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Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

Jack Ohman

Bild: Jack Ohman. Fler av Ohmans teckningar på GoComics.

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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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GOP | Senast lät The New York Times Magazine en bakelittelefon och ordet ”smartphone” symbolisera republikanernas problem. Här är fyra bilder till.

Photo illustrations Matt Dorfman. Photographs, from left Steve ColeGetty Images; Baran OzdemirGetty Images

Photo illustrations Matt Dorfman. Photographs, from left--Gabrielle Plucknette-The New York Times--Image Source-Getty Images

Bildillustrationer: Matt Dorfman. Foto (översta raden): Steve Cole/Getty Images och Baran Ozdemir/Getty Images. Foto (nedre raden): Gabrielle Plucknette/The New York Times och Image Source/Getty Images.

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ALLIERADE | Det var ingen tillfällighet att Bill Clinton var en av huvudtalarna vid demokraternas partikonvent i Charlotte.

Clinton är den främste företrädaren för vad som kallas New Democrats – en mitten-höger falang inom partiet som ser mer positivt på näringslivet och personligt ansvarstagande än vad den genomsnitlige Obama-anhängaren gör.

Clinton var på sin tid populär bland mittenväljare, liberala republikaner och Independents. Exakt samma väljare som i mångt och mycket har vänt Barack Obama ryggen under hans snart fyra år i Vita huset.

Med dagens dåliga ekonomi och en president som många väljare uppfattar befinna sig på vänsterkanten har Obama inte längre råd att tacka nej till draghjälp från Clinton.

Peter J. Boyer skriver i Newsweek:

The left’s complaint about Clintonism was that it made the party less distinct from the GOP—which, in effect, it did. When Clinton, Gore, and other Democratic centrists joined the Democratic Leadership Council in the 1980s, their purpose was to find a way to sell a liberal program to a nation that consistently rejected it, by moderating the program. The DLC emphasized private-sector growth and government efficiency, personal responsibility, and an affirmation of mainstream values. The chief prize was the Reagan Democrat—that white, working-class voter who was increasingly going Republican in places like Clinton’s Arkansas.

Clinton called those voters “the forgotten middle class,” and he appealed to them not only with his New Democrat policy program, but by relating to them personally, and grounding his own political identity in their experiences. The main thrust of that ’92 convention, and of much of the campaign thereafter, was to introduce Clinton to America as “the man from Hope,” who never knew his father, and whose mother left him with her parents while she attended nursing school. “He devoted his candidacy to that forgotten middle class, it was a conscious strategy,” says Paul Begala, a key Clinton strategist, who now advises the super PAC supporting Obama (and who is a contributor to The Daily Beast).

Although anti-Clintonism wasn’t the overt theme of Obama’s 2008 candidacy (it is surprising, in retrospect, the degree to which “Hope and Change” seemed agenda enough in that referendum election), Obama’s presidency has seemed, in key regards, a repudiation of the New Democrat idea. Clinton Democrats embraced business; Obama attacked private equity. A New Democrat would have championed the Keystone XL Pipeline; Obama, yielding to environmentalists, has resisted it. Although Obama campaigned in coal country in 2008 as a friend of the industry (and of all those blue-collar jobs associated with it), his Environmental Protection Agency has established regulations so severe that one administration official admitted, “if you want to build a coal plant you got a big problem.” Many of the workers affected by such policies are swing-state voters, who are also keenly sensitive to values issues. Obama’s health-care mandates on contraception may help him with single women and urban voters, but it might hurt him among Catholics in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio. Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act; Obama stopped enforcing it, and then declared himself a supporter of gay marriage—the day after North Carolinians voted a traditional definition of marriage into the state’s constitution.

[…]

With a terrible economy as his greatest vulnerability, Obama has lately taken to claiming Clinton’s economic approach as his own (“we’ve tried our plan, and it worked”)—a reach that galls some Clintonites. “What David Axelrod and Obama have done is they have substituted class warfare for Clintonism,” says Doug Schoen, a Democratic political analyst and pollster (including for Newsweek and The Daily Beast) who has advised both Clintons. “At every juncture, they have substituted class-based politics—resentment of the rich, taxing the rich—for fiscal discipline, and prudence.”

[…]

Obama, whose father was absent, and who was raised by a single mother and who, for a time, relied on food stamps, has downplayed his own very Clintonian tale. “It’s very much available to him, I can’t say why he doesn’t do it,” Begala says. “It’s so interesting to me that the guy who has written the most literate presidential autobiography since I don’t know who, has somehow lost the narrative thread of his character, the character in his play.”

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är den amerikanska utgåvan av Newsweek den 10 september 2012.

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IDENTITET | Om Mitt Romney förlorar i november kommer republikanska partiet med all sannolikhet kastas in i en identitetskris.

Vad som slår en när man läser om partiet är hur genuint förvånade många skribenter är över partiets politiska utveckling under senare år.

Även ledande politiker inom partiet är oroade över utvecklingen.

Governör Jeb Bush, George W. Bushs bror, har t.ex. ifrågasatt om hans far George H. W. Bush eller ens Ronald Reagan skulle haft en chans att bli nominerade som partiets presidentkandidat idag.

Här är tre läsvärda artiklar om GOP – the Grand Old Party.

Monika Bauerlein och Clara Jeffery: “WTF, GOP?” (Mother Jones, juni 2012)

Ryan Lizza: “Life of the Party” (The New Yorker, 12 mars 2012)

John Heilemann: “The Lost Party” (New York, 5 mars 2012)

Läs även: David Frums ”When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?” och ”George and Mitt Romney & the Death of Moderate GOP”.

Övrigt: Om tecknaren Bob Staakes tidskriftsomslag ”State by State” och storyn bakom (och en twist på den).

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USA | Mitt Romneys segrar är hårdvunna. För varje hårfin seger är det dags för nya spekulationer om någon trots allt skulle kunna besegra honom.

Till och med på hemmaplan, i Michigan, blev det en riktig rysare för Romney. ”It was the verbal equivalent of a sigh of relief after he eked out a 3-point win in his native state, where a loss could have been fatal. Who loses in a state where the governor’s office is in a bulding named after your dad?”, skrev t.ex. David von Drehle i Time.

Men E. J. Dionne Jr. i The Washington Post påminner oss om att hans situation inte är unik om man ser tillbaka på tidigare kampanjer.

Mitt Romney is grinding his way to the Republican presidential nomination not by winning hearts but by imposing his will on a party that keeps resisting him. He is assembling the peripheral elements of the GOP as his rivals divide the votes of the passionate believers. His campaign is part John McCain, part Michael Dukakis and part Richard Nixon.

[…]

McCain secured the GOP nomination in large part because three candidates running to his right (Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and, ironically, Romney himself) split the conservative vote, allowing McCain to win narrow primary victories in states — notably South Carolina — that he would have lost had he confronted a unified right. And like Dukakis, a fellow Massachusetts governor who won the 1988 Democratic nomination, Romney is the survivor, the man left standing after others had fallen away, self-destructed or skipped the contest altogether.

But it is Nixon, rival to Romney’s father in 1968, who provides the words that may best explain how Mitt Romney is managing his way toward a tepid triumph. Recall that Nixon’s political resurrection came after a period of great ideological enthusiasm on the Republican right that led to Barry Goldwater’s historically significant but electorally disastrous nomination in 1964. Nixon knew that he needed the right wing but had no illusions about how its loyalists felt about him.

“They don’t like me,” Nixon said, “but they tolerate me.”

Bild: Framsidan är The Wahington Post den 7 mars 2012.

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USA | Efter tre raka förluster tog Mitt Romney hem Maine med 39 %. Men segern var inte den enda goda nyheten för Romney.

James Rosen, Maine Sunday Telegram, skriver:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney got a much-needed boost Saturday, winning a key symbolic vote over former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania among some of the nation’s most active Republican voters and besting the field in the Maine caucuses.

Romney’s 38 percent-31 percent defeat of Santorum in a straw presidential vote among thousands of activists at the annual convention of the Conservative Political Action Committee bolstered his claim that he can consolidate support among the Republican base.

[…]

In a separate nationwide survey of conservatives conducted by conference organizers, Romney also bested Santorum, though by a narrower margin of 27-25 percent.

The two results, announced shortly before the news that Romney also won the Maine caucuses, were a setback for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and provided fresh evidence that he’s losing ground to Santorum as the strongest alternative to Romney in the GOP White House race.

In Maine, Romney took slightly more than 39 percent of the 5,585 votes cast statewide. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas came in second with 36 percent. Santorum received 18 percent and Gingrich won 6 percent of the caucus vote.

Bild: Framsidan är Maine Sunday Telegram den 12 februari 2012.

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