Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’

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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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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POLITIK: Samtidigt som det republikanska startfältet inför presidentvalet börjar se alltmer tunt ut växer Barack Obamas opinionssiffror.

Han attackeras både från höger och vänster. Desillusionerade demokrater på vänsterkanten tycker att han gör för lite och högern att han gör för mycket.

Men trots detta – eller kanske tack vare detta – verkar Obama ha funnit en strategi som  fungerar. Andrew Romano på Newsweek skriver:

[O]bama’s agreement with Republicans to slash $38 billion from the 2011 budget […] actually contained less than $25 billion in spending cuts, few of them to cherished Democratic programs. The same day, Public Policy Polling released a survey showing that independents, who backed Republicans 56 percent to 37 percent in 2010, now prefer Democrats 42 percent to 33 percent—a 28-point reversal.

Obama har lyckats placer sig i mitten av den amerikanska opinionen. Ingen dålig utgångspunkt för en president som vill bli omvald.

Hur lyckades Obama med detta?

When Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, the White House’s top priority was simple: getting legislation passed. To accomplish that goal, Obama followed two rules. The first was that he would largely allow the legislative process to run its course before stepping in. […] “Presidents getting involved can actually make things worse,” says [political scientist Frances] Lee.

The second rule was that when Obama did weigh in, he would support the best possible proposal instead of the best imaginable proposal. The White House slashed the stimulus from $1.2 trillion to $787 billion to preempt congressional objections.


Obama’s initial leadership strategy was tailored to a time when Republicans couldn’t torpedo his agenda. In policy terms, the approach paid off, helping him put more points on the board during his first two years—the stimulus package, health-care reform, financial reregulation, and so on—than any president since LBJ.


But now that the GOP controls the House, no laws can pass without Republican support, and no Republicans will support anything the president proposes because they’re afraid it will help him get reelected. This changes the contours of Obama’s pragmatism: in 2009 and 2010, he could champion progressive legislation; in 2011, he can only defend against the GOP’s most objectionable ideas—and position himself to win a second term.

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HISTORIA: I senaste numret av tidskriften True West beskrivs en lite annorlunda valkampanj från USA:s historia.

Den 27 augusti 1871 urartade valfestligheterna i New Mexico till rena rama gänguppgörelsen mellan anhängare till demokraterna och republikanerna.

”On the typically quiet, quaint plaza in La Mesilla, New Mexico, chaos was contagious; gunfire was ubiquitous. Democrats and Republicans were at war! (…)

Republicans and Democrats were vying for political dominance with fervor—each salting campaign rhetoric with fiery words, free whiskey and earsplitting refrains from competing brass bands. 

The afternoon sun, scorching, beat down. The blood-alcohol content, numbing, went up. Wooziness claimed its share. Rival musicians marched to loudly hammered melodies around La Mesilla’s plaza—Republicans clockwise, Democrats counterclockwise. With a purposeful in-your-face attitude, the Democratic band piped out a rendition of “Marching Through Georgia,” barefaced skullduggery to dyed-in-the-wool Republicans, many who were former Unionists during a not-too-distant Civil War.

Some 1,000 sweltering participants, wannabe officeholders and curious onlookers filled the town square. Trumpets blasted. Tambourines clanged. Ceaseless drumbeats scored the cadence. Inflammatory taunting and boasting escalated—to a fervently dangerous pitch. Raw nerves frayed (…)

Republicans were indiscriminately shooting at Democrats; Democrats were haphazardly shooting at Republicans. Bleary-eyed drunks were just shooting—wildly (…)

Days later, the election was held—absent an ounce of spilt blood. Democrats carried the day.”

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