Tag: Republikanerne (page 2 of 3)

Indecision 08 III – The Rasmussen Reports

En del af denne blogs læsere kender formentlig godt The Rasmussen Reports . Men for de der ikke kender den, og interesserer sig for det kommende præsidentvalg kan de, er her mulighed for at følge med i ikke kun den daglige udvikling i styrkeforholdet mellem de to kandidater, i et valg der godt kan ende med at blive en gentagelse af 2000 valget, hvor vinderen fik færrest stemmer – denne gang dog med den demokratiske kandidat som vinder af præsidentvalget. Ifølge The Rasmussen Report ligger de to kandidater uhyre tæt – en tendens der er blevet mere og mere tydlige gennem juli måned, men fortsat med Barrack Obama som favorit.

Hvad der gør The Rasmussen Reports særligt interessante er, at de samtidig med daglige målinger også laver en række målinger på f.eks. folks opfattelse af mediernes holdning til kandidaterne, opfattelse af kandidaterne som liberal eller konservativ, hvorvidt amerikanerne opfatter USA som et “retfærdigt samfund (det gør ca. 2/3 af dem) osv.

Efter at en del medier (og Obama) antydede at et McCain kampangeindslag (se video her ), hvor Obama sidestilles med kendiser som Britney Spears og Paris Hilton (til Hilton familiens, – der økonomisk støtter McCain, ikke udelte begejstring) var rasistisk, viser det sig, at det mener kun omkring 1/5 af vælgerne :

eller som The Rasmussen Reports skriver :

Not surprisingly, the McCain ad generates significantly different perceptions along racial and ethnic lines. Most African-American voters—58%–saw the McCain ad as racist. Just 18% of white voters and 14% of all other voters shared that view.

However, Obama’s comment that his Republican opponent will try to scare people because Obama does not look like all the other presidents on dollar bills was seen as racist by 53%. Thirty-eight percent (38%) disagree.

Ydermere fremgår det af den dags Rasmussen Reports (der kommer en ny hver dag – og man kan tilmelde sig et nyhedsbrev), at

Overall, just 22% of voters believe that most Americans are racist. That view is shared by 32% of Democrats, 20% of unaffiliated voters and 12% of Republicans. African-American voters are evenly divided on the question.

Disse tal er ganske konsistente med undersøgelser sidste år , der viste samme tendens. Undersøgelsen fik følgende kommentar med på vejen i The Economist:

A recent Gallup poll suggests people would more readily vote for a well-qualified nominee who also happened to be black than a well-qualified Mormon one. And it may be some time before an atheist homosexual announces his candidacy.

Ugens citat: Huckabee om Gud & forfatningen–og Zakaria om Huckabee

Den amerikanske wanna-be præsidentkandidat, fhv. baptistpræst, rygeforbudstilhænger, big business basher & big government elsker … Mike Huckabee udtalte før primærvalget i South Carolina forleden, at det var forkert at fortolke Guds ord i forhold til den gældende forfatning, men at man i stedet skulle ændre forfatningen, så den blev mere i overensstemmelse med Guds ord:

“But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that’s what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards, rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”

Det var en skjult reference til, at Huckabee ville have et forfatningsmæssigt forbud mod homoseksuelle ægteskaber, og det kan man så mene om, hvad man vil, men hvis man så CNN’s Late Edition i søndags, kunne man høre Businessweek’s redaktør, den Hayek-citerende forfatter til den fremragende “The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy At Home and Abroad”, Fareed Zakaria komme med følgende lakoniske kommentar:

“It frankly made him sound more like Ahmadinejad of Iran. I mean, the way in which he was describing, you know, implementing God’s law — I mean, isn’t that where we get scared off, when we hear it from Iranians and Saudis?”

Løst og fast om de amerikanske primærvalg II

Her er så Wall Street Journals lederskribents sammenfatning af sit syn på de to vindere fra partiafstemningerne i Iowa:

“Mr. Obama’s other potential weakness in November is his orthodox policy liberalism. We can’t recall a single issue on which he has broken with a Democratic interest group. On taxes, he is to the left even of Mrs. Clinton in that he wants to raise the income limit on payroll taxes above its current ceiling of $102,000. Combined with his vow to repeal the Bush tax rates, this would be the biggest tax increase in history by far. Sooner or later this liberal agenda, assuming Mr. Obama believes it, will have to be squared with his rhetoric of “bipartisanship” and national reconciliation.

As for Mr. Huckabee, he shares at least one trait with Mr. Obama–both come across as likable men with an easy charm. But we have our doubts that the former Arkansas Governor’s victory will have the same political impact. He won in a caucus where his fellow evangelicals were 60% of the vote, and this won’t be true in other states. Mr. Huckabee is also only now being discovered by most Republican voters. His innocence (or ignorance) on foreign policy, penchant for borrowing liberal economic attack lines, and even his rejection of Darwin’s theory of evolution deserve to be understood by voters before they make him their standard bearer.”

Så er det sagt både pænt og relativt klart …

Personligt er det min vurdering, at man skal passe på med at lægge for meget i selve de to Iowa vindere: Det er kun sket én gang siden 1972, at den, der blev valgt til præsident, også havde vundet ved Iowas noget mærkelige partiafstemninger.  Det var i 2000, hvor George W. Bush vandt.  Det betyder selvfølgelig ikke, at det er en naturlov, der ikke kan brydes, men det betyder, at Iowa-valgene ikke er det bedste sted at forudsige resten af primærvalgssæsonen.

Jeg tror selv, at Obama har en vis mulighed for at vinde.  Hvis han vinder i New Hampshire, er Clinton i alvorlige problemer.  Men hvis hun vinder dér?  Så er hun bare “the comeback kid II”, og så er dét historien i alle medier, og så ruller hun videre, som så mange andre, der har tabt i Iowa–men med flere penge og højere navnegenkendelse end nogen før hende (omend tillige med et mere ramponeret image).  Uanset hvem af dem, der vinder i New Hampshire, vil kampen mellem dem givetvis fortsætte indtil én af dem har et klart flertal af delegerede bag sig–og det kan tage lidt tid, når Clinton har vundet Michigan og formodentlig vinder i Californien og New York.

Jeg kan ikke se Huckabee vinde i New Hampshire–omend jeg godt lige vil se de første post-Iowa meningsmålinger.  Og vinder han ikke dér, vil han hurtigt gå over i historien som en af dem, der vandt i Iowa og så ikke vandt noget (eller meget) derefter.  Pudsigt nok har Huckabees sejr over Romney gjort, at en helt tredje (eller fjerde eller femte) reelt er dukket op som ny favorit, nemlig selveste den genfødte John McCain.  McCain lå længe til at vinde i New Hampshire, hvor han er kendt og vellidt, men da nabostatens eks-guvernør, Romney, tæppebombede med reklamer, faldt McCain.  Men hvad sker der så nu, hvor Romney taber terræn relativt til Huckabee?  Så stiger McCain, så man decideret kan tale om en genfødsel.  Hvis McCain vinder i New Hampshire–hvilket jeg tror er ganske sandsynligt–så dropper hans gode ven, Fred Thompson, formodentlig ud (idet hans kampagne har været en katastrofe og han er ved at løbe tør for penge), og peger han på McCain, vil denne have en solid position til at vinde de næste primærvalg.  Og Giuliani?  Han kan næppe regne med at vinde noget før Florida sidst i januar, og hvis det går som den forudgående analyse sandsynliggør, vil McCain til den tid have vundet stort set alle primærvalg.

Så står vi overfor et McCain-Giuliani slagsmål de kommende måneder, og i et sådant er det svært for denne punditokrat at forudse, hvem f.eks. de evangelske protestanter i det såkaldte “kristne højre”, eller de mere klassisk Reagan-Goldwater konservative, vil støtte.  Både Giuliani og McCain (der, som vi tidligere har påpeget, nærmest er en big government Roosevelt-Republikaner) er begge på flere punkter stort set lige langt fra disse to indbyrdes forskellige, men dog centrale grupperinger indenfor partiet.  Hvis ikke en af eller begge disse grupper kaster sig markant bag den ene eller den anden, kan det blive langvarigt.

Og Ron Paul?  Han vil formodentlig blive ved hele vejen, længe efter at slaget er endegyldigt tabt.  Han har ikke en jordisk chance for at vinde hverken nominering eller valg–men politik kan jo også handle om principper, selvom Pauls egne langt fra altid er lige klare eller velartikulerede.  Det altid læsværdige Reason Magazine havde en interessant artikel om hans kampagne forleden.

Update:

  • McCain er iøvrigt–ifølge det pålidelige Rasmussen Reports–den eneste af samtlige præsidentkandidater, som flere vælgere har et positivt end et negativt indtryk af.
  • Ann Coulter er ikke en kommentator, der skriver særligt godt, eller generelt er til at holde ud at høre på i mere end et par sekunder.  Men selv blinde høns kan vel finde enkelte frø, og denne karakteristik af Huckabee er da lidt morsom: “Huckabee opposes school choice, earning him the coveted endorsement of the National Education Association of New Hampshire, which is like the sheriff being endorsed by the local whorehouse. … Huckabee wants to get kids involved in music at an early age because he believes it leads to a more balanced and developed brain. You know, as we saw with the Jackson family. Maybe someone should tell him the Osmonds are voting for Romney. He supports a nationwide smoking ban anyplace where people work, constitutional protection for sodomy, big government, higher taxes and government benefits for illegal aliens. According to my calculations, that puts him about three earmarks away from being Nancy Pelosi. Liberals take a perverse pleasure in touting Huckabee because they know he will give them everything they want — big government and a Christian they can roll. “
  • En af USA’s mest respekterede, uafhængige valganalytikere, Stuart Rothenberg, har denne analyse af et muligt Obama-Huckabee match-up: “But one thing does seem pretty clear: If it’s Obama versus Huckabee in November, Republicans might want to prepare a bomb shelter and store plenty of food, water and reading material. That general election would more likely than not be a massive blowout for Democrats. … For Huckabee, Obama is a true nightmare. For Obama, Huckabee is a godsend.”

Løst og fast om de amerikanske primærvalg

Da der nu kun er en måned til de første primærvalg afholdes i USA, vil jeg hermed begynde en lille serie af småklip & -kommentarer om løst og fast i den forbindelse.

Vi begynder med min nærmest-elskede Peggy Noonan, som i WSJ’s OpinionJournal skriver om Mitt Romney (R)’s nylige tale om religion, og dét at han selv er mormon, altimens mange af dem han skal have til at støtte sig er evangelske-protestanter af den mere eller mindre bogstavelige karakter.  Noonan synes, at det var klogt at gøre, men unødvendigt for hendes eget vedkommende:

“Did Mitt Romney have to give a speech on religion? Yes. When you’re in a race so close you could lose due to one issue, your Mormonism, you must address the issue of your Mormonism.

… He had nothing to prove to me regarding his faith or his church, which apparently makes me your basic Catholic. Catholics are not his problem. His problem, a Romney aide told me, had more to do with a particular fundamentalist strain within evangelical Protestantism. Bill Buckley once said he’d rather be governed by the first thousand names in the Boston phone book than the Harvard faculty. I’d rather be governed by Donny and Marie than the Washington establishment. Mormons have been, in American history, hardworking, family-loving citizens whose civic impulses have tended toward the constructive. Good enough for me. He’s running for president, not pastor. In any case his faith is one thing about Mr. Romney I haven’t questioned.”

Det er nogenlunde også min egen personlige vurdering.  Men det er ikke godt nok for mig.  Jeg tror ikke, at Romney–trods en pengekasse større end Joakim von Ands–er troværdig nok til at få nomineringen, eller til at vinde hvis han fik den.  Demokraterne ville elske at købe restlageret af de sandaler, som Republikanerne i 2004 svingede i luften foran John Kerry, mens de i kor råbte “flip-flop, flip-flop …”.

Noonan kunne som sagt godt lide hans tale, men hun har en sjov kritik–sjov i den forstand, at den både er rigtig og spydig:

“At the end, he told a story he had inserted just before Thanksgiving. During the dark days of the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, someone suggested the delegates pray. But there were objections: They all held different faiths. “Then Sam Adams rose, and said he would hear a prayer from anyone of piety and good character, as long as they were a patriot. And so together they prayed.” At this point in Mr. Romney’s speech, the roused audience stood and applauded, and the candidate looked moved.

There was one significant mistake in the speech. I do not know why Romney did not include nonbelievers in his moving portrait of the great American family. We were founded by believing Christians, but soon enough Jeremiah Johnson, and the old proud agnostic mountain men, and the village atheist, and the Brahmin doubter, were there, and they too are part of us, part of this wonderful thing we have. Why did Mr. Romney not do the obvious thing and include them? My guess: It would have been reported, and some idiots would have seen it and been offended that this Romney character likes to laud atheists. And he would have lost the idiot vote.

My feeling is we’ve bowed too far to the idiots. This is true in politics, journalism, and just about everything else.”

Min egen elskede Berlingske Tidende har dd. et nærmest savlende portræt af en anden præsidentkandidat, Mike Huckabee (R), der kalder denne en “logisk favorit”, der har et budskab “som selv liberale amerikanere måske endda vil acceptere, når det kommer fra en person, de i bund og grund synes godt om”.  Det er skrevet af avisens korrespondent, Karl Erik Stougaard, og det er vel i sig selv grund nok til at være skeptisk.  Jeg bliver ihvertfald mindet om, hvordan danske medier ofte både ukritisk og omklamrende bygger enhver “udfordrer” indenfor det Republikanske parti op, for blot derefter–hvis det går vedkommende godt–at skyde vedkommende ned igen af lige præcis de årsager, de ikke nævnte til at begynde med.

Anyway …Det er da heller ikke alle i USA, der er lige begejstrede–altså for Huckabee.  Tag f.eks. Wall Street Journals Kimberley Strossel, som under overskriften “Redefining Conservatism: Mike Huckabee is far from being Reagan’s heir” bl.a. skriver:

“DES MOINES, Iowa–Stepping out for a press conference here Monday, Mike Huckabee fielded the ultimate question. Just how conservative are you?

“I’m as conservative as anyone could hope to be, or want to be, or needs to be,” replied the smiling former Arkansas governor, never missing a beat, and following up with a boilerplate summary of his belief in “lower taxes,” the “sanctity of human life” and a “strong military”–before moving ever so swiftly on to the next question.

It was trademark Huckabee: Sounds great, explains little. It’s a strategy that has so far served him well, rocketing his campaign in recent weeks to the top ranks of the Republican presidential field. The question is whether he can continue to pull off that trick …”

Og hvad mener han så mere specifikt?

“A populist at heart, Mr. Huckabee claims he’s “no protectionist,” but over and over this week he complained about the U.S. trade deficit with China and vowed, in the best Democratic tradition, to only sign “fair trade” deals. To bring up big companies is to invite a Huckabee lecture on the “greed” of corporate executives who tower over “average employees.”

Mr. Huckabee likes to say he cut taxes in Arkansas 94 times, and has collected devotees around his promise for sweeping tax reform via the “fair tax.” He promises to abolish the IRS, and along with it all current income, corporate, payroll and other taxes–to be replaced with a 23% national sales, or consumption, tax. He’s also promised repeal of the 16th amendment–which established the income tax–to ensure Americans don’t get double-taxation.

The chances of actually accomplishing this are about as likely as Christmas three times a year. But the benefit of Mr. Huckabee’s dreamy tax proposal is that it has, until now, allowed him to avoid talk of his own checkered tax past in Little Rock. That tenure included sales tax hikes, strong support for Internet taxation, bills raising gas and cigarette taxes, etc. By this week, Mr. Huckabee had been slammed on this tax history so much he was no longer disputing the details. When asked if he didn’t have a “mixed” record, Mr. Huckabee shot back: “Most everyone who has ever governed does,” before insisting that even the great Reagan had raised taxes while at the helm of California.

… Voters are only now beginning to hear some of this, and Mr. Huckabee, with little money or infrastructure in other primary states, is still a long way from the nomination. But if by some chance he keeps up this surge, Republican voters need to understand they are signing up for a whole new brand of “conservatism.”

Ugens citat: Ron Paul om "stem cell research"

Et prægnant citat fra den Republikanske præsidentkandidat Ron Paul (omhandlende andre Republikaneres modstand mod at bruge akkumuleret celle-materiale fra fostre til medicinsk forskning):

“The trouble with issues like this is, in Washington we either prohibit it or subsidize it. And the market should deal with it, and the states should deal with it.”

–og det altimens næsten alle andre præsidentkandidater i bedste fald lyder som noget fra en kedelig komedie.

Kilde: en portrætartikel i Boston Globe , der kalder Ron Paul for Paul “the Ralph Nader of the right”–hvilket enten er en stor fornærmelse eller en stor ros.

Dr. No som præsident II

 Tre-fire måneder før nogen danske MSM opdagede, at der blandt de Republikanske præsidentkandidater var et vist kongresmedlem, Dr. Ron Paul, skrev vi om ham her på stedet. Nu er andre medier ved at følge efter, i takt med at den libertarianske “Dr. No”’s position som den eneste Republikanske præsidentkandidat, der er–og hele tiden har været–imod Irak-krigen, er ved at manifestere sig. Paul har ganske vist ikke en jordisk chance for at vinde hverken nominering eller præsidentembede, men han er i det mindste et interessant indslag. New York Times havde f.eks. en stor og lang portrætartikel, “The Antiwar, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Drug-Enforcement-
Administration, Anti-Medicare Candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul” i søndagsudgavens magasin. Heri hed det bl.a.:

“Paul represents a different Republican Party from the one that Iraq, deficits and corruption have soured the country on. In late June, despite a life of antitax agitation and churchgoing, he was excluded from a Republican forum sponsored by Iowa antitax and Christian groups. His school of Republicanism, which had its last serious national airing in the Goldwater campaign of 1964, stands for a certain idea of the Constitution — the idea that much of the power asserted by modern presidents has been usurped from Congress, and that much of the power asserted by Congress has been usurped from the states. Though Paul acknowledges flaws in both the Constitution (it included slavery) and the Bill of Rights (it doesn’t go far enough), he still thinks a comprehensive array of positions can be drawn from them: Against gun control. For the sovereignty of states. And against foreign-policy adventures. Paul was the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate in 1988. … In Congress, Paul is generally admired for his fidelity to principle and lack of ego. “He is one of the easiest people in Congress to work with, because he bases his positions on the merits of issues,” says Barney Frank, who has worked with Paul on efforts to ease the regulation of gambling and medical marijuana. “He is independent but not ornery.” Paul has made a habit of objecting to things that no one else objects to. In October 2001, he was one of three House Republicans to vote against the USA Patriot Act. He was the sole House member of either party to vote against the Financial Antiterrorism Act (final tally: 412-1). In 1999, he was the only naysayer in a 424-1 vote in favor of casting a medal to honor Rosa Parks. Nothing against Rosa Parks: Paul voted against similar medals for Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II. He routinely opposes resolutions that presume to advise foreign governments how to run their affairs: He has refused to condemn Robert Mugabe’s violence against Zimbabwean citizens (421-1), to call on Vietnam to release political prisoners (425-1) or to ask the League of Arab States to help stop the killing in Darfur (425-1).”

 Ikke alle amerikanske libertarianere/liberalister er dog lige begejstrede for Ron Pauls kandidatur. En af de mest begavede akademikere, jeg nogensinde har kendt, er jura-professoren Randy E. Barnett, som i snart 30 år har været kendt som en af de mest velformulerede men også mest “hard core” liberalister i amerikansk samfundsdebat. Han havde i sidste uge et lidt overraskende frontalt angreb på Ron Pauls kandidatur, i en klumme, “Libertarians and the war”, i Wall Street Journal:

“While the number of Americans who self-identify as “libertarian” remains small, a substantial proportion agree with the core stances of limited constitutional government in both the economic and social spheres–what is sometimes called “economic conservatism” and “social liberalism.” But if they watched the Republican presidential debate on May 15, many Americans might resist the libertarian label, because they now identify it with strident opposition to the war in Iraq, and perhaps even to the war against Islamic jihadists.

During that debate, the riveting exchange between Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul about whether American foreign policy provoked the 9/11 attack raised the visibility of both candidates. … The exchange also drew attention to Mr. Paul, who until then had been a rather marginal member of the 10-man Republican field. One striking feature of Mr. Paul’s debate performance was his insistence on connecting his answer to almost every question put to him–even friendly questions about taxes, spending and personal liberty–to the war.

This raised the question: Does being a libertarian commit one to a particular stance toward the Iraq war? The simple answer is “no.”

First and foremost, llibertarians believe in robust rights of private property, freedom of contract, and restitution to victims of crime. They hold that these rights define true “liberty” and provide the boundaries within which individuals may pursue happiness by making their own free choices while living in close proximity to each other. Within these boundaries, individuals can actualize their potential while minimizing their interference with the pursuit of happiness by others.

When it comes to foreign policy, libertarians’ severe skepticism of government planning in the domestic arena carries over to the government’s ability to accomplish anything positive through foreign aid, whether economic or military–a skepticism they share with most Americans. All libertarians, I suspect, oppose military conscription on principle, considering it involuntary servitude. To a libertarian, any effort at “nation building” seems to be just another form of central planning which, however well-motivated, is fraught with unintended consequences and the danger of blowback. And, like most everyone, libertarians oppose any war of aggression. In all these regards, Mr. Paul is a mainstream libertarian.

But like all libertarians, even Mr. Paul believes in the fundamental, individual right of self-defense, which is why libertarians like him overwhelmingly support the right to keep and bear arms. And most also believe that when the territory of the U.S. is attacked militarily, the government–which claims a monopoly on providing for national defense and extracts billions of tax dollars for this purpose–is justified in using the military in self-defense. For this reason, many libertarians (though not all) who now oppose the war in Iraq supported U.S. military actions against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which had aided and harbored the al Qaeda network that organized the 9/11 attack.

But here is the rub. While all libertarians accept the principle of self-defense, and most accept the role of the U.S. government in defending U.S. territory, libertarian first principles of indiv
idual rights and the rule
of law tell us little about what constitutes appropriate and effective self-defense after an attack. Devising a military defense strategy is a matter of judgment or prudence about which reasonable libertarians may differ greatly.”

Herefter skifter Barnetts klumme til en stil, der bedst kan betegnes som “tredje-person flertal”, men som uden tvivl må læses som beskrivende hans eget synspunkt:

“[Some libertarians] supported the war in Iraq because they viewed it as part of a larger war of self-defense against Islamic jihadists who were organizationally independent of any government. They viewed radical Islamic fundamentalism as resulting in part from the corrupt dictatorial regimes that inhabit the Middle East, which have effectively repressed indigenous democratic reformers. Although opposed to nation building generally, these libertarians believed that a strategy of fomenting democratic regimes in the Middle East, as was done in Germany and Japan after World War II, might well be the best way to take the fight to the enemy rather than solely trying to ward off the next attack.

Moreover, the pro-war libertarians believed there was “legal” cause to take military action against Saddam’s regime–from its manifold violations of the ceasefire to firing on American planes legally patrolling the “no fly” zone and its persistent refusals to cooperate with weapons inspections. Saddam’s regime was left in power after its unprovoked invasion of Kuwait on these and other conditions that it repeatedly had violated, thereby legally justifying its removal by force if necessary. Better to be rid of Saddam and establish an ally in the war against Islamic jihadists in the heart of the Middle East, the argument goes, and then withdraw American troops.

Naturally, the libertarians who supported the war in Iraq are disappointed, though hardly shocked, that it was so badly executed. The Bush administration might be faulted, not so much for its initial errors which occur in any war against a determined foe who adjusts creatively to any preconceived central “plan,” but for its dogged refusal to alter its approach … when it became clear that its tactics were not working. …

These libertarians are still rooting for success in Iraq because it would make Americans more safe, while defeat would greatly undermine the fight against those who declared war on the U.S. They are concerned that Americans may get the misleading impression that all libertarians oppose the Iraq war–as Ron Paul does–and even that libertarianism itself dictates opposition to this war. It would be a shame if this misinterpretation inhibited a wider acceptance of the libertarian principles that would promote the general welfare of the American people.”

Update: Se også Reason Magazines artikel om Ron Paul.

Update II: 180Grader.dk har onsdag en artikel om Ron Paul.

President Thompson? V

Her kommer så lidt mere om Fred Dalton Thompsons mulige præsidentkandidatur … Ikke-kandidaten har nu fået sit eget radioprogram og tilhørende blog, og det kunne jo godt tyde på en vis fremtidsinteresse udover skuespillerkarrieren. Hos britiske The Times mener man, at Thompson er den nye Reagan (hvilket vælgerne omvendt bestemt ikke mener, at G.W. Bush er), og Stuart Rothenberg, der er kendt som en af de mest seriøse og mest uafhængige kommentatorer af amerikansk politik, har i sin nye klumme, “Is Fred Thompson coming to the GOP’s rescue?”, bl.a. dette at sige:

I’ll admit that I have had a hard time warming to the idea that former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), whom I first saw as minority counsel during the Senate Watergate hearings and whose TV and movie credits include “Die Hard 2,” “The Hunt for Red October” and “Law & Order,” would run for president. And it seemed, at least initially, even more difficult to imagine him as the Republican nominee next year.

But try as I might to dismiss the idea of a Thompson candidacy, I no longer can do so. It isn’t that the former Senator from Tennessee is such a good fit for the role of presidential candidate. It’s simply that none of the other cast members is a perfect fit either.

As every political analyst on the planet has observed for months, all of the top-tier GOP hopefuls face serious obstacles on the road to Minneapolis, and there clearly is a vacancy in the race for a mainstream conservative who doesn’t have a reputation as a troublemaker within the party.

Thompson surely has assets both in the race for the Republican nomination and in a general election, the single most important being that he both looks and sounds like the president of the United States of America. Don’t dismiss the “he sure looks like a president” factor. It’s important.

But I’m not certain whether the former Tennessee official truly fills the vacancy in his party’s presidential field that was created when conservative Sen. George Allen’s (R-Va.) political career imploded. For now, at least, many conservatives seem to think that Thompson is acceptable, though I’m not sure how deeply they have looked into his record.

Anyway, Thompson didn’t offend conservatives when he was a Senator and he doesn’t have a pro-choice, pro-gun-control record, which makes him more acceptable to conservatives than either Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. More recently, he has substituted for longtime radio commentator Paul Harvey, where he has sounded, according to one Republican observer, “like a conservative Southerner.”

Still, Thompson’s appeal is less about who he is and more about who he isn’t.

… Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, who now chairs the Virginia GOP, recently told me that criticism of Thompson is not always on the mark, and some of it is reminiscent of criticism aimed at former President Ronald Reagan.

“He is easygoing and amiable,” says Gillespie, who is offering his advice to all candidates and emphasizes that he does not now have a candidate in the Republican race and will stay neutral throughout the contest for his party’s nomination. “And he is kind of laid-back. But Fred has been successful on a number of fronts.”

… Thompson has not yet decided whether to run, though some of his allies have been sounding out consultants about their availability, should he decide to go forward.

A Thompson run would be a serious, possibly fatal, blow to the prospects of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who hopes to emerge (against either McCain or Giuliani) as the “conservative alternative.” Thompson would be a rival for that role, and the announcement of his candidacy would create at least a temporary boomlet that would eclipse Romney if the former governor had not already increased his standing in key polls.

Thompson’s announcement about whether he will make the race could come at any time, though nothing appears to be imminent. He actually may be better off delaying his entry until around the Iowa Straw Poll in August, bypassing an event that maximizes the importance of organization, which he doesn’t have and probably can’t create in a few months.

Anyway, I’m not dismissing Thompson anymore. Nature abhors a vacuum, and Fred Thompson may well have the ability to fill the one that exists in the GOP contest.”

Meningsmålere mener noget lignende.

Update: En anden London-avis, The Telegraph, har også fået øjnene op for potentialet i Thompson. I en artikel forleden hed det bl.a., at Reagans gamle støtter nu støtter Thompson:

“Ronald Reagan’s closest allies are throwing their weight behind the White House bid by the late president’s fellow actor, Fred Thompson.

The film star and former Republican senator from Tennessee will this week use a speech in the heart of Reagan country, in southern California, to woo party bigwigs in what insiders say is the next step in his coming out as a candidate.

A key figure in the Reagan inner circle has now given his seal of approval to Mr Thompson, best known as a star of the television crime drama Law and Order.

As deputy chief of staff, Michael Deaver was a key member of the “troika” of aides who kept the Reagan White House on track. With the chief of staff James Baker and special assistant Ed Meese, he was the master of image and presentation.

Mr Deaver sees the same raw material in Mr Thompson as was perceived in Ronald Reagan, describing him as someone “that could really make a difference”. He added: “He is very popular in his party. He could change this whole thing and turn this primary system upside down.

“As Ronald Reagan used to say, after he stole a line from Al Jolson, ‘Stay tuned, you ain’t seen nothing yet’.”

… Mr Deaver voiced the view of many Republicans that the current crop of declared candidates is unsatisfactory. Of the front runner, the former New York mayor Rudi Giuliani, he said: “His popularity may be a mile wide and an inch deep. I’m sure that lead will shrink.”

Mr Deaver’s intervention is significant. He is very close to Mr Reagan’s widow, Nancy, and is seen as the keeper of the Reagan flame.

Clark Judge, a White House speechwriter for Mr Reagan, said: “Fred Thompson, like Ronald Reagan, is a man of tremendous substance. There is a sense in the party that none of the candidates is quite ‘it’.”

Mr Reagan, he said, had “embodied the mission of the party – entrepreneurial growth, limited government and a strong national defence. Whoever can bring that mission into this age will be the nominee. And it may be Fred Thompson.” Roger Stone, who was a Reagan campaign strategist, said: “The president Americans want is, in fact, the guy they see on Law and Order: wise, thoughtful, deliberative, confident without the cockiness of George W Bush, urba
ne yet country. Fred Thomp
son communicates all those virtues.”

… Mr Thompson has shown that he recognises the importance of assuming the Reagan mantle. He is on record as saying: “Ronald Reagan believed in something. How much we need that today. He showed what can be done if you have the will to push for tough choices, and the ability to ask the people to accept them.”

Mr Reagan himself, asked whether his training as an actor had prepared him for the presidency, once replied: “I don’t see how any fellow that wasn’t an actor could do this job.”

Americans need not wait for Mr Thompson to win next year’s election to see him in the Oval Office. He plays President Ulysses S Grant in the film, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which opens next month.”

Update II: Og New York Times har idag en laaaanng og grundlæggende ikke-negativ artikel.

Principfaste kynikere til højre, generøse racister til venstre?

Er amerikanske højreorienterede kyniske og nærige med offentlige midler?  Det ville nogle måske tro.  Men er ditto venstreorienterede nok mere “ekspansive” men samtidigt i virkeligheden mere racistiske?  Hmmm.  Noget kunne tyde på det.

Indenfor de senere år er “laboratorie-eksperimenter” vundet meget frem indenfor samfundsvidenskaberne–især økonomi og politologi mens metoden naturligvis har lange rødder indenfor f.eks. sociologi og psykologi.   Dette blev mest synligt markeret i 2002 med Nobelprisen i økonomi til den gode (noget-mindre-end-minimalstats-)liberalist Vernon Smith, men en anden som ofte laver sjove, eller ihvertfald tankevækkende, eksperimenter er kommunikationsforskeren Shanto Iyengar fra Political Communication Lab på Stanford University.

Iyengar lavede sidste år i samarbejde med The Washington Post/washingtonpost.com et eksperiment i kølvandet på “Hurricane Katrina”, hvor han bad 2.300 deltagende “forsøgskaniner” læse en nyhedsartikel om et menneske, der var blevet ramt af orkanen.  Nogle fik en avishistorie om en “hvid” amerikaner, mens andre fik identiske versioner af historien men hvor personens oprindelse var latin-amerikansk, asiatisk eller afrikansk.  Forsøgspersonerne blev herefter spurgt om, hvor megen hjælp de syntes den nødlidende person skulle have fra det offentlige.  Totalt set ville deltagerne give mindre til “sorte” end til “hvide”:

“[The] study found that people were less likely to give extended aid to black Hurricane Katrina victims than to white ones. The race penalty, on average, totaled about $1,000 per black victim.

As Iyengar and his colleagues subsequently dug deeper into these data, another finding emerged: Republicans consistently gave less aid, and gave over a shorter period of time, to victims regardless of race.

Democrats and independents were far more generous; on average, they gave Katrina victims on average more than $1,500 a month, compared with $1,200 for Republicans, and for 13 months instead of nine.

But for Democrats, race mattered — and in a disturbing way. Overall, Democrats were willing to give whites about $1,500 more than they chose to give to a black or other minority. (Even with this race penalty, Democrats still were willing to give more to blacks than those principled Republicans.) “Republicans are likely to be more stringent, both in terms of money and time, Iyengar said. “However, their position is ‘principled’ in the sense that it stems from a strong belief in individualism (as opposed to handouts). Thus their responses to the assistance questions are relatively invariant across the different media conditions. Independents and Democrats, on the other hand, are more likely to be affected by racial cues.”

Se, det var jo interessant, al den stund at det går ganske meget kontra den almindelige visdom.

Vi kender ikke Iyengars egen politiske observans, men han kommer fra et af de mest “højreorienterede” universiteter i USA–hvor forskerne indenfor samfundsvidenskab er ca. tre Demokrater/grønne/etc. for hver Republikaner/libertarianer.  Han vil ifølge Washington Post ikke gå så langt som at kalde de venstreorienterede forsøgspersoner for racister:

“I wouldn’t put it quite so starkly,” said Stanford University professor Shanto Iyengar. He would prefer to call Democrats “less principled” rather than bigoted, based on his analysis of data collected …

Iyengar said he’s not surprised by the latest findings: “This pattern of results matches perfectly an earlier study I did on race and crime” with Franklin D. Gilliam Jr. of UCLA. “Republicans supported tough treatment of criminals no matter what they encountered in the news. Others were more elastic in their position, coming to support more harsh measures when the criminal suspect they encountered was non-white.”

Hvad stemte amerikanerne for?

Ifølge en interessant meningsmåling i 15 valgkredse, hvoraf de fleste ved valget gik fra R(epublikanerne) til D(emokraterne) var modstand mod voksende offentligt forbrug og “spild” en vigtig faktor i at få R-vælgere til at stemme på D-kandidater.

Resume af målingen her, med link til detaljer.

I dansk perspektiv er flg. resultat tankevækkende:

In a question — the answers to which should embarrass even the most shameless appropriators — we asked:

“Which type of candidate for Congress would you be more likely to vote for?  A candidate who wants to reduce overall federal spending, even if that includes cutting some money that would come to your district. Or a candidate who is willing to increase overall spending on federal programs and grow the federal budget, in order to get more federal spending and projects for your district?”

By more than 2 to 1, voters preferred the candidate who would cut spending.

Det ville svare til den hertillands fuldstændig utænkelige situation, at to tredjedele af danske vælgere erklærede sig som modstandere af politikere, der lovede at bruge flere skattemidler.  Det danske modsvar til det amerikanske resultat ville være, at to tredjedele af danskerne i sommers havde sagt “vi støtter ikke politikere, der lover mere “velfærd” for offentlige midler”.  Underforstået: fordi vi selv kan og vil bruge vore egne ressourcer på de ydelser, vi ønsker, og fordi vi ved, at når det offentlige påtager sig en opgave, bliver den dobbelt så dyr og resultatet halvt så godt som når borgere og ikkestatslige organisationer frivilligt organiserer opgaven.

Undersøgelsen bekræfter de formodninger, andre har fremsat herinde om, at for mange handlede valget i USA om at skaffe sig af med et parti, der traditionelt (omend langthen løgnagtigt) har præsenteret sig som borgerens værn mod statsmagten og som et parti der foretrak mindre fremfor mere stat.  Så stærkt var det ønske, og så groft har R misrøgtet deres påståede principper, at man altså foretrak D, selvom de ikke vil opfylde ønsket om mindre stat.

Med en delt regeringsmagt vil vi muligvis opleve en langsommere vækst i det føderale forbrug.  Imidlertid har Bush-administrationen så radikalt opdimensioneret den føderale rolle på så mange områder (uddannelse og sundhed for ældre er blot to af de omkostningstungeste) at det gulv, hvorfra det nye Repr Hus (kammeret hvor alle bevillingslove fødes) starter, ligger højere end nogensinde.

Hvis andre undersøgelser støtter den formodning, at utilfredshed med en økonomisk ødsel Kongres var en stærk faktor bag vælgerflugten fra R, bliver de næste to år interessante at følge.  Adskillige af de nyvalgte D-kongresmedlemmer er nemlig erklærede tilhængere af at styre de offentlige finanser og har vundet, fordi de påstod at kunne gøre det bedre end deres R-modstandere.

Iøvrigt bekræftede valgdeltagelsen, at kvinder stemmer D i langt højere grad end mænd, og at de mest trofaste R-vælgere er gifte mænd og ægtepar med børn.  Rs nederlag skyldes ikke mindst, at de mistede en stor del af deres mandlige kernevælgere.  Det kunne tyde på, at disse skuffede mænd, hvoraf de fleste er familiefædre og mange næringsdrivende, har mistet tilliden til, at R-politikerne længere står for deres principper om ansvar og begrænsning.  R kan vinde igen, når partiet kan overbevise vælgerne om, at det faktisk er den økonomiske ansvarligheds parti:

“The Republican Party used to be the party of economic growth, fiscal discipline, and limited government, but in recent years, too many Republicans in Washington have become just like the big spenders that they used to oppose.” An amazing 66 percent of the respondents agreed with that statement.

We asked which party is doing a better job “eliminating wasteful spending.”  The Democrats led 39 percent to 25 percent. Which party is “the party of big government?”  The Republicans, by an 11 point margin.

All of this is a big part of the reason the Republican party lost. Republicans squandered one of the very few valuable brands it established in voters’ minds over many years. And voters care about fiscal discipline and lower taxes.

I USA ja.  Ikke i Danmark.

Ugens citat: Fund om paniske højrefløjspolitikere

Wall Street Journals meget indsigtsfulde (og generelt klassisk-liberalt lænende) politiske redaktør John Fund har mandag en syrlig kommentar til, hvorledes Republikanerne klarer sig p.t., og som vel bedst kan sammenfattes med det farverige og rammende udtryk, af man er ved at “snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory”.  Her er et uddrag af Funds klumme:

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the GOP majority is losing its team spirit, and many in Congress are going their own way as they eye a tough re-election climate. Back in 1994, that kind of behavior over a crime bill that failed to garner enough Democratic votes to pass on the floor was an early indicator that Democrats were in serious political trouble. They wound up losing control of both houses of Congress that year.

No one quite expects a tsunami of those proportions this year. Incumbent-protection devices and gerrymandered districts are likely to minimize GOP losses. But Republican strategists are now openly talking about the parallels between 1994 and 2006. …

Panicked politicians are not a pretty sight,” says GOP pollster Whit Ayres. “They usually run in the wrong direction”.

So far that’s exactly the direction that Republican have chosen to run in the last year as their national numbers and President Bush’s approval ratings have softened. From their scramble to ram through a national legislative solution to Terri Schiavo’s plight, to their overreaction to Hurricane Katrina, to their failure to recognize the public’s disgust with pork-barrel projects, to the Dubai Ports deal, Republicans have appeared to the world to be as unprincipled and rudderless as the politicians they campaigned against back in 1994. Unless they change course dramatically in the seven months between now and Election Day, they may well find themselves facing the same fate as the Democratic political dinosaurs of that year that they replaced.”

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