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ALLIERADE | Det var ingen tillfällighet att Bill Clinton var en av huvudtalarna vid demokraternas partikonvent i Charlotte.

Clinton är den främste företrädaren för vad som kallas New Democrats – en mitten-höger falang inom partiet som ser mer positivt på näringslivet och personligt ansvarstagande än vad den genomsnitlige Obama-anhängaren gör.

Clinton var på sin tid populär bland mittenväljare, liberala republikaner och Independents. Exakt samma väljare som i mångt och mycket har vänt Barack Obama ryggen under hans snart fyra år i Vita huset.

Med dagens dåliga ekonomi och en president som många väljare uppfattar befinna sig på vänsterkanten har Obama inte längre råd att tacka nej till draghjälp från Clinton.

Peter J. Boyer skriver i Newsweek:

The left’s complaint about Clintonism was that it made the party less distinct from the GOP—which, in effect, it did. When Clinton, Gore, and other Democratic centrists joined the Democratic Leadership Council in the 1980s, their purpose was to find a way to sell a liberal program to a nation that consistently rejected it, by moderating the program. The DLC emphasized private-sector growth and government efficiency, personal responsibility, and an affirmation of mainstream values. The chief prize was the Reagan Democrat—that white, working-class voter who was increasingly going Republican in places like Clinton’s Arkansas.

Clinton called those voters “the forgotten middle class,” and he appealed to them not only with his New Democrat policy program, but by relating to them personally, and grounding his own political identity in their experiences. The main thrust of that ’92 convention, and of much of the campaign thereafter, was to introduce Clinton to America as “the man from Hope,” who never knew his father, and whose mother left him with her parents while she attended nursing school. “He devoted his candidacy to that forgotten middle class, it was a conscious strategy,” says Paul Begala, a key Clinton strategist, who now advises the super PAC supporting Obama (and who is a contributor to The Daily Beast).

Although anti-Clintonism wasn’t the overt theme of Obama’s 2008 candidacy (it is surprising, in retrospect, the degree to which “Hope and Change” seemed agenda enough in that referendum election), Obama’s presidency has seemed, in key regards, a repudiation of the New Democrat idea. Clinton Democrats embraced business; Obama attacked private equity. A New Democrat would have championed the Keystone XL Pipeline; Obama, yielding to environmentalists, has resisted it. Although Obama campaigned in coal country in 2008 as a friend of the industry (and of all those blue-collar jobs associated with it), his Environmental Protection Agency has established regulations so severe that one administration official admitted, “if you want to build a coal plant you got a big problem.” Many of the workers affected by such policies are swing-state voters, who are also keenly sensitive to values issues. Obama’s health-care mandates on contraception may help him with single women and urban voters, but it might hurt him among Catholics in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio. Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act; Obama stopped enforcing it, and then declared himself a supporter of gay marriage—the day after North Carolinians voted a traditional definition of marriage into the state’s constitution.

[…]

With a terrible economy as his greatest vulnerability, Obama has lately taken to claiming Clinton’s economic approach as his own (“we’ve tried our plan, and it worked”)—a reach that galls some Clintonites. “What David Axelrod and Obama have done is they have substituted class warfare for Clintonism,” says Doug Schoen, a Democratic political analyst and pollster (including for Newsweek and The Daily Beast) who has advised both Clintons. “At every juncture, they have substituted class-based politics—resentment of the rich, taxing the rich—for fiscal discipline, and prudence.”

[…]

Obama, whose father was absent, and who was raised by a single mother and who, for a time, relied on food stamps, has downplayed his own very Clintonian tale. “It’s very much available to him, I can’t say why he doesn’t do it,” Begala says. “It’s so interesting to me that the guy who has written the most literate presidential autobiography since I don’t know who, has somehow lost the narrative thread of his character, the character in his play.”

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är den amerikanska utgåvan av Newsweek den 10 september 2012.

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USA | Än har Mitt Romney inte vunnit. Söndag natt hoppade Jon Huntsman av och gav Romney sitt stöd. Men i South Carolina knappar Newt Gingrich in.

The Economist ägnar stort utrymme åt Romney i sitt senaste nummer. I den längre artikeln ”Towards the coronation” skriver man:

Almost 60% deem Mr Romney an “acceptable” nominee, according to Gallup, a polling firm, a higher proportion than any of his rivals. Strikingly, he received the blessing of both moderate and conservative Republicans in equal proportion. Most soundings show Mr Romney running better against Mr Obama than any of the other candidates—a fact not lost on primary voters.

Some right-wing pundits worry that Mr Romney will fail to excite the party’s base, and thus depress turnout on election day. But elections are won among swing voters, and he holds far more allure for them than any of his rivals. He is strongly supported, too, by the politicians who will be running below him on the ticket if he wins the nomination. Mr Romney has more backing among Republican congressmen and governors than all the other candidates combined.

Anyway, Mr Romney probably does not need to thrill voters to beat Mr Obama. When an incumbent president is running, says Charlie Cook, a political analyst, the election normally turns into a referendum on his performance, as long as his opponent is “colourless and odourless”. If so, the meticulously anodyne nature of Mr Romney’s campaign may be its greatest strength.

Se även: Ledaren ”America’s next CEO?”. Artikeln ”Mitt Romney marches on” och Schumpeter-krönikan ”Romney the revolutionary”. (Tidskriftsomslag och artiklar från The Economist den 14-20 januari 2012.)

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I ALLA presidentval jagar kombattanterna den grupp väljare som kallas independents.

Independents ser sig inte som demokrater eller republikaner.

Deras sympatier kan pendla mellan olika politiker och partier beroende på situation och omständigheter. De är USA:s motsvarighet till svenska mittenväljare.

I USA består väljarkåren av två nästan lika stora block väljare. Det ena blocket röstar nästan alltid på den demokratiska presidentkandidaten och det andra blocket röstar nästan alltid på republikanen.

Om detta stämmer är det inte så konstigt att rösterna från independents är så eftertraktade. Den kandidat som lyckas vinna över dem vinner också presidentvalet.

Den vedertagna uppfattningen är också att dessa independents söker en kompromisskandidat. De vill ha en kandidat som inte är för ”extrem” utan förenar det bästa av vad de två partierna kan erbjuda.

Men Frank Rich, vid tidskriften New York, har dragit en helt annan slutsats efter att ha studerat statistiken.

For the good deed of trying to defuse partisan tensions, [Barack Obama] has been punished with massive desertions by the very independents who are supposed to love his pacifism. In the last Wall Street Journal–NBC News poll, his support among them had fallen by half since he took office, from 52 percent to 26 percent. Perhaps that’s because these independents, who represent roughly 36 percent of voters, are not the monochromatic ideological eunuchs they’re purported to be. One polling organization that regularly examines them in depth, Pew, has found that nearly half of independents are in fact either faithful Democrats (21 percent) or Republicans (26 percent) who simply don’t want to call themselves Democrats and Republicans. (Can you blame them?) Another 20 percent are “doubting Democrats” and another 16 percent are “disaffected” voters, respectively anti-business and anti-government, angry and populist rather than mildly centrist. The remaining 17 percent are what Pew calls “disengaged”—young and uneducated Americans, four fifths of whom don’t vote anyway. There’s nothing about the makeup of any segment of these “all-important independent voters” that suggests bipartisan civility has anything whatsoever to do with winning their support.

To pursue this motley crew of the electorate as if it had a coherent political profile is nuts. Its various subsets are on so many different sides of so many questions no ideological hermaphrodite could please them all. Rather than win these voters over with bipartisan outreach, Obama may instead have driven them away. His steep decline among independents is paralleled by the decline in voters who credit him as a “strong leader.” A president who keeps trying and failing to defuse partisan tensions risks being perceived as a wuss by Democrats, Republicans, and, yes, independents alike.

[…]

And so, with no legislation possible and no economic miracles in store, Obama’s presidency has shrunk to the bully pulpit. His best hope is to use that pulpit, with all the muscle, talent, and energy at his command, to ferociously define and defend the American values under siege by the revolutionaries at the capital’s gates. That doesn’t mean more eloquent speeches from Washington. It means relentless barnstorming night and day. It means at long last embracing a big-picture narrative. It means going on the road […] It means—and this, thankfully, is another part of Obama’s DNA—playing to win.

[…]

The many who would have Obama surrender without a fight in 2012—whether Beltway wise men addicted to bipartisanship, vain and deluded third-party entrepreneurs, or White House strategists chasing phantom independents—are fiddling while America burns. If Obama succumbs to their siren call again, he will too.

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I BÖRJAN av augusti kastade sig Rick Perry in i republikanernas valkampanj. Redan i slutet av augusti var han etta i många opinionsundersökningar.

David von Drehle har i Time tecknat ett politiskt porträtt av Perry:

What he has learned by campaigning in the new Texas – how to hold on to the base without alienating independents – now shapes his strategy to win the presidential nomination. If he can attract enough Evangelical votes to win the Iowa caucuses while skirting the bedroom issues that drive away the libertarians and independents voting in the New Hampshire primary, he might wrap things up within weeks of the first voting.

Övrigt: Artikeln och intervjun med Perry är tillgänglig endast för prenumeranter. Tidskriftsomslaget ovan är Time den 26 september 2011. Fotot togs av Platon.

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DEBBATEN MELLAN de republikanska presidentkandidaterna blev den uppgörelse mellan Mitt Romney och Rick Perry som alla väntat sig.

Romney lyckades lägga sig på tryggt avstånd från högerflanken utan att helt kapa banden. Han distanserade sig från Tea Party-rörelsen utan att låta som deras motståndare. Och han behöll fokus på debattens – och sin egen huvudfråga – ekonomin.

När han även signalerade att han ville rädda Social Security – snarare än montera ner densamma – lyckades han framstå som en kandidat som skulle kunna locka även missnöjda demokrater och independents.

Problemet är att han först måste vinna den republikanska valrörelsen innan han ens kommer i närheten av Barack Obama. Frågan är om han uppfattas som tillräckligt konservativ bland de republikanska väljare som kokar av ilska över utvecklingen i USA?

Michele Bachmann, vinnaren i Iowas ”straw poll”, var mycket påläst men var mindre framträdande än vanligt. Mycket p.g.a. att hon under denna debatt fick mindre tidsutrymme.

Kirsten Powers skriver:

Romney held his place in the top tier with a polished performance, while Perry didn’t live up to the hype. His answers were marked by a very Palin-esque wandering that left the viewer puzzled, as when he claimed that Texas has so many uninsured people because of the federal government. Huh?

More important, Perry decided to double down on his earlier claim that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme,” something that likely won’t go over with the older voters who dominate party primaries and general elections. Romney engaged him on the issue, insisting, “our nominee has to be someone who isn’t committed to abolishing Social Security.” That’s the understatement of the year. The Romney camp pounced on the misstep with a press release blasting: “PERRY DOES NOT BELIEVE SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD EXIST.”

Övrigt: Fler kommentarer finns bl.a. på The Daily Beast. Se förutom debatten i Kalifornien även förra i Iowa.

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ÄN FINNS DET liv i Jon Huntsman. I kampanjvideon jämförs Mitt Romney med Barack Obama. Romney vars ”record is sadly similar to that of Obamas”.

I anslutning till videon på YouTube skriver man:

If Governor Mitt Romney’s record is any indication, his economic plan will markedly raise fees and corporate taxes, block the adoption of a flat tax, let the Bush tax cuts expire and strangle small businesses with new, onerous health care regulations. It was precisely those anti-growth policies that gave Gov. Romney the distinction of leading a state that was 47-of-50 in job creation and suffered a mass population exodus to greener and economically freer pastures — New Hampshire among them.

The Daily Caller reported that despite Gov. Romney’s confident rhetoric, his job-creation record was worse than one of his predecessors: Michael Dukakis.

In stark contrast to Gov. Romney, Gov. Huntsman offered a jobs plan that the Wall Street Journal called ”as impressive as any to date in the GOP presidential field.” But more importantly, Gov. Huntsman’s plan reflects what he did in Utah. His record of tax cuts, free-market health care, and pro-growth policies created an environment that made Utah #1 in the nation in job growth.

When it comes to job creation, the records of Governors Huntsman and Romney offer voters a clear choice: #1 vs. #47

Videon poängterar också att Hunstmans ”character” är en tillgång. Förhoppningen är att hans softare, mer nertonade och mindre konfrontatoriska stil, skapar bättre förutsättningar att besegra Obama. Signalen är att han kommer att ha lättare att locka till sig  demokrater och independents än övriga republikanska presidentkandidater.

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MITT ROMNEYS kampanjstrategi går ut på att vara presidentkandidaten som kan accepteras av det republikanska partiets etablissemang.

Partiets sätt att välja ut sina presidentkandidater brukar ibland liknas vid ett arvkungadöme. Det handlar inte så mycket om att vinna ett val utan om vem som står på tur. Och denna gång är det Mitt Romney som är tänkt att ”ärva” tronen.

Det skulle t.ex. kunna förklara varför inte bara demokrater reagerade så starkt när en av de övriga kandidaterna – Rick Perry – kallade ordföranden för Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, för ”förrädare”.  

Steve Kornacki på bloggen War Room har analyserat Romneys ”sanity” strategi. Han vill att det skall framgå att han är republikanen som är ”normal”. Och därmed också kan utgöra ett alternativ för missnöjda demokrater och independents.

When he ran for president four years ago, there was no such thing as too far to the right for Mitt Romney [...]

This time around, as you may have noticed, things are a bit different. [...] And when a top social conservative leader in that state, Bob Vander Plaats, demanded that the GOP field sign on to his ”marriage vow,” Romney didn’t just refuse — he branded the document ”undignified and inappropriate.” He also declined to sign a pledge from a different conservative group on abortion, and stayed as far away from the recent debt ceiling debate as possible [....]

So he’s doing what establishment candidates do, trying to limit his early exposure and create an air of inevitability, and seeking to win over enough of the base to win the nomination — but not in a way that gives his establishment backers pause about his electability. Historically, this has been a pretty sound strategy for the ”next in line” Republican candidate.

[...]

What’s happening is that the sanity strategy has actually worked well for Romney, at least so far. Part of this is because his competition has been so weak. Conservative leaders and activists may genuinely have doubts about Romney, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to sign up with someone like Bachmann.

[...]

But Mitt’s healthcare cover story — which amounts to, ”I hate that thing called ‘ObamaCare’ just as much as you and will repeal it, now just please forget about what I did in Massachusetts” — has also mostly held up. [...] Which makes sense, since the right’s opposition to ObamaCare is fundamentally emotional and irrational in nature. Support for an individual mandate only became a crime against conservatism when Obama embraced the concept in 2009.

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MED HJÄLP AV negativa kampanjmetoder tänker Barack Obama krossa Mitt Romney. Hans karraktär och bakgrund inom näringslivet skall smutskastas.

Romney är idag den republikanska presidentkandidat som ser ut att ha strörst chans gentemot Obama.

Han är den republikan som troligtvis får lättast att locka över independents d.v.s. väljare som inte ser sig som primärt demokrater eller republikaner. Denna väljargrupp kan ofta avgöra ett val i USA.

Enligt Ben Smith och Jonathan Martin på Politico har högsta ledningen inom Obamas kampanjorganisation studerat strategin som president George W. Bush använde sig av 2004. Det året lyckades Bush – trots låga opinionssiffror – besegra John Kerry genom att tidigt definiera honom i negativa termer.

“Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney,” said a prominent Democratic srategist aligned with the White House.

The onslaught would have two aspects. The first is personal: Obama’s reelection campaign will portray the public Romney as inauthentic, unprincipled and, in a word used repeatedly by Obama’s advisers in about a dozen interviews, “weird.”

[…]

The second aspect of the campaign to define Romney is his record as CEO of Bain Capital, a venture capital firm that was responsible for both creating and eliminating jobs. Obama officials intend to frame Romney as the very picture of greed in the great recession — a sort of political Gordon Gekko.

“He was very, very good at making a profit for himself and his partners but not nearly as good [at] saving jobs for communities,” said David Axelrod, the president’s chief strategist.

[….]

“People already knew that he’s a political opportunist of the highest order — changing his positions to suit the day’s polling,” said Bill Burton, Obama’s former White House deputy press secretary who now heads Priorities USA, an independent group expected to lead Democratic attacks on the Republican nominee. “But the last couple weeks, this lack of principles has translated into a total lack of leadership on issues like the debt ceiling.”

Svaret från Mitt Romneys kampanjstab kom snabbt. ABC News rapporterade följande:

 “It is disgraceful that President Obama’s campaign has launched his re-election with the stated goal to ‘kill’ his opponent with an onslaught of negative and personal attacks,” said Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades in a written statement.

“President Obama will say and do desperate things to hold onto power because he knows he has failed. Neither despicable threats, nor
President Obama’s billion dollar negative campaign, will put Americans back to work, save their homes, or restore their hopes. On November 6, 2012, this will change,” Rhoades said.

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EN NY VIDEO av Mitt Romney. Hans kampanjbudskap fortsätter att konsekvent fokusera på Barack Obama och ekonomin.

Hans staretgi har hela tiden varit att ignorera de andra republikanska presidentkandidaterna. På så sätt kan han flyta ovanpå och undvika småkäbbel. Han framstår därmed också som mer statsmannamässig och erfaren.

Som det nu ser ut kommer striden att stå mellan Romney och Michele Bachmann. Romney appellerar mer till ”fiscal conservatives” inom partiet medan Bachmann står närmare de socialkonservativa och Tea Party rörelsen.

Men även om grupperna överlappar kommer republikanerna att behöva locka över s.k. independents om man skall lyckas besegra Obama i valet. Partiet tjänar troligtvis mer på en Romneyseger eftersom icke-partianslutna väljare är mer misstänksamma mot Bachmanns anhängare.

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