USA | Republikanska partiet är en sorglig samling gnällspikar. Numera är man inte längre för något, bara emot.
Den positiva framtoning som partiet fick under åren med Ronald Reagan känns idag avlägsen.
Men man behöver inte gå längre tillbaka än till president George W. Bush för att hitta en republikan som omfamnade en mer positiv ideologisk syn på USA:s möjligheter både hemma och utomlands.
Peter Beinart, Newsweek, skriver:
Bush was, at his core, an optimist. For starters, he was an optimist about the budget. He had taken over in the wake of a late-1990s economic boom that erased the deficits built up during the Reagan years. For Bush, the message was that you can cut taxes, maintain popular domestic programs, and dramatically boost military spending without worry, because economic growth will eventually balance the budget, as it did in the 1990s.
Bush was a cultural optimist, too. He had taken power on the heels of what Samuel Huntington called the “third wave” of democratization, a mighty tide that began when Spain and Portugal shrugged off their autocratic governments in the mid-1970s, and extended in the 1980s and 1990s from South Korea and the Philippines to Argentina and Chile to Hungary and Poland to South Africa.
As his former speechwriter Michael Gerson has noted, Bush’s brand of Christianity was strikingly untroubled by original sin. His own life was a tale of purposeless, self-destructive wandering followed by radical transformation via the power of faith. And while other conservatives focused on an entrenched “culture of poverty” that made it difficult to change the lives of America’s urban poor, Bush championed the idea that with religious counseling, inmates in Texas jails could experience the same radical, redemptive change he’d seen in his own life.
Bush, in other words, was an optimist even when it came to cultures—like the ones prevailing in America’s inner cities or in the Arab world—for which other conservatives held out little hope. Despite the incredulity of many on the right, he responded to 9/11 by insisting that Muslims were just as desirous of democracy, liberty, and peace as Christians and Jews. And he set about proving that in Iraq. “The human heart,” he told the American Enterprise Institute two months before the invasion, “desires the same good things, everywhere on earth.” That universalism also shaped his views on immigration. If Iraqis shared the same basic values as Americans, so did undocumented Mexican immigrants.
But since Bush left office, the GOP pessimists have taken full control of the party. When Bush was jacking up the deficit via tax cuts and defense spending, the conservatives who worried about America’s fiscal health mostly held their tongues. When Barack Obama replaced him, however, and began spending money on a domestic stimulus package and a universal-health-care law, the deficit became a GOP obsession. Gone was Bush’s happy talk about how economic growth, which had overcome the Reagan deficits, would do so again. In its place came a dystopian vision of America as Greece: its currency worthless and its coffers empty. The GOP, the party that under Bush said America could have it all, under Obama has become the party that says America can’t even afford food stamps.
Foto: Governör George W. Bush den 4 november 2000. Steve Mellon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.