And a moment of levity from the two former rivals...
The Republican Party here in America would do well to study this coalition agreement. Of course, only time will tell if the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats can govern together. But good on them for trying, for it is the only way Great Britain will be able to dig its way out of the wreckage it finds itself buried under after two years of Labour governance under Gordon Brown.
We may never know if such a hybrid political coalition will work here in the United States. Barack Obama offered an olive branch to the Republican opposition the night of his election in 2008, making the case for an "all hands on deck" situation in order to attack the dire straits our country found itself in after eight years of reckless incompetence by George W. Bush. The Republicans, however, have taken the low road, throwing down road blocks at every turn as the President and his administration try to dig us out of the mess.
Granted, last week's British election gave the winning party only 36% of the vote in a three-way race, and none of the parties a majority in the House of Commons, thus requiring some sort of coalition. In contrast, American voters gave the Democratic ticket a solid 53% of the national vote here in 2008, and handed the party rock solid majorities in both houses of congress. Obama's overtures to the Republicans were, quite simply, a patriotic attempt to work together to keep the U.S. from financial ruin.
Alas, it wasn't to be. American conservatives are nothing like the British conservatives. In fact, the word "conservative" shouldn't be applied to the tea-baggers who make up the base of the current Republican Party. "Fascist" and "irresponsible" are the only word to describe them.
Cameron should be an example here. [The U.S.] need[s] to make stiff entitlement and defense cuts - but we must also raise some taxes. The debate should not be whether but how - and I agree...that tax simplification should be the spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. It's time to end the supply-side craziness, the tea-party looniness and the ideological fixity of Bush-Cheney economics. Obama needs bipartisan support to do the conservative and responsible thing. Which means that the real war for this country's future must be waged within the GOP. I fear, alas, that war is already being lost in the thickets of Southern populism. So the damage that today's Republican party can still do to America's future remains as real as the wreckage it has already accomplished.In the mean time, I'll be watching the Cameron-Clegg coalition with great interest. And hoping beyond hope that these two young leaders can rescue their beloved country from the precipice.