Which presidential candidate is Jon Stewart supporting?
politics : Washington before the change
Once again, it was comedian Jon Stewart who exposed things. In his popular satirical news program "The Daily Show" he showed excerpts from the nomination convention of the Republican Party. Its presidential candidate, John McCain, announced that he would clean up after an election victory in Washington, D. C.: The citizens had to be at the center of politics again, and problems had to be solved instead of leaving them behind for future generations. To do this, it is necessary to bring about a fundamental change in the way in which the American capital is governed. "Change is coming," was McCain's message. Such sentences were not only familiar to Stewart. “Change” - change or change - is the central message of Barack Obama, and it was also at the center of the speech he had given a few days before McCain at the Democratic Party Conference: After eight years of “non-functioning policy in Washington and the failed one Politics of George W. Bush ", let it be time to change America. “The change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change is coming to Washington, "announced Obama.
Such sentences also sounded familiar to Jon Stewart. This was followed by a video clip of another presidential candidate who had also stood up to bring about change: After eight years with Bill Clinton, the nation was "ready for change" and he himself would bring "courtesy and respect" back into politics, according to George W Bush in 2000. One could go back further: “Change” has been one of the most important promises in the US election campaign for decades. In 1960, John F. Kennedy promised to get the country moving again on behalf of the "new generation" of Americans. In 1992, Bill Clinton demanded that the way Washington is governed must fundamentally change: "It is time for change."
The fact that Americans want a different policy is shown by the low approval rate for President Bush, which has been around 30 percent for many months. In fact, only one in five Americans is satisfied with the work of Congress. It has been a tradition since the USA was founded to take a very critical view of the federal government and the capital. After economic and social reforms of the Progressives at the beginning of the 20th century, but even more so due to Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and reform programs of Democratic presidents like Lyndon B. Johnson, criticism of "Washington", which became more and more a synonym, grew of “big government” and wasting money, of lobbyism and corruption. In his inaugural address in 1981, Ronald Reagan claimed that government was not the solution to problems, it was the problem itself. Four years earlier, Jimmy Carter had come out explicitly as someone who was not part of the capital's establishment. The fact that he did not want to belong during his tenure was a major problem of his presidency. In 2000, George Bush repeatedly pointed out that he had his experience in politics outside of Washington, which made him a different kind of national politician.
After Barack Obama, John McCain has now also written change on his flags and was cheered for it at the party congress. That may come as a surprise, after all, a Republican has been in the White House for eight years, and the party also dominated Congress from 2002 to 2007, of which McCain has been a member since 1982. But McCain tries to cultivate his image as an independent mind, as a Maverick, who opposed the party and the president on important issues and cooperated with the Democrats. According to his candidate for the vice presidency, Sarah Palin, he is not one who runs with the “Washington herd”. This image is his big pound, especially outside of the regular Republican electorate, even if the Democrats never tire of pointing out that he supported Bush's policies in 90 percent of the votes. Obama also cultivates his "otherness", which is true at least with regard to his skin color: he is not the typical candidate for the presidency, if only because of his background, and he did not spend his professional life on the "corridors of Washington".
The popular and problematic demonization of the political establishment and "Washington" can be found in both parties. But the financial and economic crisis in the United States reveals another element of American “ideology” that also runs through history: American citizens and companies call for “the state” in the event of natural disasters or economic decline.
The author is a professor at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North America
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