Leftovers

Andrei Marks · August 19, 2007

From the 2007-08-19 print of the Beijing Paper (新京报), in the Global Publications-Front Page News section on page B05. This was written by a Xie Lai, under the heading of Observations.

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Is America Turning to the Left?

The time of the “Big Shuffle” that Rove dreamed of never came to pass. Instead the exact opposite occurred, and the Democratic Party recovered both Houses of Congress after Bush’s approval rating dropped to the lowest point of all the American presidents in the past 30 years. Now the democrats are itching for a fight, and are preparing to launch a turbulent offensive in the 2008 general elections.

Bruce Babbitt, the Secretary of the Interior during the Clinton era, believes that Rove’s error lay in “knowing too much.” He said, “If you take into account every public opinion poll and every interest group’s viewpoint when you are looking at a problem, then you can’t honestly establish policy. And a deeper problem is that Rove never realized that long lasting success comes from policy being able to achieve actual results.”

Andrew Kohut, the Chairman of America’s famous public opinion polling organization–the Washington Pew Research Center, pointed out that with the Rebublican Party’s failures in domestic and foreign policies, the subsequent estrangement of public opinion can’t be avoided. According to data from a 2002 Pew Research Center public opinion poll, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party had been equal to one another; each side had 43% of the pollees consider themselves to belong to one of the two parties. But after 5 years, 50% stood behind democratic lines, and only 35% still answered that they were Republicans.

However, just because the conservative party is going through some troubles does not mean the liberal party will achieve an automatic victory. Democratic campaign analyst Mark Meiershi said that 9/11 let the Republic Party achieve temporary glory, but the following Iraqi war quickly leveled that success, and now everything has returned to the original state. Until today, there has still been “no sign that the Republican Party occupies an advantageous position, but it also doesn’t signify that the Democratic Party’s time has come. In fact, the split between party lines has been growing larger, and the voters in the two parties are less and less willing to vote for the opposing camp.” Meiershi believes that despite the Bush administration’s quagmire, in the 2008 presidential election the Republican Party still has at the very least a 40% chance at victory.

And in American history, examples of being favored by public opinion and yet being unable to rally this advantage are not few–for instance in the early 90s public opinion clearly favored the conservative party, but Americans were simply not interested in the radical government projects the Republican Party was proposing. Karl Rove is a recent lesson in such failure.

So will America welcome a new era for the democratic party? Kohut thinks that this will depend on two criteria: first, the Democratic Party needs to win the 2008 presidential election. Looking at the current situation, although the Democratic Party seems to have few advantages, who can tell who will be ensured the last laugh? Secondly, and more importantly, after winning, the Democratic Party needs to resolve the domestic and foreign problems left behind by the Bush administration–the Iraq problem, medical insurance reform, the income gap between the rich and poor, etc. Kohut says that of course the direction of public opinion is important, but it will only be through producing a successful leader and realistic results that the democrats will truly be able to usher in their own era.


Translator’s note:
- I’m not sure if they translated that “honestly establish policy” bit right. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like that’s how it should be translated, and maybe the original quote was something along the lines of “honestly can’t make policy” or some such.
- “And a deeper problem is that Rove never realized that long lasting success comes from a policy being able to achieve actual results.” Ba-zing.
- Mark Meiershi, democratic campaign analyst, I don’t know how to translate that last name, and I can’t find him on the internet. Well, on the first page of Google.
- It’s funny how they list the rich/poor gap and medical insurance as a Bush administration problem. The Chinese are definitely rooting for the democrats, although I have talked to a few old men who are fairly sure either party will change America’s power-mad and blood-thirsty tendencies.
- Here’s an article on Russian media control:
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/17/europe/EU-GEN-Russia-BBC-Broadcasts.php
I can’t decide if it sounds worse than China. The article I linked to yesterday, about the bridge collapse, I made sure to look for in the paper today. I found it buried in the Regional News section, overshadowed by a different infrastructure calamity. There was another mine collapse that trapped near 200 people. Although America has had these fairly recently as well, it certainly never meets the extent of the Chinese disasters.

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