A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Madness of the Republican Right

Real quotes from Mitt Romney's concession speech, proving the Republican right are several sandwiches short of a picnic:

"I am convinced that unless America changes course, we will become the France of the 21st century.

The threat to our culture comes from within. The 1960’s welfare programs created a culture of poverty. Some think we won that battle when we reformed welfare, but the liberals haven’t given up. At every turn, they try to substitute government largesse for individual responsibility. They fight to strip work requirements from welfare, to put more people on Medicaid, and to remove more and more people from having to pay any income tax whatsoever. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is a culture-killing drug—we have got to fight it like the poison it is!

The attack on faith and religion is no less relentless. And tolerance for pornography—even celebration of it—and sexual promiscuity, combined with the twisted incentives of government welfare programs have led to today’s grim realities: 68% of African American children are born out-of-wedlock, 45% of Hispanic children, and 25% of White children. How much harder it is for these children to succeed in school—and in life. A nation built on the principles of the founding fathers cannot long stand when its children are raised without fathers in the home.

Europe is facing a demographic disaster. That is the inevitable product of weakened faith in the Creator, failed families, disrespect for the sanctity of human life and eroded morality. Some reason that culture is merely an accessory to America’s vitality; we know that it is the source of our strength. And we are not dissuaded by the snickers and knowing glances when we stand up for family values, and morality, and culture. We will always be honored to stand on principle and to stand for principle.

Soon, the face of liberalism in America will have a new name. Whether it is Barack or Hillary, the result would be the same if they were to win the Presidency. The opponents of American culture would push the throttle, devising new justifications for judges to depart from the constitution. Economic neophytes would layer heavier and heavier burdens on employers and families, slowing our economy and opening the way for foreign competition to further erode our lead.

Even though we face an uphill fight, I know that many in this room are fully behind my campaign.” You are with me all the way to the convention. Fight on, just like Ronald Reagan did in 1976. But there is an important difference from 1976: today… we are a nation at war.

And Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the war on terror. They would retreat and declare defeat. And the consequence of that would be devastating. It would mean attacks on America, launched from safe havens that make Afghanistan under the Taliban look like child’s play. About this, I have no doubt.

If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

America must remain, as it has always been, the hope of the earth."



Anonymous Rich said...

Democracy in America is more alive and more healthy than it have ever been. You're argument that Britian will be the France of the 21st Century is a little weird.

When it comes to the ballot box we have less choice and less than half of the population vote...please can you substantiate your claim that Britain is more democratic.

9:43 pm, February 08, 2008

Blogger Kris said...

Which bit's barking?

11:43 pm, February 08, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

"And Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the war on terror. They would retreat and declare defeat. And the consequence of that would be devastating. It would mean attacks on America, launched from safe havens that make Afghanistan under the Taliban look like child’s play. About this, I have no doubt."

I'm not sure these are the views of Barack and Hillary but to pull out would have fatal consequences. Not to mention the waste of men lost in the fight.

To be honest I really don't care that much about what happens over the pond. Not matter who wins the world will have to work with them just the same as we have to put up with Putin.

11:50 pm, February 08, 2008

Anonymous Zokko said...

'Democracy in America is more alive and more healthy than it have ( sic ) ever been."

What piffle. If you are a critic of George Bush, you cannot air your views in public without being reported to the authorities. Anti-war protest movements have been trampled on by the Washington jackboot. The Fox News Network will character assassinate you if you so much as whisper a complaint against the Bush administration. If that's democracy, I'll trade places with Winston Smith any day.

8:27 am, February 09, 2008

Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

Yep, this is totally mad. I've no idea why the moderates in the GOP were so up for throwing away their long term future for short-term electoral gain.

"I am convinced that unless America changes course, we will become the France of the 21st century."

What about France?

12:30 pm, February 09, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

I agree - utterly bonkers!

1:21 pm, February 09, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

My point really is that people treat elections more seriously in America than they do in the UK. In this sense they have a very healthy democracy.

The UK however is seeing increasing numbers of voter apathy. So democracy in the United States is comparatively healthy.

What will happen in the UK if less than 30% of people come out and vote...will it still be a democracy....I'm not convinced it will.

1:36 pm, February 09, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

I love the implication that France has stopped existing.

4:55 pm, February 09, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Rich, you couldn't be more wrong. Turnout in the US is the same or lower than in the UK. At the last 2 British general elections it was 59% and 61%. In the current US primaries turnout has varied from 53% in New Hampshire to just 19% in New York, with an average of 29% on Super Tuesday. In the last two Presidential elections - both closely fought unlike our last 2 general elections - turnout was 55% and 60%. The last two mid-term elections for Congress saw turnout of 39% and 41%.

France, so derided by Romney, had an 85% turnout for the Presidential election last year - without compulsory voting.

7:48 pm, February 09, 2008

Anonymous a very public sociologist said...

Good stuff. I see you've included a central premise of the neoliberal outlook - the myth of welfare dependency - in with the rest of Romney's spoutings. Have to say I am surprised. I had you down as a paid up supporter of the "free" market.

8:12 pm, February 09, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

The US measure turnout as a percentage of population though, don't they, as opposed to our percentage of registered voters?

9:39 pm, February 09, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

These are the adjusted figures for % of eligible voters. The figures are even lower using standard US % of adult population turnout figures.

9:45 pm, February 09, 2008

Anonymous Alun said...

Using registered voters as a way of measuring turnout in the U.S isn't a good idea as, for one or two reasons, an unusually low percentage of adults are actually registered to vote.

12:14 am, February 10, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Luke you are so wrong, the US has a huge turnout. The figures you are showing are the % of population and not registered voters.

Surely your eyes are telling you that an election takes America by storm. Just look at the media.

If anyone should should win it should be McCain. We are at war and will be for many years to come. We have to make decisions on Iran and maybe even Europe so a military man is by far the best choice.

I'm still officially on reserve and have recently had a letter regarding my return to Afganistan. We are desparately short of fighting fit men and if Iran kicks off then conscription will be almost certain.

This is no time to have a soft leader in the USA. The same applies to Europe and would welcome Blair as president....we need to show a united front. When we stand together no one can beat us.

1:37 pm, February 10, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

Even if what Rich had said were true, the idea that it's the percentage of registered voters who vote that shows the health of a democracy is bizarre. By that measurement, ancient Greece had a stronger democracy with women and slaves not being able to vote. If a large percentage of residents of voting-age are not registered, that is not a sign of a healthy democracy.

3:20 pm, February 10, 2008

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

"maybe even Europe"... ???

5:26 pm, February 10, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Thats is how democracy is measured. The right to vote and how voting influences decision making.

You could argue that Labour has actually weakened democracy in a number of ways.

A good example is the European treaty which is now officially conisdered to be the same as the constitution. Labour have not delivered on an elected promise.

5:29 pm, February 10, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


the raw data is all here - http://elections.gmu.edu/voter_turnout.htm

ignore the percentages and just look at the raw numbers voting and it will be apparent that voter turnout in the US is the same or worse than in the UK.

8:03 pm, February 10, 2008

Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

Bonkers indeed.

Can you imagine making a military alliance with such people?

12:37 pm, February 11, 2008

Blogger donpaskini said...

The only thing about comparing voter turnout in UK and USA is that we tend to vote in General/Local/Devolved elections in May and they tend to vote for the President/Senate/House in November.

Equally, in the USA a key part of election strategy on the ground involves lawyers and activists trying to stop people from voting, which probably has some negative effect on turnout, and is not a sign of a particularly healthy system of democracy.

3:49 pm, February 11, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:22 pm, February 11, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Rich, which end of you does the talking? What utter nonsense.

The US elections defiantly concern us as it is only the most important political job in the world; our foreign policy is tied to the US.

As for McCain, I like his gutsy Mum and he is pretty ballsy himself, but his politics are a different matter, which is why I am backing Obama (although Hillary has some good attributes). A McCain premiership would equal never ending war, to quote Obama

"The strength of our armed forces should be matched by the strength of our diplomacy".

To me that is what we want from a leader not some gun toting' robot.

As for the health of American democracy I agree with Luke, Zokko, Alun, Dunc and Donpaskini.

4:24 pm, February 11, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

America has many more opportunities TO vote, but actual turnouts tend to be lower than our own.

It will be interesting to see if an Obama candidacy really does shift out the black voters, as certainly blacks in the south don't vote in great numbers. White Southerners are largely republican and will remain so, but an enlarged black turnout may make a couple of the southern states more competitive.

12:03 am, February 12, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

You talk about left and right as if it was clear. The reality is that even in this country left has proven to be almost fascist. So to argue that McCain would mean never ending war is simply remarkable. McCain if anything is the man for ending this conflict quickly.

A huge debate on whether MPS should be bugged but hardly any mention of the thousands of people now being bugged because they are suspected of evading a tax or cheating benefits. A law passed and put forward by Labour.

Labour are now talking about an internet Ban for people suspected of illegal downloading...if that isn't fascism I don't know what is.


Another classic is the EU treaty, which is conveniently being hidden behind a barage of spin and headline grabbing news. Is it any suprise that we debtating bugging at a time when Britian is giving away 240 laws to the EU.

We will never have a democracy while voters and mps stick to the idea of party loyalty. Just because it's Labour then it must be ok....syndrome. The same applies to the conservatives. Such Staunched voters hinder democracy and we rely heavily on swing voters such as myself to win elections.

All the political parties are liars and cheats, it's our job as voters to prove that we have the guts to elect for change. I refuse to carry on voting Labour because it's Labour, the next time I vote it will be for the party that has the best chance of removing them.

The days of left and right are over.

11:01 am, February 12, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

What makes you think the Obama will end this conflict and if he does what are the consequences. The consequences will be a 3rd World War and it will start in the middle east.

Ravi, there is one thing you have forgot. If Iran gets close to a bomb then Israel will nuke Iran and any country that looks like a threat. Israel have said this publically.


I don't want to have to fight that war....i'd prefer to knock out smaller threats such as Iran.

Israel have more nuclear war heads than the whole of Europe. They have some of the best trained pilots and special forces. This country is the clinch pin for peace in the middle east. Israel will not budge until the threat of Iran has been removed.

12:42 pm, February 12, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Iraq= no WMD = Invasion of US forces
N Korea = WMD (and China as its best friend) = No threat of invasion

I think nuclear weapons are a waste of money and a disgusting choice of weapon (wiping out the lives of innocents at the push of a button), but if having a nuclear weapon prevents countries like the US from invading me I’ll take that choice.
Creating dialogue with our “enemies” is the way forward; it might actually be a better way at halting the dissemination of nuclear weapons across the globe and a better strategy to deal with the terrorist threat especially if we are seen to deal fairly with the middle east problem.

1:41 pm, February 12, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

Which just goes to prove that the mistake was allowing the Zionist state of Israel to exist in the first place, at least in that geographical position.

I don;t think it can continue, long-term, without it being the destabilising influence suggested.

4:26 pm, February 12, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Maybe? but it's not the time for regrets and Israel is an extremely powerful ally, this is one country you do not want to upset.

MOSSAD has agents across the globe and it's one of the few agencies that has managed to infilitrate Islamic terrorist cells.

This is why so much effort is being made to keep the middle east stable. We don't want Israel to engage these enemies and cause another world war.

Believe me if Israel kicks off then there isn't one arab country that has the ability to stand up against the might of Israel. I have no doubt at all that Korea would get involved and then you have a nuclear shit storm. Who knows what side Putin will take?

My opinion is that who ever gets into power over the pond will adopt the same policy....as there simply is no alternative and the powers behind politics will make sure of this.

5:08 pm, February 12, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Israel is on a very tight leash, the US supports her in every way it can, which means a change in US policy towards Israel will curtail any idea of a premptive strike.

Lets not forget US dependency on oil and her other interests in the Middle East. With the US economy heading for recession the last thing it wants is the price of crude shooting up, which is what will happen if Israel begins beating the war drum.

5:21 pm, February 12, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Sorry Rich I just reread some of your other revelations. I don't doubt Russia will want to be involved (she has been selling
Iran nuclear technology) but where does Korea fit in? Please explain?!?

5:25 pm, February 12, 2008

Anonymous tory pete said...

Luke, I'm sorry to say this, but you've completely lost the plot and got it totally wrong on this one.

What were you thinking? The likes of Tom Miller, Doctor Dunc and Ravi are backing you. They're all deranged, cowardly anti-Semitic, pro-terrorist lefties from the John McDonnell/Jon Cruddas camp.

Whose side are you on, Luke? Good or mad?

6:50 pm, February 12, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Ravi, how do you think world wars start? Only a two months ago Israel bombed a Korean funded installation in the Middle East. I'm shocked that you're not aware of these links.

America has very little control over Israel, if anything it's the other way round. Israel will not be pushed around.

Peace in the middle east is fragile. If we lose diplomatic links with Israel then we lose control completely.

9:17 pm, February 12, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Are you talking about the bombing of a Syrian "nuclear facility" in September 2007?

All they did was complain about the israelis entering Syrian airspace, in fact there is very little they can do with the US and the S koreans across the DMZ watching their troop deployments.

With regards to US influence I think the fact Israel brought down its settlements and military bases in Gaza at the same time as Bush was making it very clear about backing the creation of a viable palestinian state, as well as the efforts the US made to make sure there was a ceasefire in the Lebanon theatre are pretty indicative of influence.

1:29 pm, February 13, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

That facility was funded by Korea Ravi. I'm not sure whether you remember the Six Day war. Israel are more than able to take on the whole of the middle east if they want to.

Are you not suspicious why these states are seeking nuclear weapns. And why is Korea funding such projects?

Dangerous times Ravi, and being in the Navy you should know this.

11:55 pm, February 13, 2008


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