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Posts Tagged ‘John McCain’

Roger Stone, politisk rådgivare till bl.a. Rickard Nixon, Ronald Reagan och George H. W. Bush, förklarar, med utgångspunkt från valrörelsen mellan Barack Obama och John McCain, vad som krävs för att vinna ett presidentval.

You basically have to do three things to win. Define yourself. Define the other guy. The other person. And define the issues on which the election is going to be decided. In other word dominate the dialogue. If you do those three things you will win. If you fail to do those three things you lose.

Mer: Del I och del II av intervjun med Stone i TPMtv (Talking Points Memo TV). 

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USA | När Republican Party skall utse sin presidentkandidat brukar kandidaterna tävla om vem som kan låta mest höger. Allt för att tilltala partiets kärnväljare.

The New York Times Magazine - March 22 2015 - Ben Carson

Problemet för vinnande kandidat är att han eller hon sedan måste försöka vinna väljare som inte är lika konservativa som gräsrötterna.

Detta skapar lätt bilden av att republikanerna är både principlösa och opålitliga. De blir en utmärkt måltavla för den demokratiska motståndaren under presidentvalskampanjen.

Detta var vad som hände John McCain och Mitt Romney när de stod mot Barack Obama. För att undvika att detta upprepas har partiet antagit nya tuffare regler för att styra upp nomineringsprocessen.

Frågan är bar om det kommer att fungera. Om målet var att försöka avstyra att alltför nyliberala eller konservativa kandidater skulle tycka det var mödan värt att ställa upp har man redan misslyckats.

Jeb Bush – en av partietablissemangets favoriter – har därför redan meddelat att han inte tänker låta sig luras in i samma fälla som föregångarna.

Hans strategi går ut på att inte spela på den planhalva som bara kan öppna upp för attacker från Hillary Clinton och kompani om han skulle bli nominerad.

Bush är inriktad på att det blir en lång och tuff valkampanj innan partiet utsett sin presidentkandidat.

Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times Magazine, har skrivit om partiets dilemma inför presidentvalet.

The establishment candidate has usually been a current or former governor or senator, blandly Protestant, hailing from the moderate, big-business wing of the party (or at least friendly with it) and almost always a second-, third- or fourth-time national contender — someone who had waited “his turn.” These candidates would tack predictably to the right during the primaries to satisfy the evangelicals, deficit hawks, libertarian leaners and other inconvenient but vital constituents who made up the “base” of the party. In return, the base would, after a brief flirtation with some fantasy candidate like Steve Forbes or Pat Buchanan, “hold their noses” and deliver their votes come November. This bargain was always tenuous, of course, and when some of the furthest-right activists turned against George W. Bush, citing (among other apostasies) his expansion of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, it began to fall apart. After Barack Obama defeated McCain in 2008, the party’s once dependable base started to reconsider the wisdom of holding their noses at all.

[…]

At the 2012 convention in Tampa, a group of longtime party hands, including Romney’s lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, gathered to discuss how to prevent a repeat of what had become known inside and outside the party as the “clown show.” Their aim was not just to protect the party but also to protect a potential President Romney from a primary challenge in 2016. They forced through new rules that would give future presumptive nominees more control over delegates in the event of a convention fight.

They did away with the mandatory proportional delegate awards that encouraged long-shot candidacies. And, in a noticeably targeted effort, they raised the threshold that candidates needed to meet to enter their names into nomination, just as Ron Paul’s supporters were working to reach it. When John A. Boehner gaveled the rules in on a voice vote — a vote that many listeners heard as a tie, if not an outright loss — the hall erupted and a line of Ron Paul supporters walked off the floor in protest, along with many Tea Party members.

At a party meeting last winter, Reince Priebus, who as party chairman is charged with maintaining the support of all his constituencies, did restore some proportional primary and caucus voting, but only in states that held voting within a shortened two-week window. And he also condensed the nominating schedule to four and a half months from six months, and, for the first time required candidates to participate in a shortened debate schedule, determined by the party, not by the whims of the networks. (The panel that recommended those changes included names closely identified with the establishment — the former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, the Mississippi committeeman Haley Barbour and, notably, Jeb Bush’s closest adviser, Sally Bradshaw.)

[…]

“We don’t need a six-month slice-and-dice festival,” Priebus said when we spoke in mid-March. “While I can’t always control everyone’s mouth, I can control how long we can kill each other.”

All the rules changes were built to sidestep the problems of 2012. But the 2016 field is shaping up to be vastly different and far larger. A new Republican hints that he or she is considering a run seemingly every week. There are moderates like Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and former Gov. George Pataki of New York; no-compromise conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; business-wingers like the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina; one-of-a-kinds like Donald Trump — some 20 in all, a dozen or so who seem fairly serious about it. That opens the possibility of multiple candidates vying for all the major Republican constituencies, some of them possibly goaded along by super-PAC-funding billionaires, all of them trading wins and collecting delegates well into spring.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine den 22 mars 2015.

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USA | Ännu har John McCain inte lagt av. Trots sin svidande förlust mot Barack Obama i presidentvalet har senatorn från Arizona fullt upp.

The New York Times Magazine 22 december 2013

McCain, 77 år och senatens nionde äldste medlem, ägnar numera mesta av sin arbetstid åt att kritisera presidenten för hans hantering av utrikespolitiken samt att försöka hindra att det egna partiet helt tas över av Tea Party-rörelsen.

Dessutom har McCain meddelat att han funderar på att ställa upp till återval 2016. (”I am very much considering it.”)

McCain är onekligen en av USA:s intressantaste politiker.

Han är dessutom en av få politiker som fortfarande vågar vara spontan och säga vad han tänker. (“They are lovely, gentle people [the Fijians] even though they used to eat each other.”)

Mark Leibovich, ”national correspondent” för The New York Times Magazine, har följt senatorn en tid för tidskriftens räkning:

John McCain is a cliché.

It is not his fault, or not entirely. Many of us become walking self-caricatures at a certain point, and politicians can be particularly vulnerable, especially those who have maneuvered their very public lives as conspicuously as McCain. They tell and retell the same stories; things get musty. They engage in a lot of self-mythologizing, and no one in Washington has been the subject and the perpetrator of more mythmaking than McCain: the maverick, the former maverick, the curmudgeon, the bridge builder, the war hero bent on transcending the call of self-interest to serve a cause greater than himself, the sore loser, old bull, last lion, loose cannon, happy warrior, elder statesman, lion in winter . . . you lose track of which McCain cliché is operational at a given moment. He does, too. “I think I was the brave maverick when I was taking on Bush,” McCain told me, “and then I was the bitter old man when I was criticizing Obamacare.”

Critics will take their shots, he says, it comes with being “in the arena.” That cliché isn’t McCain’s exclusively — it’s the self-consoling Teddy Roosevelt line that politicians are always trotting out. “It’s not the critic who counts” but “the man who really was in the arena.”

McCain has another favorite Teddy Roosevelt phrase, “the crowded hour,” which I have heard him invoke several times over the years. It comes from a poem by the English writer Thomas Mordaunt, and T. R. used it to famously describe his charge on San Juan Hill. In McCain’s philosophy, “the crowded hour” refers to a moment of character testing. “The ‘crowded hour’ is as appropriate for me right now as any in a long time,” McCain told me as we walked through the Capitol. In some respects, this is just a function of public figures’ tendency to overdramatize the current moment and their role in it. But five years after losing to Barack Obama, after enduring the recriminations between his splintered campaign staff and rogue running mate, Sarah Palin, and after returning to the Senate and falling into a prolonged funk, McCain finds himself in the midst of another crowded hour, maybe his last as an elected leader.

Along with his Senate Tonto, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, McCain has been the most ardent critic of the White House’s foreign policy in pretty much every hot spot in the world.

[…]

McCain also finds himself in the thick of the latest “fight for the soul of the G.O.P.” against the Tea Party right, a cohort that arguably would not have the influence it has if McCain had not chosen Palin as his running mate. They are represented in the Senate by McCain’s junior colleagues Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky — or “wacko birds” as McCain has referred to their far-right ilk.

[…]

McCain is sick of talking about Cruz. “We have a cordial relationship,” he insists, which in the Google translation of political code is something between abject disgust and minimal tolerance. Cruz is an upstart, whose goal seems to be to position himself to run for president in 2016. He appears indifferent to the traditional markers of Senate experience and prestige — passing bills, leading committees, dutifully winning the respect of colleagues. “You know, it’s a funny thing about Cruz,” McCain says, and then stops himself. “No, actually, it’s not funny. It aggravates me more than anything else” — the way Cruz called his fellow Republicans a bunch of wimps and talks about “how we’ve been around too long.” Cruz is the Senate’s modern-day maverick, it would seem, while McCain has become one of the institution’s fiercest traditionalists.

[…]

To pass the time on the drive back, I engage McCain in a game of hypothetical-question roulette: If he were a young man living in Arizona today, not a politician, would he register to vote as an Independent? “I would think about it,” he says, but then catches himself and reasserts his faith in “the party of Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.” Would he consider supporting an Independent presidential candidate if Ted Cruz were the Republican nominee? “No, because I have to respect the process.” Would he support his friend Hillary Clinton in a head to head against Cruz? “I will support the Republican ticket,” he says, then adds: “With all due respect, that is a foolish question, my friend.”

Läs mer: “Behind the Cover Story: Mark Leibovich on Checking In With John McCain” av Rachel Nolan på bloggen The 6th Floor.

Tidskriftsomslag. The New York Times Magazine den 22 december 2013.

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ANALYS | Som det ser ut just nu vinner Barack Obama valet. Frågan är bara hur stor segermarginalen blir.

Oavsett vilket kommer segern att få stora konsekvenser för republikanerna.

Vilken ideologisk väg partiet borde välja har varit en het potatis åtminstone ända sedan John McCain valdes till partiets presidentkandidat.

En (av många) anledningar till Obamas stora seger 2008 var att republikanernas kärnväljare såg McCain som en typisk ”RINO”, d.v.s. ”Republican In Name Only”.

En RINO är en karriärpolitiker som anses har förstört både partiet och landets ekonomi genom att anpassa sig till den liberala politiska agendan i Washington.

Någon större entusiasm kring kampanjen blev det därför inte förrän McCain utsåg Sarah Palin till sin vicepresidentkandidat. Palin var också Tea Party-rörelsens favorit.

Efter McCains valförlust blev det Mitt Romneys tur. Och många såg även hans nominering som ett tecken på att det liberala partietablissemangets återigen hade fått den kandidat man önskade sig.

Detta i kontrast till gräsrötternas önskan om att få se en genuint konservativ kandidat som skulle våga tala sanning om behovet av att rensa upp i både Washington och i det egna partiet.

Precis som med McCain var det först när Romney utsåg sin vicepresidentkandidat som man kunde börja ana ett ökat intresse bland de republikanska väljarna.

Paul Ryan har lyckats inspirera kärnväljarna mer än Romney lyckats med. Även Romney själv har framstått som mer entusiastisk när Ryan har stått vid hans sida.

Att Ryan är de konservativas favorit går inte att ta miste på.

Ett stående inslag när han kampanjar är att framhäva att dagens ekonomiska kris är resultatet av år av misskötsel från både demokrater och republikaner i Washington. Detta genererar alltid applådera från publiken.

En valförlust innebär slutet för Romneys politiska karriär. För Ryan däremot kan det vara början på hans försök att erövra partiets presidentnominering.

Mark Leibovich skriver i The New York Times Magazine:

To many, Paul Ryan was a key figure — if not the key figure — in that future. In fact, his selection as running mate instantly mollified two basic insecurities that had been nagging at the conservative establishment for some time: one was that their standard-bearer, Romney, was a closet moderate who could not win over the hard-core “movement conservatives”; the other was that the fervor that animated the Tea Party movement had acquired a dangerously anti-intellectual strain, embodied by the likes of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain. When I asked Ryan if today’s Republican Party was more “idea based” than it was two years ago, he squinted his intense eyes, nodded hard and said yes. I then asked his opinion of the more, let’s say, knowledge-averse bent of some conservative populism, mentioning Palin and Bachmann while understanding that he obviously couldn’t outwardly offend them or their supporters. “I have my poker face on,” Ryan said before letting slip with a tight grin.

In the midst of Romney’s deliberations, Ryan was the clear running mate of choice among the right-wing commentariat. (“The Republican Party’s intellectual leader,” wrote The Weekly Standard’s Stephen F. Hayes and William Kristol, who is partly credited with “discovering” Palin during a cruise to Alaska hosted by the magazine in 2007.) Ryan was considered a long shot among several contenders — he was too young, too conservative and too potentially offensive to older voters because of his plan to overhaul Medicare. Another knock was that he was too cerebral, or “wonkish,” to win broad appeal in a general election. This is one of those backhanded criticisms that in fact flatter. He was “too smart,” “too substantive,” in other words, for the sound-bite shorthand of the campaign trail.

[…]

Ryan is gifted at shrouding a cutthroat ambition in sheepish nonchalance. It is a key political skill — trying constantly to impress without looking as if you’re trying — and one that has eluded many politicians past and present. He is also deft at conveying precision and specificity without being the least bit precise or specific. He has honed his image carefully and promotes it relentlessly on the stump. In late September, Ryan introduced a slide-show demonstration to his appearances. “I’m sort of a PowerPoint guy, so bear with me,” he said the first time he did this, in Orlando, Fla., by way of apologizing for his apparent inability to communicate without his security blanket. Though his PowerPoint presentation is an extremely basic four-slide tutorial that shows how much the national debt has risen since World War II — something that many fifth graders could grasp — his home crowds invariably nod and praise him for his faith in their ability to grasp hard truths.

[…]

If Romney loses, the recriminations play out in two predictable ways among Republicans. Some will say that the party must attract a broader base of support among independent and moderate and nonwhite voters, which would argue for the less severely conservative tone that Romney adopted right after his first debate. They might even point to the presence of Ryan on the ticket as, ultimately, a negative, that his selection did nothing to move national polls in favor of Romney and possibly even scared off potential voters.

But a far more vocal — and probably bigger — group on the right will maintain that the ticket was not conservative enough. They will insist that Republicans need to stop nominating the next establishment guy in line. They will say Mitt Romney ran a lousy general election campaign, except for his finest act, the elevation of Paul Ryan, who was a very good Boy Scout and who waited his turn.

Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget är The New York Times Magazine den 21 oktober 2012.

(Inlägget publiceras även på Makthavare.se.)

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KAMPANJ | Det var bara en tidsfråga innan Newsweek också skulle ge sig på Barack Obama med ett kontroversiellt reportage.

För ett par veckor sedan var det Michael Tomasky som skrev om Mittt Romney och The Wimp Factor”. Denna gång var det presidentens tur.

Obama’s Gotta Go” är professorn, och tidigare rådgivaren till John McCain, Niall Fergusons analys av de senaste fyra åren.

In an unguarded moment earlier this year, the president commented that the private sector of the economy was “doing fine.” Certainly, the stock market is well up (by 74 percent) relative to the close on Inauguration Day 2009. But the total number of private-sector jobs is still 4.3 million below the January 2008 peak. Meanwhile, since 2008, a staggering 3.6 million Americans have been added to Social Security’s disability insurance program. This is one of many ways unemployment is being concealed.

[…]

It is a sign of just how completely Barack Obama has “lost his narrative” since getting elected that the best case he has yet made for reelection is that Mitt Romney should not be president. In his notorious “you didn’t build that” speech, Obama listed what he considers the greatest achievements of big government: the Internet, the GI Bill, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, the Apollo moon landing, and even (bizarrely) the creation of the middle class. Sadly, he couldn’t mention anything comparable that his administration has achieved.

Now Obama is going head-to-head with his nemesis: a politician who believes more in content than in form, more in reform than in rhetoric. In the past days much has been written about Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s choice of running mate. I know, like, and admire Paul Ryan. For me, the point about him is simple. He is one of only a handful of politicians in Washington who is truly sincere about addressing this country’s fiscal crisis.

[…]

But one thing is clear. Ryan psychs Obama out. This has been apparent ever since the White House went on the offensive against Ryan in the spring of last year. And the reason he psychs him out is that, unlike Obama, Ryan has a plan—as opposed to a narrative—for this country.

Till skillnad från Tomaskys reportage om Romney har Fergusons fått ett kritiskt mottagande p.g.a. sina påstådda sakfel.

Paul Krugman gick i taket och avböt sin semester för att kunna skriva svaret ”Unetthical Commentary”. Vilket naturligtvis genererade ett svar från Ferguson.

Och sedan har det bara rullat på i media. The Daily Beast har samlat en rad kommentarer från olika debattörer på sin hemsida.

 Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är från den 27 augusti 2012.

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KAMPANJ | Årets val handlar inte om ”change” och ”hope”. Istället vill Obama få väljarna att frukta konsekvenserna av Mitt Romneys politik.

John Heilemann skriver i tidskriften New York om Obamakampanjens strategi:

The contours of that contest are now plain to see—indeed, they have been for some time. Back in November, Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin, two fellows at the Center for American Progress, identified the prevailing dynamics: The presidential race would boil down to “demographics versus economics.” That the latter favor Mitt Romney is incontestable. From high unemployment and stagnant incomes to tepid GDP growth and a still-pervasive sense of anxiety bordering on pessimism in the body politic, every salient variable undermines the prospects of the incumbent.

[…]

In 2008, the junior senator from Illinois won in a landslide by fashioning a potent “coalition of the ascendant,” as Teixeira and Halpin call it, in which the components were minorities (especially Latinos), socially liberal college-educated whites (especially women), and young voters. This time around, Obama will seek to do the same thing again, only more so. The growth of those segments of the electorate and the president’s strength with them have his team brimming with confidence that ­demographics will trump economics in November—and in the process create a template for Democratic dominance at the presidential level for years to come.

But if the Obama 2012 strategy in this regard is all about the amplification of 2008, in terms of message it will represent a striking deviation. Though the Obamans certainly hit John McCain hard four years ago—running more negative ads than any campaign in history—what they intend to do to Romney is more savage. They will pummel him for being a vulture-vampire capitalist at Bain Capital. They will pound him for being a miserable failure as the governor of Massachusetts. They will mash him for being a water-carrier for Paul Ryan’s Social Darwinist fiscal program. They will maul him for being a combination of Jerry Falwell, Joe Arpaio, and John Galt on a range of issues that strike deep chords with the Obama coalition. “We’re gonna say, ‘Let’s be clear what he would do as president,’ ” Plouffe explains. “Potentially abortion will be criminalized. Women will be denied contraceptive services. He’s far right on immigration. He supports efforts to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage.”

The Obama effort at disqualifying Romney will go beyond painting him as excessively conservative, however. It will aim to cast him as an avatar of revanchism. “He’s the fifties, he is retro, he is backward, and we are forward—that’s the basic construct,” says a top Obama strategist. “If you’re a woman, you’re Hispanic, you’re young, or you’ve gotten left out, you look at Romney and say, ‘This fucking guy is gonna take us back to the way it always was, and guess what? I’ve never been part of that.’ ”

Thus, to a very real degree, 2008’s candidate of hope stands poised to become 2012’s candidate of fear. For many Democrats, this is just fine and dandy, for they believe that in the Romney-Republican agenda there is plenty to be scared of. For others in the party in both politics and business, however, the new Obama posture is cause for concern. From the gay-­marriage decision to the onslaught on Bain, they see the president and his team as coming across as too divisive, too conventional, and too nakedly political, putting at risk Obama’s greatest asset—his likability—with the voters in the middle of the electorate who will ultimately decide his fate.

[…]

In the campaign prior, Team Obama boldly bid to expand the map; this time, it is playing defense. In the campaign prior, the candidate himself sought support from the widest possible universe of voters; this time, instead of trying to broaden his coalition, he is laboring to deepen it. Indeed, 2012 is shaping up to be an election that looks more like 2004 than 2008: a race propelled by the mobilization of party fundamentalists rather than the courtship of the center.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är New York den 4 juni 2012.

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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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