by representatives of the departing incumbent’s political party.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich makes a statement at a news conference ... 
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich makes a statement at a news conference Friday, Jan. 23, 2009 in Chicago, as the Illinois Senate prepares for a trial that could remove him from office.The two term Governor was impeached by the Illinois House on a wide array of offenses including criminal corruption and wasting taxpayers money. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Choosing a new senator has led to considerable drama for the four governors tasked with doing so this year. All have weathered some level of opprobrium for their choices or for how they handled the selection, with one — Rod Blagojevich of Illinois — facing criminal charges for trying to barter President Barack Obama‘s former seat for cash and favors.

“Politically, the choices made by the governors so far have been pretty odd,” said Seth Masket, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Denver.

Most recently, New York Gov. David Paterson engaged in a messy, drawn-out effort to name a replacement for Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama’s secretary of state. The process was largely dominated by a high-profile lobbying campaign by Caroline Kennedy, the 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy hoping to win the nod.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090124/a
p_on_el_se/appointing_senators

New York Gov. David Paterson, seen here in 2008, has chosen ... 
New York Gov. David Paterson, seen here in 2008, has chosen state congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, a relative unknown on the political scene, to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, US media said Friday.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Chris Hondros)

McCain Tells Republicans: Get Along and Get To Work

January 23, 2009

“I remind all my colleagues: We had an election,” McCain noted. “I think the message the American people are sending us now is they want us to work together, and get to work.”

By Shailagh Murray
The Washington Post

A joke made its way around the Capitol yesterday: How do you know the 2008 election is really over? Because John McCain is causing trouble for Republicans again.

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) greets his former opponent Senator ... 
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) greets his former opponent Senator John McCain (R-AZ) as Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and McCain’s wife Cindy McCain watch in Statutory Hall at the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 20, 2009. Barack Obama became the first black U.S. president on Tuesday and declared it is time to set aside petty differences and embark on a new era of responsibility to repair the country and its image abroad.REUTERS/Harry Hamburg/Pool (UNITED STATES)

Two and a half months removed from his defeat in the race for the presidency, colleagues say, McCain bears more resemblance to the unpredictable and frequently bipartisan lawmaker they have served with for decades than the man who ran an often scathing campaign against Barack Obama. In some instances, he’s even carrying water for his former rival.

“Mac is back!” one of his devoted friends in the Senate declared as McCain walked into the chamber Wednesday to deliver his first speech of the 111th Congress: a blunt admonishment of Republicans delaying Hillary Rodham Clinton’s confirmation as secretary of state.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ar
ticle/2009/01/22/AR2009012203928.html

Brit View of Obama on Inauguration Day

January 20, 2009

“‘Only a handful of generations have been asked to confront challenges as serious as the ones we face right now.”

By Toby Harnden, US Editor in Washington
The Telegraph
.
An economic crisis and a collapse of confidence in American capitalism.

The departure of a reviled predecessor who bequeathed an unpopular war.

These were the challenges faced, respectively, by presidents Abraham Lincoln in 1861, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 and Gerald Ford – the last United States commander-in-chief to arrive from Congress – in 1974.

President Barack Obama will have to deal with not just one of these situations but all three. Not only that but the expectations of him in some quarters, which aides are now frantically trying to manage, border on the divine.

Like John F. Kennedy in 1961, he arrives as a former Senator with an attractive young family who has just broken through a historic barrier and upon whose shoulders the hopes and dreams of Americans now rest.

Of these four former presidents, two were cut down in their prime by an assassin’s bullet and have been judged reverently by historians. Mr Roosevelt completed two terms and is judged as a great president. Mr Ford, however, was rejected by voters and only in death was accorded a verdict of grudging, and limited admiration.

While great challenges present the opportunity for a president to make his mark on history, falling short in testing times is a quick route to ignominy.

The signs for Mr Obama are propitious. His predecessor George W. Bush departed office with an approval rating of just 22 per cent, making him the most unpopular outgoing president since polls began after plummeting from record poll support after the September 11 attacks of 2001.

As the first black president of a nation founded by slave owners, Mr Obama has a deep well of goodwill from which to draw. Already, he has enough political capital to act boldly and risk making some mistakes.

During the 77-day transition of power, the former Illinois senator has drawn praise even from his detractors for a deliberate and well planned organisation – helped greatly by gracious co-operation from Mr Bush – that avoided the pitfalls and chaos that so many incoming presidents fell victim to.

Mr Obama himself has hailed his post-election efficiency, highlighting another potential problem – a self-confidence that occasionally borders on smugness.

“Early on, maybe we made it look too easy,” he said last week. “I think people should just remember what we accomplished here. We put a cabinet and White House staff in place in record time in the midst of the biggest emergency since World War Two. That’s a pretty good track record.”

Mr Obama’s most significant move has been to enlist his campaign opponent Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. But while this may have neutralised a potential enemy, he also runs the risk of allowing the former First Lady – who still harbours presidential ambitions for 2012 – to build up a rival power base from within.

He might also have sowed the seeds of disillusionment among some of his more idealistic activists, who took him at his word when he said he would change politics and draw a line under the Bush-Clinton White House years stretching back to 1988.

Now, Mr Obama is filling his administration with former Clinton advisers and it is an open question whether this strategy is clever magnanimity or folly.

Invoking a spirit of bipartisanship, Mr Obama has kept on Robert Gates, Mr Bush’s Pentagon chief, and assiduously wooed Senator John McCain, his general election opponent and a foreign policy hawk.

Mr Obama has been lauded for dining with conservative columnists in Washington. But this olive branch might owe more to a concern about shaping elite opinion as it does to a genuine desire to take heed of opposing viewpoints.

In his career thus far, Mr Obama’s bipartisanship has seldom extended much further than the rhetorical flourishes of his speeches.

Already, Mr Obama has tempered some of his more liberal campaign pronouncements, even praising Dick Cheney, who has a public approval rating of 13 per cent and was branded by his successor Joe Biden as “the most dangerous vice president we’ve had”, for advocating caution over changing legal and intelligence rules.

After Mr Cheney said tartly that “before you start to implement your campaign rhetoric you need to sit down and find out precisely what it is we did and how we did it” Mr Obama responded: “I think that was pretty good advice.”

Although Mr Obama intends to issue an executive order directing the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp after seven years, his aides concede that it may take at least a year to achieve this. Freeing inmates, he concedes, could put America at grave risk.

In his November 4 victory speech, Mr Obama proclaimed “to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world” that “a new dawn of American leadership is at hand”.

The reality might not be quite so simple. Israel used the transition to mount a ferocious assault on Gaza in a blatant attempt to change the facts on the ground before the new president was sworn in.

Nothing Mr Obama said on the campaign trail indicated he would depart from America’s traditional staunch support of Israel. The domestic financial crisis, moreover, not to mention the weakening of Israel’s peace lobby, is likely to limit the chances of a serious attempt at negotiating a Middle East peace in his first term.

Elected on the basis on ending the Iraq war, Mr Obama will need to safeguard the gains the Iraq troop surge – which he opposed – if he is to keep the US on the path to victory.

In Afghanistan – the “good” war for which Mr Obama has pledged his own troop surge – the dangers of troops becoming bogged down and facing an ever-fiercer insurgency are acute.

Among Mr Bush’s greatest achievements has been to prevent an attack in the more than seven years since al-Qaeda struck the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, slaughtering more than 3,000.

While Mr Obama’s pledge to outlaw torture and follow international law have earned him international plaudits, American opinion could turn swiftly against him if he is blamed for leaving his country vulnerable to Islamist extremists.

Mr Bush’s unpopularity abroad has tended to mask the extent to which many of his policies have been fairly standard approaches to promoting enduring American interests. The world might well be disappointed to find out that Mr Obama might not adopt a radically different foreign policy.

During the campaign, a loose-lipped Mr Biden warned that Mr Obama would face an early test by terrorists or a hostile foreign power. In 1993, President Bill Clinton has to respond to an attempt to blow up the World Trade Centre in New York and deal with a failed American humanitarian mission in Somalia.

Mr Bush’s aversion to “nation building” and plans for a “humble” foreign policy were shelved after the 9/11 attacks. Mr Obama is likely to face challenges that could knock him off course and make him question his foreign policy instincts.

Asked by a homeless shelter worker on Tuesday whether he was sweating, Mr Obama – a supremely fit 47-year-old who is devoted to the gym and basketball – responded: “Nah, I don’t sweat. You ever see me sweat?” Keeping his cool in government might be more of a challenge than he imagines.

As Christopher Hitchens, who voted for Mr Obama put it this week, “there’s an element of hubris in all this current hope-mongering”.

While many presidents have entered the White House with similarly thin foreign policy experience, few have been as green as Mr Obama.

A United States Senator for a mere four years, he has never held executive office and it remains to be seen how his calm, deliberate manner will translate into dealing with the hurly-burly of governing and unexpected events.

Mr Obama prides himself on his normality and his ability to relate to ordinary Americans. As recently as 2000, he made an ill-fated trip to Los Angeles in which he had his credit card rejected and failed to gain admittance to the Democratic party convention. Four years ago, he could shop in Washington unmolested.

Already, Mr Obama is chafing against being inside “the bubble”, insulated from life beyond his inner circle. Against the advice of his lawyers, he appears poised to keep his beloved BlackBerry, a link to the outside world.

But power and security – already at unprecedented levels for Mr Obama – can be distorting. Mr Bush was mocked for declaring himself “the decider”, as if it did not matter what anyone else thought.

Responding In November to claims that his appointment of Clinton associates was an abandonment of his campaign slogan of “change”, Mr Obama seemed to say that he was the personification of change and his very presence should be enough to reassure.

“Understand where the vision for change comes from, first and foremost,” he said. “It comes from me.”

The comedian Chris Rock has compared Mr Obama to a celebrity who is beyond mockery. “There’s no Brad Pitt jokes. You know, what are you going to say? “Ooh, you used to have sex with Jennifer Anniston. Now you have sex with Angelina Jolie. You’re such a loser. There’s nothing to say about Brad Pitt.”

Mr Obama was similar. “It’s like ‘Ooh, you’re young and virile and you’ve got a beautiful wife and kids. You’re the first African-American president.’ You know, what do you say?” As president, however, this sweet spot cannot last and one of Mr Obama’s biggest tests might come when his poll ratings slip and, as he inevitably will, he occasionally looks a little foolish.

Mr Obama’s inauguration speech contained clear echoes of Mr Kennedy’s 1961 address. The former Massachusetts senator called for patience, telling Americans: “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days.

Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime… But let us begin.”

Mr Kennedy also called Americans to service with the famous exhortation: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country… My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

But Mr Kennedy proved to be a cautious even timid president and, buffeted by events and slowed by a desire to remain popular, Mr Obama might yet be slow to match the fineness of his words with effective action.

Recognising the daunting task ahead of him, Mr Obama told crowds on Monday: “‘Only a handful of generations have been asked to confront challenges as serious as the ones we face right now.

“Our nation is at war, our economy is in crisis. Millions of Americans are losing their jobs and their homes. They’re worried about how they’ll afford college for their kids or pay the stack of bills on their kitchen tables.

“And most of all, they are anxious and uncertain about the future, about whether this generation of Americans will be able to pass on what’s best about this country to our children and their children.”

The fact that the economic crisis erupted in the final days of the Bush administration will allow Mr Obama some respite. The nearly one trillion dollars he will be able to release in economic stimulus funds could pay for many of his campaign spending promises.

But Wednesday, which new White House aides are calling “day one”, will mark the moment when Mr Obama’s uncommon eloquence and ability to encapsulate America’s ills will become mere prologue.

If can overcome the huge challenges that he spoken of so lyrically then greatness awaits him. But other new presidents who have promised to change Washington and usher in a new era have found that events and the limits of the power of the White House have conspired to stifle their dreams.

Caroline Kennedy Registered in 1988, “Hasn’t Voted a Lot”

December 19, 2008

Many seem overjoyed at the notion that a woman who doesn’t vote much may become the next U.S. Senator from New York by gaining only one vote herself: the vote of the Governor of New York David Paterson ….

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Caroline Kennedy wants to be the next senator from New York,  but her voting record is already spotty, the Daily News has found.

City Board of Elections records show Kennedy has failed to vote in many elections since she registered in the city in 1988 – including votes for the Senate seat she hopes to fill and numerous Democratic faceoffs for mayor.

ByErin Einhorn and David Saltonstall  
New York Daily News

Caroline Kennedy lacks political experience but she brings the ... 
Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, listens to a reporter’s question.  Kennedy is campaigning for the open Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.
(AP Photo/Don Heupel)

“It doesn’t speak to a deep-felt commitment to the electoral process,” Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio said when told of Kennedy’s ballot breakdowns.

Records show Kennedy did not pull the lever for any of her fellow Democrats in city primary races for mayor in 1989, 1993 and 1997 and 2005, which Republicans went on to win three out of four times in the general election.

She was also AWOL for the primary and general elections in 1994, when Sen. Daniel Moynihan was running for reelection to the seat Kennedy hopes to hold.

Read the rest:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/1
2/18/2008-12-18_records_show_caroline
_kennedy_failed_to_.html

New York Gov. David Paterson speaks during a news conference ... 
New York Gov. David Paterson speaks during a news conference in Albany, N.Y., Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008. Caroline Kennedy has told Paterson that she’s interested in the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, making her the highest-profile candidate to express a desire for the job.(AP Photo)