Sunday, January 06, 2008

Is Obama the Reagan, or the Thatcher, of the left?

A few more news items on Obama that, in my opinion, explain his success. The article, reveals remarkable similarities between Obama and Reagan/Thatcher.

From the SF Chronicle (6/1/08) (By Debra Saunders)
...Iowa Democrats clearly decided not to repeat the mistake of 2004. In 2004, caucus-goers, who opposed the war in Iraq, put their weight behind John Kerry, who had voted for the Iraq war resolution, because they believed that Kerry was the Democrat who could win in November. Instead, the Dems lost in the most painful way possible, having sold out utterly and compromised their principles -- with nothing to show for it.
Caucus-goers rejected Hillary Clinton's siren song of inevitability and John Edwards' slick populist themes, and instead lined up behind Barack Obama, the one top-tier candidate who opposed the war in Iraq when it was popular.
Clinton can say she's the change candidate, but that doesn't make it so. Both Clinton and Edwards voted for the Iraq war and voted for the Patriot Act -- when the polls told them to. They have stood for nothing with unshakable conviction, except their own advancement. Iowa caucus-goers went for the new guy, instead of the same old excuses.

From The Australian (7/1/08)
(Andrew Sullivan, The Times).
...The analogy that worries Republicans the most is a more recent one. Could Obama be a potential liberal version of Ronald Reagan? Could he do for the Democrats what Reagan did for the Republicans a quarter century ago? It's increasingly possible. Reagan was the cutting edge of the previous realignment in US politics. With a good-natured civil appeal to Democrats who felt abandoned by their party under Jimmy Carter, Reagan revolutionised the reach of his party.
He didn't aim for a mere plurality, as Bill Clinton did. Nor did he go for a polarising 51 per cent strategy, as George W. Bush has done. He ran as a national candidate in search of a national mandate, a proud Republican who nonetheless wanted Democrats to vote for him.
He came out of a period in which Americans had become sickened by the incompetence of their government. Reagan shocked US elites by pivoting that discontent into a victory in 1980. And by his second term, he won 49 out of 50 states.
You can see the same potential in Obama. What has long been remarkable to me is how this liberal politician fails to alienate conservatives. In fact, many like him a great deal. His calm and reasoned demeanour, his crisp style, his refusal to engage in racial identity politics: these appeal to disaffected Republicans.
He is particularly attractive to those on the US Right who feel betrayed by the Bush administration's version of conservatism, just as many Democrats felt betrayed by Carter's liberalism.These voters -- non-evangelical, fiscally and militarily prudent, socially tolerant -- do not feel at home in the angry, southern, anti-immigrant Republican Party of the past few years. Almost one-quarter of those voting in the Democratic caucus last Thursday night were Republicans or independents.The other strikingly Reaganite aspect to Obama is his appeal to the younger generation. People forget that the oldest president was extremely popular among the under-30s.
Obama has kept his ego in check, but he is clearly aiming for a large mandate rather than a small win. He isn't a Clinton in this respect or even a Bush. He is a Reagan, a Margaret Thatcher of the Left.

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