Charles Groome reviews the New Hampshire debates

I had a serious US Presidential Elections ’08 research binge
and watched both party debates on CNN so as to develop a firmer view of
what each candidate, Democrat and Republican, has in mind for their
country.

Given the unpopularity of Bush I would have thought
it’d be the Republicans who’d be infighting over new directions, but it
was the Democrats who starting tearing chunks out of each other. A
rather rambunctious and petulant John Edwards got busy point scoring
over Clinton and Obama whilst trying to make the former piggy in the
middle by heaping praise on the latter whenever it suited – bait Obama
happily hooked onto amidst his surprisingly lacklustre performance. Of
them all the two who came across professionally were Hillary Clinton
and Joe Biden and of them the only one to come across Presidential was
Hillary.

Not to be swayed solely by a single debate I have
given more thought to the value of the return of the Clintons to the
White House. So often we hear of elder statesmen flitting around the
world spearheading new philanthropic initiatives, trying to spend
whatever political capital they’ve saved in the uncomfortable knowledge
their tenure didn’t solve half as much as they’d promised or hoped.
Well a win in 2008 would give Madame President and First Gentleman
Clinton a second chance to do the business. They’d have a whole load
more capital to spend and the investment knowledge to do it profitably.

One
thing that came across very clearly in the debates was the Democrat’s
lack of a synthesized coherent 21st century worldview – the foreign
policies of most candidates seems to consist solely of hysterical
populist rants against Bush and the war. With her credentials and
experience Hillary would no doubt manage America’s international
relations in a smooth and pragmatic manner, but I do not sense any
wider global vision of America’s role, a sense of manifest destiny in
spreading freedom or the like. On the other hand the Republican’s main
candidates, neatly labelled by the vile Tommy Thompson as Rudy
McRomney, seem acutely aware and willing to work past the shortcomings
of the Bush administration whilst not abandoning commitment to a global
vision.

The parties have switched places – the Democrats are
now the isolationists and want to see America as a self-contained
nation in a multilateral world whereas the Republicans see America as
the beacon of liberty in a world still in large part under undemocratic
shadows of tyranny. However, the methodology of Rudy McRomney offers a
more intelligent approach than their predecessor. Romney talks about
failed opportunities for political engagement and the need to invest
more into building the political environment to facilitate the spread
of liberty. On which note McCain introduces the concept of a ‘League of
Democracies’ into the mainstream – a streamlined version of the
stillborn Community of Democracies binding liberal democratic nations
into acting in the group interest under their guiding principles.
Giuliani talks about transforming the US military into a nation
building force with the resources, know how and administrative support
to manage transitions to liberty, citing the lack of statistics,
targets and programs for infrastructure and economy in present day
Iraq. They all agree the post-war effort was badly mismanaged, they all
agree Bush’s handling of the economy contributed heavily to the defeats
in 2006. As one of the other candidates put it "if you’re going to
elect people to spend more, you vote for the party of professional
spenders", namely the Democrats. Republicans should stick to their
fiscal traditions and put heart and soul into developing community
based welfare solutions.

I expect the Republican ticket will be ‘Rudy – Romney 08’. I would vote for them, though I don’t think a Clinton administration would be disastrous.

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4 Responses to Charles Groome reviews the New Hampshire debates

  1. Simon Newman says:

    “Hillary would no doubt manage America’s international relations in a smooth and pragmatic manner, but I do not sense any wider global vision of America’s role, a sense of manifest destiny in spreading freedom or the like”

    You’ve just persuaded me to switch support to Hillary Clinton!

  2. Steevo says:

    Charles if the audience was predominantly black you may have seen ‘presidential’ Hillary “Sister Souljah” Clinton.

    And the Democrats are not isolationists. They are anti-everything Bush Administration foreign policy. If they win the presidency just wait… they’ll be policing/intervening in every UN/EU-approved “troubled spot” on the globe.

  3. Charles says:

    Apologies – it was Gilmore, not Tommy Thompson who came up with the Rudy McRomney line.

    As for Clintons and intervention it was Tony Blair who persuaded Bill Clinton of the merits of getting involved in Kosovo. I’m not sure intervention, humanitarian or liberal, is high on the Democrat’s agenda.

  4. Steevo says:

    Clinton not only went along with Blair (and the ‘voice of the international community’) to intervene in Kosovo but twice sent troops into the former Yugoslavia. He also sent troops into Haiti and troops into Mogadishu, and it was believed at least in part because of our “blackhawk down” he and other First World nations did not send troops into Rwanda to try and stop the genocide in ’94.

    My main point Charles is the Democrats are anti-Bush foreign policy, not isolationists. I believe if there are interventions promoted by the EU and UN which would be agreed upon by our Leftist media as ‘worthy’ causes with the possibility of enhancing prestige, a Democrat Administration would likely perceive it as an opportunity. But I do believe that intervention on grounds of strict humanitarian and ‘liberal’ causes is not a part of their character.

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