24 maj, 2006

Utilfredshed blandt USA´s konservative - og de muligheder det åbner for

I forgår var Colin Powell, tidligere general og amerikansk udenrigsminister i Danmark for at tale ved et møde for Børsens Executive Club. Vanen tro skulle medierne benytte lejligheden til at presse ham til at svine Pæsident Bush til - på DR1´s Horisont blev det blandt andet til et spørgsmål om Irak-krigen ikke var et bevis på at det at føre krig for at sikre olieforsyningen var en fejlslagen politik. Lige en gang til for de svagtbegavede: Hvis olien var problemet var alt der skulle til, at FN fjernede en hvilken som helst grænse på Iraks olieeksport. En grænse, som USA havde været med til at indføre, vel at mærke.

Midt i al dæmoniseringen af Bush som en ond højreorienteret cowboy overser de danske medier imidlertid, at manden er en centrist, der faktisk har ført Demokratisk/venstreorienteret politik på langt de fleste områder - noget der efter 5 år ved magten er ved at gøre reelt højreorienterede amerikanere godt og grundigt trætte af manden. Mere fra Washington Post:

Conservatives tolerated the No Child Left Behind Act, an extensive intrusion into state and local education, and the budget-busting Medicare prescription drug benefit. They tolerated the greatest increase in spending since Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. They tolerated Bush's failure to veto a single bill, and his refusal to enforce immigration laws. They even tolerated his signing of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul, even though Bush's opposition to that measure was a key reason they backed him over Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) in the 2000 primaries.

In 2004, Republican leaders pleaded with conservatives -- particularly religious conservatives -- to register people to vote and help them turn out on Election Day. Those efforts strengthened Republicans in Congress and probably saved the Bush presidency. We were told: Just wait till the second term. Then, the president, freed of concern over reelection and backed by a Republican Congress, would take off the gloves and fight for the conservative agenda. Just wait.

We're still waiting.

Sixty-five months into Bush's presidency, conservatives feel betrayed. After the "Bridge to Nowhere" transportation bill, the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination and the Dubai Ports World deal, the immigration crisis was the tipping point for us. Indeed, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found last week that Republican disapproval of Bush's presidency had increased from 16 percent to 30 percent in one month. It is largely the defection of conservatives that is driving the president's poll numbers to new lows. ...

The main cause of conservatives' anger with Bush is this: He talked like a conservative to win our votes but never governed like a conservative.

For all of conservatives' patience, we've been rewarded with the botched Hurricane Katrina response, headed by an unqualified director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which proved that the government isn't ready for the next disaster. We've been rewarded with an amnesty plan for illegal immigrants. We've been rewarded with a war in Iraq that drags on because of the failure to provide adequate resources at the beginning, and with exactly the sort of "nation-building" that Candidate Bush said he opposed.

Republicans in Congress and at the White House seem oblivious to the rising threat of communist China and of Vladimir Putin's Russia. Despite the temporary appointment of conservative John R. Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the current GOP leadership keeps shoveling money to the world body despite its refusal to change. ...

But unhappy conservatives should be taken seriously. When conservatives are unhappy, bad things happen to the Republican Party.

In 1948, conservatives were unhappy with Thomas E. Dewey's liberal Republican "me too" campaign, and enough of them stayed home to give the election to Harry S. Truman. In 1960, conservatives were unhappy with Richard M. Nixon's negotiations with Nelson A. Rockefeller to divide the spoils of victory before victory was even achieved, and John F. Kennedy won.

In 1974, conservatives were unhappy with the corruption and Big Government policies of Nixon's White House and with President Gerald R. Ford's selection of Rockefeller as his vice president, and this led to major Republican losses in the congressional races that year. By 1976, conservatives were fed up with Ford's adoption of Rockefeller's agenda, and Jimmy Carter was elected with the backing of Christian conservatives.

In 1992, conservatives were so unhappy with President George H.W. Bush's open disdain for them that they staged an open rebellion, first with the candidacy of Patrick J. Buchanan and then with Ross Perot. The result was an incumbent president receiving a paltry 37 percent of the vote. ...

If conservatives accept the idea that we must support Republicans no matter what they do, we give up our bargaining position and any chance at getting things done. We're like a union that agrees never to strike, no matter how badly its members are treated. Sometimes it is better to stand on principle and suffer a temporary defeat. If Ford had won in 1976, it's unlikely Reagan ever would have been president. If the elder Bush had won in 1992, it's unlikely the Republicans would have taken control of Congress in 1994.

Der er forlydender om en konservativ samling om en konservativ selvmordskandidat op til præsidentvalget i 2008 - Tancredo kunne være en mulighed. Et sådant kandidatur ville ikke være helt ulig Goldwaters i 1964 - de to har endda til fælles at de begge har truet med at atombombe fjenden i krig - Nordvietnam i Goldwaters tilfælde, Mekka i Tancredos.

Men der er større sager på spil end et enkelt præsident valg eller to på grund af konservativ forurettethed: der er chancer for en reel omvæltning af det politiske landskab i USA, med massiv vælgerflugt fra demokraterne.

Goldwater var den kandidat, der indtil 1964 havde fået den lavest mulige andel af stemmerne ved et præsidentvalg i 1900-tallet, men det var samtidig også ham, der viste konservative vælgere i USAs sydstater, at det Demokratiske Parti ikke var deres eneste valgmulighed, og derved gav Republikanerne sydstaterne som den ene af deres to sikre støtter ved næsten valg siden.

Dengang var det Borgerrets-sagen der slog konservative demokrater løs fra det parti de havde stemt trofast på i 100 år, og det var lov-og-orden der fik dem til at stemme republikansk fra da af.

I årene der kommer står Krigen mod Terror og sagen om den kolossale illegale indvandring klar til, hvis omstændighederne er de rette, at slå især de irsk- og italiensk-amerikanske vælgergrupper løs fra deres traditionelle valg af Demokratiske kandidater. Spørgsmålet er så, om Republikanerne da står klar til at tage imod dem.

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