US politics from outside the beltway

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Beltway Briefing: Top stories from the US today

Herman Cain's gospel album | Torture during the Bush years | Bachmann flakey fans | Why US voters ha

A question: what do US voters hate more than Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and tax increase put together? Congress. Just 18 per cent of US voters approve of Congress, according to the latest Gallup poll.

Gallup

As Congress is currently responsible for letting the US teetering on the edge of default, the lack of love for the legislative body is understandable.

Anyone else given up hope that Obama will follow through on his electoral promises to address war crimes committed during the Bush years? Human Rights Watch certainly have. The leading US human rights organisation has today released a report, "Getting Away with Torture", calling upon foreign governments to have a bash at prosecuting Bush and his cronies, including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. HRW's executive director Kenneth Roth makes it clear that double standards are not acceptable, pointing out that while it's right that the US speaks out against serious international crimes in places such as Libya, more attention should be paid to the crimes committed on America's own land/doorstep.

Michele Bachmann says that she is not flakey - but her support sure is. A poll for the Iowa Republican found that, under an alternative vote, half of Bachmann's support disappears.

In the poll's alternative ballot, Romney leads the field in Iowa with 18 percent, followed by Bachmann at 15 percent, and Chris Christie with 13 percent. Herman Cain and Sarah Palin tie for fourth at 7 percent, ahead of Perry and Pawlenty at 6 percent, Paul at 5 percent, Gingrich 3 percent, Giuliani 2 percent, and Santorum and Huntsman with one percent.

The second ballot shows that Bachmann's support, while still impressive, is rather soft. When other candidates enter the race, Romney hangs on to 76 percent of his vote, Ron Paul holds on to 80 percent of his support, but Bachmann only hangs on to 44 percent of her support. Even Herman Cain, who holds on to 65 percent of his voters, appears to have more solid support than Bachmann.

Voters like her, but they don't love her.

When running for President, voters need a few identifiable facts about you, so that they can distinguish you from the crowd. Mitt Romney? "Businessman!" Michele Bachmann? "23 foster kids!" Jon Huntsman? "The other Mormon guy!" Herman Cain? "The, err...". Now, however, Hermann Cain can be the candidate who has just released an album of gospel songs. If that doesn't make you stand out from the crowd, nothing will.