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Posts Tagged ‘John Boehner’

FILM | Att försöka utläsa sina egna favoritbudskap i populära filmer är alltid lockande. Speciellt om man har en politisk agenda.

Steven Spielberg Lincoln - poster

I USA har mycket handlat om Steven Spielbergs film Lincoln. I Sverige är det Kristina Lindström och Maud Nycanders dokumentär om Palme som fått politiska redaktörer och kritiker att vässa pennorna.

De översvallande recensionerna för filmerna gör det intressant att se vilka godbitar skribenterna har plockat fram för att kunna användas i den dagaktuella debatten.

Karin Petersson i Aftonbladet citerade t.ex. Anna Lindh:

Olof Palme visade att politiken ska vägledas av idéer, moral och känsla. Att politik är så mycket mer än teknik och administration.

Peter Akinder i Östra Småland hade ett liknande nostalgiskt resonemang (även om han inte vill kännas vid att han är just nostalgisk):

[D]et skulle inte skada om svensk politik mera präglades av den attityd och ideologiska spänst som [Olof Palme] representerade, för att skapa engagemang kring politiken som demokratins kraft att förändra. 

Frank Rich, tidskriften New York, har tittat lite på hur det politiska etablissemanget i Washington valde att tolka budskapet i Lincoln. Och i bara farten placera sig själva bland änglarna.

The rousing reception that has greeted Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln in Establishment Washington—an enclave not generally known for its cinema connoisseurship—tells another story, about the state of play of domestic politics in the Obama years. Tony Kushner’s screenplay and Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance depict a president who, during the movie’s monthlong time frame of January 1865, is unyielding in his zeal to win ratification of the constitutional amendment outlawing slavery. Yet the Washington punditocracy’s praise distorts Lincoln, selling short the movie and its hero to draw another moral entirely: The only way good can happen in the nation’s capital is if you strike a bipartisan compromise. This supercilious veneration of bipartisanship is the Beltway Kool-Aid that Obama drank during his first term, much to his own grief, given that the Party of No was abstaining from it altogether. Those in Washington who are now repackaging it under the brand of Lincoln are the same claque that tirelessly preaches that the ­after-hours nightcaps shared by Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill, or commissions like Simpson-Bowles, are the paradigms for getting things done.

The Beltway cheerleading for Lincoln as a parable of bipartisanship makes much of the fact that Obama screened it at the White House for a small invited group of congressional leaders.

[…]

The film demonstrates “the nobility of politics” (in David Brooks’s phrase) by depicting a president who would strike any bargain he could, however ugly, to snare the votes he needed to free the slaves. Lincoln’s political dealmaking with a deadlocked, lame-duck House just after his reelection is, ipso facto, the Ur-text of Obama’s push to make a deal with Congress in the postelection “fiscal cliff” standoff of 2012.

Leaving aside the moral obtuseness of equating the imperative of abolishing slavery in the nineteenth century with reducing budget deficits in our own, there are other fallacies in this supposed historical parallel. If any of today’s apostles of bipartisan compromise had bothered to read the five pages of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals that are the springboard for Kushner’s screenplay, they would have learned that Lincoln not for one second compromised his stand on the abolition of slavery while rounding up congressional votes for the Thirteenth Amendment. (He doesn’t in the film either.) Lincoln’s compromises were not of principle but of process. He secured votes with the mercenary favors catalogued by Goodwin—“plum assignments, pardons, campaign contributions, and government jobs for relatives and friends of faithful members.” Few, if any, of these bargaining chips are available to Obama or any modern president who doesn’t want to risk impeachment.

[…]

The one significant ideological compromise in the movie is that made by the Radical Republican congressman Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones), who tables his insistence on full equality for African-Americans to hasten the slavery-ending amendment’s passage.

There are no figures like Stevens willing to cut deals in the radical GOP House caucus of today. The good news about the newly rebooted Obama, as seen both in his tough dealings with the lame-duck Congress and his second inaugural address, is that he recognizes this reality. He at last seems to have learned his lesson about the futility of trying to broker a serious compromise with his current Republican adversaries. He held to his stated principles in both the “fiscal cliff” and debt-ceiling fights, and both times the GOP backed down. Nor is he deluding himself that his congressional opponents might embrace flexibility and compromise if they saw ­Lincoln—not least because he couldn’t even corral them to see the movie in his presence. The president did invite Mitch ­McConnell and John Boehner to his White House screening, and both said no.

Läs mer: Abraham Lincolns betydelse för Barack Obama.

Bild: Den amerikanska affischen till filmen Lincoln.

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SENASTE Mother Jones handlar om spin, lögner och halvsanningar som politisk strategi. ”Politicians have always lied. But now they’re carpet-bombing the truth.”

David Corn, tidskriftens byråchef i Washington, skriver om republikanerna;

In the spring of 2009, as the titanic fight over President Barack Obama’s health care proposal was beginning, […] a confidential 28-page report […] suggested that they use a particular phrase: ”Government takeover of health care.” And they did. Again and again, for the entire months-long debate. During one Meet the Press appearance, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), then the House minority leader, referred to Obama’s plan as a ”government takeover” five times (without once being challenged).

It was a clear falsehood. Obama’s system relies on private insurance and the market—especially after he abandoned a public option—albeit with additional government regulation. […] Yet the line stuck.

[…]

This was significant: It established a foundation for the right’s counterattacks—including the 2010 congressional elections, the ongoing effort to repeal or curtail the law, and the burgeoning 2012 campaign.

Övrigt: Illustrationen på tidskriftsomslaget är av Eddie Guy.

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STRATEGI: Här en lärdom för alla politiska kampanjer: Ju mer framgångrik motståndaren är när det gäller att implementera vallöften och sin politik desto viktigare att underminera förtroendet för den person som symboliserar politiken.

Detta var vad Mona Sahlin och De Rödgröna försökte men aldrig lyckades med när det gällde Fredrik Reinfeldt.  Men negativa kampanjer fungerar om de görs på rätt sätt.

Republikanerna spenderade omkring 75 miljoner dollar under valkampanjen i november. En stor del av miljonerna gick till att attackera Nancy Pelosi som var House Speaker.

Attacker drog ner opinionssiffrorna för Pelosi till en nivå som fick The New York Times att kalla henne för landets mest impopulära politiker.

Om detta skriver Linda Burstyn i tidskriften Ms.

Adding to insults, Time and Newsweek didn’t think Pelosi newsworthy enough to feature on their covers when she became the first woman speaker (nor since) – Ms. was the only national magazine to recognize her immediately on its cover. Yet both major newsweeklies featured incoming Republican Speaker Boehner on their covers even before he officially took over his new position.

All of which is pretty frustrating, especially considering that […] Nancy Pelosi was probably the most successful House speaker in U.S. history.

[T]he 111th Congress is now considered to have been the most productive since the 89th Congress during Lyndon B. Johnson’s term – and through most of it, Speaker Pelosi didn’t lose a single vote.

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