"I'm Bob Worcester, it's 2am, and I am calling it - it's President Kerry."
I don't think I'll ever forget those words. It was the morning after the 2004 US presidential elections and the words were uttered by the founder and head of MORI, a research company whose polls I had an admittedly child-like trust in at the time. I slid off the edge of a very steep learning curve the next morning, having learnt an important lesson:
Just because the rest of the world cannot make sense of Republicanism doesn't mean that it won't triumph.
In much of the coverage of the US Presidential elections (on this blog too), there is a tendency to completely rubbish the Republicans and their perspectives, as though members of 'the Grand Old Party' are a hapless collective of fundamentalist Christians, racists and intellectual lightweights who cannot possibly defeat Obama and his shiny revolution.
Bob Worchester taught me that it's really not that simple.
I've been following the Republican Convention, listening to alternative viewpoints on Obama - an eloquent ("he speaks so well..."), empty career-chasing suit who spouts vague concepts of 'change' and 'hope', apparently - trying to establish what the priorities are of Republican voters and what could possibly compell them to vote McCain.
While its television coverage is a little skewed, the BBC's online coverage provides some interesting perspectives. Well worth checking and having an opinion about...
... even if - like me - you don't agree with a lot of them.