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Posts Tagged ‘Republikanerna’

The New Yorker June 1 2015

“Suiting Up” av Mark Ulriksen

”The primary campaign may look like a pickup game about to descend into a brawl, but there’s a national candidate somewhere in the lineup”, skriver Amy Davidson med anledning av Ulriksens omslagsbild.

“Behind these Republicans, there is a face in the locker-room door’s window: Hillary Clinton, peeking in. Once they’re done with their intramural shoving match, they’ll mostly likely have to play against her.”

Tidskriftsomslag: The New Yorker den 1 juni 2015.

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USA | Vem är republikanernas svar på Barack Obama? Finns det någon som skulle kunna locka unga, kvinnor och latinos i ett presidentval?

Moterh Jones - June 2014

Ännu har partiet inte hittat någon som har samma ljuskraft som Obama när han dök upp på den politiska scenen. Ingen ser ens ut att kunna utmana Hillary Clinton om hon skulle bli demokraternas presidentkandidat.

Man har haft vissa förhoppningar knutna till guvernör Bobby Jindal (föräldrar från Indien), senatorerna Marco Rubio och Ted Cruz (båda med föräldrar från Kuba).

Men ingen har riktigt lyckats entusiasmera gräsrötterna på samma sätt som Ronald Reagan. Och det är en ny Reagan man måste hitta om man ser till partiets opinionssiffror.

Dessutom står både Rubio och Cruz Tea Party-rörelsen nära. Det är svårt att se att detta kan vara en fördel om man skall vinna över mittenväljare och demokrater.

Med tanke på att Hillary Clinton ser ut att bli demokraternas presidentkandidat skulle republikanerna dessutom behöva en kvinna vid rodret.

Det är här Susana Martinez kommer in i bilden.

Som guvernör i New Mexico, och med mexikanska föräldrar, har hon potential att locka den allt mer betydelsefulla väljargruppen latinos.

Om det nu inte var för at hon är kontroversiell även inom det republikanska partiet. Hon och hennes närmaste medarbetare har t.o.m. kallats hämndlystna och småaktiga.

Hennes främste rådgivare, den politiska konsulten Jay McCleskey, har beskrivit som mannen som styr bakom kulisserna.

”They’ve got this Sherman’s march to the sea mentality, burning everything in sight until they get to the finish.” Allt enligt en donator inom Republican Party.

Exakt samma kritik riktades en gång mot Sarah Palin, en person som Martinez har liknats vid.

Andy Kroll skriver bl.a. om hennes konfrontativa stil i Mother Jones.

Since her election in 2010, she and her team have meticulously cultivated the image of a well-liked, bipartisan, warm-hearted governor by avoiding tough interviews and putting her in photo ops greeting veterans, reading to kids, or cutting ribbons. ”This administration is very disciplined,” says New Mexico pollster Brian Sanderoff.

[…]

In the general election, Martinez ran as the clean-government advocate who would do away with everything New Mexicans disliked about her predecessor. Once hugely popular, Bill Richardson had been dogged by grand jury investigations, corruption allegations, rumors of sexual misconduct, and growing disenchantment over his perennial presidential aspirations. Martinez’s campaign slogan (”Bold Change”) was straight out of the Obama playbook, and it was all the more cutting given that her Democratic opponent, Diane Denish, had spent eight years as Richardson’s lieutenant governor.

On policy, Martinez drew on borrowed ideas (her education plan largely came from Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education) and flashy initiatives such as repealing a law allowing undocumented immigrants to get state driver’s licenses.

[…]

Martinez’s crew saw enemies everywhere. A former staffer recalls the campaign on multiple occasions sending the license plate numbers of cars believed to be used by opposition trackers to an investigator in Martinez’s DA office who had access to law enforcement databases.

[…]

The campaign emails and audio recordings also show how Martinez and her team strategized to maintain her straight-shooting image while avoiding actually being up-front with the public. Throughout the campaign, Martinez praised teachers and insisted she’d ”hold harmless” funding for public education. In private, Martinez implied teachers earned too much: ”During the campaign, we can’t say it, I guess, because it’s education, but…they already don’t work, you know, two and a half months out of the year.” She and McCleskey acknowledged that cuts to education could well be necessary, so her aides plotted about how to respond if they were ever called out for it once elected: ”Put up a YouTube video that no one will ever see where you talk about making everyone feel the pain,” McCleskey suggested. ”And when you win, we say, ‘See, we said this shit the whole time. What are you guys talking about?'”

[…]

Prominent Republicans around the state have blamed McCleskey for devising a political strategy that’s left the Martinez administration estranged from its natural allies. In a 2012 state Senate election, the governor endorsed a primary challenge to a Stetson-wearing rancher named Pat Woods, whom Martinez and McCleskey didn’t like; they bankrolled their candidate, Angie Spears, with money from SusanaPAC. In an unprecedented move, Martinez herself traveled to Woods’ district to campaign for his opponent. The plan backfired: Woods made the campaign about McCleskey, a ”slick…Albuquerque political consultant” meddling with local politics, and won easily.

The Woods-Spears race infuriated members of the New Mexico GOP. State Rep. Anna Crook, a Republican whose district overlaps with Woods’, wrote in the local newspaper that the ”nastiness, misinformation, innuendo, slanderous mailings, robocalls, and, in some cases, flat-out lies have created a toxic political environment the likes of which I have never seen before.”

[…]

Despite the growing discontent among New Mexico party leaders, Martinez enjoys approval ratings in the high 50s and low 60s—among the highest of any Republican governor. Her advisers seem keenly aware of how those numbers could help her achieve higher office, and appear determined to maintain them. Martinez’s aides have closely guarded her travel schedule and her media appearances, protecting her from tough and unflattering questions. Unlike such popular Republican governors as Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Ohio’s John Kasich, Martinez has for more than three years largely avoided the Sunday talk shows; the lone national news figure to get substantial time with her is Fox’s Van Susteren. As she runs for reelection this fall with a full war chest and no strong contender among the Democrats challenging her, Martinez is well positioned to shape the debate and control her own image.

Yet Democrats and Republicans alike wonder if she has what it takes to succeed at the national level.

Tidskriftsomslag: Mother Jones, juni 2014.

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USA | Inget är vad det ser ut att vara i amerikansk politik. Senast minimilönen ökade i USA var t.ex. under George W. Bush. Alltså inte under Barack Obama!

republikaner & demokrater

John R. MacArthur, utgivare av tidskriften Harper’s Magazine och författare till You Can’t Be President, skriver i The Spectator om de paradoxer och likheter som finns mellan demokraterna och republikanerna när man väl skalat bort den politisk retoriken.

In 2008, there was virtually no difference in the positions of Obama, promoted by the Chicago Democratic machine, and Hillary Clinton, supported by her husband’s staff machine. Obama could cite his one speech opposing the Iraq invasion. But the Obama-Clinton duel was little more than an intra-party factional fight fueled by human ambition. Obama’s votes in the U.S. Senate were identical to Mrs. Clinton’s in support of continued funding of Bush’s military folly. Both parties agree on the value of outsourcing jobs to Mexico and China – that is, the value of receiving in return big contributions from corporations, law firms and banks that benefitting from ‘free trade’. Similarly, both Obama and Clinton pretended to criticize the North American Free Trade Agreement during the Ohio primary six years ago, and today they both support the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which if approved is guaranteed to close more factories in the Rust Belt. In order to understand American politics, it is essential to know that NAFTA was launched by President George H.W. Bush and rammed through Congress by President William Jefferson Clinton.

With manufacturing jobs leaving the country for cheap-labor locales and the economy still sluggish, it would make sense to raise the federal minimum wage. But Obama’s current rhetoric on the subject is merely hot air. When he had big majorities in both houses of Congress, he did almost nothing to help ordinary workers, but much to reward Wall Street and Goldman Sachs, his top corporate contributor in 2008. The last time the minimum wage was increased was during the administration of that notorious leftist George W. Bush. Meanwhile, Obama, Jeb Bush and Clinton go on about ‘immigration reform’, but not one of them will ever cross the restaurant and farm lobbies that love illegal Mexican labor, since it can’t unionise, can’t complain about working conditions, and is happy to toil for $ 3 an hour.

Then there’s ‘Socialist’ Obamacare, which is merely a bigger version of Republican Mitt Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts. Whatever its bureaucratic failings, Obamacare is marvelously efficient – from the standpoint of Democratic party functionaries – at transfer taxpayers’ money to private insurance companies (in the form of government-subsidised policies) That are happy to return the favour with donations to Democrats.

It is perhaps not a coincidence that the rigid, top-down political control of the electoral process coincides with the Commerce Department’s report that last year corporate profits, as a proportion of GDP, reached a record high – the highest since 1929 – while the employee compensation fell to its lowest level, as a percentage of GDP, since in 1948.

Det är knappast en sund bild av den amerikanska demokratin som MacArthur målar upp.

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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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USA | Tidskriften Time utsåg påven till ”Person of the Year” 2013. På femte plats kom republikanen Ted Cruz, Tea Party-rörelsens darling.

.Time 23 december 2013Time 23 december 2013.

David von Drehle skrev bl.a. följande om den ideologiskt motiverade senatorn som alla tror vill bli sitt partis presidentkandidat:

[Ted] Cruz—like his fellow Tea Party freshmen Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida—appears to be eyeing a path blazed by his nemesis, President Obama, in which the Senate is just a pit stop in a grander race. Though Cruz disagrees with nearly everything the President believes in, he appreciates Obama as a political tactician. “I respect President Obama as a man of deep principles, who is clearly willing to pay a steep political price for those ­principles—as he is doing with Obama­care,” Cruz said solemnly as the December sun slanted through his office windows in a downtown Houston skyscraper. “I also believe those principles are wrong and harmful for the country.”

When it comes to tactics, however, Obama is “absolutely” a role model, Cruz said. In his Senate race against an overwhelming favorite, Cruz followed the battle plan laid out by Obama’s 2008 upset of Hillary Clinton. He even required his top staff members to study the campaign memoir written by Obama strategist David Plouffe.

But Cruz demurred when asked if he intends, like Obama, to skedaddle from the Senate at the first possible opportunity. He was happy to talk about the sort of candidate the Republicans should nominate in 2016. “Look back over the last 40 years. Every time Republicans nominated a candidate who ran as a strong conservative, we’ve won. Every time we ran as moderate, Establishment Republicans, we lost.”

[…]

If conservative theorists could build a cyborg in a lab vacuum-sealed against the slightest contamination by heterodox ideas, the result would be Rafael Edward Cruz. I say that because it is very nearly Cruz’s life story.

The lab was called the Free Enterprise Education Center. It was the creation of Rolland Storey, a wealthy Texas conservative who sought to identify promising young minds and mold them in an atmosphere of foundational conservative texts. Storey’s acolytes read Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises and Frédéric Bastiat. They memorized long passages of the Constitution and toured Rotary and Kiwanis luncheons dazzling audiences by reciting entire sections verbatim. They were like Spartans of the conservative mind, and Cruz was their Leonidas—winner of the annual speech contest four years in a row. (The topic was always freedom.)

[…]

George Will, the dean of conservative columnists, sized up Cruz and pronounced his background “as good as it gets.”

Democrats may harbor similar feelings, for they’ve made Cruz a favorite target, comparing him to the run-amok Senator Joseph McCarthy of communist witch-hunting fame. […] But Cruz is no McCarthy, who melted away in an alcoholic haze. No: Cruz is a more formidable foe, one built to last. He knows the difference between risk and recklessness, and his drink of choice is Dr Pepper.

Bild: Uppslag i Time, 23 december 2013.

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USA | Allt fler har börjat tala om guvernör Chris Christie som republikanernas självklara presidentkandidat. Om man vill ha en chans att vinna vill säga.

Han har i alla fall en klar fördel framför övriga namn som det talas om (t.ex. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio) och det är att han inte är rädd att ta strid med Tea Party-anhängarnas favoriter.

Detta är om inte annat en nödvändighet om en republikansk kandidat skall ha en chans att locka väljare bortom de egna gräsrötterna.

Här nedan är utdrag från två reportage där man följt guvernören och tagit pulsen på hans möjligheter att bli republikanernas frontfigur.

Time 18 nov 2013 US edition

Michael Scherer, Time, skriver:

The Christie for America 2016 calculation goes like this: All Republican nomination contests usually go the same way. Primary voters claim to be big-C Conservatives, but they vote with a small c. After months of carping and griping, after rubber-chicken dinners, purity tests and endless debates, the party always settles on the most viable center-right option who has earned his place in line—Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney. As Christie might say it, the party decides it wants to win.

Christie’s strategy is clear enough, to execute a political coup de main: to try to clear the field (or his side of the field) by coming on very strong at the outset to take up the Establishment real estate. With four or five others (Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum and others) battling to become the purist on the right, Christie’s initial goal is simply to be the Electable One. Yes, he may command only 15% of the total GOP electorate at the outset, but in a fractured field, that’s fine with him. If he is lucky, he might win Iowa by a little, New Hampshire by a lot. If he can squeeze by, the big states will love the big guy.

To aid in the effort, Christie will have some significant financial—and logistical—advantages. Sitting governors are much better fundraisers than any other kind of politician. And in a few weeks, Christie is going to supercharge that claim when he takes over command of the Republican Governors Association, which is looking to protect 22 governors who are up for re-election in 2014, including, conveniently enough, the leaders of South Carolina, Florida and Iowa. He will soon be traveling the country, collecting cards and chits and IOUs, all at someone else’s expense. “In the big cities where the GOP money will be raised,” says Wayne Berman, a leading Republican fundraiser and consultant, “Christie is already the default choice.”

From that perch, Christie can raise perhaps $50 million next year and borrow the fundraising networks of every other GOP governor. They will owe him. And together, those networks are worth $250 million. That is Hillary scale, something none of his current challengers can access as easily. And then there is the outside money. In 2012 several billionaires were involved in the draft-Christie movement.

New York augusti 2012

Benjamin Wallace-Wells i tidskriften New York:

We have never had a president as outwardly angry as Christie, but then this country has rarely been as angry as it is now. In the tea-party era, conservative anger has often been channeled by figures such as Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz into a hysteria over very abstract and inflated threats: health-care death panels, the national debt, the specter of a country overrun by illegal immigrants. Christie’s use of anger is very different: It is much more targeted, and therefore potentially much more useful.

The contrast was on display last week in the fight he picked with Rand Paul. The senator from Kentucky, having watched Christie denounce libertarianism, called him the “King of Bacon,” presumably referring both to his pleas for immediate federal help after Hurricane Sandy and to his weight. Christie had pointed out that New Jersey is a “donor state,” taking only 61 cents for every dollar it sends to Washington, while Kentucky takes back $1.51. (No acknowledgment from Christie that this is owed not to New Jersey’s superior character but to its good fortune of existing next to the great economic buoy of Wall Street, while Kentucky is near no economic buoy at all.) “So if Senator Paul wants to start looking at where he is going to cut spending to afford defense,” Christie had said, “maybe he should start looking at cutting the pork-barrel spending he brings home to ­Kentucky.” For Christie, the villain is always specific: not government, not socialism, not impersonal historical forces, but one moron in particular—the teachers union, or Steve Sweeney, or in this case Rand Paul, the libertarian ophthalmologist, high-mindedly denouncing government while his state is on its dole. “He’s not the first politician to try to use me to get attention,” Christie said later, dismissing Paul’s slight. “And I’m sure he won’t be the last.”

What Christie is doing when he starts arguments with other Republicans—and it is telling that what looks very much like a presidential run has begun with a sequence of fights—is offering his party the chance to preserve its anger, while trading in its revolutionaries for a furious institutionalist.

Läs mer: Blogginlägget ”Vem kan utmana demokraterna?”

Tidskriftsomslag: Time (amerikanska utgåvan), 18 november 2013 och New York, 12 augusti 2012.

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