Posts Tagged ‘Tea-party movement’

STRATEGI: The Economist har granskat republikanerna i USA på både ledarplats och i en längre granskande nyhetsartikel.

På papperet ser det ut som om partiet står inför en rad segrar som mycket väl kan leda hela vägen till Vita huset.

”Barack Obama’s popularity rating is sagging well below 50%. Passing health-care reform has done nothing to help him; most Americans believe he has wasted their money—and their view of how he is dealing with the economy is no less jaded. Although growth has returned, the latest jobs figures are dismal and house repossessions continue to rise. And now his perceived failure to get a grip on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is hurting him; some critics call it his Hurricane Katrina; others recall Jimmy Carter’s long, enervating hostage crisis in Iran. Sixty per cent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track.” 

For America’s Republicans the 17 months since Barack Obama replaced George Bush in the White House have been unexpectedly sweet. Fewer than 50% of Americans now approve of the way he is doing his job, down from the high 60s at the beginning of 2009. His insouciant handling of the oil spill in the Gulf is under fire from all sides. And his big victory over health-insurance reform has not turned his ratings round. On the contrary, the Republicans hope that “Obamacare” is going to give them even bigger gains in November when 36 seats in the Senate, all the seats in the House, and 37 governorships will be up for grabs in the mid-term elections.

Men vad som kan framstå som en bra strategi kortsiktigt kan straffa sig på längre sikt om man inte får en politik som logiskt hänger samman.

This lack of coherence extends beyond the deficit. Do Republicans favour state bail-outs for banks or not? If they are against them, as they protest, why are they doing everything they can to sabotage a financial-reform bill that will make them less likely? Is the party of “drill, baby, drill” in favour of tighter regulation of oil companies or not? If not, why is it berating Mr Obama for events a mile beneath the ocean? Many of America’s most prominent business leaders are privately as disappointed by the right as they are by the statist Mr Obama.

In 1994, propelled by Mr [Newt] Gingrich’s small-government manifesto, the “Contract with America”, the Republicans gained control of the House for the first time in 40 years. As speaker, Mr Gingrich then launched an immediate guerrilla war against President Bill Clinton, culminating in a budget battle that led to a prolonged shutdown of the federal government. But the drama did not end as scripted. Most voters chose to blame the debacle on the Republicans rather than on the president. Mr Clinton was elected for a second term in 1996.

With the help of the tea-party movement, Republican politicians are once again embracing the most radical wing of the party. A new manifesto, the “Commitment to America”, is in the works. Republicans promise that the guerrilla war they have been waging against Mr Obama from opposition will merely intensify if the mid-terms produce a Republican Congress. Obamacare will be repealed—if necessary, says a Mr Gingrich unchastened by what happened last time round, by shutting off the money and engineering a crisis.

That could be a perilous strategy. By 2012 the economy may well be pepping up, and familiarity might make Obamacare, and indeed Mr Obama himself, look less frightening. Besides, although Americans say they hate big government, they are also quick to defend their “entitlements”. By the time they come to decide whether Mr Obama is to stay or go, they may prefer the president they know to the small-government radicalism today’s Republicans appear to have embraced.

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