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Thread: Is this the end of the Reagan/Rove right?

  1. #16
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    Boondoggle (project), slang term for a scheme that wastes time and money

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerjack View Post
    I don't think Hillary would beat McCain.
    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    Hilary is the fight the Reps want.
    I disagree actually, Crackerjack. And Vimothy, while that's true, it's another sign of how the republicans are more obsessed with point scoring than with retaining power.

    Looking at it objectively, Hillary is a far stronger candidate than Obama for 2008. Say what you like about the woman (and lord knows, the republicans do just that) - but you cannot deny she is an absolute fucking trouper. GOP strategists must be wondering just what the hell they can hit her with that they haven't already tried. And she's still coming at them. Bless her, she's a liberal Terminator.

    2nd point - her gender. Think about how many election decisions are made emotionally. Think about how women outnumber men in the 50+ agegroup in the US - the age bracket that always votes, come hell or high water. I might be barking up completely the wrong tree here, but might Hillary not have earned a grudging respect for her sheer tenacity, even amongst republican women? And might that not grow in significance, as the republican attacks on her in the election proper grow more misogynistic in tone (which they surely will). Given that it follows 8 years of a very testosterone-soaked administration that has failed to deliver across the board, it would not surprise me at all if even right-leaning women decide, once they get into the privacy of the polling booth, that she's earned a shot at the title. That gives McCain a big demographic problem before he's even started.

    3rd point - the economy. Hilary has long been identified with using the power of the state to help redress inequality in US society, and she has taken mighty republican flak for that. But that could backfire spectacularly if the economy continues to go south - a lot of americans will be looking at thier bank statements and thier mortgage payments over the next few months, and deciding that they could use some of that state help right now. The republicans have a problem of narrative - there's no credible way they can pin blame for the current chaos on Hillary when she's been away from the white house for 8 years. The voters let them try trickledown economics and the voters got burned. Yes, Vimothy, I know it's not that simple, but we're talking about popular perception here, and lofty economic arguments are not going to convince voters that they aren't poor when the contents of thier wallets is telling them otherwise. And the emotive arguments that the GOP use against Hillary are going to be undermined firstly by sheer staleness (they've been banging the same drum for 15 years after all), and more importantly by voter perception that the economy is in a mess and it's the the current administration wot done it.

    4th point - apathy among republican voters, which I think will be the biggest problem McCain has to deal with. The democrat activists who supported Hillary's reform programme in the 90s will be out in force, disciplined, motivated, and wanting revenge for what the GOP did to her in the first Clinton presidency. And Rush Limbaugh is telling republicans to not bother voting? If I was in McCain's shoes I'd be very worried about that indeed. It's a universally recognised law of politics that voters punish divided parties.

    If McCain was facing Obama, he could credibly play the experience card in a time of national crisis, ramp up the all-american hero (which he is, to be fair), puncture Obama's vagueness on policy and bluff his way over his lack of economic authority because Obama isn't too credible on economics either. But I don't think he can beat Hillary, not with the economy going the way it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin View Post
    Never count out the ability of the Republican party to close ranks. Yes, there are cracks in the party between the libertarians, the upper-management types, and religious nuts, but they'll quit their bitching once the general election gets under way.
    People said exactly that about the tories before the 1997 British election, Gavin, and it wasn't enough to stop them getting hammered. There comes a point where parties are more concerned with being righteous, even if it means losing power. I think the republicans may have reached that point.

  3. #18
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    Looking at it objectively, Hillary is a far stronger candidate than Obama for 2008.
    But are voters all that objective? There have been polls for years now that say something like 48% of them will definitely not vote for her, regardless of opponent. That's one fuck of a prejudice to overcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerjack View Post
    But are voters all that objective? There have been polls for years now that say something like 48% of them will definitely not vote for her, regardless of opponent. That's one fuck of a prejudice to overcome.
    This is really key, and the right wing attacks on Hillary are FAR from exhausted. If she is the nominee it'll be a nasty campaign on both sides.

    Also GFC, I think you're underestimating the cracks in the Democratic Party as well... Hillary voted for the war and that's a huge burden to carry. Both she and McCain have a stake in saying the war is going well. Anti-war voters may just stay home or vote Green. Same problem with the economy: Clinton supports NAFTA, which is unpopular among a wide swaths of voters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabba Flamenco Crossover View Post
    3rd point - the economy. Hilary has long been identified with using the power of the state to help redress inequality in US society, and she has taken mighty republican flak for that. But that could backfire spectacularly if the economy continues to go south - a lot of americans will be looking at thier bank statements and thier mortgage payments over the next few months, and deciding that they could use some of that state help right now. The republicans have a problem of narrative - there's no credible way they can pin blame for the current chaos on Hillary when she's been away from the white house for 8 years. The voters let them try trickledown economics and the voters got burned. Yes, Vimothy, I know it's not that simple, but we're talking about popular perception here, and lofty economic arguments are not going to convince voters that they aren't poor when the contents of thier wallets is telling them otherwise. And the emotive arguments that the GOP use against Hillary are going to be undermined firstly by sheer staleness (they've been banging the same drum for 15 years after all), and more importantly by voter perception that the economy is in a mess and it's the the current administration wot done it.
    To a large extent this is all academic. Like you say, if the perception among American voters is that their economic interests are being hurt by Bush's policies, or by more nebulous things like "globalisation", "free trade", or possibly just "trade", then we can make a pretty confident prediction of the distribution of votes. In fact, I wasn't disagreeing with that part of your post at all. I'm personally convinced the White House is the Democrats' to lose.

    However, I think there some serious problems to address in the Democrats' positions. One problem is that populism sounds good, but will not necessarily keep the Dems in power and the GOP in opposition. For instance, simply taking more money from the richest 1% (who already pay about 25% of US taxes) will make America less unequal, but it will do that by pulling the top down, not the bottom up. In fact, if the Dems really want to reduce inequality, they will have to make taxes more, not less, regressive, i.e. they will have to tax the poor and especially the middle class more.

    It is also important not to conflate real wage stagnation with inequality. While it is true that the US economy has added millions of new jobs since the mid-60s (more than doubling the size of the labour market) and that real compensation for workers has been constantly rising during that time, real hourly wage has remained stagnant, or more accurately, cyclical, yet stagnant. In a much discussed article for Foreign Affairs, Matthew Slaughter and Kenneth Schreve stated that,

    Less than four percent of workers were in educational groups that enjoyed increases in mean real money earnings from 2000 to 2005; mean real money earnings rose for workers with doctorates and professional graduate degrees and fell for all others.

    However, it is widely recognised that trade and immigration policies (Republican or otherwise) are not to blame for the stagnation in American wages. According to Jagdish Bhagwati, a leading international trade policy economist at Columbia University, writing in the FT,
    All empirical studies, including those done by some of today’s top trade economists (such as Paul Krugman of Princeton and Robert Feenstra of the University of California, Davis), show that the adverse effect of trade on wages is not substantial. My own empirical investigation concludes that the effect of trade with poor countries may even have been to moderate the downward pressure on wages that rapid unskilled labour-saving technical change would have caused.

    Second, the same goes for the econometric studies by the best labour economists regarding the effects of the influx of unskilled illegal immigrants into the US. The latest study by George Borjas and Larry Katz of Harvard also shows a virtually negligible impact on workers’ wages, once necessary adjustments are made.

    In fact, the true cause is technological advancement,

    The culprit is not globalisation but labour-saving technical change that puts pressure on the wages of the unskilled. Technical change prompts continual economies in the use of unskilled labour. Much empirical argumentation and evidence exists on this. But a telling example comes from Charlie Chaplin’s film, Modern Times. Recall how he goes berserk on the assembly line, the mechanical motion of turning the spanner finally getting to him. There are assembly lines today, but they are without workers; they are managed by computers in a glass cage above, with highly skilled engineers in charge.

    So my point is that falling returns to un-skilled and semi-skilled labour are a product of the movement of the US economy into the post-industrial age, a movement that is beyond the ability of government to affect. In addition, if Clinton (or Obama) opts out of further Doha rounds out of the mistaken belief that trade is somehow to blame for real wage woes, the potential losses for the US economy are in the region of $500 billion annually. Actually rolling back trade liberalisation could cost any or all of the $1 trillion that current liberalisations bring annually to the US economy. This is a road that the current Democratic hopefuls seem likely to travel down, and in that respect they are potentially much worse for the US and world economies than the old Democrats, represented by Bill Clinton and his crowd.

    Will the Democrats kill the goose that lays the golden eggs?
    Last edited by vimothy; 13-02-2008 at 03:31 PM.

  6. #21
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    @vim - no, I know you weren't, that was a light hearted jab at some of the econo-tussles we've had in the past. And a vain attempt to stop you posting up a load of complex economics that I then have to go and read up on, but you did it anyway so more fool me .

    But I'm sure we agree that voters aren't thinking on those kind of levels right now. I'm not sure what GWB could have done to head off subprime even if he'd wanted to, but voters are hurting economically and the expect the government to do something about it. As the 1997 UK election showed, voters can be brutal with right-of-centre parties who drop the ball on the economy.

    TBH I think the economy may deliver it for the democrats no matter who runs. I read yesterday that house sales in California are down by a third year on year. That's scary...

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    "In fact, if the Dems really want to reduce inequality, they will have to make taxes more, not less, regressive, i.e. they will have to tax the poor and especially the middle class more."
    Not this again...
    Anyway:

    "I'm personally convinced the White House is the Democrats' to lose."
    I reckon that's probably true.... unless, I just have a sneaking suspicion that there might be a hidden resistance to having a black/woman president. I seem to remember in the past where there has been a large discrepancy between the polls and the actual results and one mooted explanation is that people have been unwilling to recognise their inbuilt racism/sexism and have said in the polls that they are perfectly happy to vote for a candidate that when it comes down to it they really aren't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabba Flamenco Crossover View Post
    @vim - no, I know you weren't, that was a light hearted jab at some of the econo-tussles we've had in the past. And a vain attempt to stop you posting up a load of complex economics that I then have to go and read up on, but you did it anyway so more fool me .

    But I'm sure we agree that voters aren't thinking on those kind of levels right now.
    Absolutely -- perhaps I'm really trying to ask, to what extent will the Democrats be able to deliver a better or more equal economy than the Republicans, and therefore, to what extent will the Democrats be able to hold together a stable winning coalition for as long a time as the Republicans were able.

    EDIT: God, what a horrible sentence!
    Last edited by vimothy; 13-02-2008 at 03:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    I seem to remember in the past where there has been a large discrepancy between the polls and the actual results and one mooted explanation is that people have been unwilling to recognise their inbuilt racism/sexism.
    ... but I think that could actually work for Hillary, vis a vis right-leaning middle-aged women.

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    Obama - 11 victories in a row.
    Hillary / Billary - Noticed that Bill's name was not spoken once in last nights rather stiff smiled debate .
    Almost pulled another tear dropper at the end there .

    She has lost her lead with almost every catagory of voter.
    On a 'wrong side of history' by now I reckon

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    Quote Originally Posted by polystyle desu View Post
    Obama - 11 victories in a row.
    Hillary / Billary - Noticed that Bill's name was not spoken once in last nights rather stiff smiled debate .
    Almost pulled another tear dropper at the end there .

    She has lost her lead with almost every catagory of voter.
    On a 'wrong side of history' by now I reckon
    Was reputedly booed last night too, and her lead in Texas and Ohio is now down to single digits and falling. I'm glad the Dems look like they've made a decision (a convention tussle could be disastrous) and H's closing speech last night sounded like the first steps towards a concession. Could be all over come Mar 5.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin View Post
    I wish privacy concerns and civil liberties were as important to anti-big-government people as free trade and "states rights" but the right has done a good job severing these two in the minds of a lot of people. The ACLU is at the top of the Republican hit list, and the siege mentality since 9-11 hasn't helped at all. I don't see this as a major concern in the election except among the Paulistas, and their voice is mostly heard as antiwar. It almost never gets connected to what GFC mentioned -- state and corporations working together to spy on, collect data from, and otherwise control the citizenry.
    What's hilarious to me is the idea that GWB is "big government" in a classically "liberal" way because he abused his authority. Big government liberals are all about free lunch programs, higher minimum wage, more WIC benefits for single mothers, intervening in school districts that underperform, funding education, etc., not firebombing villages in third world countries. GWB may have vastly overstepped his authority as an executive branch member, but that doesn't make him a "big government" liberal. By any stretch.

  14. #29
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    She has no momentum.
    Feels like it will be 'over' even before then !

    Luv to see a woman prez , but not this Hillary
    Too much baggage and mismanaged campaign.

    Def believe Obama will be better against McCain
    And with 70 % of young voters going for Obama ,
    McCain is far along on that 'wrong side of history'

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    Quote Originally Posted by nomadologist View Post
    What's hilarious to me is the idea that GWB is "big government" in a classically "liberal" way because he abused his authority
    No, no, no...

    To the extent that either exist, "big government" conservativism is the opposite of "classically liberal" conservativism. Classical liberalism is about strict limits to the role of government, not about "abusing authority".

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