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Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

USA | Vem hade kunnat tro att expresidenterna Bill Clinton och Geroge W. Bush, och deras respektive familjer, är goda vänner?

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Många av demokraternas och republikanernas kärnväljare satte säkert kaffet i halsen när Time gjorde ett reportage om de två inför valet.

Men sanningen är att deras vänskap inte är någon större hemlighet. Det är mest deras tajming, när det nu börjar hetta till i valrörelsen, som överraskade.

Kommande valkampanj kan fortfarande komma att handla om Hillary Clinton och Jeb Bush. Men inom båda partiernas etablissemang har man börjat oro sig över kärnväljarnas vilja att röra om i grytan. Mest märks detta bland republikanerna.

Demokraterna har börjat oroa sig över att Hillary verkar sakna politiska övertygelser och kanske är för komprometterad efter alla år inom politiken. Detta samtidigt som Jeb, bland republikanerna, inte direkt inspirerar gräsrötterna till stordåd.

Men när Nancy Gibbs och Michale Duffy intervjuade expresidenterna kom man naturligtvis in på kommande presidentvalskampanj.

“Look, this is highly complicated,” Clinton says of the political environment. “People don’t like negative, divisive environments. But they frequently reward them in elections.”

[…]

“I can’t tell you who is going to win, but I can tell you what’s going to happen,” Bush says and Clinton nods in agreement. “There’s kind of a general pattern. And there will be flash in the pans, there will be this crisis, there will be the funding thing. There will be all these things that happen, but eventually the person who can best lead their party will be nominated.”

[…]

Earlier this year at a private fundraiser, George W. reportedly called Hillary formidable but beatable, and you get the sense that his opinion hasn’t changed. “You know, I’m pulling for Jeb as hard as I can pull for him,” Bush says. His brother is “plenty smart and plenty capable, and if he needs my help, he’ll call me,” he said. “Otherwise I’m on the sidelines, and happily so.”

[…]

The 2016 race, Clinton says, is going to be about the economy and how to make it bigger and broader. But just as he starts to get going on the topic with his old intensity, you can him hitting the brakes, as if he were saying to himself, “It’s not your turn.” Says Clinton: “I think the debate could become fresh for Americans if it’s really about…how do you create broadly shared prosperity all over the world? I think it’s going to be interesting.” But now he, he says, “I think most of my role will be giving advice if I’m asked for it. And I try not to even offer it at home unless I’m asked. But she’s been pretty good about asking every now and then.”

Tidskriftsomslag: Time den 3 augusti 2015.

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USA | Jeb Bush är det vuxna alternativet bland de republikaner som nu har tillkännagett sitt intresse för att bli partiets presidentkandidat.

Time March 16 2015.

Men är amerikanarna redo för ännu en Bush i Vita huset? Och kommer en framgångsrik valstrategi kräva att han distanserar sig från sin bror?

Kritik om att han inte skiljer sig nämnvärt från den politik hans bror George W. Bush stod för kommer garanterat dyka upp från utmanare, både inom partiet och från demokraterna.

Alex Altman och Zeke J. Miller i Time har tecknat bilden av en politiker med både enorma resurser men också mycket historiskt bagage.

Jeb has always been more substance than style, a technocrat who doesn’t often display his brother’s gift for gab. “He doesn’t like the backslapping of politics,” says T. Willard Fair, the CEO of the Miami Urban League and a longtime friend who teamed with Bush to build Florida’s charter-school network. “If you could put him in the corner with a book, he’d rather do that.” Even close friends say he doesn’t kibitz much, charging through pleasantries on the phone to cut to the heart of the matter. But he has mastered the niceties that count in campaigns, like entering donors’ numbers into his personal cell phone so he can greet them warmly when they call.

For a politician who operates as a soloist, Bush has built an ensemble of allies with rare devotion. The ardor was clear on a Tuesday afternoon in mid-February, when 300 longtime supporters showed up at a Tallahassee hotel with a view of the state capitol for a fundraiser to benefit Bush’s super PAC. Lobbyists and former aides wearing circular red jeb! ’16 stickers on their chests scribbled out checks on tall cocktail tables as they waited to enter a ballroom with baubly glass chandeliers. “There are a lot of us who would do almost anything for him,” says former Bush political director David Hart, pulling from his pocket an index-card-size printout detailing the state’s education gains since Bush took office.

[…]

The 43rd President’s biography of the 41st, coupled with a hagiographic HBO documentary, formed the core of a quiet campaign to stoke nostalgia for the first Bush presidency and thaw opposition to a third. At the same time, Obama’s struggles to tame Islamic extremism refired the Restoration instincts in Republican politics. By June 2014, George W. Bush’s approval rating trumped Obama’s in Gallup polling, breaking the 50% threshold for the first time in nearly a decade.

And so a year ago, Bush asked his top political advisers to map out a role in the 2014 midterms with an eye toward a possible presidential run. As he campaigned for Republican candidates, he met privately with policy bigwigs. He had his fundraisers gin up cash for key governors, always a good way to test the waters around the country.

[…]

As his team sees it, Bush has four main weaknesses among primary voters. He is a longtime champion of comprehensive immigration reform in a party suspicious of amnesty. He supports Common Core education standards, which have emerged as a grassroots bugbear. His refusal to sign antitax pledges calls up for skeptics the “read my lips” promise broken by his father, and his recent statement that conservatives should respect gay couples who marry made social conservatives skittish.

Then there are the liabilities of his lineage. The conservative base came to regard George W. Bush as a Big Government Republican, a profligate spender who ran up big deficits, passed now-unpopular policies like No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D and presided during the greatest economic crash since the Depression. Many presume Jeb is much the same. And polls and party operatives agree that in the coming battle against Clinton, the party would benefit from a fresh face.

Few people outside Florida know much about Jeb, and his advisers acknowledge that the campaign’s success may hinge on its ability to distinguish the new family man from the Bushes who have preceded him. (It is no accident that the candidate’s signage and swag don’t include his last name.) But at some point this may require a public break from his brother. Jeb–who supported George W.’s wars and has argued that Obama’s troop withdrawal paved the way for the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS)–gently conceded during a recent appearance in Chicago that his brother had also made mistakes in Iraq. But the muscular foreign policy vision he laid out left audiences wondering exactly how his approach would differ.

Tidskriftsomslag: Time, 16 mars 2015.

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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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George W. Bush. Crawford, Texas, Aug. 7, 2001--Photo Eric Draper

Under valkampanjen 2000 fick George W. Bush frågan vad han skulle göra om han förlorade.

Go fishing.

Källa: Rebel-in-Chief av Fred Barnes. Bild: Eric Draper.

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If you retire you don’t have anything to worry about. It’s the third time I have said that. I probably say it three more times. See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.

—President George W. Bush, den 24 maj 2005, Rochester, New York

Övrigt: Dan Froomking, The Washington Post, förklarar bakgrunden i förhållande till Social Security. Läs även George W. Bush: ‘Catapult the Propaganda’” på Messaging Matters om politisk kommunikation.

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TERRORISM | Barack Obama har kommit lindrigt undan när det gäller protester riktade mot hans politik på det utrikespolitiska området.

The Atlantic september 2013

Speciellt tydligt är det när det gäller hans användande av drönarattacker i kampen mot terrorister i andra länder. I EU-länderna har protesterna varit näst intill obefintliga.

Ronald Reagan kallades ofta för teflonpresidenten eftersom hans image aldrig verkade ta skada av kritiken på hemmaplan. Obama verkar ha samma förmåga på det utrikespolitiska området.

Man behöver inte vara konspiratorisk för att anta att protesterna skulle varit betydligt mer omfattande om en republikansk president använt drönarplan i samma omfattning som Obama.

Var finns alla demonstrationer med krav på att Obama skall ställas inför rätta för krigsförbrytelser och kränkningar av de mänskliga rättigheterna?

Detta var vardagsmat för både premiärminister Tony Blair och presidenterna Reagan och George W. Bush. Inte ens partier på vänsterkanten som t.ex. Vänsterpartiet verkar vara intresserade av att protestera.

Mark Bowden skriver i The Atlantic om drönarattackerna:

The list is the product of a rigorous vetting process that the administration has kept secret. Campaigning for the White House in 2008, Obama made it clear (although few of his supporters were listening closely) that he would embrace drones to go after what he considered the appropriate post-9/11 military target—“core al-Qaeda.” When he took office, he inherited a drone war that was already expanding. There were 53 known strikes inside Pakistan in 2009 (according to numbers assembled from press reports by The Long War Journal), up from 35 in 2008, and just five the year before that. In 2010, the annual total more than doubled, to 117. The onslaught was effective, at least by some measures: letters seized in the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden show his consternation over the rain of death by drone.

[…]

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a left-wing organization based in London, has made a strenuous effort, using news sources, to count bodies after CIA drone strikes. It estimates that from 2004 through the first half of 2013, 371 drone strikes in Pakistan killed between 2,564 and 3,567 people (the range covers the minimum to the maximum credible reported deaths). Of those killed, the group says, somewhere between 411 and 890—somewhere between 12 percent and 35 percent of the total—were civilians. The disparity in these figures is telling. But if we assume the worst case, and take the largest estimates of soldier and civilian fatalities, then one-quarter of those killed in drone strikes in Pakistan have been civilians.

Everyone agrees that the amount of collateral damage has dropped steeply over the past two years. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that civilian deaths from drone strikes in Pakistan fell to 12 percent of total deaths in 2011 and to less than 3 percent in 2012.

No civilian death is acceptable, of course. Each one is tragic. But any assessment of civilian deaths from drone strikes needs to be compared with the potential damage from alternative tactics. Unless we are to forgo the pursuit of al-Qaeda terrorists entirely, U.S. forces must confront them either from the air or on the ground, in some of the remotest places on Earth. As aerial attacks go, drones are far more precise than manned bombers or missiles. That narrows the choice to drone strikes or ground assaults.

Sometimes ground assaults go smoothly. […] In fact, ground combat almost always kills more civilians than drone strikes do. Avery Plaw, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts, estimates that in Pakistani ground offensives against extremists in that country’s tribal areas, 46 percent of those killed are civilians. Plaw says that ratios of civilian deaths from conventional military conflicts over the past 20 years range from 33 percent to more than 80 percent. “A fair-minded evaluation of the best data we have available suggests that the drone program compares favorably with similar operations and contemporary armed conflict more generally,” he told The New York Times.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Atlantic, september 2013

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USA | Republikanska partiet är en sorglig samling gnällspikar. Numera är man inte längre för något, bara emot.

Photo by Steve Mellon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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, Newsweekskriver:

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.

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