Business Spectator Columns (Australia)

America's game of fiscal Russian roulette

10 Oct 2013

Both sides seem willing to talk, neither side is willing to compromise. America’s budget crisis is still very much in stand-off mode.

Boehner's tough talk will save his hide

8 Oct 2013

Speaker John Boehner is trapped between doing the right thing and saying the things the Right wants to hear. His bravado might be enough to keep the Tea Party wolves at bay.

The safety restraint in Washington's shutdown

7 Oct 2013

The US House easily has enough votes to end the shutdown immediately, but may need to hobble on for another two weeks to avoid an even more reckless stunt.

Why Obama's hope didn't translate

30 Sep 2013

President Obama is now less popular with the voters than George W. Bush was. Is he a victim of his era, or it could be that he isn't a particularly good politician?

The GOP's filibuster folly on Obamacare

23 Sep 2013

Obamacare remains deeply unpopular with voters, but the GOP’s attempt to derail it by engineering a temporary government shutdown will likely backfire.

Who will carry on Bloomberg's legacy?

20 Aug 2013

With his promise to put Main Street ahead of Wall Street, Bill de Blasio has emerged as an unlikely frontrunner in the New York mayoralty race.

Border skirmishes: The gerrymandering game pulling Republicans apart

7 Aug 2013

As House Republicans deftly redrawn congressional electoral borders to their individual advantage, the gerrymandering masters have, nationally, shot their party in the foot.

Clinton's primary problem in the race to the top

18 Jun 2013

New tweeter and retired Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is shaping as a lock for the Democratic nomination in 2016. Less known is that the Republicans could have an unassailable candidate soon too.

Obama's power grip is broken

13 Jul 2011

Slugged by a flailing economy and unlimited corporate Republican donations, Barack Obama has never looked less likely to win the 2012 presidential election.

Cutting through the Huntsmania

17 Jun 2011

US presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is running a courageous election strategy – but it makes better sense as a play for the White House in 2016.

The Key to keeping Kiwis happy

13 Jun 2011

John Key's 'smile and wave' persona is seemingly impossible to shake, making him the most popular NZ prime minister ever and almost a shoe-in at this year's election.

Toxic Newt no Republican trump card

17 May 2011

As the US crashes through another debt ceiling, the Republican's presidential candidate race is heating up. But as contenders quickly turn to pretenders, perhaps the best strategy is to sit on the sidelines.

Dirty donations are now open secrets

19 Apr 2011

A powerful website is lifting the lid on the increasingly murky world of US political donations, allowing users to track how giant companies are influencing parties and candidates.

Method in Trump's madness

6 Apr 2011

While Donald Trump's tilt at the White House will almost certainly fizzle, Republicans could learn a thing or two from his campaign built on straightforward economic nationalism.

Meet Palin Lite

29 Mar 2011

As Sarah Palin's electoral prospects wane, an even more formidable arch-conservative force has emerged – and she seems to have her eyes set on the presidency.

Unknown unknowns of American terror

17 Mar 2011

As General Petraeus attempts to sell a deeply unpopular war to sceptical Americans, Republicans are creating a political circus over perceived terror closer to home.

Little hope for gloomy Republicans

9 Mar 2011

US Republicans' growing pessimism about the future of the country is at odds with the American people's firm self-belief, presenting an opportunity for a more hopeful President Obama.

Why Wisconsin matters

1 Mar 2011

If a Republican union-busting plan is successful in Wisconsin, expect a flurry of copycat measures across the US that will unleash a wave of industrial unrest with uncertain but profound consequences.

Lashing Obama with a tighter belt

21 Feb 2011

Any deal bold enough to meet America's daunting fiscal challenges will require firm bipartisan support. But for either side to take this high-risk leap, both will insist on strapping themselves to the other guy first.

Obama's hands are tied

27 Jan 2011

A major omission in President Obama's State of the Union speech – climate change – reveals how gridlocked US politics is at the present time.

Why Turnbull won't oust Abbott

26 Jan 2011

The attractiveness of Malcolm Turnbull's centrism and his perceived suitability to high office are overstated. It is Tony Abbott who is best placed to make Julia Gillard a one-term PM.

A flood levy would not break Labor

19 Jan 2011

The cost of repairing flood damage will scupper Labor's promised budget surpluses. But there is a way out for the government – a dedicated flood rebuilding levy may be the best of a bad bunch of options.

Obama-care's reprieve won't last

17 Jan 2011

The attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords has put a temporary hold on attempts to reverse Obama's health reforms. But when debate resumes the Republicans face an explosive internal battle.

Behind Palin's 'blood libel' claim

13 Jan 2011

Sarah Palin's refusal to adopt a conciliatory tone following the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords shouldn't surprise anyone – there is strategy behind her belligerence.

Political violence brewed by Palin?

10 Jan 2011

If Sarah Palin can't find a way to extricate herself from the perception that she has actively promoted a culture of extremism that led to the shooting of Democrat Gabrielle Giffords her political prospects are dire.

Obama must rewrite the playbook

3 Jan 2011

Obama's unexpected recent legislative wins are the first steps towards his re-election. However, a Republican congress will make progress more difficult and Bill Clinton's famed political playbook mightn't be as effective nowadays.

Bringing Obama back to earth

29 Dec 2010

Barack Obama has the upper hand going into the 2012 US Presidential election, but there are five key reasons why the Republicans have significant grounds for optimism.

Inside the Republicans' race to the right

22 Dec 2010

The steady rise of the Tea Party will create tensions for Republicans in the lead-up to the US presidential election – their choice of candidate is by no means clear cut.

Obama, capitulator-in-chief

10 Dec 2010

To many, Obama's tax deal with Republicans neatly symbolises his leadership woes – too eager to deal with his enemies, but not canny or hard-nosed enough to prevail.

Right, said Ted

29 Nov 2010

Following the outcome of the Victorian election, Labor now faces the task of catering to the growing conservative voting bloc in Melbourne's outer suburbs without being pulled too far to the right.

Brumby's five lives

25 Nov 2010

Ted Baillieu is breathing down John Brumby's neck ahead of this weekend's Victorian state election, but there are five key factors that are likely to deliver a Brumby government victory.

Baillieu has only himself to blame

17 Nov 2010

While the Victorian Liberals' surprise preference decision will play a role in their likely defeat at the polls, the party's woes are etched far deeper into Ted Baillieu's leadership style

Where US fighting will be fiercest

5 Nov 2010

The outcome of the US mid-term elections will trigger a series of policy fights with profound political consequences for 2012 and beyond.

No time for Obama tears

27 Oct 2010

The Democrats will spend little time mourning their losses at the mid-term elections because as Bill Clinton learned, ceding control of Congress is much worse in theory than in practice.