Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Sullivan’

FYRA ÅR | Om Barack Obama vinner valet i november kommer han att bli demokraternas motsvarighet till Ronald Reagan.

Det är åtminstone vad Andrew Sullivan tror och hoppas. (Sullivans blogg The Dish ligger hos Newsweek/The Daily Beast.)

Sullivans önskningar om vad Obama skulle kunna åstadkomma om han får ytterligare fyra år i Vita huset är naturligtvis rena rama spekulationerna.

Men vad som är intressant är alla de likheter Sullivan tycker sig se när han jämför Reagans fyra första år med Obamas.

Sullivan skriver i Newsweek:

[U]nlike Clinton’s constant triangulating improvisation, Obama has been playing a long, strategic game from the very start—a long game that will only truly pay off if he gets eight full years to see it through. That game is not only changing America. It may also bring his opposition, the GOP, back to the center, just as Reagan indelibly moved the Democrats away from the far left.


[Reagan] was, in office, a center-right pragmatist who struggled badly in his first term, reversed himself on tax cuts several times, was uneasily reliant on Southern Democrats, -invaded Lebanon, lost 265 U.S. servicemembers, and then fled, and ran for reelection with a misery index of unemployment and inflation at 11.5 percent. (Obama is running for a second term with a misery index of 9.8 percent.) Reagan also got major flak from his right wing, as Obama has from his left. A classic excerpt in early 1983 from The Miami Herald: “Conservatives may not back President Reagan for reelection in 1984 unless he reverses what they consider ‘almost a stampede to the left’ in the White House.” Reagan’s Republicans lost 26 seats in 1982, down 13 percent from their previous numbers. That same year, Reagan’s approval ratings sank to 35 -percent—several points lower in his first term than Obama’s ever reached. If you compare Gallup’s polls of presidential approval, you also see something interesting: Obama’s first-term -approval—its peaks and valleys—resembles Reagan’s more than any other recent president; it’s just that Obama’s lows have been higher and his highs lower. Reagan struggled. By his reelection in 1984, he’d been buoyed by a rebirth of economic growth and -lower -inflation—but it was in his second term that he became the icon he remains today.


Obama’s first term looks very similar—two big initial wins, the stimulus and universal health care, that became a liability in the midterm election. Obama’s mid-term crash was worse than Reagan’s, and his opposition far less accommodating. Reagan won 48 Democratic House and 37 Democratic Senate votes for his first signature policy, the tax cuts; Obama got zero and three Republican votes, respectively, for a stimulus in the worst recession since the 1930s. Those are the fruits of polarization. Nonetheless, the administration has soldiered on since 2010, and the tally of achievements is formidable: the near-obliteration of al Qaeda, democratic revolutions in the Arab world that George Bush could only have dreamed of, the re-regulation of Wall Street after the 2008 crash, stimulus investments in infrastructure and clean energy, powerful new fuel-emission standards along with a record level of independence from foreign oil, and, most critically, health-care reform. Now look at what Obama’s second term could do for all of these achievements. It would mean, first of all, that universal health care in America—government subsidies to people so they can afford to purchase private insurance and a ban on denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions—becomes irreversible. Yes, many details of the law would benefit from reform, experimentation, and fixes—especially if Republicans help to make them. But it’s still the biggest change in American health care since the passage of Medicare in 1965.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Newsweek den 1 oktober 2012.

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DENVER | Mitt Romney tog initiativet från första början. Han var både påläst och engagerad. Dessutom verkade han tycka det var kul att få debattera.

Presidenten däremot verkade både ointresserad och okoncentrerad. Obama lyckades aldrig koppla något riktigt grepp om sin motståndare. Han försökte inte ens. En märkligt tam insats från presidenten.

Det var lite av en överraskning att Romney var så överlägsen som han var. Många hade nog förväntat sig en mer jämn debatt.

Andrew Sullivan som bloggar på The Daily Beast – och är en av Obamas anhängare i media – sammanfattade väl vad många av demokraternas väljare antagligen kände efter debatten.

Look: you know how much I love the guy, and you know how much of a high information viewer I am, and I can see the logic of some of Obama’s meandering, weak, professorial arguments. But this was a disaster for the president for the key people he needs to reach, and his effete, wonkish lectures may have jolted a lot of independents into giving Romney a second look.

Obama looked tired, even bored; he kept looking down; he had no crisp statements of passion or argument; he wasn’t there. He was entirely defensive, which may have been the strategy. But it was the wrong strategy. At the wrong moment.

The person with authority on that stage was Romney – offered it by one of the lamest moderators ever, and seized with relish. This was Romney the salesman. And my gut tells me he sold a few voters on a change tonight. It’s beyond depressing. But it’s true.

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USA | Barack Obama har tillkännagett att han stödjer homosexuella äktenskap. Men ännu vet ingen vad det  politiska utfallet kommer att bli.

Intervjun med Barack Obama skedde under viss förvirring. Tydligen hade Obama planerat att komma med tillkännagivandet senare, inför demokraternas konvent.

Men Vita huset tvingades tidigarelägga det när vicepresident Joe Biden, sin vana trogen, inte kunde hålla tyst utan meddelade sin egen inställning till frågan om äktenskap.

Men när det väl var gjort blev reaktionen mindre omfattande än väntat. Till och med Mitt Romney och republikanernas kommentarer blev återhållsamma.

Och reaktionerna på den liberala kanten har varit märkbart blandade.

Vad som för bara ett par år sedan skulle ha uppfattats som ett modigt steg av många på vänsterkanten uppfattas idag snarare som ett försök att återuppväcka glöden från förra valrörelsen.

Många liberaler är helt enkelt besvikna över vad Obama åstadkommit under sin tid i Vita huset.

Andrew Sullivan, själv homosexuell, skrev en i huvudsak positiv artikel i Newsweek. Men även han betonade de politiska beräkningar som måste ha legat bakom.

There was, of course, cold politics behind it. One in six of Obama’s fundraising bundlers is gay, and he needs their money. Wall Street has not backed him financially this year the way it did in 2008. A few Jewish donors have held back over Israel. And when Obama announced recently that he would not issue an executive order barring antigay discrimination for federal contractors, the gay donors all but threatened to leave him high and dry. The unity and intensity of the gay power brokers—absent in the defensive crouch of the Clinton years—proved that FDR’s maxim still applied: “I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.”

If money was one factor making the move necessary, the youth vote—essential to his demographic coalition and overwhelmingly pro–marriage equality—clinched the logic of it. The under-30s were looking worryingly apathetic, especially compared with 2008. This would fire them back up. And by taking a position directly counter to that of Mitt Romney, who favors a constitutional amendment to ban all rights for gay couples across the entire country, Obama advanced his key strategy to winning in the fall: to make this a choice election. If it is a choice election, he wins. If it is a referendum on the last four years of economic crisis, he could lose.

John Cook på Gawker skrev den betydligt surare kommentaren Barack Obama’s Bullshit Gay Marriage Announcement”.

[Obamas] announcement amounts to much less than meets the eye. He now believes that gay couples should be able to marry. He doesn’t believe they have a right to do so. This is like saying that black children and white children ought to attend the same schools, but if the people of Alabama reject that notion—what are you gonna do?


Well, before Roe v. Wade, abortion was a state-by-state issue, too. So was slavery. There are 44 states in which gay men and women are currently barred from marrying one another. Obama’s position is that, while he would have voted the other way, those 44 states are perfectly within their rights to arbitrarily restrict the access of certain individuals to marriage rights based solely on their sexual orientation.

Vad många antagligen misstänker är att Obama inte skulle ha kommit med tillkännagivandet om det inte hade varit för att republikanerna förnärvarande är så svaga politiskt.

Sannolikheten att Mitt Romney skulle kunna vinna presidentvalet ser inte ut att vara speciellt stora för närvarande. Han liknar snarare en republikansk variant av demokraternas John Kerry.

Läs mer: I artikeln “How President Obama, in Six Days, Decided to Come Out for Gay Marriage” beskriver Howard Kurtz alla turerna. Se även Matt Bais “Obama’s Stance Is Significant, if Not Bold Leadership”.

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VITA HUSET | Andrew Sullivan, som bl.a. bloggar på The Daily Beast, skriver i Newsweek om varför både vänstern och högern har fel om Barack Obama.

Kritiken från höger har oftast varit förutsägbar. Betydligt intressantare är när Sullivan skriver om hur vänstern har projicerat alla sina önskningar på presidenten.

Med så höga förväntningar är det inte konstigt att resultatet uppfattas som en besvikelse. Men enligt Sullivan vill man inom vänstern inte ens erkänna de framsteg som gjorts under nuvarande administration.

You could easily make the case that Obama has been far more fiscally conservative than his predecessor—except, of course, that Obama has had to govern under the worst recession since the 1930s, and Bush, after the 2001 downturn, governed in a period of moderate growth. It takes work to increase the debt in times of growth, as Bush did. It takes much more work to constrain the debt in the deep recession Bush bequeathed Obama.


But the right isn’t alone in getting Obama wrong. While the left is less unhinged in its critique, it is just as likely to miss the screen for the pixels. From the start, liberals projected onto Obama absurd notions of what a president can actually do in a polarized country, where anything requires 60 Senate votes even to stand a chance of making it into law. They have described him as a hapless tool of Wall Street, a continuation of Bush in civil liberties, a cloistered elitist unable to grasp the populist moment that is his historic opportunity. They rail against his attempts to reach a Grand Bargain on entitlement reform. They decry his too-small stimulus, his too-weak financial reform, and his too-cautious approach to gay civil rights. They despair that he reacts to rabid Republican assaults with lofty appeals to unity and compromise.


Obama was not elected, despite liberal fantasies, to be a left-wing crusader. He was elected as a pragmatic, unifying reformist who would be more responsible than Bush.

And what have we seen? A recurring pattern. To use the terms Obama first employed in his inaugural address: the president begins by extending a hand to his opponents; when they respond by raising a fist, he demonstrates that they are the source of the problem; then, finally, he moves to his preferred position of moderate liberalism and fights for it without being effectively tarred as an ideologue or a divider. This kind of strategy takes time. And it means there are long stretches when Obama seems incapable of defending himself, or willing to let others to define him, or simply weak. I remember those stretches during the campaign against Hillary Clinton. I also remember whose strategy won out in the end.

This is where the left is truly deluded. By misunderstanding Obama’s strategy and temperament and persistence, by grandstanding on one issue after another, by projecting unrealistic fantasies onto a candidate who never pledged a liberal revolution, they have failed to notice that from the very beginning, Obama was playing a long game.

Se även: Michelle Goldberg’s Op-Vid Campaign 2012 on Liberal Despair på The Daily Beast.

Övrigt: Artikeln och tidskriftsomslaget är från Newsweek den 23 januari 2012.

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ÄNNU EN DEBATT mellan de republikanska presidentkandidaterna. Rick Perry var den primära måltavlan nu när han leder i opinionsundersökningarna.

De bästa replikskiftena var mellan Mitt Romney och Perry. Men även om Perry blev hårt åtgången från alla de övriga var det uppenbart att han har många sympatisörer i denna Tea Party-publik.

Att det var Tea Party-rörelsen som stod bakom debatten i Florida märktes på den engagerade publiken. Kraftigaste applåderna fick därför också de konservativaste (och nyliberalaste) inläggen.

Se mer: Debatten – del 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 och 8. Läs vad Andrew Sullivan live-bloggade.

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KAN Tina Brown vända utvecklingen för Newsweek? Med sin efarehet från bland annat Tatler, Talk, Vanity Fair och The New Yorker har hon förutsättningar att lyckas.

Och när det gäller Newsweek skriver Peter Stevenson från The New York Times Magazine följande:

Since her first issue of Newsweek on March 14, newsstand sales are up 57 percent over the dismal 2010 numbers; ad pages are up 14 percent, with new advertisers like Credit Suisse, Progressive Insurance, Charles Schwab, Omega watches and Poland Spring coming aboard.

Brown’s early issues show signs of blood starting to pump through the veins again. A section called News Gallery showcases emotionally powerful photojournalism. “You can do a lot with photographs in telling a story, because it means that you’re in the news but you’re not pretending you can be profound about it,” Brown said.

At the same time, Brown’s early issues have been strewn with standbys from her Rolodex: Hillary Clinton, Harvey Weinstein, Judith Regan, James Carville, Arnold Schwarzenegger. A new section called Omnivore: Want has featured $2,100 Chanel shoes, a $6,500 Audi bicycle and a $10,000 Burberry “Python” trench, items that would not be within reach of your average newsmagazine reader but that would feel right at home in, say, Vanity Fair.

“There’s a great kind of high-low, newsy, sexy thing that the European newsmagazines have,” Brown said. “They have this great sort of slightly freewheeling pagination, where they go from a great sexy picture of an expensive watch to Libya or something. So I’d like to have more of that feeling in Newsweek. I think that’s a great thing for a magazine, because that’s where we all sort of are now, we’re all multiplatformed, everything’s messed up with everything else.”

Brown can’t spend the way she used to, but she has made significant hires, like persuading Andrew Sullivan to airlift his wildly popular blog from The Atlantic into The Daily Beast. […]

Other new NewsBeasties — everyone Brown hires will work for both Newsweek and The Daily Beast — include the British financial historian Niall Ferguson, The Washington Post’s Pulitzer-winning fashion critic Robin Givhan and the longtime New Yorker writer Peter Boyer.

Övrigt: Artikeln ”Tina Brown Is Still Hungry for Buzz” visar tidskriftsomslagen på Browns första nummer av Tatler och The New Yorker. Se också 25 omslag till tidskriften Talk.

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