Is America turning left?

10 08 2007

Probably—but not in the way many foreigners (and some Americans) hope

From the Economist

FOR George Bush, the presidency is becoming a tragic tale of unintended consequences. In foreign policy, the man who sought to transform Iraq, the Middle East and America’s reputation has indeed had revolutionary effects, though not the ones he was aiming for. Now something similar seems to be happening in domestic politics. The most conservative president in recent history, a man who sought to turn his victories of 2000 and 2004 into a Republican hegemony, may well end up driving the Western world’s most impressive political machine off a cliff.

That machine has put Republicans in the White House in seven of the past ten contests. At times it has seemed as if the Democrats (oddly, given their status as the less Godly party) have had to rely on divine intervention to get elected. Watergate helped Jimmy Carter in 1976, just as the end of the cold war and Ross Perot’s disruptive third-party campaign helped Bill Clinton in 1992. Better organised and more intellectually inventive than their “liberal” rivals, American conservatives have controlled the agenda even when they have lost: Mr Clinton is best remembered for balancing the budget and passing welfare reform, both conservative achievements. In a country where one in three people see themselves as conservatives (against one in five as liberals) and where the South and West have grown far more quickly than the liberal north-east, it is easy to see why Mr Bush and his strategist, Karl Rove, dreamed of banishing Democrats from power for a generation.

More here

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