The view from the Pacific (and its environs)

“Well, four in the afternoon here and the strange vacuum that obtains on polling day is sucking everyone in,” Guy Rundle from Australia began his liveblog. The U.S. election has been heavily covered in Australia, and because the beauty of time zones, Australians will be able to see results trickle in during the early part of the afternoon. As they say, what better way than to watch an election while you are getting paid for working.

This also is a good time to check in on other bloggers in Oceania and Asia to see how they view the contest.

From the Philippines, A Girl's Notebook is balancing her attachment for Barack Obama with her job prospects:

Personally, at first I like Obama. I am not saying that McCain will not be a good president. I know that McCain has a heart for blacks and asian people. But Obama is black and he grew up in Indonesia which is an Asian country. So he knows what a black and an asian person feels. But then, McCain is more open to country’s relation with other nations and outsourcing. Being in the call center industries, of course, I will be affected if Obama is against outsourcing. I might lose my job! :( Though I understand the reason behind Obama’s stand about outsourcing.

Manuel L. Quezon III, also from the Philippines, takes us on a historical tour of U.S.-Philippine relations as a lens to view the current election.

Let me state first of all that my bias is a clear and in many ways, an unshakeable one, beginning with being bombarded by my father’s very strong opinion that the American Democratic Party was the only proper party to appreciate in the United States, because it was the party of Philippine independence, a cause that generally prospered during Democratic administrations and that fared less well under Republican ones. For this reason I continue to be astounded by Filipino-Americans who are Republicans but eventually, I suppose it makes sense for those who’ve made the decision to leave home and become citizens of the USA: emigration is at the very least an implicit repudiation of the homeland; more often than not, an explicit one, too; and if one party and its policies can be credited with the independence one feels ambivalent about, then one can understandably embrace the very party that, to too many Filipino minds, was poised to bring the permanent blessings of American civilization to their benighted little brown brothers.

That being said, I suppose I am like most Filipinos in viewing the relationship of the Philippines with the United States as more of a positive than negative one, or at the very least, who sees it from the perspective of a relationship that is very personal and not just abstract: the relatives and friends over there, the American friends over there and here, and so on. And for every George W. Bush who praised Marcos’ devotion to democracy, there’s a Ted Kennedy who was a friend to Filipinos fighting Marcos.

In the end, he supports a better America:

…[A]nd for those, like me, with a particular kind of affection for a particular kind of America, to derive a certain satisfaction and comfort -the comfort of a return to something familiar, and which seemingly seemed poised to be gone for good- from what is going on.

It’s a return to a more inclusive, a more idealistic, less fear-driven and optimistic, view of the world, for Americans the world they affect so much; and for those who find affinity in those ideals, and in the expression of those ideals, a return to the motive power of words, and of their promise of a society where Social Justice is a living ideal, a commonly-held aspiration, and where might is not what defines right.

David Farrar from Kiwi Blog provides a litany of what-ifs regarding the star-crossed McCain campaign:

If McCain had been elected, he would have been one of the most independent Presidents in history. His legislative history as a Senator speaks for itself. His independence from some of the religious lobby groups would be especially useful – abortion and civil unions should not be the number one issue for a country.

America would have had its most ardent pro free trade President in history – McCain supportes free trade agreements with every country, except those they have security issues with.

On fiscal issues, Bush has left a disaster of a deficit, and McCain would probably have been pretty effective in reducing the deficit. Bush in fact has massively expanded the federal budget.

On Iraq, he was the main proponent of the surge strategy, that basically suceeded. The challenge would have been to then reduce numbers in Iraq over time so that the Iraqi Government can govern without the need of foreign troops. A McCain presidency would be given more time by am impatient public to withdraw. Obama may find it very difficult to reconcile the expectations of his supporters and the obligations to the Iraqi Government not to pull out too quickly.

Within those dark clouds, he comes up with some silver lining:

It is a credit to McCain that he is still so close to Obama in the polls, when you consider only 10% of Americans say the country is heading in the right direction and 88% say the wrong direction. The candidate for the party of the incumbent should be miles behind. He won’t lose by miles but I don’t think it will be close either.

Of course, Farrar’s readers weren’t going to let him off the hook for that prognostication.

Neil M, who had this to say:

The world will now have to deal with the realities of an Obama presidency. Will the rest of the world stop acting like an angry teenager – bridling at parental control but unwilling to move out of home? With Obama there’ll be no more excuses for Europe to drag its feet on commitment in such places as Afghanistan.

And Grumpyoldhori:

Come on David, McCain ranting that the USA needed to confront Russia in Georgia, how utterly mad would that be.
McCain arguing that you do not talk to those you have issues with, suggesting that military force should be the first not the last option. He is seventy two years old, do you believe that Palin is ready to have her pinkys on the button right now ?
A woman who could not even explain what the dubya doctine was.

It will be interesting to see how many non religious types stay with the Republicans if they continue to push Palin forward.
Or do all Republican types believe in the rapture etc ?

Slightlyrighty added this:

Personally I can’t see McCain winning this. This may well be less of a observation as to how good a president he could be but more of a reflection on just how bad a president Bush was. The turning points in both campaigns to me was the VP selections. Obama selected a VP in Joe Biden who complemented him. In areas Obama was weak, Biden is strong, and we have a complete package.

By selecting Palin, McCain screwed up big time. McCain is 72, and needed to pick a Co-President, not a Vice President. McCain’s age is an issue, and there is no denying it. It may have no bearing on his ability to do the job in reality, but the minds of voters can be as far removed from reality as it could possibly be! That choice in itself represents bad judgement on the part of McCain

From Singapore, Rascal, a blogging dog (you read that correctly) explains why he would like a vote in this year’s election. That’s because this election is about animal rights:

With the US presidential campaign coming to its climax today, I cannot help but wonder why no one bothered to ask us who we want to vote for. For the record, Rascal is a Barrack Obama supporter. Why? For one, Rascal is a black supporter. (I’m half black labrador, half husky remember?)

Okay, back to serious matter. I came across this article about this 109-year-old lady was the daughter of a man born into slavery. Now, I have mean no offense to any black member but I can see several smilarities between the challenges faced by the black community and the animal community. We are both born into something we have no choice in. And when people sit back and give in to the situation, it was always remain status quo. In the face of opposition, the black community rallied together, with compassionate white people and raised their voices against the inequality and atrocities the black community is being subjected to.


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