Posts Tagged ‘Paul Ryan’

USA | Allt fler talar numera om senator Rand Paul som republikanernas blivande presidentkandidat. Detta säger en del om partiets problem.

The New York Times Magazine August 10 2014

Det har skrivits mycket om senatorn från Kentucky på senare tid. The New York Times Magazine och Time har haft honom på omslaget. The New Yorker har publicerat en längre essay. Time kallade honom t.o.m. för ”The most interesting man in american politics”.

Robert Drapers artikel i The New York Times Magazine fokuserar på de förändringar som republikanska partiet står inför om man vill kunna attrahera fler väljare.

After eight years out of the White House, Republicans would seem well positioned to cast themselves as the fresh alternative, though perhaps only if the party first reappraises stances that young voters, in particular, regard as outdated. Emily Ekins, a pollster for the Reason Foundation, says: “Unlike with previous generations, we’re seeing a newer dimension emerge where they agree with Democrats on social issues, and on economic issues lean more to the right. It’s possible that Democrats will have to shift to the right on economic issues. But the Republicans will definitely have to move to the left on social issues. They just don’t have the numbers otherwise.” A G.O.P. more flexible on social issues might also appeal to another traditionally Democratic group with a libertarian tilt: the high-tech communities in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, whose mounting disdain for taxes, regulations and unions has become increasingly dissonant with their voting habits.

Hence the excitement about Rand Paul. It’s hardly surprising that Paul, in Ekins’s recent survey of millennial voters, came out ahead of all other potential Republican presidential candidates; on issues including same-sex marriage, surveillance and military intervention, his positions more closely mirror those of young voters than those of the G.O.P. establishment. Paul’s famous 13-hour filibuster last year, while ultimately failing to thwart the confirmation of the C.I.A. director John Brennan, lit afire the Twittersphere and compelled Republican leaders, who previously dismissed Paul as a fringe character, to add their own #StandWithRand endorsements. Paul has also gone to considerable lengths to court non-Republican audiences, like Berkeley students and the National Urban League. In a presidential field that could include Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Paul Ryan, Paul — who has called himself “libertarian-ish” — is by far the candidate most associated with the movement.

Pauls önskan om att bli mer relevant i amerikansk politik har inneburit att han har varit tvungen att kompromissa och modifiera sitt politiska budskap för att kunna tilltala fler inom och utanför sitt parti.

Time Oct 27-2014

Det är talande är att Michael Scherers artikel i Time har rubriken ”The Reinventions Of Rand”.

It is a measure of his caution that his positions now take several sentences to explain. He will not say whether he supports bombing Iran if Tehran acquires a nuclear weapon, but also supports sanctions policies to try to prevent that from ever happening. He is against marijuana legalization even as he fights to end prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. He opposed limits on campaign donations but supports a plan to bar federal contractors from donating to politics. He opposes gay marriage but also opposes a constitutional amendment to define marriage, saying that states and Congress should pursue an extensive strategy of decoupling all government benefits from marriage so a ban might pass court scrutiny.

Paul uppfattas, både politiskt och ideologiskt, fortfarande stå i skuggan av sin fars politiska karriär. Kongressledamoten Ron Paul var under många år den tydligaste förespråkaren för de libertarianska idéerna inom det republikanska partiet.

Vid ett tillfälle bröt Ron Paul t.o.m. med partiet när han ansåg partiet hade blivit alltför konservativt. Inför valet 1988 nominerade Libertarian Party honom som sin presidentkandidat.

Ideologiskt har Rand Paul därför, precis som vicepresidentkandidat Paul Ryan under förra presidentvalet, försökt distansera sig från en lång rad nyliberala idéer.

Även om detta rent teoretiskt ökar sannolikheten för att han skall lyckas bli nominerad öppnar det samtidigt upp för attacker från politiska motståndare. Det är bara att fråga Mitt Romney.

När han nu försöker bättra på sin politiska image riskerar han slå knut på sig själv. Romneys motsägelsefulla försök att distansera sig från sin tid som guvernör i delstaten Massachusetts förföljde honom under hela presidentvalskampanjen.

Samma månad som Scherers artikel publicerades i Time publicerade The New Yorker Ryan Lizzas betydligt längre essay “The Revenge of Rand Paul”.

In some respects, Paul is to Republicans in 2014 what Barack Obama was to Democrats in 2006: the Party’s most prized fund-raiser and its most discussed senator, willing to express opinions unpopular within his party, and capable of energizing younger voters. The Republican National Committee, which in 2008 refused to allow his father, Ron Paul, to speak at its Convention, recently solicited donations by offering supporters a chance to have lunch with Rand Paul.


Yet, also like Obama at a similar stage in his career, Paul could be hobbled by past associations and statements, especially on race and foreign policy. He has questioned government attempts, including a core provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to address discrimination in the private sector. He has proposed dramatically slashing the Pentagon’s budget and cancelling all foreign aid. Ron Paul ran for President as the nominee of the Libertarian Party in 1988 and as an isolationist Republican in the Presidential primaries of 2008 and 2012. Rand has followed his lead in opposing most U.S. military interventions of the past few decades, aside from the war in Afghanistan.

Many members of the Republican establishment see him as a dorm-room ideologue whose politics are indistinguishable from his father’s. Earlier this year, Mark Salter, who helped run John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign, wrote that Rand’s “foreign policy views, steeped as they are in the crackpot theories that inform his father’s worldview, are so ill-conceived that were he to win the nomination, Republican voters seriously concerned with national security would have no responsible recourse other than to vote for Hillary Clinton.”


As with so many aspects of his personal history, Paul approaches the subject of his intellectual influences as though he were defusing a bomb. In his book, he wrote about several libertarian writers he had turned to since high school: Ayn Rand (“one of the most influential critics of government intervention and champions of individual free will”), Hayek (“ ‘The Road to Serfdom’ is a must-read for any serious conservative”), and the Mises disciple Murray Rothbard (“a great influence on my thinking”). In my conversation with him, he shrugged them off.

Ayn Rand was just “one of many authors I like,” he said. “And it’s, like, ‘Oh, because I believe in Ayn Rand I must be an atheist, I must believe in everybody needs to be selfish all the time, and I must believe that Howard Roark is great and Ellsworth Toohey is evil,’ but she’s one of many authors I’ve read. I like Barbara Kingsolver, too.”

Hayek? “I wouldn’t say I’m like some great Hayek scholar.”

Rothbard? “There are many people I’m sure who are more schooled.”


Rand Paul has spent the past few months often clumsily trying to convince voters that his foreign policy differs from his father’s. Rand is perhaps best known, thus far, for his nearly thirteen-hour filibuster last year to protest the Administration’s use of drones—a tactic that further convinced Republican hawks that he doesn’t share their assessment of the risks posed by terrorism. Over the summer, Paul was under constant attack from rivals, such as Governor Rick Perry, of Texas, who described him as “curiously blind” to the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. As with the criticisms of his past statements on civil rights, Paul felt that he was the victim of a smear campaign. “Unfair criticism from people who have partisan goals,” he told me.

Kritiken kommer knappast mildras framöver. Ju närmare valrörelsen vi kommer ju mer kommer hans idéer att granskas.

Och skulle han vinna partiets nominering väntar demokraternas attacker. Är det något man kan vara säker på så är det att demokraternas kampanjstrateger har en tjock dossier märkt ”Rand Paul – flip-flopper”.

Läs mer: Rand Paul: The Most Interesting Conspiracy Theorist in Washington” av David Corn i Mother Jones är ett bra exempel på vad demokraterna (och republikanska motståndare) kan komma att fokusera på.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine, 10 augusti 2014 och Time, 27 oktober 2014.

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VAL 2016 | Jakten på nästa republikanska presidentkandidat är redan i full gång. Förutom Paul Ryan finns idag bara två riktigt starka förhandsfavoriter.

Time, 21 januari 2013

Chris Christie, som är guvernör i New Jersey, porträtterades i Time av Michael Crowley:

For much of his governorship, Christie’s unfiltered persona has been a mixed bag. His willingness to snap back at questioners in public forums has at times seemed fearless but has also carried a nasty whiff of New Jersey Turnpike road rage. Christie recently expressed regret for calling one ­aggressive ­questioner—who turned out to be a former Navy SEAL—an “idiot.” Still, it was part of his charm that Christie could be candid about his shortcomings, ­talking freely about his weight. (“Man up and say I’m fat” was his response to a 2009 campaign ad by his rival that featured a veiled reference to his mass.) With buzz that he might run for President in the air, Christie even told an interviewer in 2010 that he was “not ready” to be President. While endearing, talk like that has led some Republicans to wonder whether he is disciplined enough to complete a White House run.

But what many Americans have seen in Christie is what they don’t see in Obama: someone who is decisive and unfiltered and doesn’t think the world is an impossibly complex place. He may be wrong, he may be right, but he’s never in doubt. It was Sandy that evoked the best part of Christie’s raw persona. If he could be an overbearing bully in political arguments, he was an open hydrant of empathy in the wake of disaster. In the days after the storm, Christie toured nonstop among downed power lines and wrecked boardwalks, doling out countless bear hugs to shattered survivors. It helped a lot that his connection to the devastated areas was authentic. “The pier with the rides where I took my kids this August before the Republican Convention, where I got into that famous yelling match with the guy who was buying an ice cream cone?” Christie reminded reporters. “Those rides are in the Atlantic Ocean.”

Within days, Obama visited the state. Although Christie had delivered the keynote address at the Republican National Convention and campaigned for Romney, Christie and Obama seemed to bond, flying over storm-ravaged areas in Marine One and exchanging robust compliments. Romney campaign aides fumed that Christie was allowing Obama to play the part of nonpartisan crisis manager just days before the election, and Rupert Murdoch warned on Twitter that Christie would have to “take blame for the next four dire years” if Obama was re-elected. But at home, Christie was celebrated for putting the state’s need for swift aid from Washington ahead of campaign politics.

Ett annat stort namn bland många republikaner idag är senator Marco Rubio från Florida. Han har fördelen att tillhöra en familj med immigrantbakgrund.

Time, 18 februari 2013

Dessutom bor han i ett område med immigranter och är gift med en kvinna med en liknande bakrund.

Bättre kan det inte vara för ett parti som är av desperat behov av att bygga upp förtroendet bland USA:s minoriteter. Inte minst den snabbt växande spansktalande minoriteten.

Michael Grunwald, skriver i Time:

But while Rubio is a child of immigrants, he’s also a child of the conservative movement, an ambitious ideologue and former political operative who speaks partisan Republican with the fluency of a native. (Romney, by contrast, spoke it as a second language.) Like Paul Ryan, a potential 2016 rival, he’s part of a new generation of lean and hungry conservatives who grew up in the antigovernment Reagan era and entered politics after the scorched-earth Gingrich revolution. Bipartisan compromise is not usually his thing.

So he’s navigating a borderland of his own. He has endorsed a path to citizenship that he once derided as “code for amnesty,” risking a backlash from many loyal supporters who see los pobrecitos as freeloaders. But he has also pushed to make that path more arduous, demanding much tougher enforcement first, insisting he won’t get into a who-can-be-nicest bidding war with Obama and pledging to walk away from reform if the final legislation doesn’t reflect conservative principles. In an hour-long Feb. 1 interview with TIME, he emphasized that the undocumented have no right to stay in the U.S., vowed to oppose any bill that rewards them for breaking the law and defended the motives of hard-line “shamnesty” critics who say illegal immigrants are taking taxpayers for a ride. “Someone’s violated the law, and they’re receiving taxpayer benefits? That’s a legitimate reason to be upset,” Rubio says.

It’s a thin, hard line to walk: between the Republican establishment and the base, between compassion and the rule of law, between family and politics. And Rubio is walking it on an issue no politician has cracked in nearly two decades while testing the support of the grassroots Tea Party conservatives he will need if he seeks the White House in 2016. So far, though, he seems to be succeeding. After helping to craft bipartisan reforms in the Senate, he has served as their chief spokesman on right-wing radio and Fox News, getting remarkably sympathetic hearings from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other talkers whose antiamnesty crusades helped kill similar efforts in the George W. Bush era. Almost all of them have praised his courage—Limbaugh called his work “admirable,” like a Pope granting absolution—and the backlash has yet to materialize. “I don’t know anyone else who could have broken through the conservative sound barrier on immigration,” says American Conservative Union chairman Al Cardenas, a Miami lawyer who gave Rubio his first job as an attorney. “Marco can do left brain, so you get the logic, and he can do right brain, so you feel it in your heart and soul.”

Bild: Ovan ser vi tidskriftsomslag från den 21 januari respektive 18 januari 2013.

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IDEOLOGI | Vad har Annie Lööf, Paul Ryan och Barack Obama gemensamt? Alla har läst filosofen Ayn Rand (men bara två har henne som idol).

Ayn Rand

Men det finns en annan likhet mellan Lööf och republikanernas vicepresidentkandidat i valet 2012.

Båda har nämligen backat från sina positiva uttalanden om Rands filosofi när hennes libertarianska idéer började granskas lite närmare.

I USA tog t.o.m. katolska kyrkan avstånd från Rands idéer just för deras socialdarwinistiska konsekvenser.

[Y]our budget [d.v.s. Ryans budgetförslag] appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love.

Cuts to anti-hunger programs have devastating consequences. Last year, one in six Americans lived below the official poverty level and over 46 million Americans – almost half of them children – used food stamps for basic nutrition. We also know how cuts in Pell Grants will make it difficult for low-income students to pursue their educations at colleges across the nation, including Georgetown. At a time when charities are strained to the breaking point and local governments have a hard time paying for essential services, the federal government must not walk away from the most vulnerable.

While you often appeal to Catholic teaching on “subsidiarity” as a rationale for gutting government programs, you are profoundly misreading Church teaching. Subsidiarity is not a free pass to dismantle government programs and abandon the poor to their own devices. This often misused Catholic principle cuts both ways. It calls for solutions to be enacted as close to the level of local communities as possible. But it also demands that higher levels of government provide help — “subsidium”– when communities and local governments face problems beyond their means to address such as economic crises, high unemployment, endemic poverty and hunger.

Detta var naturligtvis lite pinsamt för katoliken Paul Ryan. Han skyndade sig att istället lyfta fram texter av både påven och kyrkans egen Thomas av Aquino som viktiga inspirationskällor för sin politik.

Något liknande hände när Lööf framhävde Margaret Thatcher. Det dröjde inte länge efter att hon blivit partiledare förrän hon också började framhäva, inte bara Karin Söder, utan även Gudrun Schyman (!). (Se t.ex. Sunt Förnuft nr 1: 2012)

På så sätt kunde hon med lite spinn få det att låta som om det nu mer handlade om en beundran för starka kvinnor i allmänhet.

I en kulturartikel 2010 skrev Jens Liljestrand, författare och doktor i litteraturvetenskap, om Rand.

Författaren och filosofen Ayn Rand (1905-1982) och hennes verk är idag för nyliberaler vad Valerie Solanas och SCUM-manifestet är för feminister: för några få fundamentalister ett rättesnöre som ska läsas bokstavligt, för långt fler en förgrundsgestalt, någon som man i tv-soffan tycker ”ska tas med en nypa salt” men hemma med lådvinet erkänner att man ”håller ju med, egentligen”.

Inga jämförelser i övrigt, ska jag snabbt tillägga, innan Randianerna i Sverige kastar sig över tangentborden och lovar att pissa på min grav eller liknande, vilket de har för vana (jag skojar inte).


Kedjerökande och amfetaminmissbrukande satt hon i sin New York-lägenhet omgiven av en sektliknande beundrarskara som med tiden blev en ironisk variant på just den jagsvaga kollektivism hon ville bekämpa. Hennes filosofi, som gavs namnet objektivism, sågs som ett färdigt system, en matematisk formel där ett felaktigt kommatecken raserar hela bygget. Med tiden integrerades också psykologiska teorier i modellen, och den som utmanade Rands geni uteslöts obönhörligt efter en psykoterapisession/skådeprocess i författarens eget vardagsrum.

Kulten kring henne rämnade mot slutet av 60-talet när det avslöjades att hon under många år haft en sexuell relation med en tjugofem år yngre lärjunge, som hon under dramatiska former slängde ut ur gruppen efter att han dumpat henne. Eftersom det privata var politiskt var avfärdandet av hennes kropp synonymt med ett svek mot idealen.

Långt ifrån fiktionens prydlighet var hennes egen värld med andra ord bisarr och märklig. Särskilt Rands make, den stilige och godhjärtade men på något sätt ihålige Frank O’Connor, förblir en gåta. Därmed ger böckerna [om Rand av Anne Heller och Jennifer Burns] indirekt en förklaring till varför de flesta ändå mognar bort från Rand: det finns paradoxer i det mänskliga psyket som vår rationalitet aldrig helt kan besvärja. Hennes utopi om en värld rensad från tvivel och självmotsägelser, av ett heroiskt liv av lyckomaximering genom prestationer, motbevisas av det sätt på vilket hennes eget strandade i ynklighet och självbedrägeri.

Det lustiga med denna artikel är att Liljestrand drar ungefär samma slutsatser som president Barack Obama senare skulle göra i en intervju strax innan valet 2012.

Obama, som också kallade Ryans republikanska budgetförslag för ”social Darwinism”, framhäver i Rolling Stone att Rands idéer kan kännas tilltalande när man är ”17 eller 18 år och känner sig missförstådd”.

Have you ever read Ayn Rand?


What do you think Paul Ryan’s obsession with her work would mean if he were vice president?

Well, you’d have to ask Paul Ryan what that means to him. Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we’re only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we’re considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that’s a pretty narrow vision. It’s not one that, I think, describes what’s best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a ”you’re on your own” society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.

Att bli vuxen innebär med andra ord att man inser att det bästa för en själv, de närmaste och för samhället kanske inte är att alla bara springer runt och tänker på sig själva.

Så när riksdagsledamoten Kerstin Lundgren (C) varnade för de socialdarwinistiska tendenserna i partiets förslag till idéprogram träffade hon mitt i prick.

Nyliberalismen är i grunden en revolutionär rörelse som med fredliga medel vill förändra hela samhället.

Ideologin har inte mycket gemensamt med samhällsbevarande strömmningar inom vare sig liberalismen eller konservatismen (eller för den delen inom socialdemokratin).

När nyliberaler sammarbetar med andra liberala eller konservativa partier är det inte för att man har speciellt mycket gemensamt utan bara för att man har hittat en (tillfällig) gemensam fiende.

Frågan är naturligtvis vem som skulle vilja leva i ett nyliberalt samhälle. När inte ens de som förespråkar idealet vågar stå upp för sina idéer när de granskas är det kanske inte konstigt att folk blir skeptiska.

Läs mer: ”Vem är Ayn Rand?” av Aron Lund. ”Lööfs kovändningar” på bloggen Badlands Hyena har också länkar och citat.

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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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DEBATT | Vem vann vicepresidentdebatten? Svaret hänger antagligen samman med om man ser sig som demokrat eller republikan.

Newsday, New York, USA

Oshkosh Northwest, Wisconsin, USA

The Courier-Journal, Kentucky, USA

Någon tydlig vinnare är svårt att kora utifrån själva retoriken under debatten. Det utdelades knappast något tydligt knock out slag under natten. Vad som däremot skilde debattörerna åt var själva debattstilen.

Vicepresident Joe Biden var betydligt bättre än Barack Obama när presidenten debatterade med Mitt Romney. Demokraternas kärnväljare uppskattade säkert hans betydligt tuffare och aggressivare stil.

Den yngre och mer oerfarne Paul Ryan lätt sig dock inte skrämmas. Han behöll sitt lugn rakt igenom debatten. Han var fokuserad och påläst. Han fick antagligen sagt vad han ville säga och gav ett kunnigt intryck.

Vad som däremot var en tydlig skillnad var deras respektive sätt att debattera.

Biden avbröt ständigt Ryan medan Ryan var mer respektfull när Biden talade.

Bidens ständiga huvudskakaningar, nedlåtande leenden och fnysande när Ryan talade kan mycket väl ha stött bort många tittare. Inte minst kan det ha påverkat osäkra väljare. Ryan uppfattades som betydligt mer respektfull i sin stil.

Brett O’Donnell, The Daily Beast, sammanfattade det väl:

In the back and forth of this undercard event, both Biden and Ryan accomplished their goals—advance the campaign’s message, adeptly represent the top of the ticket, and convince the audience you’re prepared for the presidency.

Perhaps Vice President Biden was looking for perfect balance in the debate world by being as aggressive in his debate as President Obama was timid in his. Biden even broke the golden rule of debating—never argue with the moderator unless you’re Newt Gingrich. Yet both men left their partisan bases happy by fighting hard for their side’s vision. The question that remains is, was this an “Al Gore moment” for the vice president who overcorrected through his interrupting, condescending laugh, and eye-rolling behavior throughout the debate, or will he be seen as the Obama campaign’s hero who put the campaign back on message. That decision will certainly be in the eye of partisan beholder.

For Paul Ryan the challenge was to prove himself to have presidential mettle. And he passed that test. He handled the foreign-policy questions competently and remained calm in the face of the full fire of the vice president. He was at times overly concerned with defending detail, and he almost seemed embarrassed when the vice president raised the issue of Ryan’s letter seeking stimulus funds. But his answer to the question of what do you say to the veteran about the tenor of the campaign, captured by the line “Leaders run to fix problems,” struck the visionary chord that has made him one of the icons of the Republican Party.

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USA | The Economist konstaterar att Barack Obamas ”record is better than the woes of America’s economy suggests”.

Trots detta har Obama satsat hårt på en negativt präglad kampanj riktad mot Mitt Romney.

Men en sådan strategi kan lätt slå tillbaka på presidenten. I en ledare skriver The Economist:

Were he facing a more charismatic candidate than Mitt Romney or a less extremist bunch than the Republicans, Mr Obama would already be staring at defeat. The fact that the president has had to “go negative” so early and so relentlessly shows how badly he needs the election to be about Mr Romney’s weaknesses rather than his own achievements.


Mr Obama must offer more than this, for three reasons. First, a negative campaign may well fail. The Republicans are a rum bunch with a wooden leader; but Mr Romney’s record as an executive and governor is impressive, and his running-mate, Paul Ryan, is a fount of bold ideas. Mr Obama’s strategy of blaming everything on Republican obstructionism will strike many voters as demeaning.

Second, even if negative campaigning works, a re-elected Mr Obama will need the strength that comes from a convincing agenda. Otherwise the Republicans, who will control the House and possibly the Senate too, will make mincemeat of him. And, third, it is not just Mr Obama who needs a plan. America does too. Its finances and its government require a drastic overhaul.

Läs mer: “Barack Obama’s economic record: End-of-term report”.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är The Economist den 1 september-7 september 2012. 

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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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USA | Republikanska gräsrötter har fått en kick av att Mitt Romney valde Paul Ryan till sin vicepresidentkandidat.

Men även demokraterna ser Ryans som en gåva. De anser att Ryan förstärker deras huvudbudskap.

Ryan gör det nämligen möjligt för dem att definiera båda som avskärmade från vanliga amerikaners vardag.

Men det finns även andra skäl till varför det ser ljusare ut för Barack Obama idag. Mark Halperin, Time, har radat upp tio sådana skäl.

1) Som president har Obama lättare att kontrollera nyhetsflödet. Allt han gör blir i realiteten nyheter.

2) Obamakampanjens ”research shop” i högkvarter i Chicago kan sina saker. Troligtvis sitter man på information rörande Mitt Romney och Paul Ryan som man släpper när det kan göra som mest skada för Romney.

3) Romney planerar att offentligöra dokument om sin skattedeklaration för 2011. Detta kommer att generera än mer uppmärksamhet på skillnaden mellan hans förmögenhet – och eventuella märkliga investeringar – och genomsnittsamerikanens ekonomiska situation.

4) Visa delar av USA:s ekonomi börjar nu se lite positivare ut för Obama.

5) Om situationen i Europa och Iran inte försämras innan valet borde Obama kunna visa på fler plus än minus på administrationens utrikespolitiska konto.

6) Demokraternas nomineringskonvent ligger senare än Romneys. Detta borde kunna ge en mer bestående uppgång i opinionen. Med lite tur håller detta hela vägen fram till valet.

7) Och populära Michelle Obama förväntas hålla ett inspirerande tal på konventet.

8) Den 11 september borde ge presidenten goda möjligheter att påminna väljarna om att det var han som gav ordern som eliminerade Osama bin Laden.

9) Obamakampanjen har fortfarande ett försprång när det gäller intern koordinering och kommunikation.

10) Och eftersom man kunde dra igång sin valkampanj långt innan Romney – och är mer teknologiskt avancerade – har man också fått ett försprång när det gäller att identifiera potentiella väljare.

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USA | Kommer de många negativa utspelen från Barack Obama och Mitt Romney entusiasmera fler väljare än man riskerar stöta bort?

Den negativa framtoningen är ett vågspel för båda kampanjerna.

Carol E. Lee, The Wall Street Journal, skriver:

For both sides, the harsh rhetoric may actually serve a useful purpose this year. The 2012 vote figures to be a close one in which energizing the base of each party is the top priority, because there are so few undecided voters up for grabs this year. Tough campaign talk tends to fire up a party’s core.

But for Mr. Obama, the tone could damage his political brand of optimism that had appeal across the political spectrum in 2008. For Mr. Romney, the negativity distracts from his message on the economy, which polls show as Mr. Obama’s biggest vulnerability.

Neither side shows any signs of curtailing the negativity. The Obama campaign is planning an onslaught of attacks based on the budget crafted by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential candidate. The Romney campaign is running tough ads that accuse Mr. Obama of letting welfare recipients off the hook on requirements that they seek work. Each side is bitterly protesting the other’s ads.


One effect of such early negativity is that both candidates figure to be battered by November, and voters could become fatigued earlier. And that could reduce even further the number of swing voters participating on election day—and increase even further the importance of turning out each party’s base.


The negative strategy for each campaign has become clearer in recent days.

The Obama campaign decided more than a year ago to define Mr. Romney early, on its terms, in an attempt to make the election at least in part a referendum on him and his business record rather than what most re-election campaigns tend to be, which is a referendum on the incumbent. The result has been a negative message designed to raise doubts about whether Mr. Romney is trustworthy and stump speeches where the president takes on his opponent by name.

Mr. Romney’s campaign is seeking to drive up negative views of Mr. Obama, who remains personally fairly popular even as ratings of his job performance have stagnated. The campaign, seeing a potential vulnerability for Mr. Obama on the issue, has recently launched ads criticizing Mr. Obama for not fulfilling his promise in 2008 to bring a more civil tone to politics. Mr. Romney repeatedly said Mr. Obama doesn’t understand America.

Och Washington Post skriver Amy Gardner bl.a. om hur valet av Paul Ryan till Romneys vicepresidentkandidat har påverkat Obamas valstrategi.

Over three days and a dozen stops across this battleground state this week, Obama offered a road map of how he will appeal to the moderate and independent voters who will help decide the 2012 election.

He talked about the usual subjects of taxes and preserving the government investments, such as education aid, that help the middle class. But he also cast himself as the one who better understands — and has actually lived — the plight of such voters.


Ryan’s entrance into the race Saturday has emboldened Obama to intensify the contrast. Ryan is the “ideological leader” of the House Republicans, the president said — the author of a GOP budget proposal that would make deep cuts in federal programs and grant $5 trillion in tax breaks, much of which would go to wealthy Americans.

“He is an articulate spokesman for Governor Romney’s vision,” Obama said of Ryan in Dubuque. “I just happen to fundamentally disagree with his vision. My opponent and his friends in Congress, they believe that if you just get rid of more regulations on big corporations and big banks, and then you give more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, that that will automatically lead to jobs and prosperity for ordinary families. And I’m not exaggerating here, that’s their basic economic plan.”

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USA | Media har gett Barack Obamas och Mitt Romneys valkampanjer namn efter deras högkvarters geografiska placering i Chicago respektive Boston.

Och i Boston är man fortfarande på gott humör. Detta trots att presidenten har haft ledningen i opinionsundersökningar ända sedan Romney vann sitt partis nominering i april.

Nedanstående skrevs av The Economist redan innan Romney hade tillkännagivet sin vicepresidentkandidat Paul Ryan. Och sedan dess har humöret bland republikanska gräsrötter markant förbättrats.

[T]he Romney campaign remains defiant. It acknowledges that Mr Romney’s “favourability” ratings have been relatively low in recent weeks, under a steady bombardment of attack ads and negative press. That is worrying, since the candidate voters find more likeable usually wins. But the drop is both transient and immaterial, his staff argue; in the end, the race will hinge on the sorry state of the economy.


Moreover, the advantage that the Obama campaign has had on the airwaves will soon be reversed. Election laws require candidates to maintain separate fund-raising accounts for the primaries and the general election. Mr Romney’s general-election account is brimming, but it cannot be tapped until he is formally nominated at the convention. His primary account, however, is running low, thanks to his bruising battle for the nomination. Mr Obama was thus able to spend $38m on advertising in June, to Mr Romney’s $10m.


Mr Obama has far more paid staff than Mr Romney: 778 to 272 at the last official count. But the Romney campaign claims not to be intimidated by his much-feted “ground game”. The Obama campaign, it says, is wasting money on staff in reliably Republican states such as South Carolina and Nebraska.


Mr Romney’s backers note that the president’s campaign has stopped talking about winning any new states, such as Arizona or Georgia. It appears to have conceded Indiana, which Mr Obama won last time. Meanwhile, they point out, the polls are very close in states that the Democrats have won for decades, such as Michigan and Wisconsin.


The Romney campaign hopes to sap Mr Obama’s support among various groups who plumped for him last time—Hispanics, young people and women, in particular. All of them, it argues, have suffered disproportionately from the weakness of the economy.

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