Letter to the editor
Financial Times – April 16, 2010
Republicans are in the White House
From Mr Doug Henwood.
Sir, Clive Crook’s call (April 12) for a revival of an old-style GOP opposition is a little strange, since Barack Obama himself is a liberal Republican. Or maybe not so liberal a Republican.
Consider the healthcare bill. The individual mandate has its origins in the Nixon administration’s response to Teddy Kennedy’s single-payer bill in the early 1970s. The insurance marketplace has its roots in the American Enterprise Institute’s response to Bill Clinton’s healthcare scheme. Speaking of Mr Clinton, wasn’t it he who said “we’re all Eisenhower Republicans here”? And he wasn’t too happy about it.
The not-so-liberal Republican part is most visible in education policy. President Obama has continued George W. Bush’s “No child left behind” emphasis on testing and charter schools, and has even taken up attacking teachers’ unions.
Arne Duncan, his education secretary, has declared in terms indistinguishable from Milton Friedman’s that Hurricane Katrina was the best thing that ever happened to the New Orleans school system because it furthered that quasi-privatisation agenda.
Who needs “moderate” Republicans in opposition when they’re already in power?
Left Business Observer,
Brooklyn, NY, US