Back In the USA
Sorry for the lack of posts this week, but it turned out to be a bit more difficult to blog from Australia than I anticipated, mainly because the international power adapter I brought didn't work. I was also pretty busy getting a crash course on center-left politics in Australia and New Zealand.
Australia's heading for a general election this year (probably in the mid-fall), and the opposition Labor Party is cautiously optimistic about its chances (particularly under new leader Kevin Rudd) to finally end Prime Minister John Howard's winning streak.
The Aussies were quite interested in hearing more about the U.S. midterms (along with such related political topics as Obama-o-mania), and I was able to encourage them with one direct parallel: Bush and the GOP tried to make good macroeconomic statistics a campaign issue (and that's been Howard's most potent issue all along), and failed, with U.S. voters not only considering Iraq and corruption bigger concerns, but also expressing unhappiness with economic conditions. Like Americans, Australians are beginning to worry quite a bit about economic insecurity and inequality, and like Bush and the GOP, Howard and his conservative coalition are widely perceived as indifferent to both.
I'll have a lot more to say about my trip Down Under this weekend. --