Skip to comments.Anglosphere's leadership is singing in tune
Posted on 11/25/2004 8:35:51 PM PST by Dundee
Editorial: Anglosphere's leadership is singing in tune
IN an analysis of George W. Bush's election victory in the current issue of The Economist, the magazine's acerbic US commentator, "Lexington", warns the Democrats against the self-serving view that the US President won by appealing to base instincts such as fear and hatred.
The Republicans "clobbered them on hope". Mr Bush was better than John Kerry at "exuding optimism" and "addressing the aspirations of an aspirational people". This is always the winning strategy in a pro-growth culture such as the US, and shows the Republicans have turned themselves into the "party of the future" by embracing the legacy of Ronald Reagan. As for their opponents: "Having built a bridge to the 21st century under Mr Clinton, the Democrats have since been busy building one back to the 19th century." Remind you of anything? As surely as the Republicans portrayed themselves as the party of the future in the US election, the Coalition managed the same trick here. Meanwhile, with schemes such as Medicare Gold, Labor appeared to reach back over the Hawke-Keating years to Whitlamism. In the US, the Republicans did best in areas where population growth is highest: the suburbs and outlying "exurbs" sprawling from the major cities. Here in Australia, the Coalition made its biggest gains in exactly the same kinds of areas, biting deep into Labor's heartland.
In both cases this was achieved less by appealing to fear and trembling than by appealing to optimism and the human instinct for progress. Iraq loomed much larger in the US campaign than ours, but neither electorate appeared to be swayed by the view, shared by the Left and conservative "realists" alike, that the vision of a democratic Middle East is an impossible dream we should quietly slip into the bottom drawer for another half-century or so. But perhaps, in the Australian context, the distinction in outlook was most apparent in the debate over public and private schooling. Labor persisted with the gloom-laden view that the drift from public to private education reflects some kind of problem, even crisis, that can only be addressed by a hit-list of rich private schools. Labor's allies in the teachers' unions plaster our schools with placards asserting that "The issue is public education". Nonsense. The issue is choice in education, and there is no crisis in the fact people feel wealthier and may decide to commit some of that wealth to the education they feel is right for their kids. It was in the education debate that Mark Latham, who had seemed to promise a new political voice for aspirational families, lapsed back into the language of class envy that is no longer spoken outside the latte belt.
Across the Anglosphere, those political leaders who have managed to catch a ride on the wave of the future have laid waste to those who have not. In Britain, Tony Blair has captured the reform legacy of Margaret Thatcher as effectively as John Howard has captured the Hawke-Keating legacy here. At his party's conference two months ago, Mr Blair recommitted himself to choice in education and healthcare, moving people from incapacity benefits to work, low interest rates, democracy for Iraq and a tough-minded policy on asylum-seekers. By cutting the line to collectivism and instead appealing to individual enterprise and the promise of an ownership society and thus singing from the same songbook as Mr Howard and Mr Bush Mr Blair appears to be setting himself for a third crushing victory over his Tory opponents next year.
The observation that Labor's problems here are mirrored by those of the social democrats in the US may not be of much help to Mr Latham, but it should signal the scale of those problems which amount to a historic hijacking of both parties by an increasingly narrow, unpopular and ideological minority. According to our guide in The Economist, the Democrats "are increasingly dominated by people who have no yearning for growth: public sector workers; academics and trustafarians who both live off inherited endowments; environmentalists who want to regulate SUVs and urban sprawl". It is thanks to the influence of the same groups that Labor is comprehensively on the nose with middle Australia, the place where elections are won and lost. We desperately need a viable two-party system, which is why Labor must extend its soul-searching to a survey of the US, where "self-styled progressives look ever more the party of the past, and confessed conservatives are the ones focusing on the future".
In the aftermath of John Howard's crushing election victory over the Labor Party, there was a lot of soul searching by the left on why they lost. Quite a few of them are saying that the solution is to swing even further to the left.
Newsflash, if the people don't vote for you because you're too far to the left, then moving even further to the left is probably not gonna improve things.
At the rate that the Labor party is going, John Howard (who became PM on March 11, 1996 and in Decemeber becomes the second longest serving Prime Minister in Australian history [the longest is Robert Menzies who was PM for 18 years]) can look forward to being the Prime Minister for a very long time.
Cool. The Left doesn't get it here, and they don't get it in Australia. Love it.
Love the mention of trustifarians. There are a few of those on a neutral board I'm on, where we spar with the libs. They are as completely out of touch with reality as it gets.
Yes, let the lemmings be lemmings!:)
, but it should signal the scale of those problems which amount to a historic hijacking of both parties by an increasingly narrow, unpopular and ideological minority.
That sums it up right there. There's the Gays, the Greens, the "My-minority-is-all-important-because-you're-all-racists" factions, etc.
We desperately need a viable two-party system, which is why Labor must extend its soul-searching to a survey of the US, where "self-styled progressives look ever more the party of the past, and confessed conservatives are the ones focusing on the future.
It is so true that we need at least two viable parties to compete because one party only causes stagnation and corruption. Texas, for instance, was a Democratic stronghold for 100 years, and produced such luminaries as the legendarily corrupt Lyndon Johnson. The problem in the U.S. is that the opposition party (Democrats) are sold out to the marginal special interest groups, and even international moneychangers like George Soros can try to buy the election for the Democratic candidate.
Excellent article. Perhaps the Left in these two nations can have a (temporary) future - across the 49th or the Tasman.
I don't understand that idiom, what does it mean? Does it mean people think Labor stinks? Does it mean they are getting punched in the nose? Or are they going to punch someone in the nose? Are they getting "nosed out"?
'On the nose' means that people don't like the 'smell' of something (in this case, the stench of leftist politics).
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