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Obama on the move « Previous | |Next »
August 29, 2008

The Democratic Convention comes to an end with a speech by Obama on the anniversary of Marin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington in 1963. Will this content in the television show known as the Convention, provide a means to counter the Republican attacks?:

BellObama1.jpg Steve Bell

Timothy Garton Ash says that power of US presidents is decreasing.

For this, too, defines the Obama moment: that the relative power of the president of the United States of America has diminished, is diminishing, and will continue to diminish. Just consider what has been happening outside the American election bubble. In Georgia, Russia has cocked a snook at Washington and torn up the terms of the post-cold war settlement. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, Islamic extremists are growing stronger, not weaker, as we pay the price for George Bush's wild goose chase in Iraq.

The power of the US empire may heave reached its limits now that a unipolar world is changing, but the power of the President is increasing due to increasing centralization of power of the White House at the expense of Congress.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:42 AM | | Comments (11)
Comments

Comments

Is it power that's being lost, or democratic legitimacy? Bush has demonstrated that a lack of legitimacy doesn't stop power.

The only reason the US presidency is in decline as no-one, not even the American people these days either, sees Bush as legitimate. The Europeans have decided they were correct in their initial assessment of him, and the US voting populance has become sick of the bad governance.

An international president, which I think Obama will be (and McCain sadly wont any longer) will quickly right American power and make it legitimate again.

I also agree that the executive is dominating democratic politics and constitutional systems. Not sure how the legislative will re-assert itself again. It was lost in the Westminster centuries ago. Wonder if it is lost to the Washington system for good now too.

I expect Obama will be elected Prez. I also expect that over his first term the world cartoonists will gradually depict him more monkey-like. It will be interesting to watch. Sort of a De-evolving.

Cam, there seem to be two kinds of legitimacy at stake - the global kind and the national kind. What counts as legitimate for the American electorate seems to be different to what counts as legitimate for the rest of the world. I'm thinking about the global response to the 2004 outcome.

Would Obama have legitimacy problems at home that he wouldn't have globally, whereas McCain would have the reverse? They both seem to be between a rock and a hard place.

What if McCain won? What then?

Nan, the Republicans remain deeply divided, have a shrinking base, have trampled on the Constitution and overtly embracing policies (torture) that are at odds with how Americans have perceived their country.

Gary, Quite possibly. Though I don't think McCain's foreign policy populism is that popular. There is a strong Jeffersonian streak (isolationist) in the US electorate when it comes to foreign policy. Then again the peace dividend of Clinton's time is never talked of anymore, Bush trashed that.

I dont think either candidate has established themselves strongly in the domestic arena. Most of the policies are pretty vapid and dont move much or inspire imagination or salve concerns. I think both are more foreign policy candidates.

I saw a DVD of Michael Moore's documentary Sicko about the US health system over the weekend. The health insurance funds came out as very bad in terms of helping to look after people's health.

Theres' an issue that needs addressing through some form of national insurance. Is it being addressed? It was by Hillary Clinton.

Gary, I have to have shoulder surgery soon, which will be the largest interface I shall have with the US health care system so far. I did the broken leg I had in the US under Australian health/travel insurance.

IIRC the clinton and obama campaign's policies on health care were almost the same. I recall them being compared on NPR. It was when there were more candidates like Kucinich. Of all the health policies none were like the Auian or European systems.

Cam
I wish you well given the account of the actions of the private health funds in Sicko where most of the energy was spent in denying people access to services so as to increase profits.

Paul Krugman, from memory, wrote a lot in the New York Times about the health policies of Obama and Clinton during the Democrat primaries. He thought Clinton's was better though I cannot remember the reason. More universal?

Gary, IIRC both were modeled on the Masschussettes legislation which was put into place under Romney. Most of it is in making insurance mandatory, same as they do for car insurance. That means healthy people are subsidising unhealthy people and spreading the health risk around for insurers.

All the plans were based on insurance rather than health preventions. Insurance is good for catastrophes (like an engine blowing up) but not oil and brake changes. I think the economic technology is in error and the politics in the US cannot change from the insurance model.