IDEOLOGI | Om Barack Obamas reformer skall bli av bestående värde måste han redan nu lägga grunden för nästa demokratiska presidentkandidat.
Dessutom är det valår 2014. Och då står inte Obama själv på någon valsedel.
Skall demokraterna ha en chans i valet till representanthuset och senaten måste Obama hjälpa partiet mobilisera i minst samma omfattning som man gjorde 2008. Det blir inte lätt.
Gör man det kan presidenten och hans allierades liberala agenda komma att prägla hela det amerikanska samhället på samma sätt som Ronald Reagan lyckades göra med sina konservativa idéer på 1980-talet.
Men misslyckas man, och republikanerna håller ställningarna eller t.o.m. avancerar, riskerar Obama få tillbringa sina sista två år i politisk overksamhet.
Michael Tomasky skriver i The Daily Beast om skillander och likheter mellan Obama och Reagan.
First, by Reagan’s time, lots of middle-of-the-road Americans were pretty sick of liberalism. Liberalism had governed the country for decades. Conservatism did not, and so people aren’t sick of conservatism in the same way. People think conservatism is loony. But they haven’t come to resent conservatism in the way that many average Americans of 1980 resented really high tax rates (yes, even I think they were high), inaction in the face of ever-rising crime, and so on.
Reagan’s appeal to his coalition was emotional, and it played upon their anger. Obama’s appeal is intellectual, and it has to count on their reason.
That requires a lot of public education, led by the president but fed by a movement of other politicians and grassroots organizations and nonprofit groups and others. It’s enormously hard to get all those stars aligned.
Second, Reagan’s coalition understood itself to exist not just for the sake of Reagan the man, but in order to change the country in fundamental ways. Obama’s coalition, I must say, doesn’t understand that yet.
This requires leadership from the party and voting organizations first and foremost. It also requires that liberals think differently about politics and not interpret every Obama shortcoming as some kind of sellout. When Reagan raised taxes, generally speaking, the right wingers didn’t curse him that much. They cursed the evil Democrats who made him raise taxes. That keeps the rank and file’s rage focused on the right target. Democrats and liberals today could learn from this.
It’s harder to do liberalism than to do conservatism. A lot harder. Conservatism is leave me alone. Liberalism is no, here’s why we’re better together.