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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Beinart’

Val 2016 | USA:s väljare har vänt sig alltmer åt vänster enligt Peter Beinart som är contributing editor på tidskriften The Atlantic.

The Atlantic January-February 2016

Enligt hans tes kommer nästa president – oavsett om det blir en demokrat eller republikan – att fortsätta förvalta det liberala arvet efter Barack Obama.

Om det blir t.ex. Hillary Clinton kommer hon att bygga vidare på de liberala strömningar som redan finns i landet.

Och vinner Donald Trump kommer han inte att kunna ta landet tillbaka till konservatismen under George W. Bush oavsett hans retorik idag. Obama har helt enkelt förändrat USA för mycket. De viktigaste målgrupperna har alla gått i mer liberal riktning.

Beinart skriver:

I came of age in the ’80s and ’90s, when the backlash against ’60s liberalism still struck terror into Democratic hearts. I watched as Ronald Reagan moved the country hard to the right, and as Bill Clinton made his peace with this new political reality by assuring white America that his party would fight crime mercilessly. Seeing this year’s Democratic candidates crumple before Black Lives Matter and shed Clinton’s ideological caution as they stampeded to the left, I imagined the country must be preparing for a vast conservative reaction.

But I was wrong. The more I examined the evidence, the more I realized that the current moment looks like a mirror image of the late ’60s and early ’70s. The resemblances are clear, but their political significance has been turned upside down. There is a backlash against the liberalism of the Obama era. But it is louder than it is strong. Instead of turning right, the country as a whole is still moving to the left.

[…]

That doesn’t mean the Republicans won’t retain strength in the nation’s statehouses and in Congress. It doesn’t mean a Republican won’t sooner or later claim the White House. It means that on domestic policy—foreign policy is following a different trajectory, as it often does—the terms of the national debate will continue tilting to the left. The next Democratic president will be more liberal than Barack Obama. The next Republican president will be more liberal than George W. Bush.

In the late ’60s and ’70s, amid left-wing militancy and racial strife, a liberal era ended. Today, amid left-wing militancy and racial strife, a liberal era is only just beginning.

[…]

It means the next Republican president won’t be able to return the nation to the pre-Obama era.

That’s what happened when Dwight Eisenhower followed Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Ike moderated the growth in government expansion that had begun in the 1930s, but he didn’t return American politics to the 1920s, when the GOP opposed any federal welfare state at all. He in essence ratified the New Deal. It’s also what happened when Bill Clinton followed Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. By passing punitive anticrime laws, repealing restrictions on banks, signing NAFTA, cutting government spending to balance the budget, reforming welfare, and declaring that the “era of big government is over,” Clinton acknowledged that even a Democratic president could not revive the full-throated liberalism of the 1960s and ’70s. He ratified Reaganism.

Barack Obama sought the presidency hoping to be the Democrats’ Reagan: a president who changed America’s ideological trajectory. And he has changed it. He has pushed the political agenda as dramatically to the left as Reagan pushed it to the right, and, as under Reagan, the public has acquiesced more than it has rebelled. Reagan’s final victory came when Democrats adapted to the new political world he had made, and there is reason to believe that the next Republican president will find it necessary to make similar concessions to political reality.

This political cycle, too, will ultimately run its course. A sustained rise in crime could breed fissures between African American activists and young whites or even Latinos. Slower economic growth and a rising budget deficit could turn the public against government in a way that Obama’s policies have not—and force Democrats to again emphasize the creation of wealth more than its distribution. How this era of liberal dominance will end is anyone’s guess. But it will likely endure for some time to come.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Atlantic, januari/februari 2016.

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STRATEGI | Det finns få negativa saker inom politiken som inte kan vändas till en fördel. Det gäller bara att lyfta fram styrkorna på bekostnad av svagheterna.

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, March 10, 2015.  Clinton conceded that she should have used a government email to conduct business as secretary of state, saying her decision was simply a matter of "convenience." (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Hillary Clinton har fått mycket kritik för de första stapplande stegen i sin valkampanj och sättet hon har försökt krishantera.

Peter Beinart i The Atlantic har dock en lite annorlunda vinkling på temat. Hans poäng är att Clinton har gjort precis det hon är bäst på.

Hennes styrka har aldrig varit de stora visionerna. Däremot älskar hon att tala om sakfrågor. Hon är, precis som sin man, en riktig politisk geek.

Visioner är annars standardingrediensen i amerikanska politikers arsenal. Visioner är ett bra sätt att slippa bli alltför konkret i sin politik. Samtidigt låter det visionära som om man tänkt både länge och väl kring de stora utmaningar landet står inför.

Visioner har också den fördelen att man inte behöver vara speciellt konkret. På så sätt unviker man att öppna upp sig för motståndarnas attacker.

Beinart konstaterar att Clinton gjort precis tvärt emot vad många andra politiker gör när de drar igång sin presidentvalskampanj.

Soaring rhetoric and grand themes have never been Hillary’s strengths. That’s one reason so many liberals found her so much less inspirational than Barack Obama in 2008. And it’s a problem with deep roots. In his biography, A Woman in Charge, Carl Bernstein describes Hillary, then in law school, struggling to articulate her generation’s perspective in an address to the League of Women Voters. “If she was speaking about a clearly defined subject,” Bernstein writes, “her thoughts would be well organized, finely articulated, and delivered in almost perfect outline form. But before the League audience, she again and again lapsed into sweeping abstractions.”

Team Clinton appears to understand this. And so it has done something shrewd. Instead of talking vision, Hillary is talking policy, which she does really well.

[…]

Hillary’s handlers have played to this strength. On April 29, she devoted the first major speech of her campaign not to her vision for America, but to something more specific: race and crime.

[…]

The speech was not merely substantive. It was authentic. It showcased the real Hillary Clinton: A woman who, whatever her faults, hates injustice and knows what she’s talking about when it comes to government.

[…]

She’s at her best talking about America not abstractly, but concretely. She’s most inspiring when talking not about what she believes, but about what she wants to do. And she most effectively humanizes herself by being true to who she is: knowledgeable, passionate, and vaguely obsessive about making government work. Against Rubio, or any other likely Republican challenger, that identity should provide an excellent contrast.

Bild: Seth Wenig/AP Photo. Hillary Clinton talar med reportrar vid FN:s högkvarter den 10 mars 2015.

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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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