Obama goes to Allentown

Not my musical tastes but relevant to the Democrats’ current electoral woes… Have the Democrat’s prospects in the upcoming mid-term elections improved? They remain dire. The upcoming special elections in Pennsylvania and Hawaii are likely to be lost by the Democrats. The Pennsylvania special election is in the 12th district in the former steel-making and […]

Obama’s lost opportunity?

Has Obama’s presidency been a wasted opportunity for American liberalism? Was there ever a prospect of establishing a permanent Democratic majority? Via Mathew Yglesias an interesting analysis from an American dating site using membership data to track the relation between ideological identification and partisan allegiance.

1934 and 2010 compared

  David Greenberg was one of Hillary Clinton’s academic defenders, and he did a more effective job of this than Sean Wilentz. He has an insightful article on Obama’s first year: One year in, Obama’s approval ratings have slipped, and they’re likely to get worse. He’ll probably muddle through seven more years of partisan acrimony, […]

Medicare and Barack Obama

Erza Klein argues that polls show support for health care reform rising (and this at a time when the current bill has attracted substantial opposition from the left). As I have argued before perhaps Australia may provide a guide, the single-payer systems of Medibank and Medicare implemented by Labor governments in 1975 and 1984 (a […]

Wilson, Obama & FDR

Some worrying early signs for the Democrats this year. Polls have shown tightening of the race for the January 19 special election in Massachusetts to elect a replacement for Ted Kennedy. A Democratic loss in this reliably blue state would be a huge fillip to Republican morale. The tightening race in large part reflects the […]

Thanking Peter Costello? American budget deficits and politics

The example of Barack Obama suggests that Kevin Rudd has much to thank Peter Costello for, the Howard government did not follow the example of the American right on fiscal policy and bequeath a huge deficit. The Democrats are struggling in the polls and may lose substantial grounds at the 2010 Congressional elections. They are […]

Wall Street vs. Main Street Democrats?

Although buried in marking doing some work on my paper on American liberalism and capitalist development based on my recent Sydney presentation to a symposium on social democratic governments and business. One aspect is the relation between the Democrats and business and the question of ‘corporate liberalism’ apparent in current debates about financial regulation.  We […]

Republicans resurgent?

Political surprises are usually not really surprises but are usually anticipated by disregarded observers. It is interesting that the suggestion that the Democrats could lose the 2010 Congressional elections is beginning to be cited as a possibility by Democratic commentators such as Ed Kilgore. I am inclined to agree with Brendan Nyhan that the negative […]

American distrust of government?

Geoffrey Garrett neglects the importance of history and institutions when he compares the fortunes of Obama and Rudd: In a country of drought and flooding rains, sunburnt Australians care deeply about climate change, and they want their representatives to do something about it. But in the land of the free and the home of the […]

Are the Democrats too liberal?

The Obama administration’s struggles over health care have raised again the question of whether the Democrats are out of touch with public opinion. This is a challenge for American liberals. In recent years they have tended to argue for the existence of a natural left majority on economic issues which they admit can be undercut […]