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Posts Tagged ‘Republikanska partiet’

POLITIK |  Jeb Bush har meddelat att han nu vill bli sitt partis presidentkandidat. Eller som det heter: ”actively explore the possibility”.

Jeb Bush - Photo Tony Gutierrez-AP

Vilket är politikerspråk för att känna av om han har tillräckligt stöd, om han kan attrahera tillräckligt med pengar och om han ens själv känner för det maratonlopp som en presidentvalskampanj innebär.

Bush räknades som konservativ under sin tid som guvernör i Florida. Idag ses han av många inom Tea Party-rörelsen som farligt liberal.

The Economist skriver:

More recently he has been a spokesman for his party’s pragmatic, pro-business wing. He is known for two positions, above all, that enrage conservative hardliners: his support for the nationwide education standards known as Common Core (seen on the right as a liberal plot), and his belief that Republicans must embrace comprehensive immigration reform with enthusiasm and compassion, or face long-term irrelevance.

[…]

Mr Bush speaks sense when he talks of the need for Republicans to compromise occasionally, if they want to govern. A few weeks before Christmas he told a summit of chief executive officers that a Republican presidential candidate in 2016 might have to adopt a “lose the primary to win the general” strategy. That is code for running from start to finish on policies that can win some centrist and independent votes, rather than following the pivot strategy attempted by such figures as Mitt Romney. To win the 2012 presidential nomination Mr Romney declared himself “severely conservative” and called for laws so tough that immigrants would despair and deport themselves. Too late, he tried to tack back to his real interest: business-friendly policies to fix the economy.

Mr Bush’s counsel is brave: many Republican members of Congress, governors and other officials only dare cheer him on silently. But for all that, an unmistakable rebuke lurked in his statement. Put another way, Mr Bush was signalling that the dedicated bands of grassroots activists who decide many party primaries are a menace. Even if he is right, that is quite a box to crack open. Bluntly, many of the business bosses, big donors and establishment Republicans who have spent years longing for Mr Bush to run do not just disagree with the conservative grassroots, they dislike them and resent their influence. The antipathy is mutual: perhaps no other candidate for 2016 so angers Tea Party types.

Att inte stryka Tea Party-rörelsen medhårs är en vansklig strategi om man i dessa dagar siktar på att bli republikanernas presidentkandidat .

Om inte annat för att Bush garanterat kommer att möta motkandidater som har så små chanser att bli nominerade att de inte har något att förlora på att inta ståndpunkter som t.o.m. kan få en Tea Party-anhängarna att tveka.

Det finns alltid gott om kandidater som bara är ute efter att göra ideologiska markeringar eller bara vill höja sin egen profil hos väljarna utan någon tanke på dynamiken i själva presidentvalet.

Risken är att andra kandidater då ser sig tvingade att hänga på för att inte tappa väljare bland gräsrötterna. Tea Party-rörelsen är idag till stora delar gräsrötterna inom det republikanska partiet.

Även om Bush enligt alla objektiva kriterier är konservativ riskerar han i alla fall uppfattas som alltför liberal inom partiet. Ett parti där t.o.m. Ronald Reagan skulle ha haft svårt att bli nominerad.

Men i ett presidentval räcker det inte bara med att tilltala det egna partiets väljare, man måste också kunna vinna över osäkra väljare och väljare från motståndarsidan.

Bild: Tony Gutierrez, AP.

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USA | Republikanska partiet ägnar sig åt ett ständigt navelskåderi. Och ännu finns ingen lösning som kan överbygga sprickan mellan partiets olika falanger.

The New York Review of Books January 9 2014 vol 61 nr 1

Hade partiet varit ett företag skulle man säga att varumärket har tagit kraftigt skada. Det behövs genomgående förändringar av både politik och framtoning för att man skall komma på rätt köl igen. Detta löser man inte med PR.

Debattörer inom partiet kan delas in i två läger. Det ena lägret säger att partiet måste hålla fast vid strikt konservativa värderingar.

”Konservativ” innebär här en mer eller mindre nyliberal ekonomisk politik i kombination med konservativa idéer på andra samhällsområden.

Enligt dessa ideologer är den största faran att partiet börjar anpassa sig till samhällsandan, oavsett hur populär den må vara för närvarande.

Tanken är att en längre tids ökenvandring är priset man måste betala för att väljarna ännu inte förstått hur skadlig demokraternas och president Barack Obamas politik är.

Det andra republikanska lägret – de ”moderata” – menar att det är dags för partiet att börja förändras. Republikanerna måste nå kvinnor, minoriteter och ungdomar om man överhuvudtaget skall ha en chans att överleva.

Men partiet är idag inte närmare en lösning på dilemmat än för åtta år sedan. Ingen republikan ser idag ut att kunna matcha t.ex. Hillary Clinton i ett presidentval.

Tv-personligheten Joe Scarborough har nu gett sig in i debatten med boken The Right Path: From Ike to Reagan, How Republicans Once Mastered Politics-and Can Again där han försöker staka ut en väg för republikanerna.

Garry Wills, professor i historia, har skrivit en kritisk recension i The New York Review of Books.

Men poängen är inte att den är kritisk. Wills är trots allt själv en flitig liberal debattör.

Poängen är snarare att den ganska väl belyser de interna motsägelser och paradoxer republikanerna, oavsett om de är ”moderata” eller ”konservativa”, måste hantera om de överhuvudtaget skall lyckas vända den negativa trenden.

The current Thing to Say about Republicans is that they are caught in a civil war—the Tea Party against the Establishment, “wacko birds” against “the adults,” fringe against mainstream. One of the most clamorous bearers of this message, on his TV show and in various other media, is Joe Scarborough. He has denounced Republicans for putting up outré candidates (like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Christine O’Donnell, and Sharron Angle) to indulge their resentments, not to win elections. He has, in turn, been called a RINO (Republican in Name Only) by the objects of his criticism. He protests that he is the true Republican, principled and pragmatic like the heroes of his new book.

[…]

Scarborough, along with every second pundit in Washington, claims that Republicans will get a national majority when they trim back their extremist positions. Others say that demographic trends among blacks and Latinos, women and young people make it dangerous for them to court majorities.

[…]

A majority of votes cast for members of the House in 2012 went to Democrats, but—thanks to gerrymandering after an off-year election with low turnout and fierce Republican focus—the Republicans won by a disparity mimicking the income gap. In Pennsylvania, for instance, Republicans won only 47 percent of the votes but walked away with 72 percent of the seats.

The House still has the power that Scarborough credits Gingrich with gaining for them in 1994. But the situation is more like the reverse of the one Scarborough thinks he is describing. In fact, the things he opposes—the New Deal, Obamacare, “Yalta”—are the mainstream, and Republicans only have the obstructive power their extremists give them. Republican power is minority power, seen in their record-breaking resort to filibusters to block majority votes in the Senate, and in their plans to stock the Senate with majority-thwarters by rescinding the Seventeenth Amendment: they want to take away the people’s power to elect senators and give the power to appoint them back to state legislators, who are already limiting voting times and qualifications.

On issue after issue—reasonable gun control, women’s rights to contraceptives or elective abortion, marriage equality, easier voter access—a majority of Americans disagree with Republicans, who cannot admit this without losing their fanatical core. They claim they have no war on women, but they cannot change positions on abortion without losing their religious base. They cannot admit any gun restrictions without bringing down the wrath of the NRA. They cannot loosen immigration laws without infuriating the nativists among them. They cannot loosen their voting restrictions or votes on welfare without alienating their Confederate avengers. Yet in all of this they are protected by their untouchable backers, the rich who can never, never, ever pay more taxes. Scarborough’s silly picture of American politics leaves out most of the things that matter—including (but not restricted to) race, religion, and money. And the greatest of these is money.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York review of Books, 9 januari-5  februari 2014. 

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WASHINGTON | Tea Party-rörelsens politiska strategi i Washington har lyckats långt över förväntan.  Men det har inte gjort dem populärare. Snarare tvärt om.

Bloomberg Businessweek 21-27 okt 2013

Idag är det deras representanter i det republikanska partiet som sätter agendan i både kongressen och inom det republikanska partiet.

Peter Coy, ekonomisk redaktör i Bloomberg Businessweek, skriver om hur deras framgångar har fått partiets opinionssiffror att störtdyka.

It’s that sense of being on the brink of disaster that feeds Tea Partiers’ determination to fight to the end. For them, the debt-ceiling deal reached by the Senate on Oct. 16 is merely a cease-fire.

But the Tea Party’s belief that things are slipping away is misplaced. Obamacare aside, events have actually gone the movement’s way ever since Republicans wrested control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. Discretionary spending has been falling. Federal-employee head count is down. And since 2010, deficit reduction has been more rapid than in any three-year period since the demobilization following World War II.

Discretionary spending (i.e., spending excluding transfer payments and interest) will fall even more in the decades ahead if the laws that the Tea Party helped get on the books stay there

[…]

That victory, however, has come at a high price. The Tea Party pushed for heavy spending cuts when the economy was weak, needlessly depressing output and keeping the unemployment rate high. The International Monetary Fund, which supports long-run deficit reduction, declared in June that the U.S. program was “excessively rapid and ill-designed.”

[…]

In political terms, the Tea Party’s scorched earth strategy has produced some impressive legislative wins but damaged the movement’s popularity. Now its blunt tactics threaten to make deficit reduction seem like a fringe issue, one of concern only to extremists.

[…]

The federal government really does need to tighten its belt eventually, but not with the scale and immediacy the Tea Party insists on. Tea Partiers are in no mood for nuance. They fear that the Republic is in danger from wily liberals who are skilled in the art of brinkmanship. Democrats are “very good at this. We’re obviously very bad at it,” Michael Needham, chief executive officer of Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, told the Wall Street Journal this month.

In fact, the Tea Party is all too good at brinkmanship. The true believers are winning their battles in Washington. It’s the rest of the country that continues to lose.

Tidskriftsomslag: Bloomberg Businessweek den 21-27 oktober 2013.

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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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KAMPANJ | Barack Obama leder över Romney i de flesta opinionsundersökningar. En anledning: Republikanerna tappar inom många viktiga väljargrupper.

Philip Gourevitch, i The New Yorker, har blickat tillbaka tjugo år för att se hur republikanska partiet har utvecklats.

Twenty years ago this month, Republicans convened at the Astrodome, in Houston, to nominate George H. W. Bush for reëlection to the Presidency. His acceptance speech was interrupted by spirited chants of “Viva Bush!,” but few remember what he said. Bush, the last of his breed to head a Presidential ticket, was a patrician product of the pre-Reaganite Republican establishment: business-friendly, foreign-policy-minded, more secular than not, anti-Communist but otherwise minimally ideological. This was held against him by Party insurgents, such as the Louisiana state legislator and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke and the pundit and former Nixon aide Patrick Buchanan, both of whom had challenged the incumbent in the primaries. Buchanan was granted a prime-time slot on the first night of the Houston Convention, and although he came with just eighteen delegates, he stole the show.

“Friends,” Buchanan said, “there is a religious war going on in this country. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as the Cold War itself. For this war is for the soul of America.” The fight, he explained, was over such issues as abortion, equal rights for homosexuals, and the inclusion of women in combat units. Buchanan was against these things—“It’s not the kind of change we can abide in a nation we still call ‘God’s country.’ ” Of course, he said, he stood for unity and had come to rally the Buchanan Brigades to Bush’s cause, but nobody was fooled.

Today, solid majorities of Americans support gay rights, legal abortion, and women in combat. Yet the G.O.P. platform opposes them; the culture war that Buchanan trumpeted is no longer an insurgent cause but a permanent condition of the Republican Party, and, increasingly, it is being fought within the Party.

Även efter hans framgångsrika insats i den första presidentvalsdebatten kommer Romney att ha fortsatta problem att nå en lång rad viktiga målgrupper som t.ex. kvinnor, svarta, unga och latinos.

På grund av detta har partiet ägnat mycket tid till att försöka sätta upp juridiska hinder för just de väljargrupper man vet inte gärna röstar på republikanska kandidater.

In the past year and a half, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, states have passed twenty-three laws limiting access to the polls. In the swing state of Pennsylvania—which Obama won in 2008, and where there has been no evidence of voter fraud—a new law could disenfranchise nine per cent of voters; in Philadelphia, the number could be twice as high. And in Ohio, another swing state that went for Obama, a top adviser to John Kasich, the Republican governor, defended a decree that curtailed early voting, telling the Columbus Dispatch, “We shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine.”

Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget, och utdraget ovan, är från The New Yorker, 3 september 2012. Omslaget ”Bromance” är av Barry Blitt.

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USA | I media utgår man ofta ifrån att den största influensen i Mitt Romneys liv har varit hans far, George Romney.

Efter fem månaders efterforskning har Barton Gellman kommit fram till en annan slutsats.

Gellman argumenterar för att hans mor, Lenore Romney, är den som kanske mer än någon annan har påverkat Mitts politiska utveckling och inställning till valkampanjer.

”It was Lenore who gave Mitt a model for engaging in public life.”

Ingen presidentkandidat har tidigare växt upp med föräldrar där båda har sökt höga politiska ämbeten. Lenore var en föregångare inom det republikanska partiet.

Barton Gellman skriver i Time:

Mitt Romney, the youngest of four children, was deeply engaged in his mother’s campaign, far more than the ones his father ran when Mitt was young. He accompanied her on hundreds of campaign stops, driving together across all 83 Michigan counties in a blue truck festooned with lenore signs.

[…]

No presidential nominee until now has grown up with two parents who ran for high office or so much early exposure to the craft. Their public ruin seared him and schooled him. The lessons he drew have shaped his ambitions, his calculations of risk and his strategy for achieving what his mother and father could not. Bluntly put, Mitt learned from each of his parents how to lose an election. He found much to emulate as well, but longtime associates and family members say it became his prime concern to avoid their mistakes. As he constructed a political persona, they say, his father’s career loomed large–but his choices owed more to Lenore than to George.

[…]

He had little of George’s appetite for war. It was Lenore who gave Mitt a model for engaging in public life. She was poised, articulate, strikingly good-looking and able to deflect unpleasant questions with a reproachful ”Good grief!” She lived in an age when women in politics still released their glove and shoe sizes (6½ and 7AAA), but she valued her privacy, holding the public at arm’s length behind an unruffled facade. Whereas her husband relished a good fight, she sidestepped and looked for common ground with her critics. Mitt displayed much the same temperament as he grew up–cautious and increasingly self-controlled. In politics he adopted his mother’s practice of melting away from battle whenever possible. He had learned to take a punch but seldom threw one.

[…]

”In 1970, he saw his mother subjected to just a brutal campaign, where she got as much opposition from the far-right wing of her own party as Mitt is getting this time from the Tea Party and the hardcore conservatives 42 years later. He’s trying to avoid confrontation, much the way she did.”

Läs mer: Artikeln ”Run, Little Mitt, Run” av Robert Draper kan rekommenderas om man vill läsa om George Romneys betydelse för Mitts politiska utveckling.

Se mer: Time har unika bilder på Lenore Romneys valkampanj 1970.

Övrigt: Artikeln i Time finns i den amerikanska utgåvan. På sajten Baidu finns dock en kopia. (Tidskriftsomslaget ovan är från den 4 juni 2012.)   

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MITT ROMNEY har tagit av sig silkeshandskarna. Tidigare i veckan lanserades sajten careerpolitician.com. Målet är Rick Perry.

Initiativet är ännu ett bevis på att Romney ser Perry som sin huvudkombattant i jakten på republikanska partiets presidentnominering.

Ett sätt att angripa Perry är att utmåla honom som karriärpolitiker. Själv har Romney tillbringat stora delar av sitt liv i affärsvärlden. Något som smäller betydligt högre hos de flesta amerikanska väljare.

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MITT ROMNEYS kampanjstrategi går ut på att vara presidentkandidaten som kan accepteras av det republikanska partiets etablissemang.

Partiets sätt att välja ut sina presidentkandidater brukar ibland liknas vid ett arvkungadöme. Det handlar inte så mycket om att vinna ett val utan om vem som står på tur. Och denna gång är det Mitt Romney som är tänkt att ”ärva” tronen.

Det skulle t.ex. kunna förklara varför inte bara demokrater reagerade så starkt när en av de övriga kandidaterna – Rick Perry – kallade ordföranden för Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, för ”förrädare”.  

Steve Kornacki på bloggen War Room har analyserat Romneys ”sanity” strategi. Han vill att det skall framgå att han är republikanen som är ”normal”. Och därmed också kan utgöra ett alternativ för missnöjda demokrater och independents.

When he ran for president four years ago, there was no such thing as too far to the right for Mitt Romney […]

This time around, as you may have noticed, things are a bit different. […] And when a top social conservative leader in that state, Bob Vander Plaats, demanded that the GOP field sign on to his ”marriage vow,” Romney didn’t just refuse — he branded the document ”undignified and inappropriate.” He also declined to sign a pledge from a different conservative group on abortion, and stayed as far away from the recent debt ceiling debate as possible [….]

So he’s doing what establishment candidates do, trying to limit his early exposure and create an air of inevitability, and seeking to win over enough of the base to win the nomination — but not in a way that gives his establishment backers pause about his electability. Historically, this has been a pretty sound strategy for the ”next in line” Republican candidate.

[…]

What’s happening is that the sanity strategy has actually worked well for Romney, at least so far. Part of this is because his competition has been so weak. Conservative leaders and activists may genuinely have doubts about Romney, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to sign up with someone like Bachmann.

[…]

But Mitt’s healthcare cover story — which amounts to, ”I hate that thing called ‘ObamaCare’ just as much as you and will repeal it, now just please forget about what I did in Massachusetts” — has also mostly held up. […] Which makes sense, since the right’s opposition to ObamaCare is fundamentally emotional and irrational in nature. Support for an individual mandate only became a crime against conservatism when Obama embraced the concept in 2009.

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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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EN AV DE stora överraskningarna vid republikanska partiets presidentdebatt i New Hampshire var att Michele Bachmann gjorde så bra ifrån sig. Och idag har hon officiellt tillkännagivet att hon kandiderar.

I en opinionsundersökning ligger hon nästan lika med Mitt Romney som alla tror har störst chans att bli nominerad till partiets presidentkandidat.

”The Iowa Poll in the Des Moines Sunday Register — the first survey of the season — shows that Mr. Romney and Ms. Bachmann lead the crowded Republican field. Mr. Romney had 23 percent of support, and Ms. Bachmann had 22 percent.”

Och så här skriver Nate Silver på sin blogg:

Ms. Bachmann has a lot of natural talent, as was on display during the debate. Unlike Ms. [Sarah] Palin, she seems to recognize that it takes a village to run a presidential campaign, having surrounded herself with competent advisers like Ed Rollins, who managed Mike Huckabee’s overachieving campaign in 2008. Even those who are skeptical about her candidacy would probably concede that she has a good chance of winning Iowa, where she was born and will devote much of her attention.

Övrigt: Se New Hampshire debatten på YouTube. – första avsnittet, andra, tredje, fjärde, femte, sjätte, sjunde, åttondenionde och tionde avsnittet.

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