News

A Bush Realignment?

Multimedia

Audio

Whether it's reforming the national government pension system, Social Security or promoting freedom around the world, many analysts see a unifying theme in President Bush's vision for the future.

According to David Keene who heads the American Conservative Union, the nation's oldest and largest grassroots conservative political organization, the President plans to turn his agenda into Republican Party victories at the ballot box for years to come.

Mr. Keene says, Mr. Bush "has defined it as this 'ownership society' and a society in which individuals get to make choices and have control over their own lives. Social Security is part of that. And a lot of the other things he's doing are part of that. He's also trying to make certain that his party gets the major share of the demographic shifts that are taking place around the country that will allow him and his party to dominate the politics of the next few decades. But that's what the game is about."

Many observers say President Bush and the Republicans plan to reshape the U.S. political landscape by weakening support for the Democratic Party.

Just last week, the Republican-dominated Congress overwhelmingly passed legislation that would limit jury awards against doctors and businesses. The Bush administration says the goal is to cut down on what it calls "frivolous" lawsuits. Critics argue that it's part of a strategy to choke off campaign contributions to Democratic political candidates by the nation's trial lawyers.

Perhaps one of the biggest threats to the Democrats' base is the Bush administration's plan to reform Social Security. Since its creation during the Great Depression, the 70-year-old pension and benefits system has been a pillar of Democratic politics. While the President's proposed reforms address the system's financial problems, many analysts say these changes would also create a new generation of private investors and Republican supporters.

"There's no question about it. I think this is the Bush project," says Will Marshall, President of the Progressive Policy Institute, which seeks to define and promote liberal politics in the United States.

 Mr. Marshall says, "This President is trying to bring about a partisan realignment and is very cleverly and systematically offering proposals that raid the other party's voters and territories. The President has fashioned his proposals on Social Security for 18-to-29 year old voters. They also happen to be the group that voted strongly for [Democratic presidential candidate] John Kerry in the 2004 election. There's no question that this White House has systematically gone after Democratic constituencies in a bid to realign American politics with the Republicans in the majority."

Will Marshall predicts there will be a major showdown in Congress over the president's policy agenda. He expects a nearly unified Democratic opposition with some dissenting Republicans.

In addition to the President's Social Security reforms, some moderate Republicans oppose the Bush administration's budget deficits and the President's stance against abortion and homosexual marriage. And without solid support in Congress for the President's agenda, many analysts say any effort to forge a national political shift toward the Republican Party could be in jeopardy.

From the mid-1990s through the 2000 election, American voters were nearly evenly divided in their support of the two major parties. But David Keene of the American Conservative Union says last year's elections may have been a major turning point for the Republicans.

"The indicator in this race was that you had a relatively narrow, but very deep Republican win that went all the way down to the counties," notes Mr. Keene. "And that is the indicator of the kind of partisan change that Bush is now trying to accelerate."

Historically, the major accomplishments of two-term presidents have tended to occur during the first term. But some observers argue that President Bush's first term was short circuited by the September 11th terrorist attacks when he was forced to shift his focus from domestic policy to national security. Now Mr. Bush may be returning to his first term goals. But his chance for success may be fleeting.

Republican strategist, David Keene says, "At some point, people are looking not to you, but to who is going to succeed you in your own party and in the White House itself. So Bush has a couple of years in which he can make some real impact on these things and lock in the kind of majorities that he has been looking for."

But Congressional elections are less than two years away. And many members of Congress may have to focus more on what voters back home want than on the President's agenda. That, most analysts say, could dampen hopes for a Republican realignment in American politics.

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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
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 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 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 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.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs