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Posts Tagged ‘demokraterna’

USA | Hillary Clintons förra försök att bli demokraternas presidentkandidat kan sammanfattas i ett par paradoxer.

Bloomberg Businessweek April 20-April 26 2015

Ingen kan förneka att Clinton alltid omger sig av kompetenta och lojala medarbetare. Trots detta var hennes kampanjstab ständigt i luven på varandra senast Clinton försökte bli demokraternas presidentkandidat.

Den andra paradoxen är att Clinton – som utmålades som kompetent och erfaren – inte ens var kapabel att avstyra detta inbördeskrig.

Nu förslår Joshua Green i Bloomberg Businessweek en variant av den strategi som fick skulden för valförlusten mot Barack Obama.

Det huvudsakliga budskapet då var att Clinton var en kompetent ”Iron Lady” med erfarenhet. Om Clinton vunnit hade strategin säkert uppfattats som både briljant och självklar.

Perhaps the biggest management challenge of all is the one she’s married to. Bill Clinton can be any candidate’s most effective advocate, as Obama discovered at the 2012 Democratic convention in Charlotte. But in 2008, he was mostly a liability, offending many Democratic voters with comments that demeaned Obama’s victory in South Carolina and referring to his opposition to the Iraq War as “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.”

All the careful planning and creative imagery—the upbeat video, the Iowa road trip—intended to distinguish Clinton from the candidate who ran last time, won’t matter if she hasn’t realized that her own shortcomings are what doomed her. In the end, she’s the only one with plausible authority to direct her own campaign. And the best way to assert control of her new operation would be for her to develop what was so sorely missing last time—a clear, overarching justification for her candidacy.

The best rationale for Clinton 2016 is the same one embedded in the attacks Republicans are already making: that she’s a creature of Washington who embodies the past, and that it’s time for a new face and an outsider. Clinton can’t avoid this critique. But she can subvert it by presenting her two decades in the White House, Senate, and State Department as experience that’s left her uniquely equipped to do what polls say Americans are pining for: Make Washington function better.

Clinton has always been called a “polarizing” figure (an increasingly meaningless designation that applies to every national politician, as voters have become more partisan). But she has an underappreciated credential that could be a weapon in the upcoming race: a record of thriving in an acrimonious, Republican-dominated climate like the one we have now.

[…]

As voters begin contemplating who should become the next president, Clinton can, if she chooses, make the strongest claim that she’s best suited to manage in the deteriorating conditions in Washington. How much will that matter? Probably more than at any time in the recent past. Beneath Americans’ intensely negative feelings toward Washington, and Congress in particular, lies an appreciation that the job of making the government function effectively will require more than just a new occupant in the Oval Office. A Washington Post-ABC News poll last month found that more Americans desire “experience” (55 percent) than “a new direction” (37 percent) in a presidential candidate. Clinton’s old line about her readiness to “do the job from Day One” may be more compelling this time around.

A steady majority of Americans continue to tell pollsters that they want compromise from Washington. Here, too, Clinton may have hidden appeal. A recent Pew Research poll found they believe by a 4-to-1 margin that women are better at working out compromises than men.

It would be no small irony if the exhaustion with partisanship that these numbers show turned out to be a positive, rather than a negative, force for Hillary Clinton. Of course, the prerequisite to any claim that she can make Washington function more effectively is that Clinton first pass the test she failed before—and run a professional campaign.

Tidskriftsomslag: Bloomberg Businessweek,  20-26 april 2015.

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USA | Demokraternas primärval ser ut att bli ett riktigt sömnpiller om ingen tungviktare vill konkurrera mot Hillary Clinton.

The Economist den 11-17 april 2015

Vad som skulle kunna sätta stop för hennes försök att bli president är om väljarna inte känner för att rösta på ännu en Clinton. Liknande problem har Jeb Bush på den republikanska kanten.

Möjligheten att Clinton kan bli den första kvinnan i Vita huset kommer naturligtvis generera nyheter framöver. Frågan är om det räcker.

Kanske är tanken på en kvinna i Vita huset inte längre lika spännande sedan USA redan har valt sin första svarta president. Ingen tror längre att en kvinna inte kan bli president.

Dessutom är Clintons politiska åsikter inte direkt kristallklara. Det är i och för sig inget ovanligt.

Vaghet används nämligen ofta som strategi för att minimera risken att bli en måltavla för motståndare.

Men om Clinton inte ens kan artikulera en tilltalande vision för USA finns det inte heller någon anledning att rösta på henne bara för att hon är kvinna.

Och när hon väl uttrycker några politiska åsikter låter det som … Bill Clinton.

The Economist har försökt reda ut vad hon tycker i olika frågor:

Candidates usually take sharply ideological positions during primaries, to woo the die-hard activists who vote in them, before tacking back to the centre as the general election nears. However, if Mrs Clinton faces no real primary challenger, she may not need to do this. Instead, she will need to woo enough Democrats to build a sense of excitement and grassroots involvement, without alienating swing voters. And if she cannot achieve the same stellar levels of support among black and young voters that Mr Obama did, she will need to fill the gap some other way.

She has made her pitch to women clear. She stresses her desire to help more of them into the workforce. She solemnly declares that women should receive equal pay for the same work as men (a position with which no one disagrees). In the past she has campaigned to make it easier for women to sue over alleged discrimination.

A big test involves white voters without a college education, who make up about a third of the electorate, but have drifted from the Democrats since Bill Clinton’s day. Mr Obama only won 36% of their votes in 2012, and might have done still worse if he had not successfully painted his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, as their worst nightmare of a boss.

Should Mrs Clinton win the general election, she will also need to be ready on Day One to deal with Republicans. There is virtually no chance that Democrats will win the House of Representatives in 2016, and even if they retake the Senate they will not have a filibuster-proof majority.

Expect Mrs Clinton to run to Mr Obama’s right on foreign policy. In interviews since leaving the State Department she has said that she urged him to take a muscular approach to Russia. She has chided Europeans for failing to stand up to Vladimir Putin (she wants them to send arms to Ukraine, for example), while crediting the reset with achieving at least one arms-control agreement and securing Russian help in talks to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. She has called the latest draft deal with Iran, brokered by America and other world powers, an “important step”, whatever that means. Last year she signalled that she would be more comfortable with stricter curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme. In a rare overt criticism of Mr Obama, she said in 2014 that the failure to help non-Islamist Syrian rebels fight against Bashar Assad had left a “big vacuum” for Islamic State and other jihadists to fill.

Mrs Clinton has come close to echoing Republican grumbles that Mr Obama is too apologetic about American power. She says that her country cannot solve all problems, “but there’s not a problem that we face that can be solved without the United States.” While ruling out a return to the hubris of the George W. Bush years, she hints that the time has come for America to re-engage with the world.

In domestic forums Mrs Clinton is fluent in the language of the modern business-friendly centre-left. She is keen on public infrastructure, universal education for the youngest children, lowering the cost of college and experimenting with German-style wage-subsidies for the working poor. She likes to see church groups working alongside strong trade unions and community organisations, and uses “evidence-based” as high praise for any policy. In 2008 she sometimes sounded like a deficit hawk, with slogans like: “We’ve got to stop spending money we don’t have.” In 2008 she also called for a “time out” on new trade deals, though as secretary of state she backed new pacts. During primary debates she called herself “committed to making sure Social Security is solvent” and said that the best route to reform lay through bipartisan compromise.

Läs mer: ”What does Hillary stand for?, ledare i The Economist.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Economist den 11-17 april 2015.

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USA | Vem är republikanernas svar på Barack Obama? Finns det någon som skulle kunna locka unga, kvinnor och latinos i ett presidentval?

Moterh Jones - June 2014

Ännu har partiet inte hittat någon som har samma ljuskraft som Obama när han dök upp på den politiska scenen. Ingen ser ens ut att kunna utmana Hillary Clinton om hon skulle bli demokraternas presidentkandidat.

Man har haft vissa förhoppningar knutna till guvernör Bobby Jindal (föräldrar från Indien), senatorerna Marco Rubio och Ted Cruz (båda med föräldrar från Kuba).

Men ingen har riktigt lyckats entusiasmera gräsrötterna på samma sätt som Ronald Reagan. Och det är en ny Reagan man måste hitta om man ser till partiets opinionssiffror.

Dessutom står både Rubio och Cruz Tea Party-rörelsen nära. Det är svårt att se att detta kan vara en fördel om man skall vinna över mittenväljare och demokrater.

Med tanke på att Hillary Clinton ser ut att bli demokraternas presidentkandidat skulle republikanerna dessutom behöva en kvinna vid rodret.

Det är här Susana Martinez kommer in i bilden.

Som guvernör i New Mexico, och med mexikanska föräldrar, har hon potential att locka den allt mer betydelsefulla väljargruppen latinos.

Om det nu inte var för at hon är kontroversiell även inom det republikanska partiet. Hon och hennes närmaste medarbetare har t.o.m. kallats hämndlystna och småaktiga.

Hennes främste rådgivare, den politiska konsulten Jay McCleskey, har beskrivit som mannen som styr bakom kulisserna.

”They’ve got this Sherman’s march to the sea mentality, burning everything in sight until they get to the finish.” Allt enligt en donator inom Republican Party.

Exakt samma kritik riktades en gång mot Sarah Palin, en person som Martinez har liknats vid.

Andy Kroll skriver bl.a. om hennes konfrontativa stil i Mother Jones.

Since her election in 2010, she and her team have meticulously cultivated the image of a well-liked, bipartisan, warm-hearted governor by avoiding tough interviews and putting her in photo ops greeting veterans, reading to kids, or cutting ribbons. ”This administration is very disciplined,” says New Mexico pollster Brian Sanderoff.

[…]

In the general election, Martinez ran as the clean-government advocate who would do away with everything New Mexicans disliked about her predecessor. Once hugely popular, Bill Richardson had been dogged by grand jury investigations, corruption allegations, rumors of sexual misconduct, and growing disenchantment over his perennial presidential aspirations. Martinez’s campaign slogan (”Bold Change”) was straight out of the Obama playbook, and it was all the more cutting given that her Democratic opponent, Diane Denish, had spent eight years as Richardson’s lieutenant governor.

On policy, Martinez drew on borrowed ideas (her education plan largely came from Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education) and flashy initiatives such as repealing a law allowing undocumented immigrants to get state driver’s licenses.

[…]

Martinez’s crew saw enemies everywhere. A former staffer recalls the campaign on multiple occasions sending the license plate numbers of cars believed to be used by opposition trackers to an investigator in Martinez’s DA office who had access to law enforcement databases.

[…]

The campaign emails and audio recordings also show how Martinez and her team strategized to maintain her straight-shooting image while avoiding actually being up-front with the public. Throughout the campaign, Martinez praised teachers and insisted she’d ”hold harmless” funding for public education. In private, Martinez implied teachers earned too much: ”During the campaign, we can’t say it, I guess, because it’s education, but…they already don’t work, you know, two and a half months out of the year.” She and McCleskey acknowledged that cuts to education could well be necessary, so her aides plotted about how to respond if they were ever called out for it once elected: ”Put up a YouTube video that no one will ever see where you talk about making everyone feel the pain,” McCleskey suggested. ”And when you win, we say, ‘See, we said this shit the whole time. What are you guys talking about?'”

[…]

Prominent Republicans around the state have blamed McCleskey for devising a political strategy that’s left the Martinez administration estranged from its natural allies. In a 2012 state Senate election, the governor endorsed a primary challenge to a Stetson-wearing rancher named Pat Woods, whom Martinez and McCleskey didn’t like; they bankrolled their candidate, Angie Spears, with money from SusanaPAC. In an unprecedented move, Martinez herself traveled to Woods’ district to campaign for his opponent. The plan backfired: Woods made the campaign about McCleskey, a ”slick…Albuquerque political consultant” meddling with local politics, and won easily.

The Woods-Spears race infuriated members of the New Mexico GOP. State Rep. Anna Crook, a Republican whose district overlaps with Woods’, wrote in the local newspaper that the ”nastiness, misinformation, innuendo, slanderous mailings, robocalls, and, in some cases, flat-out lies have created a toxic political environment the likes of which I have never seen before.”

[…]

Despite the growing discontent among New Mexico party leaders, Martinez enjoys approval ratings in the high 50s and low 60s—among the highest of any Republican governor. Her advisers seem keenly aware of how those numbers could help her achieve higher office, and appear determined to maintain them. Martinez’s aides have closely guarded her travel schedule and her media appearances, protecting her from tough and unflattering questions. Unlike such popular Republican governors as Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Ohio’s John Kasich, Martinez has for more than three years largely avoided the Sunday talk shows; the lone national news figure to get substantial time with her is Fox’s Van Susteren. As she runs for reelection this fall with a full war chest and no strong contender among the Democrats challenging her, Martinez is well positioned to shape the debate and control her own image.

Yet Democrats and Republicans alike wonder if she has what it takes to succeed at the national level.

Tidskriftsomslag: Mother Jones, juni 2014.

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Edward M. Kennedy at Boston’s Hotel Touraine on the night of the Democratic primary, September 18, 1962. Photograph courtesy of the Office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Ted Kennedy den 18 september 1962. Han vann detta år sin första valkampanj till senaten. Bilden tagen på Hotel Touraine i Boston.

Foto: Office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

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USA | Inget är vad det ser ut att vara i amerikansk politik. Senast minimilönen ökade i USA var t.ex. under George W. Bush. Alltså inte under Barack Obama!

republikaner & demokrater

John R. MacArthur, utgivare av tidskriften Harper’s Magazine och författare till You Can’t Be President, skriver i The Spectator om de paradoxer och likheter som finns mellan demokraterna och republikanerna när man väl skalat bort den politisk retoriken.

In 2008, there was virtually no difference in the positions of Obama, promoted by the Chicago Democratic machine, and Hillary Clinton, supported by her husband’s staff machine. Obama could cite his one speech opposing the Iraq invasion. But the Obama-Clinton duel was little more than an intra-party factional fight fueled by human ambition. Obama’s votes in the U.S. Senate were identical to Mrs. Clinton’s in support of continued funding of Bush’s military folly. Both parties agree on the value of outsourcing jobs to Mexico and China – that is, the value of receiving in return big contributions from corporations, law firms and banks that benefitting from ‘free trade’. Similarly, both Obama and Clinton pretended to criticize the North American Free Trade Agreement during the Ohio primary six years ago, and today they both support the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which if approved is guaranteed to close more factories in the Rust Belt. In order to understand American politics, it is essential to know that NAFTA was launched by President George H.W. Bush and rammed through Congress by President William Jefferson Clinton.

With manufacturing jobs leaving the country for cheap-labor locales and the economy still sluggish, it would make sense to raise the federal minimum wage. But Obama’s current rhetoric on the subject is merely hot air. When he had big majorities in both houses of Congress, he did almost nothing to help ordinary workers, but much to reward Wall Street and Goldman Sachs, his top corporate contributor in 2008. The last time the minimum wage was increased was during the administration of that notorious leftist George W. Bush. Meanwhile, Obama, Jeb Bush and Clinton go on about ‘immigration reform’, but not one of them will ever cross the restaurant and farm lobbies that love illegal Mexican labor, since it can’t unionise, can’t complain about working conditions, and is happy to toil for $ 3 an hour.

Then there’s ‘Socialist’ Obamacare, which is merely a bigger version of Republican Mitt Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts. Whatever its bureaucratic failings, Obamacare is marvelously efficient – from the standpoint of Democratic party functionaries – at transfer taxpayers’ money to private insurance companies (in the form of government-subsidised policies) That are happy to return the favour with donations to Democrats.

It is perhaps not a coincidence that the rigid, top-down political control of the electoral process coincides with the Commerce Department’s report that last year corporate profits, as a proportion of GDP, reached a record high – the highest since 1929 – while the employee compensation fell to its lowest level, as a percentage of GDP, since in 1948.

Det är knappast en sund bild av den amerikanska demokratin som MacArthur målar upp.

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USA | Allt fler har börjat tala om guvernör Chris Christie som republikanernas självklara presidentkandidat. Om man vill ha en chans att vinna vill säga.

Han har i alla fall en klar fördel framför övriga namn som det talas om (t.ex. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio) och det är att han inte är rädd att ta strid med Tea Party-anhängarnas favoriter.

Detta är om inte annat en nödvändighet om en republikansk kandidat skall ha en chans att locka väljare bortom de egna gräsrötterna.

Här nedan är utdrag från två reportage där man följt guvernören och tagit pulsen på hans möjligheter att bli republikanernas frontfigur.

Time 18 nov 2013 US edition

Michael Scherer, Time, skriver:

The Christie for America 2016 calculation goes like this: All Republican nomination contests usually go the same way. Primary voters claim to be big-C Conservatives, but they vote with a small c. After months of carping and griping, after rubber-chicken dinners, purity tests and endless debates, the party always settles on the most viable center-right option who has earned his place in line—Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney. As Christie might say it, the party decides it wants to win.

Christie’s strategy is clear enough, to execute a political coup de main: to try to clear the field (or his side of the field) by coming on very strong at the outset to take up the Establishment real estate. With four or five others (Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum and others) battling to become the purist on the right, Christie’s initial goal is simply to be the Electable One. Yes, he may command only 15% of the total GOP electorate at the outset, but in a fractured field, that’s fine with him. If he is lucky, he might win Iowa by a little, New Hampshire by a lot. If he can squeeze by, the big states will love the big guy.

To aid in the effort, Christie will have some significant financial—and logistical—advantages. Sitting governors are much better fundraisers than any other kind of politician. And in a few weeks, Christie is going to supercharge that claim when he takes over command of the Republican Governors Association, which is looking to protect 22 governors who are up for re-election in 2014, including, conveniently enough, the leaders of South Carolina, Florida and Iowa. He will soon be traveling the country, collecting cards and chits and IOUs, all at someone else’s expense. “In the big cities where the GOP money will be raised,” says Wayne Berman, a leading Republican fundraiser and consultant, “Christie is already the default choice.”

From that perch, Christie can raise perhaps $50 million next year and borrow the fundraising networks of every other GOP governor. They will owe him. And together, those networks are worth $250 million. That is Hillary scale, something none of his current challengers can access as easily. And then there is the outside money. In 2012 several billionaires were involved in the draft-Christie movement.

New York augusti 2012

Benjamin Wallace-Wells i tidskriften New York:

We have never had a president as outwardly angry as Christie, but then this country has rarely been as angry as it is now. In the tea-party era, conservative anger has often been channeled by figures such as Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz into a hysteria over very abstract and inflated threats: health-care death panels, the national debt, the specter of a country overrun by illegal immigrants. Christie’s use of anger is very different: It is much more targeted, and therefore potentially much more useful.

The contrast was on display last week in the fight he picked with Rand Paul. The senator from Kentucky, having watched Christie denounce libertarianism, called him the “King of Bacon,” presumably referring both to his pleas for immediate federal help after Hurricane Sandy and to his weight. Christie had pointed out that New Jersey is a “donor state,” taking only 61 cents for every dollar it sends to Washington, while Kentucky takes back $1.51. (No acknowledgment from Christie that this is owed not to New Jersey’s superior character but to its good fortune of existing next to the great economic buoy of Wall Street, while Kentucky is near no economic buoy at all.) “So if Senator Paul wants to start looking at where he is going to cut spending to afford defense,” Christie had said, “maybe he should start looking at cutting the pork-barrel spending he brings home to ­Kentucky.” For Christie, the villain is always specific: not government, not socialism, not impersonal historical forces, but one moron in particular—the teachers union, or Steve Sweeney, or in this case Rand Paul, the libertarian ophthalmologist, high-mindedly denouncing government while his state is on its dole. “He’s not the first politician to try to use me to get attention,” Christie said later, dismissing Paul’s slight. “And I’m sure he won’t be the last.”

What Christie is doing when he starts arguments with other Republicans—and it is telling that what looks very much like a presidential run has begun with a sequence of fights—is offering his party the chance to preserve its anger, while trading in its revolutionaries for a furious institutionalist.

Läs mer: Blogginlägget ”Vem kan utmana demokraterna?”

Tidskriftsomslag: Time (amerikanska utgåvan), 18 november 2013 och New York, 12 augusti 2012.

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