October 30, 2004


The winner is... US conservatism: The Democrats face an awesome task in Tuesday's elections but, for the country's good, they must win (Will Hutton, October 31, 2004, The Observer)

[T]he deeper truth is that conservative America has become a formidable cultural and electoral force - and it offers its allegiance to George Bush instinctively and unhesitatingly.

Even if Kerry manages to win, American conservatism will remain the most dynamic component in American political life. Although a Kerry victory (for which I hope) is conceivable, it is already clear that the race is so tight that the Republicans will retain their grip on the House of Representatives - with little prospect of an early reversal. Talk to Republicans and they regard their control of the House together with more state legislatures as the heart of their power base; in the checked and balanced US political system the presidency is the necessary but insufficient condition for political leadership.

In short, a Kerry victory would only be the end of the beginning; for the Democrats to move the US even marginally from its current hardening right-wing trajectory, the long-term task is the rebuilding and sustaining of the liberal coalition that they held from Roosevelt's New Deal to the end of the 1960s - and which will allow them to challenge what is now a Republican legislative dominance. That requires not just political energy and a mobilisation on the ground that the Democrats have only just begun to demonstrate - it also means winning the battle of ideas, where they are still at first base.

For Senator Kerry to win the election he'll have to win in states where most of the statewide officials are Republican, like Ohio and Florida, so it seems hard to believe that he could pull that off and not carry some considerable number of congressional seats too. But Mr. Hutton is correct that it wouldn't matter in the longer term. Where Bill Clinton at least campaigned as a Third Way Democrat, Mr. Kerry would be in no position to reform the Party in the ways that it needs in order to appeal to the 21st Century. He is a throwback to the '70s and his presidency would be devoid of signifigance.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 30, 2004 8:39 PM

Why do the Brits even bother with having a Conservative Party, when their house organ produces utter drivel like this?

Posted by: Bart at October 31, 2004 6:37 AM

Bart --

"Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004"

The Guardian is most definitely not a UK Conservative House Organ and does most definitely concern itself mostly with "utter drivel."

I expect better of you than this, although it is hard to say why.

Are you in the wrong church or just the wrong pew at the wrong time?

Posted by: Uncle Bill at October 31, 2004 9:07 AM


My mistake. For some reason, perhaps because I was typing before my morning coffee, I had thought the Observer was connected to the Telegraph. As I was doing my morning constitutional to the store to get my Sunday papers, I realized the egregiousness of my error.

Posted by: Bart at October 31, 2004 9:42 AM

I stopped paying attention to Hutton when he loudly proclaimed Anglo-American capitalism to be defunct and the German-Japanese model to be the future. And when he managed to write a four-page long essay comparing those two economies to the US without once mentioning the difference in employment rates.

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at October 31, 2004 12:35 PM


Geez, you must only read Bill Emmott.

Posted by: oj at October 31, 2004 12:56 PM

He is a throwback to the '70s and his presidency would be devoid of signifigance.

Doesn't matter if he seizes power (like his beloved North Vietnamese) and rides booted and spurred forever.

"And the future? Picture [our] boot stamping on [your] face. Forever."
--Comrade O'Brien, Inner Party, Airstrip One, Oceania, 1984

Posted by: Ken at October 31, 2004 11:35 PM