Britain’s Labour Lessons For Obama

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LONDON – The thrashing of Britain’s New Labour Party – which came in a weak third in local and European Parliament elections this week – may seem a minor event compared to Barack Obama’s triumphal overseas tour. Yet in many ways the humiliation of New Labour should send some potential warning shots across the bow of the good ship Obama.

Labour’s defeat, of course, stemmed in part from local conditions, notably a cascading Parliamentary expense scandal that appears most damaging to the party in power. Yet beyond those sordid details lies a more grave tale – of the possible decline of the phenomenon I describe as gentry liberalism.

Gentry liberalism – which reached its height in Britain earlier this decade and is currently peaking in the U.S. – melded traditional left-of-center constituencies, such as organized labor and ethnic minorities, with an expanding class of upper-class professionals from field like media, finance and technology.

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Obama’s Energy Triangulation

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With the possible exception of health care reform, no major issue presents more political opportunities and potential pitfalls for President Barack Obama than energy. A misstep over energy policy could cause serious economic, social and political consequences that could continue over the next decade.

To succeed in revising American energy policy, the president will need to try to triangulate three different priorities: energy security, environmental protection and the need for economic growth. Right now, the administration would like to think it could have all three, but these concerns often collide more than they align. Read more