The First Draft: Elections East-West
Elections in the East, elections in the West.
Hot off the wire: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been declared re-elected.
Afghanistan’s election commission made the declaration after Karzai’s opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew and a run-off election was canceled. “The Independent Election Commission declares the esteemed Hamid Karzai as the president,” the commission’s chief said.
This will no doubt increase the pressure on President Barack Obama to roll-out his new Afghanistan strategy earlier rather than later, now that he knows who the United States will be dealing with.
Matthew Hoh, the former State Department employee who quit last month in protest over U.S. policy in Afghanistan, told NBC’s “Today” show that the Karzai news was “disappointing” and despite the investment of a lot of U.S. resources, “we didn’t get what we put our troops there for.”
Closer to home (just over the bridge from Washington) it’s the day before the election for Virginia governor and (up the highway a bit) the election for New Jersey governor.
Like it or not, Tuesday’s elections will be seen by some as a referendum on the policies of Obama, who has attended campaign events for the Democrats running in the two governor races.
Republican Bob McDonnell is leading in Virginia over Democrat Creigh Deeds. In New Jersey, incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine is in a close race against Republican Chris Christie, with the Independent candidate, Chris Daggett, playing a spoiler role.
What do you think? Should the two governor elections be seen as a judgment on Obama’s policies?
Photo credit: Reuters/Ahmad Masood (Karzai in Kabul on Nov. 2), Reuters/Jim Young (Obama at campaign rally for Deeds on Oct. 27)