“Now is the age of the geek. The leader of the free world, indeed, is a geek. Don’t be fooled by the supposed love of basketball and hip-hop; never forget that Barack Obama wears a vest and keeps his BlackBerry in a belt holster.”
“The main message of Bob Woodward’s new book, The Price of Politics, is not the incompleteness of Barack Obama. It is that cutting spending and long-term government borrowing is almost impossibly hard – even in America where there is strong political pressure to restrict the size of the State.”
Both Republicans and Democrats appear to have concluded that their best strategy is to make their supporters feel more intensely committed and thus more likely to vote. For Mr Obama that means women, the young and African-Americans, for Mr Romney it means white working men, evangelicals, talk radio listeners and the better-off.
This is a questionable strategy. Democrats and Republicans have become more polarised and there are fewer of either of them. There has, instead, been a rise in the people that the political scientist James Stimson calls the Scorekeepers: pragmatic, coolly non-ideological, perfectly willing to shift from one party’s candidate to another. Where is the appeal to these people?”
“Whatever the niceties of economic logic, the only political defence of President Obama’s record on growth, unemployment and the economy is that things would have been much worse under a different leader. Even if true, that is not a very persuasive appeal. So the Democrats have decided to go with the “extremism” of the Republicans on social issues and to devote their convention next month to a defence of abortion rights. This is a bold strategy, but carries risks: first, polls have long shown that most Americans oppose abortion; second, many voters don’t like being confronted with the issue and tend to punish the party that forces them to think about it. That has been the Republicans for three decades; it may now be the Democrats.”
“The enemies of social justice are those who let debts run out of control and who oppose necessary reform. If Paul Ryan can convince people that he believes in state help, partly because of his personal experience, then people may trust him with the scalpel.”