Posts Tagged ‘Barck Obama’

USA | Mitt Romney bygger en stor del av sin image på att han som framgångsrik affärsman vet hur man skapar nya jobb.

En ständig fråga i valkampanjen är därför om Romney under sin karriär skapade fler jobb än han rationaliserade bort.

Randy Johnson, som 1995 förlorade jobbet i ett av de företag Romney omstrukturerade, bedriver en kampanj för att underminera Romneys presidentambitioner.

Naturligtvis har demokraterna välkomnat honom med öppna armar. Mer oväntat är att samma kritik har framförts av republikanen Newt Gingrich.

Paul M. Barrett har skrivit i Bloomberg Businessweek om striden. 

Randy Johnson organizes steel workers for a living. Before that he worked in a paper factory where he served as union steward. He has waved picket line placards, bellowed through bullhorns, and taken people out on strike. Along the way, he became Mitt Romney’s worst recurring nightmare.


 “Let me show you something,” Johnson says, rising to get his “Romney box,” a copier-paper carton he’s kept since 1994.


The box contains records of a long-ago chapter in the history of Bain Capital, the Boston investment firm Romney led from 1984 to 1999. Back in 1992, Bain acquired a manufacturer called American Pad & Paper, or Ampad. Bain then used Ampad as a vehicle to buy and restructure similar companies. Following standard “roll-up” strategy, Bain closed factories and laid off workers in anticipation of selling off a leaner, more profitable company via an initial public stock offering.


On and off since 1994, when the former Massachusetts businessman made his first run for public office, seeking to unseat Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Johnson has haunted Romney. During the hard-fought Senate race, Johnson led a “truth squad” of Marion workers who drove overnight to Boston to confront Romney. Kennedy’s campaign, recognizing a gift from the political gods, made a series of television commercials starring the unhappy Marion workers. The ads helped Kennedy pull out of a temporary slump and defeat Romney. In 2002, when the Republican ran for governor of Massachusetts, Johnson popped up again to remind voters about Marion. Better prepared, Romney weathered the attack and won the statehouse, vowing to improve the Massachusetts economy based on his business expertise.

Now, as Romney battles to become the Republican Presidential nominee, Johnson is working with the Democratic National Committee to plague the politician yet again. Once an aggrieved line worker avenging what he considered an injustice, he is, many years and several campaigns later, a seasoned operative fluent in the language and tactics of political combat. Democrats, for obvious reasons, seek him out, and he seems happy to be sought. Since late last year, the DNC has shepherded Johnson around the country in a preview of President Barack Obama’s populist-tinged fall campaign. Johnson has visited Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and Florida, talking to journalists and schmoozing state Democratic chairmen. In January, when Romney told an audience in Nashua, N.H., that he “enjoy[s] firing people,” Johnson cracked to reporters: “That’s not news to me. Mitt Romney fired me and everyone at the plant.”


Romney maintains his business career generated employment on an impressive scale. “The jobs created at Bain Capital by companies that we helped start or that we helped manage, those companies today employ well over 100,000 more jobs than those that were lost,” Romney told Bloomberg TV on Jan. 7.

Asked for data to back up that claim, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul points to comments the candidate made in Greer, S.C., on Jan. 12: “There are a number of businesses that we helped start which collectively … added well over 100,000 jobs. Staples (SPLS), Bright Horizons children centers, Sports Authority, Steel Dynamics (STLD). Those four alone added well over 100,000 jobs. And then the press has also reported on businesses that lost employment and that was a few thousand jobs that were lost. In each case, where there was job loss, there was an effort on the part of the management team to try and preserve the business to have a brighter future.” To this, Saul adds: “These experiences give Mr. Romney the unique skills and capabilities to do what President Obama has failed to do: focus on job creation and turn around our nation’s faltering economy.”

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Bloomberg Businessweek den 27 februari – 4 mars 2012.

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KAVALKAD |  Vem minns längre 2011? Med ”The Dumbest People, Events and Things 2011” hjälper Mad oss återuppliva några av händelserna i USA.

Satirtidskriften bjuder bl.a. på Barack Obama och kongressens ledamöter som levande döda zombies i skuggan av skuldkrisen. (The Walking Debt: They Need Braaaaaains!)

Här är också Arnold Schwarzenegger. Under fjorton år lyckades han dölja det faktum att han fått en son med hushållerskan. (”Arnold Schtups His Housekeeper: The Last Action-on-the-side Hero”).

Här är tre, numera f.d. republikanska presidentkandidater: Donald Trump (”Trump Says Obama Not American: The Born Identity”), Michele Bachmann (”Michele Bachmann Speaks: A Broken Facts Machine”) och Herman Cain (”The Pee-Wee Herman Cain Show”).

Naturligtvis hör också avlyssningsskandalen kring Rupert Murdoch hit (”News Corp Hacks Phones: Getting Away With Murdoch”).

Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget och ”The 20 Dumbest …” är hämtat från nr 513, februari 2012. Mad finns på madmag.com.

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IMAGE: I början av Barack Obamas presidentskap jämfördes han ofta med Franklin Roosevelt. Idag är det snarast likheterna med Ronald Reagan som framhävs.

Och Obama har inte försökt dölja sin beundran för USA:s mest populära konservativa president. I Time har Michael Scherer och Michael Duffy tittat på skillnader och likheter.

[U]nder the surface, there is no mistaking Obama’s increasing reliance on his predecessor’s career as a helpful template for his own. Since the November elections, Obama has brought corporate executives into the White House, reached out to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and made compromise his new watchword. He signed a surprise $858 billion tax cut that would have made Reagan weep with joy and huddled with Reagan’s former White House chief of staff Ken Duberstein for lessons learned when the Gipper governed amid economic troubles. Over the Christmas break, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted that Obama was reading a Reagan biography, and just to confirm the bond, Obama recently wrote an homage to Reagan for USA Today. ”Reagan recognized the American people’s hunger for accountability and change,” Obama wrote, conferring on Reagan two of his most cherished political slogans. […]

Obama’s affection for Reagan’s political style carries with it a clear self-interest. White House aides gaze fondly at the arc of the Reagan presidency in part because they pray Obama’s will mirror it. Both men entered office in wave elections in which the political center made a historic shift. Both faced deep economic downturns with spiking unemployment in their first term. Both relied heavily on the power of oratory. […]

[I]n Obama’s story line, Reagan has been more than just the antagonist. As the 1980s rolled on and Obama matured, Reagan became a model for leadership. The attraction was less substantive than stylistic and instinctive. Both had strong mothers and dysfunctional fathers. Both prided themselves on bringing people together. Obama even conceded that he sometimes felt the emotional pull of Reagan’s vision. ”I understood his appeal,” Obama recalled in his second book, The Audacity of Hope. ”Reagan spoke to America’s longing for order, our need to believe that we are not simply subject to blind, impersonal forces but that we can shape our individual and collective destinies.”

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KAMPANJ: Att Barack Obama kommer att bli USA:s nästa president har varit uppenbart en längre tid nu. Frågan är bara om det kommer att bli en jordskredsseger med inbrytningar i tradtionellt republikanska fästen.

John McCains problem har varit tydliga en längre tid och beror primärt på egna interna kampanjproblem snarare än yttre faktorer som exempelvis den finansiella krisen eller åtta år av George W Bush (även om detta inte har hjälpt McCain).

I grunden handlar problemen om bristande fokus, otydligt budskap och en kampanjstab som ständigt har varit i behov av omorganisering.

Lägg sedan till att Obamas ekonomiska övertag har gjort det möjligt för honom att kampanja var helst han önskar. McCain däremot har varit tvungen att begränsa sin kampanj till de absolut mest nödvändiga delstaterna.

Obama har helt enkelt tvingat McCain att kampanja intensivt även i delstater som traditionellt lutar åt republikanerna.

Redan innan debatten mellan Sarah Palin och Joseph Biden i början av oktober drog sig McCain ur Michigan – en demokratisk delstat som man tidigare trodde sig kunna vinna. McCain har också offentligt ventilerat sig frustration över hur hans kampanj har fungerat.

Att McCain valde Palin till sin vicepresidentkandidat var ett tecken på att McCain insåg att han inte skulle ha någon chans om han inte äntligen fick igång de republikanska kärnväljarna. Dessa väljare har alltid varit skeptiska till McCain som man har sett som alltför moderat i sina konservativa åsikter.  

Paradoxen McCain är att han trots allt var den enda republikan som i år skulle kunna matcha en demokratisk presidentkandidat.

USA är trött på republikanerna. Och bara en republikan med crossover potential har i år kunnat ge demokraterna en match. Och McCain har alltid varit respekterad hos demokratiska väljare och Independents. 

Men valet av Palin – som fick igång kärnväljarna – sände också en signal till dessa presumtiva anhängare i motsatta lägret att Obama trots allt var deras kandidat och inte McCain.

Tyvärr för McCain så har han aldrig kunna bestämma sig om han vill vara kandidaten som vill nå även sympatiserande demokrater eller kandidaten för de konservativa väljarna. Än´mindra har han lyckats balansera dessa två strategiska vägval.

Om man vill förstå stämningsläget i USA i år och de underliggande känslor som har påverkat amerikanarna i årets val kan läsa en essä i Harper´s Magazine av Thomas Frank.

Hans tes om den filosofi som har präglat republikanerna sedan 1980-talet i allmänhet och under Bush administrationen i synnerhet är följande;

Fantastic misgovernment is not an accident, nor is it the work of a few bad individuals. It is the consequence of triumph by a particular philosophy of government, by a movement that understands the liberal state as a perversion and considers the market the ideal nexus of human society. This movement is friendly to industry not just by force of campaign contributions but by conviction; it believes in entrepreneurship not merely in commerce but in politics; and the inevitable results of its ascendance are, first, the capture of the state by business and, second, what follows from that: incompetence, graft, and all the other wretched flotsam that we´ve come to expect from Washington.

Vän av ordning kan påpeka att en annan typ av korrupt kultur dominerade i Washington när det politiska etablissemanget styrdes av demokraterna – innan denna Reagan revolutionen – men det är knappast poängen.

Något så ovetenskapligt som ”tidsandan” talar helt enkelt för Obama och demokraterna i år.

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