Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The Republican free-for-all
It is also good for Mike Huckabee, who benefits from a more open race. It is a particular boost for Rudy Giuliani - whose waiting for Florida strategy risked seeing him look out before he was in. And perhaps the biggest winners are the Democrats.
Romney needed to win to survive. This was a different Romney to that offered in Iowa - with the focus on economics and managerial strengths (a potential USP for his candidacy) rather than the social conservative convictions which he has not held for very long. That suited Michigan well - and Romney made effective use of his 'favourite son' status, his father having been Governor to link to his economic issues.
While Romney's economic argument against McCain was popular in Michigan, it doesn't strike me as credible. McCain said he would tell the truth; that some of the auto and manufacturing jobs would not come back, and the emphasis should be on the skills workers need. It is the argument Bill Clinton used effectively in the 1992 primaries. As his Trade Secretary Robert Reich argued, an effective response to global economic change depends on persuading voters that neither 'save the jobs' (the protectionist left) nor 'let them drown' (the free market right) works. 'Train the workers' is an effective middle
Romney challenged the idea that some of these jobs won't be comong back as defeatist. From the self-styled inheritor of the Reagan coalition, this is pure opportunism.
As the Washington clocks strike twelve on 20th January 2009, listen carefully and you might just hear a swooshing sigh of relief travel around the world. The Bush Presidency will not leave the legacy its architects intended. But a critique of what should have been done differently since 2001 is not enough. This blog is about the new ideas which can create a 'new multilateralism' to tackle the global challenges we face.