Presidential Politics: Is the Ideologue An Endangered Species?

Obama and Romney are clearly more pragmatists than ideologues, but are they both avoiding talking about what really needs to be done?

  • Share
  • Read Later
From left: Joseph Scherschel / Time Life Pictures; Getty Images (2)

From left: Barry Goldwater; George McGovern

The death of George McGovern this weekend, at the age of 90, offered us a brief moment of civility in an uncivil season. Republicans paid tribute to the senator and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee who had, for many on the right, embodied the worst excesses of post-World War II liberalism. Bob Dole and John McCain hailed him for a lifetime of service, and Democrats who defined themselves against McGovern’s unapologetic ideology — Gary Hart and Bill Clinton among them — honored the man who had helped draw them into politics in the first place.

(MORE: The American Quixote: The Death of George McGovern, 1922-2012)

In these final days of the 2012 campaign, there’s a lesson in the lives and legacies of McGovern and another presidential candidate who also endured one of the biggest electoral losses in modern history: the right-wing Barry Goldwater. Goldwater was defeated in a landslide by incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. In 1972, incumbent Richard Nixon defeated McGovern, also in a landslide. Both McGovern and Goldwater came to be seen in better lights as the years went by, and, in the end, both are remembered for remaining true to their unabashed politics.

Roughly put, American politics has been driven by two kinds of practitioners of the craft: the ideologues and the pragmatists. The categories are necessarily imprecise, but the distinction can be a useful one in assessing the candidates of the moment. Political movements tend to succeed when an ideologue sets the stage for a pragmatist of the same essential disposition to carry on the work in a more politically palatable way. So it was with Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, and so it was with McGovern and Bill Clinton. One thing is clear about 2012: neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney is a Goldwater or a McGovern, destined to lose because of an unflinching philosophical creed. So the question is whether either man is a Clinton or a Reagan, a pragmatist likely to succeed by working within existing traditions.

(MORE: The Decline of the WASP President)

Goldwater introduced ideas in the 1964 campaign that were ultimately carried into action by Reagan, who won the presidency sixteen years later. Writing in The New York Times when Goldwater died in 1998, Adam Clymer observed that the Arizonan had “accepted his defeat with likable equanimity. ‘When you’ve lost an election by that much,’ he observed ruefully, ‘it isn’t the case of whether you made the wrong speech or wore the wrong necktie. It was just the wrong time.’ He could even joke about the press: ‘I’ve often said that if I hadn’t known Barry Goldwater in 1964 and I had to depend on the press and the cartoons, I’d have voted against the son of a bitch.’” The SOB’s essential view that the first question of governance ought to be what the market can do rather than what the state can do, however, became the prevailing ethos of the country after 1981.

(MORE: The Real Difference Between Obama and Romney: The Role of Government)

McGovern’s 1972 campaign was chaotic, but he did represent the great Democratic tradition of FDR, Truman, and Stevenson that the first obligation of the state was to care for the less fortunate. “By the time he ran for President in 1972, Sen. McGovern was not only a hero in war, but a stalwart voice for peace in Vietnam,” said President Clinton in awarding McGovern the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000. “Hillary and I and several others in this room … were honored to embrace his conviction that we could move our country forward. For decades, his conviction never wavered.” Still, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and, in 2008, Barack Obama won national elections by arguing, usually implicitly, that they were not McGovern Democrats but, in Clinton’s case, New Democrats. Still, the essential motivating force of the Democratic Party—that government can be a force for good — was, and is, rooted in the tradition McGovern embodied.

(MORE: Romney, Obama, and the New Culture War Over Fairness)

This election year is neither a 1964 nor a 1972. The race is close, the issues separating the two candidates much narrower than those that defined the Johnson-Goldwater and the Nixon-McGovern campaigns. Given the campaign still unfolding, it’s clear that neither nominee really wants to be as candid and as far-reaching in their arguments about what needs to be done in terms of taxes and spending. So we know they aren’t ideologues. The best we can hope for is that the winner proves to be an effective pragmatist.

5 comments
nooralam33
nooralam33

کراچی (اسٹاف رپورٹر) سپریم کورٹ نے اس کی رجسٹری میں کراچی میں امن و امان کی کیس کی سماعت، سندھ ڈانٹاایڈووکیٹنے کراچی میں موت میں مرنے والوں کی تعداد کے بارے میں ایک عدالت کےاستفسار پر جواب جنرل (AG)، کے طور پر وہ نے tersely نے کہا کہ آج سکور چھتھی، جیو نیوز کی رپورٹ.جسٹس سرمد جلال عثمانی نے AG جواب کے بعد غصے نے کہا کہ لوگوں کی موت میچ گول کہ چوکے اور sixers کیا جا رہا ہے یہاں مارا تھا؟جسٹسانور ظہیر جمالی، جو سماعت کے دوران پانچ رکنی بنچ بڑھ رہی ہے، نے کہا ہےکہ بھتہ خوری کی لعنت اس حد تک کہ علاقوں میں تقسیم کیا گیا ہے میں اضافہہوا ہے - کوئی سیاسی بنیاد پر علاقوں جاتے موجود ہیں - ایک سیاسی کارکننہیں کر سکتا دوسرےحملے علاقے اس سال اور بھتہ خوری واقعات تاجر ہیں ھدف نہیں کیا جا رہا ہےتاجر یا صنعتکار مشکل سے محفوظ ہے ایک ہے جو بھتہ خوری رقم ادا نہیں کر رہاہے.ڈیجی رینجرز، جب جسٹس انور Zaher جمالی کی طرف سے پوچھ گچھ، نے عدالت کوبتایا کہ ہم نے صبح اور شام کے لئے اضافی فورس تعینات کی ہے اور فوریکارروائی جرائم پیشہ افراد کے بارے میں معلومات پر کی جا رہی ہے.جسٹسامیر ہانی مداخلت مسلم نے کہا کہ آپ نے مجرموں کو پکڑ اور انہیں پولیس کےحوالے کر پکڑنے کے لئے، نہ تو آپ کو رپورٹ کریں کر سکتے ہیں اور نہ ہی چارجشیٹ پیش کر سکتے ہیں، ان کا ایک طریقہ فراہم کرتا ہے. انہوں نے پوچھا کیا قدم تھا کہ صنعتکاروں کی سیکورٹی کے لئے لے جایا گیا ہے --- کہ کیا آپ کے ذہن میں کوئی دباؤ یا مشکل ہے؟جسٹسعارف خلجی نے ایک موقع پر سندھ آئی جی سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے نے کہا ہے کہبدقسمتی سے نااہل لوگوں کو ہر جگہ بھرتی --- باصلاحیت افراد کا موقع نہیںملتا. سندھ آئی جی نے عدالت کو بتایا کہ پولیس کو سیاسی طور پر مضبوط افسر کا حکم ہے کہ افسر آپ کو منتقل کر سکتے ہیں پر عمل نہیں کریں گے.جسٹسانور ظہیر جمالی نے پوچھا کہ کیا میں ناکامی کی بڑی وجہ سیاسی مداخلت کسطرح بہت سے پولیس افسران کو سیاسی حمایت کی تصدیق کی ملکیت ہے؟سندھ آئی جی نے جواب دیا کہ وہ ایک ہفتے کے اندر اندر تمام افسران کی خدمت کتاب تیار کرنے کی ہدایت کی ہے.جسٹسانور نے کہا ہے کہ ہتھیار رکھنے والوں کے ہزاروں کی تعداد میں اب تک ہلاکہو گئے، لیکن ان کے لائسنس ہتھیاروں کے اندراج کے لیے اشتہارات استعمالمسئلہ کے تحت ہیں لائسنس چھ ماہ میں رجسٹرڈ نہیں ہے منسوخ یا جانا چاہئےجرمانہ عائد لائسنس. کےہتھیاروں سے ایم پی اے اور 300 پر ایم این اے 200 کے لائسنس کے اجراء کےکوٹہ کرپشن ان لوگوں لائسنس یہاں 8/10 افراد کے قاتلوں کو جاری کی طرف سےحاصل کرنے کے لئے ان کے ووٹ بینک مضبوط کرنا چاہتے ہیں بھی کیا گیا ہےہتھیاروں کے لئے لائسنس جاری کئے.ایڈیشنل چیف سیکریٹری داخلہ وسیم احمد نے عدالت کو بتایا کہ وزیر اعلی کے ہتھیار کوٹہ لامحدود ہے.جسٹسخلجی نے ایڈیشنل چیف سیکرٹری سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے عارف نے کہا کہ موجودہ سالکس طرح آپ کا کہنا ہے کہ امن و امان کی صورتحال ہے کر سکتے ہیں beter اسمیں شہریوں کی آپ کو میں ناکام رہے ہیں کو تحفظ فراہم کرنے کے لئے پولیس کیذمہ داری ہے میں 1897 افراد ہلاک ہو گئے اس یہ ہتھیار حاصل کرنے اور خود کی حفاظت شہری کی ذمہ داری نہیں ہے.جسٹسامیر ہانی نے ایڈیشنل چیف سیکرٹری سے کہا کہ وہ تسلیم کرتا ہوں کہ تم اپنےآپ کو اتنا کمزور ہے کہ آپ کو کنٹرول کرنے کے لئے نہیں کرنا چاہتا ہو یہاگر آپ پولیس درست تو ہو جاتا ہے معاملہ resolved.by nooralam کراچیپاکستان date24/10/2012 ہو سکتا ہے

nooralam33
nooralam33

KARACHI:The Supreme Court while hearing the Karachi law and order case at itsRegistry here, reprimanded Sindh Advocate General (AG) on his reply to acourt’s query about the death toll in Karachi death, as he terselysaid today’s score was six, Geo News reported. JusticeSarmad Jalal Usmani after the AG’s reply angrily said that was thepeople’s death match scoring—whether fours and sixers were being hithere?  Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, who is heading thefive-member bench, during the hearing said that the menace of extortionhas increased to such an extent that the areas have been divided-- no goareas exist on political basis-- one political worker cannot go toanother’s territory—this year more strikes and extortion incidentsoccurred—the trader are being targeted—no trader or industrialist issafe—hardly there is one who is not paying extortion money. DGRangers, when questioned by Justice Anwar Zaher Jamali, told the courtthat we have deployed additional force for the morning and evening andimmediate action is being taken on information about criminals.  JusticeAmir Hani Muslim intervening said that you catch hold of the criminalsand hand them over to the police, neither you can register the reportnor present the charge sheet, this gives them a way out. He furtherinquired what steps had been taken for the security of theindustrialists---whether you have any pressure or difficulty? JusticeArif Khilji on one occasion addressing Sindh IG said that unfortunatelyinept people are recruited everywhere---meritorious persons do not get achance. Sindh IG told the court that the police officer politicallystrong would not obey the orders—may be that officer can get youtransferred. Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali inquired whetherthe major reason of failure is political intervention—how many policeofficers possess confirmed political support?  Sindh IG replied that he has directed to prepare the service book of all the officers within a week. JusticeAnwar said that thousands of weapons holders have by now died, buttheir licenses are under use—issue advertisements for registering theweapons licenses—the licenses not registered in six month should becancelled or imposed penalty. The quota of issuance of weapons’ 200licenses to MPA and 300 to MNA is corruption—these people want to gettheir vote bank strengthened by issuing licenses—here murderers of 8/10persons have also been issued licenses for weapons. Additional chief secretary home, Wasim Ahmad told the court that chief minister’s weapon quota is unlimited.  JusticeKhilji Arif addressing the additional chief secretary said that 1897persons died in the current year—how can you say that law and ordersituation is beter—it is the duty of the police to provide security tothe citizens—you have failed in this—it is not the duty of the citizento obtain weapon and protect themselves. Justice Amir Haniasked additional chief secretary to accept that you are yourself soweak that you do not want to control it—if your police gets right thenthe matter could be resolved.Today'sNewspaperTop storyNationalWorldBusinessSportsKarachiLahoreIslamabadPeshawarEditorialOpinionNewspostRelated StoriesPolice set to register computerized FIRs

nooralam33
nooralam33

George McGovern's death at the end of this week, 90 years old, We offer a rough season in a brief moment of civilization. RepublicanSenator and 1972 Democratic presidential candidate who appreciated, formany on the right, post-World War II liberalism embodied the worstexcesses. BobDole and John McCain praised for his lifetime of service, and Democratsdescribe themselves against McGovern unapologetic theory - between GaryHart and Bill Clinton - the man who helped politics in the first place was given attention.(More: U.S. Quixote: George McGovern, 1922-2012 Death)Right-wingBarry Goldwater: 2012 campaign in these last days, McGovern's life andmind is a lesson and a presidential candidate in modern history who isone of the biggest electoral losses suffered. Current Lyndon B. Goldwater Johnson was defeated by a large majority in 1964. In 1972, the Richard Nixon defeated McGovern in a landslide. McGovernand Goldwater came to be seen as in the best light years went by, and,finally, both remember for the rest of his unabashed politics is true.Ideas and pragmatists: Approximately put, American politics physicians ships had been driven by two types. Categories are imprecise necessary, but moment distinction may be useful in determining candidates.Goldwater and Ronald Reagan was with him, and it was with McGovern and Bill Clinton. About2012 one thing is clear: neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney Goldwateror McGovern, an unflinching belief in philosophical lost cause destiny.The question is if either Clinton or Reagan man, pragmatist by working within existing traditions is likely to be successful.(: Wasp president's fall)Goldwater1964 campaign, which ultimately Reagan, who won the presidency insixteen years later by the ideas introduced in the end. NewYork Times writer died in the Goldwater 1998, Adam Clymer said theArizonan "likable accepted defeat with equanimity., When you have lostthat election," he observed ruefully, it's the wrong address or wearinga necktie is not wrong. was just at the wrong time, they can joke aboutit: "I have often said that if I did not know Barry Goldwater in 1964on the press and cartoons had to, I would vote. son of a bitch ". Thefirst question must SOB governance perspective, the market can do whatit should do, however, since 1981, has become the country's currentvalues.(: Real difference between Obama and Romney: The Role of Government)McGovern1972 campaign was chaotic, but they FDR, Truman and Stevenson, thegreat democratic tradition, the state's first responsibility was to carefor the less fortunate are represented. Hesaid that when he ran for president in 1972, Sen. McGovern, a hero inthe war, but for peace in Vietnam was not a leader voice, "McGovern 2000President Clinton in the Presidential Medal of Freedom said.Clinton and many people in this room ... the punishment that we canmove our country forward was awarded to embrace. decades for, theconviction never wavered, he Despitethe Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and, in 2008, Barack Obama won thenational election by arguing, usually implicitly, that they were notMcGovern Democrats, but Clinton's case, the New Democrats. Still,that party must encourage democratic government power can be a forcefor good - was, and is, rooted in tradition embodied McGovern.(: Romney, Obama, and the new culture war over Fairness)This election year is either 1972 or in 1964. The race is close, the two candidates who explain Johnson, Goldwater and McGovern at campaigns from Nixon.If we know that they are not theories. The best we can hope for is that the winner has proven an effective pragmatist.nooralam Karachi Pakistan

dunce
dunce

After he got out of office McGovern opened a bed and breafast that taught him how much govt. was a burden on business and confessed had he known while he was in office, his votes would have been much different. Too bad all his mistakes became the law of the land.

mark120953
mark120953

It seemed George McGovern's voice was ignored for much of the post 1972 move to the center political landscape.There are lots of foodbanks and school lunch programs but public schools are on the skids as more parents choose charter schools.Food stamps are villified still. Yet,George quietly made the case for changes that would have kept our country safer from enemies abroad and help those in need at home and it would not have increased debt as the Pentagon budget would have been reduced. Forty years later when most of us campaign volunteers are becoming greyer and thinking about our golden years,if we are lucky to have savings,the sense that our country was taken over by very wealthy Nixon like associates remains and even the Obama campaign managers waste too much money on silly tv ads instead of telling voters in Florida and Ohio etc.,that the common sense of George McGovern could help insure a better future.