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Posts Tagged ‘President’

VITA HUSET | Hur många år kan man vara president i USA. Åtta år? Fel. Rätt svar är 10 år.

Bild av Steve Brodner

Om en vicepresident tillträder presidentämbetet två år före mandatperiodens slut och sedan väljs två gånger kan det totalt bli tio år.

Bild: Steve Brodner.

Steve Brodners teckningar hittar man bl.a. i Mother Jones, The New Yorker och Harper’s. Se fler teckningar på SteveBrodner.com.

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VITA HUSET | Kan en utvärdering av en sittande president bli rättvis? James Fallows, ”national correspondent”, på The Atlantic har lyckats väl.

Lägger man ihop erfarenheterna så här långt har Barack Obama gjort tillräckligt för att mandatperioden inte skall kunna definieras som ett misslyckande.

Det är inte alltför svårt att föreställa sig att en mindre kompetent person skulle ha lyckats betydligt sämre. Inte minst med tanke på den svåra ekonomiska situation han ärvde när han tillträdde.

”The evidence suggests that given a second term, he would have a better chance of becoming the figure so many people imagined”, skriver Fallows.

Men det hänger på att han blir återvald. Utan en sådan framgång kommer hela hans första mandatperiod att bedömas i skenet av valförlusten.

Has Obama in office been anything like the chess master he seemed in the campaign, whose placid veneer masked an ability to think 10 moves ahead, at which point his adversaries would belatedly recognize that they had lost long ago? Or has he been revealed as just a pawn—a guy who got lucky as a campaigner but is now pushed around by political opponents who outwit him and economic trends that overwhelm him?

[…]

What I feel I’ve learned about Obama is that he was unready for the presidency and temperamentally unsuited to it in many ways. Yet the conjunction of right-wing hostility to his programs and to his very presence in office, with left-wing disappointment in his economic record and despair about his apparent inability to fight Republicans on their own terms, led to an underappreciation of his skills and accomplishments—an underappreciation that is as pronounced as the overestimation in those heady early days. Unprepared, yes. Cool to the point of chilly, yes. For all his ability to inspire and motivate people en masse, for all his advertised emphasis on surrounding himself with a first-rate “team of rivals,” Obama appears to have been unsavvy in the FDR-like arts of getting the best from his immediate team and continuing to attract the best people to him.

[…]

His reflections in public have tended to be anodyne laments about the failure of bipartisan spirit; he can’t possibly believe it’s that innocent. But those around him make the case that in addition to being very unlucky (in the circumstances he inherited) and very lucky (in the Republican field that chose to run against him), Obama also shaped his luck by being shrewd, in three significant ways. First, according to this view, he always kept his eye on what mattered most, namely avoiding another recession—and compromised and backtracked only when, in his assessment, the alternative would have been a greater economic risk. Next, he absorbed pummeling by Republicans not so much because he was weak or unsuspecting as because he recognized problems the over-reaching opposition was creating for itself, much as he had during the 2008 primaries (and much as Bill Clinton had in 1995). And finally, that while like all presidents he came in unprepared, he adjusted as fast as anyone could have expected and was increasingly in control of events as time went on.

[…]

If Barack Obama loses this fall, he will forever seem a disappointment: a symbolically important but accidental figure who raised hopes he could not fulfill and met difficulties he did not know how to surmount. He meant to show the unity of America but only underscored its division. As a candidate, he symbolized transformation; in office, he applied incrementalism and demonstrated the limits of change. His most important achievement, helping forestall a second Great Depression, will be taken for granted or discounted in the dismay about the economic problems he did not solve. His main legislative accomplishment, the health-care bill, may well be overturned; his effect on America’s international standing will pass; his talk about bridging the partisan divide will seem one more sign of his fatal naïveté. If he is reelected, he will have a chance to solidify what he has accomplished and, more important, build on what he has learned. All of this is additional motivation, as if he needed any, for him to drive for reelection; none of it makes him any more palatable to those who oppose him and his goals.

And for those who supported him the first time, as I did? To me, the evidence suggests that given a second term, he would have a better chance of becoming the figure so many people imagined.

Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget och artikeln ovan är från The Atlantic mars 2012.

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NYHETSMAGASINET Tempus har i senaste numret reportage om partiintriger och valrörelser i USA, Argentina och Bangladesh.

Även om huvudartikeln och omslaget med Rick Perry handlar om republikanernas presidentvalskampanj i USA är artiklarna om president Cristina Fernándes de Kirchner och premiärminister Sheikh Hasina betydligt intressantare.

Om premiärminister Sheikh Hasina i Bangladesh:

Ställd inför allmänna val om några år, borde Sheikh Hasina kanske hoppas på att förstärka demokratin och övertyga väljarna att välja om henne […] Tyvärr, om man ska döma efter hennes uppförande nyligen, försöker hon i stället att krossa oppositionen och åstadkomma en valbojkott samtidigt som hon tystar kritiker.

[…]

Bekymmer sammast är den snabba omskrivningen av konstitutionen […] Den som vågar kritisera den kan anklagas för uppvigling. […] Bara att så mycket som stödja ett sådant klagomål är nu olagligt.

Tankebrott kan bli nästa steg.

Om president Kirchner i Argentina:

Hon har stöd av en växande ekonomi och en splittrad opposition, vilket alltsammans överskuggar tidigare ifrågasättanden av hennes polariserande ledarskapsstil.

Opositionsundersökningarna före primärvalen hade förutsett hennes framgång och även förutspått att den närmaste konkurrenten Ricardo Alfonsin, en kongressman från det radikala unionspartiet, skulle hamna långt efter henne.

”Frånvaron av en stark oppositionskandidat har skapat en känsla av att hon är oövervinnelig”, säger Graciela Romer, en politisk analytiker från Buenos Aires.

Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget ovan är nummer 33/34 av Tempus.

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TIDSKRIFTEN Smithsonian är husorgan åt institutet och museet med samma namn. April 2002 uppmärksammades president Lincolns andra istallationstal.

President Abraham Lincoln avslutade sitt briljanta men förvånansvärt korta tal på följande sätt:

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

”Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address has lived under the shadow of the Gettysburg Address. And yet Lincoln thought this was his best effort”, skriver historikern Ronald C. White, Jr.

He was the average American, with only one year of education, a man who was really quite ugly in a certain sense—could he ever have campaigned today?—tall, awkward, gawky, clothes ill-fitting, with a tenor voice, almost a falsetto, and yet he was a huge man for his day, 6 feet 4 inches tall. Everything about him was against his being a powerful speaker. But once he began to speak, what people sensed was his integrity. He was not playing a role. And the audience of that day picked it up.

[…]

He had the knack of asking these simple but very profound questions. In every crisis, whether it’s September 11 or World War II, it is amazing how people return to Lincoln.

Läs mer: Artiklarna går inte att läsa på nätet men äldre nummer av Smithsonian går att beställa. Talet och mycket mer om Lincoln går att läsa på sajten Abraham Lincoln’s Classroom.

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BARACK OBAMA är på bussturné. Officiellt är det ett presidentevenemang och inte en del i hans återvalskampanj. Men ingen låter sig luras av sådana teknikaliteter.

“President Obama discusses ways to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class and accelerate hiring during his economic bus tour across the Midwest”, skriver man på Vita husets hemsida.

”President Obama wants to hear from Americans about how national economic policies are affecting life in your communities”, skriver Colleen Curtis på Vita husets blogg.

Alexis Simendinger på RealClearPolitics har en lite annorlunda vinkling:

The region of the country that has seen a measurable improvement in employment in the last year is the Midwest, according to government statistics, and President Obama is heading there today through Wednesday.

[…]

When an Iowa-based reporter asked [Agriculture Secretary Tom] Vilsack, the former Democratic governor of Iowa, why Obama didn’t take a bus tour through the South — where rural communities are experiencing unemployment rates higher than the 9.1 percent national average — the secretary said the president’s policies are helping rural areas in the Midwest and the South, and are applicable nationwide.

Maybe so, but it just so happens that the economic statistics are somewhat brighter in two of the three states the president will visit, and his political chances in 2012 appear rosier in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois than they do in many parts of the South — or even in other Midwestern states he will not see on the bus tour, including Indiana and Ohio.

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MITT ROMNEY attackerade Barack Obama med anledning av rapporterna om att presidentens kampanjstab planerar en smutskastningskampanj mot honom.

Politico skrev om planerna under måndagen. Redan tidigt under onsdagen kom ovanstående videosvar. Uppenbart har Romney en väldrillad kampanjstab som snabbt kan anlägga moteld när så behövs.

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MED HJÄLP AV negativa kampanjmetoder tänker Barack Obama krossa Mitt Romney. Hans karraktär och bakgrund inom näringslivet skall smutskastas.

Romney är idag den republikanska presidentkandidat som ser ut att ha strörst chans gentemot Obama.

Han är den republikan som troligtvis får lättast att locka över independents d.v.s. väljare som inte ser sig som primärt demokrater eller republikaner. Denna väljargrupp kan ofta avgöra ett val i USA.

Enligt Ben Smith och Jonathan Martin på Politico har högsta ledningen inom Obamas kampanjorganisation studerat strategin som president George W. Bush använde sig av 2004. Det året lyckades Bush – trots låga opinionssiffror – besegra John Kerry genom att tidigt definiera honom i negativa termer.

“Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney,” said a prominent Democratic srategist aligned with the White House.

The onslaught would have two aspects. The first is personal: Obama’s reelection campaign will portray the public Romney as inauthentic, unprincipled and, in a word used repeatedly by Obama’s advisers in about a dozen interviews, “weird.”

[…]

The second aspect of the campaign to define Romney is his record as CEO of Bain Capital, a venture capital firm that was responsible for both creating and eliminating jobs. Obama officials intend to frame Romney as the very picture of greed in the great recession — a sort of political Gordon Gekko.

“He was very, very good at making a profit for himself and his partners but not nearly as good [at] saving jobs for communities,” said David Axelrod, the president’s chief strategist.

[….]

“People already knew that he’s a political opportunist of the highest order — changing his positions to suit the day’s polling,” said Bill Burton, Obama’s former White House deputy press secretary who now heads Priorities USA, an independent group expected to lead Democratic attacks on the Republican nominee. “But the last couple weeks, this lack of principles has translated into a total lack of leadership on issues like the debt ceiling.”

Svaret från Mitt Romneys kampanjstab kom snabbt. ABC News rapporterade följande:

 “It is disgraceful that President Obama’s campaign has launched his re-election with the stated goal to ‘kill’ his opponent with an onslaught of negative and personal attacks,” said Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades in a written statement.

“President Obama will say and do desperate things to hold onto power because he knows he has failed. Neither despicable threats, nor
President Obama’s billion dollar negative campaign, will put Americans back to work, save their homes, or restore their hopes. On November 6, 2012, this will change,” Rhoades said.

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VALRÖRELSEN 2012 kommer troligtvis inte att bli lika enkel för president Barack Obama som många trodde för bara ett år sedan.

Läget i landet har tvingat Barack Obama att förändra alltifrån politisk strategi, mediestrategi och sättet han kommunicerar med de amerikanska väljarna.

John Heilemann skrev om förändringarna redan i januari och med tanke på att ingen – vare sig demokrater, republikaner eller vanlige väljare – har imponerats av uppgörelsen kring skuldtaket är Obama nu i än större behov av en omstart.

Since the midterm elections, Obama and his lieutenants have been grappling with the implications of the self-described “shellacking” inflicted by republicans on the president and his party, and laboring to devise a recovery strategy for the next two years. One of their chief conclusions is that Obama must occupy a higher plane than he did in the last two, elevating himself above the posturing, petulance, and incessant bile-spewing that have come to bedevil Washington in this age of incessant acrimony and polarization.

[…]

But positioning and rhetoric are only part of the broader project under way inside the White House, which amounts to a full-scale reboot of the Obama presidency. The most visible manifestations of this involve personnel […] Beneath the surface, however, substantial changes are afoot in every realm, from management structure and political strategy to communications, policy, and even the president’s conception of his own role—as he and his people try to navigate the newly Republicanized legislative landscape and gear up for what they now fretfully assume (after months of airily believing otherwise) will be a difficult reelection campaign.

[…]

[T]he White House’s troubles fell into three baskets—the first of them labeled “insularity.” […] “I think they felt like if they had listened to conventional wisdom in 2007, they never would have run. When they hear criticism, they say, ‘Been there, done that, we’re gonna stay the course.’ There’s almost a Zen-like quality about how they’ve been in their own universe and their own bubble.”

[…]

The second basket […] had to do with a trap the White House had fallen into of being too tactical and reactive. To some extent, this was the result of the fusillade of crises and imperatives […] that hit the administration in rat-a-tat succession right from the get-go.

[T]hird […] was the failure to use Obama’s gifts as a communicator to full effect. He was overexposed. He was in the weeds. The thread got lost. “With these big legislative fights, he was almost like a prime minister or negotiator-in-chief,” says the same official. “The price for that was, we lost the vision, the inspiration.”

Övrigt: Både citatet och tidskriftsomslaget ovan är från tidskriften New York den 31 januari.

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CRAIG SHIRLEY har skrivit två intressanta och underhållande böcker om Ronald Reagan. De kan rekommenderas till alla med intresse för politiska valkampanjer.

Boken Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America handlar om hur Reagan 1980 besegrade president Jimmy Carter.

Bilden på framsidan av boken visar när Reagan officiellt tillkännager att han drar igång den valkampanj som skall ta honom ända till Vita huset.

Så här beskriver Shirley ögonblicket:

The setting that the campaign had chosen for the Labor Day launch provided a striking visual. With the Statue of Liberty in the background and the wind tousling his hair, Reagan looked virile and in command. The day was hot and humid, and Reagan shucked his tie and jacked, undid the top two buttons of his shirt, and rolled up his sleeves, but not before giving his cufflinks to an unknown man in the crowd who had complemented them.

[…]

On this Labor Day he scored the president for having “betrayed” the working men and women of America. Gesturing to the statue behind him, he said, “The Lady standing there in the harbor has never betrayed us once.” Then, referring to the criticism he had provoked by using the term “depression,” Reagan proclaimed: “Let it show on the record that when the American people cried out for economic help, Jimmy Carter took refuge behind a dictionary. Well, if it’s a definition he wants, I’ll give him one. A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. Recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his!” The crowd went wild.

Alla republikaner försöker idag på ett eller annat sätt signalsera att man är Reagans politiska och ideologiska arvinge.

När Jon Huntsman exempelvis drog igång sin kampanj gjorde han det också med Frihetsgudinnan i bakgrunden. Precis som Reagan 1980. Uppenbart för att väcka positiva minnen och stjäla lite av stjärnglansen från Reagan-eran.

Även Craig Shirleys tidigare bokReagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All (2005) – kan varmt rekommenderas.

Boken handlar om året 1976 när Reagan försökte bli partiets presidentkandidat genom att utmana president Gerald Ford. Försöket misslyckades men kampanjen kom att förändra det stagnerade republikanska partiet och lade därmed också grunden för segern 1980.

Goda nyheter är att Shirley även planerar att skriva en bok om Reagans återvalskampanj 1984.

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BARACK OBAMA har försökt vara presidentaktig och inta positionen som ”the grown up” i förhandlingarna om budgetunderskottet.

Nu ser det ut som om demokrater och republikaner är överrens och kan rösta på ett gemensamt förslag under måndagen.

(Pat Oliphant den 13 juli 2011. Fler editorial cartoons på GoComics.com.)

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