News

US Political Parties Appear Headed In Different Directions

The two major U.S. political parties appear to be moving in opposite directions in the wake of President Bush's re-election last November.

For Republicans, it is the best of times. They look forward to a second four-year term for President Bush and increased majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

The president's top political adviser, Karl Rove, recently told a conservative group in Washington that conservatism has now become the "dominant political creed" in the United States.

"We are seizing the mantle of idealism," said Karl Rove. "As you know, the president has made a powerful case in the inaugural speech, and before, for spreading human liberty and defending human dignity. This was once largely the preserve of liberalism. But a fellow named Ronald Reagan changed all that. President Bush has built on these beliefs, and is committed to something no past president has ever attempted, spreading liberty to the broader Middle East."

Mr. Rove noted that President Bush carried 97 of the 100 fastest growing counties in the country in the November election. He says Republicans are poised to expand their reach over the next few years, provided they stay focused.

"We need to learn from our successes and from the failures of the other side [Democrats] and ourselves," he said. "As the governing party in America, Republicans cannot grow tired or timid. We have been given the opportunity to govern, and now we have to show that we deserve the respect and trust of our fellow citizens by acting in office as we said we would do on the campaign trail."

President Bush won re-election in part because of a large turnout among conservative Christian voters. Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says evangelical Christians intend to keep pressure on the administration to oppose abortion and homosexual marriage.

"What people of faith want above all else is an acknowledgment by government, by media, by educators and, especially, the courts that the greatness of our nation depends on its spiritual strength," said Pat Robertson.

The situation facing opposition Democrats appears more pessimistic. They have narrowly lost the last two presidential elections, and continue to lose support in the Congress.

The party recently chose former Vermont governor and presidential contender Howard Dean as its national chairman. He immediately pledged to try and expand the party's reach in the south and west, two areas of the country where Republicans have become dominant in recent years.

"We will rebuild this party, because we are the party of reform and change," claimed Howard Dean. "Republicans can stop progress, but only Democrats can start it again."

But Howard Dean remains a controversial figure for many moderate Democrats. They fear he may be too polarizing a choice to lead a party looking to build support among centrist voters over the next few years.

Many Democrats continue to look to former President Clinton to provide leadership and direction, at a time when the party is debating its future.

For his part, Mr. Clinton is urging Democrats to unify and avoid the kind of political squabbles between liberals and moderates that have divided the party in the past.

"We have got to stop eating on [criticizing] each other, and redirect our fire toward the people we disagree with," said Bill Clinton. "We need to be together, and work together, and build together."

For now, opposition Democrats will look to their congressional leadership to set policy direction for the party, including Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

But, eventually, a new crop of Democratic leaders is likely to emerge in advance of the 2008 presidential election.

John White is a professor of political science at Catholic University in Washington. "The Democrats are in trouble," he stated. "There is just no other way to say it. Certainly, former President Clinton remains important and so does his wife [Senator Hillary Clinton of New York]. But the Democrats are also going to have to develop new leaders."

In the meantime, both parties are already preparing for the next major national test, the 2006 mid-term congressional elections, in which all 435 House seats and one-third of the 100 Senate seats will be up for grabs.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs