Coffee House The View from 22

The View from 22 – Barack Obama’s hollow victory and remodernising the Tories

8 November 2012

Is there something underwhelming about Obama’s reelection? In this week’s cover feature, John O’Sullivan discusses impact of changing demographics of the America electorate and the challenges this poses for the Republicans in 2016. On the latest View from 22 podcast, the Spectator’s assistant editor Freddy Gray and political editor James Forsyth explain why the American right needs to rediscover its purpose:

‘I think eight years ago there was a lot of talk of ‘values voters’ and how Karl Rove had pulled off this amazing masterstroke talking about the culture of life without scaring off people who might be worried about being anti-abortion. But I think that now seems incredibly out of date as an analysis’

‘Part of the problem is self-inflicted wounds on the Republican party. I think the US, the abortion argument is difficult but winnable. When you get into the contraception argument this time around, that is much more difficult and part of the problem for the modern day Republican party is that they consistently makes the perfect from the enemy of the good.

‘Bush could actually hold the evangelical Christians together because he was actually an evangelical Christian. That’s much more difficult for Romney and he felt obliged to go further than was politically advisable.’

James Forsyth also discusses his interview with the founder of Policy Exchange, top Tory moderniser and planning minister Nick Boles and the shift in the Tories’ strategy for 2015:

‘Nick is one of the most important modernisers in the Tory party. What I felt was particularly interesting [about the interview] was how frank about what they got wrong. He essentially concedes they lacked a clear economic message. He said ‘look, I’m not going to plead we didn’t know there was an economic crash coming, but we got carried away in the zeitgeist. There was too much focus on quality of life issues”.


And do our guests think Nadine Dorries’ trip into the jungle will end her career? Listen with the embedded player below to find out what we can expect to see from Dories for the rest of this parliament. You can also have the latest podcast delivered straight to your machine by subscribing through iTunes. As ever, we’d love to hear what you think, good or bad.

The View from 22 – 8 November 2012. Length 23:46
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  • 1965doc

    This wasn’t a “hollow victory”, it was a resounding one. Thank goodness we are spared Romney, as WW3 would probably have been started within a few weeks had he been.

  • Heath

    The embedded and mp3 versions are fucked… good job, team.

    • Heath

      And still…

      • Tim Reed

        Still can’t download!

  • Damian Buckley

    There’s an element of wishful thinking in the Spectator’s analysis of the Obama win. If Romney had won, you would have portrayed it as a straightforward win for the Right. If Obama won you were always going to portray it as a win for incumbents. And your man’s the incumbent here.

    You massively exaggerate the extent to which Cameron can draw parallels with Obama. For a start, Obama explicitly endorses Balls’ economic strategy, not Osborne’s. Secondly, Obama has actually recovered the ground lost in the recession, whereas our economy is still smaller than it was when Lehman went belly up. Thirdly, Obama is the candidate of disadvantaged minorities, not Old Etonians. Fourthly, there is no chance Obama will hit the campaign trail with Cameron to pay him back for the ball game in Ohio. That was, frankly, fantasy, as was the idea that Conservatives were rooting for Obama. Anyone who reads this (usually) brilliant newspaper knows different.

    The incumbency factor has some relevance, and Cameron also shares Obama’s advantages in communication and charisma over his opponent. I would imagine that Cameron is still more likely to be PM post-2015 than Ed Miliband. But make no mistake about it: the Labour party wanted an Obama win, not just because he’s from the Left, but because it will be a slight boost to their chances at the next general election.

    • redmary2

      David Con-man Cam could not win in 2010 against a supposedly unpopular Labour government ( which BTW) I don’t think they were, So how is he going to win in 2015, without the Lib- Dem’s to prop him up,?

      • Damian Buckley

        Cameron did win the election, he just didn’t win a majority.

        Three rules of general elections: 1) no sitting PM ever increases his share of the vote (not even Thatcher or Blair); 2) no opposition ever wins a majority without getting a poll lead of 20% at some stage in the cycle; 3) the junior partner in a coalition always gets crushed next time out.

        I think 1) is the rule most likely to get broken in 2015.

  • paulus

    Nonsense, you dont go to the home town of ford and tell them bankrupcy is an option!

    You dont tell women they wont concieve if they dont want to, afer they have been raped!

    you dont tell potential voters your going to recind their citzenship.

    It is dilusion on a scale that hasnt been seen since the Berlin bunker and Adolf was moving around airfix tanks, Its nonsense.

    Every half wit is now saying gay marriage was the crucial and deciding factor in the election, thats what must be the topic of conversation in every bar and around every family table in America. All the latinos and the blacks are pro gay marriage. stupid stupid stupid.

    When you have some weirdo tipping up from area 54, telling you that bombing Iran and Syria is going to make a different to you life in the mid west, and your a fucking parasite, even though you work seventy hours a week, how did that message not resonate?

    Conservatism is in the hands of freaks, weirdos, and the unhinged.Every sicko with a ham radio is pumping out vile nonsense from their shack in the mountains whilst their 14 yr old bride is washing clothes: bare foot.

    Conservatism is about holding values, values that are universal:dignity, respect, honour.When did that become particular to one race? one gender? what white men revere everyone else ask only to be afforded.

    This is not a defeat for conservatism only the parasites who speak for it.

    Get rid of the mormons and the bible bashing protestants, only a socially inclusive conservatism, will win. Paul Ryan, you must prepare and search your soul, for the greatest country in the world must now live up to that epitath

  • HooksLaw

    The American Right need to lose their nut jobs.

    • Vulture

      Your vocabulary needs expanding Trevor. The words ‘nut jobs’ and ‘thick’ recur too often in your repetitive posts. When will you realise that they apply to you? Now go off and have your afternoon lie-down, there’s a good old fellow.

  • Robert Dammers

    There was no “contraception argument”. No-one had mentioned it, no-one had any thoughts about it from a legislative point of view (Santorum had, from a personal morality POV, but that’s another matter). It became an issue because Obama needed something, anything, to divert attention from the economic disaster. So his surrogate employed by CNN, George Stephanopoulos, threw it in as a question at a Republican Primary debate, as the first shot in the “War on Women”, a war declared and sustained by the Obama campaign. And they followed through with a campaign that treated women as sex objects, no more than the sum of their organs. And it seems to have worked. Feminists should have been weeping in shame and anger, but instead they answered Bill Clinton’s (!) request to vote for Obama.

    The world no longer needs satire.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Well dissected, my good man.

      Yes, the Left seized on the “contraception” issue and the “war on women” as a distraction from their failures these past 6 years. The 2010 shellacking sent them into a panic, and they knew 2012 would be similar unless they fabricated a new narrative somehow. So they did. But it’s a purely synthetic narrative, and I expect the 2014 offyear election to be another shellacking.

  • TomTom

    Politics is now simply Kabuki Theatre and irrelevant to real lives except in a negative way. Obama is now freed up to play war games in the Middle East when Saudi and Qatar tell him what walk-on role they have for the USA. Japan will find out if the USA is reliable or if they need to put Fukushima reactors in rockets to warn off China. Quite where the USA is headed after 4 years of TARP creating Monster Banks administering Government Welfare Programs is unclear……nor where $1 Trillion in College Loans Debt is taking the USA.

    Obama should have sympathy because he will face destruction in the second term as most Us Presidents do

    • HooksLaw

      We should run a book on how long it will be before people start talkinjg about ‘legacy’.

      Obama has spent 4 years propping up the economy to get re-elected. Now he has to do something about it. Will he do the right thing irrespective of electoral calculus or will he push the problem down the line?

      The Democrat party now of course have as big a problem as the Republicans. Who to select next time?
      The Republicans out to have it easiest – select someone called Bush.

  • timinsingapore

    Why do you think the Obama victory was ‘hollow’ (see above)? A certain Janet Daley/Karl Rove-like grudgingness? Have you become the hard-copy organ of Fox News?

    • Vulture

      I suppose he thinks its hollow because of the shitstorm that Obama is heading into. The US is bankrupt and falling off that hackneyed fiscal cliff – helped over the edge of Oby’s unaffordable Health Care.. It is being overhauled by China as the world’s No. 1 economic and military superpower, who have just quietly chosen their new faceless leader ( Mr Hu He?) without the inconvenience and expense of an election; and there is an almost certain regional war coming during the next four years in the Middle East; plus the equally near certainty of the Eurozone dragging the US back into recession. Sounds like a whole lotta fun, doesn’t it?

      Viewing the whole picture, I bet ole Mittens will say a prayer of gratitude to his Mormon God that he lost.

    • Augustus

      Perhaps it’s a hollow victory for America because, after Obama and the Democratic Party engaged in underhanded, nasty tactics, they can’t expect the same party they vilified for months to work so willingly with them.

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