Cameron echoes JFK in pitch for the centre
Gaby Hinsliff and Ned Temko
David Cameron will echo one of President John F Kennedy's most famous speeches today when he asks the British public to stop asking what the state can do for them and instead ask what they can do for each other.
In a bold bid for the political centre ground, the Tory leader will respond to criticism that he lacks big ideas by insisting that Conservatives through the ages have believed that individuals have a responsibility to others.
Which got me to thinking about how Republicans, or the right in general, will sugarcoat or otherwise stuff their real agendas and priorities when the audience is the general public.
Yeah, yeah, it's 'running toward the center' (or centre, as the Brits would have it) but given the gap between right-wing rhetoric at these points and the reality of how they govern, it's more dishonest than how Democrats seem to do it - which is to sell out to the corporatist, military-imperial complex and then they're in the center. Wheras the Republicans will do things like front their 2004 convention will all sorts of pro-choicers (Ahnold Schwartzenegger, Rudy Guliani) and then sit on Plan B contraceptives for as long as they can.
Back to Merrie Olde England - the Guardian, being a non-profit, and therefore less likely to be filtered (see Why We Blog) point out that first, this is the new media-friendly Tories, and when push comes to shove, they'll still put the rich before anyone else.
The phrasing - far removed from Margaret Thatcher's dictum that there is 'no such thing as society' - is reminiscent of JFK's stirring 1961 inaugural address, arguing that Americans should 'ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country'...
He faces continued pressure, however, from the right to offer tax cuts. John Redwood, the right-winger heading a policy commission on the economy, will demand lower taxes in a report also expected to back vouchers for nursery education, and even selling the road network into private ownership.
The last time we saw the true fangs of the US conservatives was the infamous 1992 Republican National Convention, where Pat Buchanan let the cat out of the bag. Buchanan, prefiguring today's no-holds-barred character assassination as well as ending one step short of endorsing the Racial Holy War (RAHOWA) of the neo-nazis. And Pat Robertson, in a fundraising letter, announcing the depths of his hatred of women and other transgressors...
The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America -- abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat -- that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's country...
...Friends, in those wonderful 25 weeks, the saddest days were the days of the bloody riot in LA, the worst in our history. But even out of that awful tragedy can come a message of hope.
Hours after the violence ended I visited the Army compound in south LA, where an officer of the 18th Cavalry, that had come to rescue the city, introduced me to two of his troopers. They could not have been 20 years old. He told them to recount their story.
They had come into LA late on the 2nd day, and they walked up a dark street, where the mob had looted and burned every building but one, a convalescent home for the aged. The mob was heading in, to ransack and loot the apartments of the terrified old men and women. When the troopers arrived, M-16s at the ready, the mob threatened and cursed, but the mob retreated. It had met the one thing that could stop it: force, rooted in justice, backed by courage.
Greater love than this hath no man than that he lay down his life for his friend. Here were 19-year-old boys ready to lay down their lives to stop a mob from molesting old people they did not even know. And as they took back the streets of LA, block by block, so we must take back our cities, and take back our culture, and take back our country.
"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." - 1992 Iowa fundraising letter
I only wish the feminist movement - which is pro-choice - was as pro-gay rights, pro-religious tolerance, and anti-capitalist as Robertson claims it is.