Will we ever understand the election process of the US? I doubt it. What we're witnessing at the moment is virtually the parties selecting their candidates, not the voting of the people for a new president. Commentary is both effulgent and effusive (see here for example) and we are warned that the dirty tricks have only just begun.
In Oz this takes place out of public view, what ever Howard said about Costello and vice versa, was firmly kept behind locked doors. What Clinton and Obama say about each other, or McCain and Romney will be said out in the open.
This public backstabbing is riveting stuff, even from the Antipodes. It has the advantage of ( win lose or draw) knowing what your "friends" can say about you in the event that you become your party's anointed. This is a benefit in a way that Howard and Costello must attest to, part (at least) of what caused their downfall was the electorate's uncertainty about them. What did they really think about each other?
Had there been blindingly open critique in the selection process, the whispering campaign would have been sliced into tiny little pieces. But it was not to be
It is always faintly amusing to watch the way the Democrats and Republican get behind their chose candidate eventually. Obama or Clinton will stand side by side and attest that the other was the best thing since Drive In Movies, despite the fact that this week she called him a hypocrite and a liar.
The big mistake (of course ) that the Democrats have made is in wanting either the first woman or the first black person, they should have concatenated the two. But I suppose Dr Rice is a Republican!