BBC Question Time: open thread

by Stephen Tall on October 30, 2008

There’s no Lib Dem on tonight’s BBC1 Question Time (10.35 pm and online) – but on this occasion at least I think we can absolve the Beeb of any blame, as tonight is their US election special. The programme features adviser to Barack Obama, Elizabeth Edwards, executive director of John McCain’s campaign in New York, Christopher Nixon Cox, author and journalist Clarence Page, historian Simon Schama and political consultant Cheri Jacobus.

With just four days left ‘til the general election, the polls are pointing to a Barack Obama landslide in the electoral college, with Electroal-vote.com projecting his current lead over John McCain as 375-157. Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight.com argues that the Republican is failing to catch his Democrat rival either in the national popular vote nor the key battleground states. Oh, and the Economist tonight endorses Obama, too.

And yet, and yet… how many of us have a nagging doubt that either the polls are spectacularly wrong, or that some last-minute external event will suddenly turn the election on its head? Well, over the weekend we’ll be inviting Lib Dem Voice readers to put their pundit reputations to the test in our US Presidential election competition. At stake a limited edition LDV mug (they really are limited: we only have two left).

Anyway, this the QT Open Thread, so you know the drill, baby, drill – feel free to sound off in the comments thread below…

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Hooray! Policy at last. We’re halfway through and finally we have a question that’s more than about how America is “viewed”, how Obama is “viewed”, how Palin is “viewed”…

by Lonely Wanderer on October 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm. Reply #

It’s been pretty dreary for the most part, hasn’t it.

by Andy Hinton on October 30, 2008 at 11:22 pm. Reply #

At least Simon Schama has been good value.

Actually I ended up watching Russell Brand on Channel 4. I was desperately hoping he would offend me, but he failed. I think I’m going to complain.

by Stephen Tall on October 30, 2008 at 11:30 pm. Reply #

Yes, much more heat than light. Is this the result of poor chairing, or poor choice of guests, or is it an inevitable consequence of the format, I wonder?

by Lonely Wanderer on October 30, 2008 at 11:31 pm. Reply #

I think David Dimbleby struggled manfully, but it’s just not the style of discussion they do on US TV during elections. He should have had a big bell to ring to shut them all up, or something.

But yeah, Simon Schama was interesting. Weirdly overactive body language – does he always do that in live appearances?

by Andy Hinton on October 31, 2008 at 12:24 am. Reply #

The Ku-Klux-Klan and the Christian Coalition will be working overtime getting the vote out for McCain, while the elite will be busily devising strategies for manipulating Obama into doing what they want if he wins.

It will be lovely to see the Republicans pummelled, if that’s what happens. The polls show no serious signs of moving to McCain even at this late stage, while Obama seems to be pulling up in his target states. Obama’s people have done well to get much of their African-American vote out before it is too late to complain about ballot-rigging.

by Sesenco on October 31, 2008 at 8:52 am. Reply #

On the poor choice of guests- the two republicans seemed very stereotypical. Nixon’s Grandson was particularly odious.

by Biscit (Simon Jerram) on October 31, 2008 at 9:16 am. Reply #

Yee GODS I hate US political debate. I was cheering at the TV when somebody in the crowd brought up having a US NHS, but then both sides of the coin decided they’d rather mention that the economy is pretty bad and move on. They also didn’t discuss US Education. Simon Schama was excellent, and I hope they can squeeze him onto a UK QT in the next few months, so he can actually get his teeth into a debate without the hall shouting him down.

It’s not as if it matters who wins anyway – the Republicans will still get a sizeable amount of jobs to do. The President is just a figurehead.

by Huw Dawson on October 31, 2008 at 9:24 am. Reply #

“The Ku-Klux-Klan and the Christian Coalition will be working overtime getting the vote out for McCain,”

But are they? The early voting figures don’t suggest that there is a strong GOTV operation unless they are saving it for a polling day surge.

by Hywel Morgan on October 31, 2008 at 10:16 am. Reply #

God, that QT was awful !!! Makes one proud to be British!

BTW, I notice that next week’s panel includes Shirley Williams and Nigel Farage … AGAIN. How many times have they been on QT this year?

by crewegwyn on October 31, 2008 at 12:13 pm. Reply #

Aweful program this time. Only Elizabeth Edwards spoke any sense, but she lacked the charisma that anyone would notice.
The legacy of Bush is one of catastrophic failure, first in foreign policy and now in economic policy.
No one mentioned that the war in Iraq has cost over $3Trillion according to Joseph Stiglitz, so much for the “surge working”.
The reputation of the USA abroad does matter a lot. The Bush regime has been threatening to bomb Iran for years (McCain even sung a song about it), but has not done so. In the past it would not have thought twice, but now even Bush has been dithering because of concerns about the consequencies of doing this.
The prospects for bombing Iran were not even discussed, maybe the expectation now is that it is not going to happen.
The USA remains a superpower and will be so for many years, but it’s power it weakening, and how Obama will present that to the people of the USA will be one of his greatest challenges.

by Geoffrey Payne on October 31, 2008 at 2:47 pm. Reply #

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