One of the greatest Speakers?

As health care reform passes this afternoon it is noteworthy to consider Nancy Pelosi’s outstanding role as Speaker. Back in 2006 before the Democrats won Congress I was the first Australian observer to highlight her potential importance: The task of uniting the Democrats in opposition has been surprisingly well-handled by San Francisco liberal and Democrat […]

The South Australian Liberal revivial

The strong performance by the Liberals in the South Australian election campaign has surprised many and driven Labor to resort to a highly negative campaign as shown. One clear pattern in recent Australian politics has been the recasting of the national Liberals as a strongly conservative party. Malcolm Turnbull’s downfall was evidence of this.

Union-free America?

More evidence of the rightward drift of American public opinion on economic issues apparent in distrust of unions from Pew Research Center: Favorable views of labor unions have plummeted since 2007, amid growing public skepticism about unions’ purpose and power. Currently, 41% say they have a favorable opinion of labor unions while about as many […]

Republicans resurgent

Noteworthy that in the last few weeks liberal commentators, such as Mathew Yglesias and Jonathon Chait,  have begun to seriously contemplate the possibility, even the likelihood of the Republicans securing a House of Representatives majority this year. Some of this commentary has been in response to the recent analysis of Harry Joe who has argued […]

Barack Obama & Jim Scullin

It is true that the Massachusetts debacle exaggerates the Democrats woes, just as NY-23 obscured them. But Barack Obama might remember the example of the Scullin government. Jim Scullin who led Australian Labor to a landslide victory in 1929 was a nice guy (who shocked senior bureaucrats by asking them to call him ‘Jim’), and […]

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 […]

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 […]

Blue Dogs, health care and conservatism

Last year I applied for a research grant to examine conservative Democrats to the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and was unsuccessful. Perhaps the grant application was not very good or perhaps its lack of success reflected the underestimation of the significance of conservative Democrats in the immediate aftermath of Obama’s […]