It's just a week away until the electoral circus sets up tent in the US of A. It's remarkable to think about how much this campaign has been transformed since people first turned their minds to it in mid-2002. In the wake of somethingarather in September the previous year, there was a groundswell of pride and patriotism which Bush had successfully transformed into support for his candidacy. To be anti-Bush was to be un-American, and it was a deathzone for potential Democrats. The mid-term elections in November 2002 was akin to the general progression of lambs - or should that be donkeys? - toward the abbertoir of democracy.
By the time names of potential Democratic candidates were being considered, challenging Bush for the White House was seen as a lost cause. Hillary Clinton, depsite launching her book in the midst of it all, ruled herself out. Perhaps she liked the ring of Hillary 08? Then the winner of the popular vote from 2000, Al Gore, ruled himself out, presumably not willing to lose twice in quick succession to a man so utterly beneath him.
Things have come a long way since that point. The turning point seemed to be the lack of success in Iraq. Regardless of the endlessly played arguments for and against the way, Iraq has become a symbol of Presidential recklessness and poor advice. Even amongst those of us who quietly supported the war, there has been amazement at how poor the post-war plans were. The Neo-Cons were Neo-Conned.
John F Kerry (if you mumble the last bit, it sounds just like Mr Jackie O) has put up a strong and sustained fight against very unattractive odds. He has brought the Democrats back into the game, and outlined a compelling alternative vision. Alas, he won't win, and will probably be remembered in history alongside Al Gore as good hearted but unfortunate losers. It could have been worse. Much worse. Even if Bush retains the White House, watch out for Democrat success in the House of Reps, and even the potential to get close in the Senate, largely thank to JFK.