Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Conservative Party and Primaries: John McCain reminds me of Ken Clarke

John McCain is an interesting figure. An experienced politician who seems to be winning a lot of popular support in the primaries, yet who is nevetheless despised by the Republican party establishment for being out of step with their own ideology.

He rather reminds me of Ken Clarke, a former British chancellor of the Excheqeur (the man in charge of the government's budget) and Conservative politician.

Ken Clarke is highly experienced and has a good deal of popularity with the electorate. There are few parlimentarians as strong as him in Commons debates. Yet Ken Clarke is loathed by the Conservative party establishment because of his Pro-European Union views. Ken Clarke was often seen as a thorn in the side of the Eurosceptic majority in the Conservative party.

Ken Clarke tried three times to become leader of the Conservative party and failed in each. In the last attempt, he went so far as to announce that he no longer favoured Britain joining the single currency. However, this was to no avail. It is very likely that some Conservative members of parliament tactically voted just in order to kick Ken Clarke out of the contest on the first stage.

This is a signficant difference between the British and American way of doing politics. In Britain, the Conservative party establishment decides who is going to lead the party. In the United States, the general public vote for the presidential candidate in primary elections.

If the UK parties adopted primaries as a way of choosing the party leader, Ken Clarke would have become leader of the Conservative party years ago (whether he would have won any elections is a different question). On the other hand, if the American Republicans followed the British system of choosing the candidate within the party, John McCain would never stand a chance.

Of course, Ken Clarke would have faced some big difficulties leading the Conservative party if he had become leader. And no doubt, if John McCain wins the primaries he is going to face a challenge uniting the Republicans against the Democrats. What is certain is that the man the party prefers is not always the man the electorate prefers.

10 comments:

Earl said...

The interesting thing about John McCain's victories is that he is winning with less than majority votes, which means the Republicans are casting the majority of votes against McCain. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

On the Democratic side, there are unelected "Super Delegates" that could play a significant role in choosing the Democratic nominee. That will be very interesting to see how that plays out.

shoeless Bob said...

in the initial primaries,Independents are allowed to vote...additionally the Primaries are held at different times....what we have here is the US media wanting a "democrat" in the White House no matter who wins the general election....John McCain is a Republican in name only...in the last presidential election he considered running as Kerry's VP!!!!

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Earl, yes, it is so exciting!

Shoeless Bob, but John McCain's policies are not that close to the Democrats.

I think American conservatives exagerrate McCain's liberal tendencies.

God Bless

Matthew

shoeless Bob said...

Matthew..his policies on immergration, taxes and conservative jurists are very much in line with the Democrats.....Romney would be a far better choice from an economic view point...and you originally thought I was a Democrat!!!

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I believe there is a time for cutting taxes and a time for not cutting taxes. McCain recognises this.

Furthermore, there is no other candidate who has shown the same commitment as McCain to the vital War on Terror.

God Bless

Matthew

Earl said...

Yes, it is exciting. This is turning out to be far more interesting and unpredictable that everyone thought just 6 weeks ago.

I also get a kick out of listening to some of the talk radio people going into apoplexy over what is happening. It's quite entertaining.

Ryan S. said...

I'm an American and a real conservative in the sense that I favor fiscal conservatism and limited government whereby the Congress actually operates within the constraints of Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, and the Tenth Amendment. I lament the sideshow circus of demagoguery that the United States has become.

I don't think very highly of McCain anymore than I do of George W. Bush. It's predictable that McCain will be an aggressive, costly interventionist foreign policy that will send the American polity into insolvency and economic discord. His track record as a conservative limited government statesman is questionable. He styles himself as a Teddy Roosevelt reformer, who occasionally bludgeons wasteful spending, while sponsoring a ton of bad unconstitutional legislation all the same.

I support Ron Paul for the Republican primary presidential nomination, though I fear McCain might win it.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Ryan.

Earl said...

Ron Paul people are the most passionate people I've run into.

I don't know if Ron Paul really fits in a classic definition of an American Republican political conservative. Usually supporting the US military in currently active wars is usually part of what is considered a conservative. Ron Paul seems to fit more in the US Libertarian Party, which is also against US involvement in Iraq.

I must say, Ron Paul is part of what make this political season so interesting.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I do not believe Ron Paul's politics are realistic in a globalized world.