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 […]

Medibank lessons for Obama?

Health care reform debate not going well for the Democrats currently. But perhaps  Bill Clinton is correct: The president needs your help and the party needs your help…If you go out there and then you fail, then the victors get to re-write history…I don’t care how low they drive support for this with misinformation. The […]

Jon Corzine & David Bartlett

The recent woes of the NSW Labor government and the opinion poll slippage of other Labor governments, such as David Bartlett in Tasmania,  have posed the question of whether Labor’s ascendant position in Australian politics is under threat. America conservatives take heart from Obama’s declining support and the woes of Democratic governors such as Jon […]

Obama vs. conservatism and the health care debate

I lectured students on conservatism today. As I pointed out it is not popular among intellectual students of politics, we can recall John Stuart Mill’s famous argument that most stupid people were conservative. But as I stressed conservatism remains major force in politics. Barack Obama’s rise to the Presidency in part was due to his […]

Deficit politics

The scale of American budgetary problems has become a major preoccupation for Republicans  and although opposition parties have struggled in the past to make headway on this Republicans hope that this time it will be different. In Australia the Liberals are trying a similar approach. Brad de Long is interesting on the US position: What […]

Fair Work and Employee Free Choice: liberalism vs. social democracy

The demise of the Employee Free Choice Act and the woes of American health reform shed light on the distinction  between social liberalism and social democracy as forms of left-wing politics. This has been raised by David Brody in his address at the recent Labour History conference where he contrasted the success of the Rudd […]

Jack Lang, Sarah & Barack

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart   www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Joke of the Day Even if Sarah Palin’s resignation speech wasn’t quite as bad as Jon Stewart’s version it was still woeful.  An interesting article in Boston Phoenix highlights the self-contained world of movement conservatives and the money to be made […]

Institutions and incentives

Mathew Yglesias on the Senate: The supermajority—and, more broadly, the extreme difficulty of moving legislation—makes it easier for elected officials to make contradictory commitments to various people. Consider that as long as Democrats clearly didn’t have the votes to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, they could promise labor law reform to unions while also […]

Independent voters

Interesting paper on US independent voters from Pew (via Political Wire): The proportion of independents now equals its highest level in 70 years. Owing to defections from the Republican Party, independents are more conservative on several key issues than in the past. While they like and approve of Barack Obama, as a group independents are […]