Fareed Zakaria at PostGlobal

Fareed Zakaria

Editor of Newsweek International, columnist

PostGlobal co-moderator Fareed Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International, overseeing all Newsweek's editions abroad. He writes a regular column for Newsweek, which also appears in Newsweek International and often The Washington Post. He is a member of the roundtable of ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanapoulos" as well as an analyst for ABC News. And he is the host of a new weekly PBS show, "Foreign Exchange" which focuses on international affairs. His most recent book, "The Future of Freedom," was published in the spring of 2003 and was a New York Times bestseller and is being translated into eighteen languages. He is also the author of "From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role" (Princeton University Press), and co-editor of "The American Encounter: The United States and the Making of the Modern World" (Basic Books). Close.

Fareed Zakaria

Editor of Newsweek International, columnist

PostGlobal co-moderator Fareed Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International, overseeing all Newsweek's editions abroad. He writes a regular column for Newsweek, which also appears in Newsweek International and often The Washington Post. more »

Main Page | Fareed Zakaria Archives | PostGlobal Archives

Obama's Third Way

Note: Please see Fareed's PostGlobal discussion on the the world's advice for Obama.

Barack Obama has won more than a presidential victory. He now has a chance to realign the national landscape and to create a new governing ideology for the West. Since the end of the cold war, two great political trends have coursed through the Western democracies. The first--led by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair in the 1990s--was the left's steady progress toward greater comfort with free markets and traditional values, which increased their appeal to mainstream voters. The second was the ideological exhaustion of conservatism, a movement now riddled with contradictions and corruption, as personified by George W. Bush's big-government, Wilsonian agenda. These two trends have intersected in 2008.

Of course, more Americans still identify themselves as conservatives than as liberals. There is a big red America out there. But that's a reflection of the past three decades of conservative dominance, not a forecast of the future. "Among democratic peoples," Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, "each generation is a new people."

Conservatives were ascendant in the 1980s and 1990s because they offered powerful prescriptions for the problems of the 1970s--stagflation and social unrest at home, and Soviet expansionism abroad. Arguing for less government, traditional values and a tough response to Moscow worked. But though the world changed, conservatives have trotted out the same ideas to every successive crisis. Consider John McCain's response when asked how he would handle the Wall Street meltdown. McCain vowed to end earmark spending, which has absolutely nothing to do with restoring confidence and credit to the markets.

As free markets, an open society and a diverse population gained strength, the traditional order that conservatism defended has been overturned in dozens of ways by working women, divorce, immigration and minorities. People began working, living, marrying, and raising families in varied ways and the old structures of society seemed out of date. Margaret Thatcher's free-market reforms slowly upended Britain's settled, class-based society--upon which the Tory's political dominance had rested. Something similar is at work as red America's youth slowly but surely has turned blue.

This doesn't reflect a return to old-line liberalism. The world has moved on from the 1960s. Few believe that the government should own the commanding heights of the economy, that central planners should allocate resources and that protectionism will save jobs in the long run. Look at the left in power, from Britain to Australia, and you see pro-market, pro-trade policies aimed at promoting growth. But they also aggressively pursue government efforts in areas where the private sector isn't sufficient--to expand social equity, social safety nets and energy efficiency, for instance.

The present crisis presents an opportunity for Obama to recast the traditional divide in American politics. Rather than the usual left-right split over the size and role of government, he has to address himself to the greatest problem most Americans have with Washington--they see their government as predatory and corrupt. They look at the tax code and worry less that it "spreads the wealth" than that it institutionalizes corruption through loopholes and special deals. True reform will mean attacking such corruption, from the left as well as the right.

In the early 1930s, economic and political realities also suggested that the United States was poised for a new era. But such an era happened--and took the particular shape it did--only because of the skill and ambition of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. One of Barack Obama's favorite thinkers, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote in 1841 that "the two parties which divide the state, the party of Conservatism and that of Innovation ... have disputed the possession of the world ever since it was made ... Innovation is the salient energy, Conservatism the pause on the last moment." To create a new governing majority, Obama must now embody the idea of innovation.

Comments (63)

ThomasBrownback Author Profile Page:

Nice thoughts, I think the incorporation of Rahm and Summers to the Obama team bolsters your point.

Funny enough, there's been a running debate about whether or not Barack Obama merits inclusion in the Wikipedia article on Third Way for months now.

Wikipedians (like myself) must now scramble to weigh the precise relevance of your oblique associations between the movement and the President Elect. I can't wait for the pedantic frenzy to commence!

Thanks for all your work, I think you are easily one of the most thrilling and intelligent public commentators of our time.

arjay1 Author Profile Page:

Fareed Zakaria: “The present crisis presents an opportunity for Obama to recast the traditional divide in American politics. Rather than the usual left-right split over the size and role of government, he has to address himself to the greatest problem most Americans have with Washington--they see their government as predatory and corrupt. They look at the tax code and worry less that it "spreads the wealth" than that it institutionalizes corruption through loopholes and special deals. True reform will mean attacking such corruption, from the left as well as the right.”

This is a very accurate statement. It is so accurate that it reflects exactly the sentiments of the 50 million American voters who are still looking for ‘caretaker’ Congressmen who do not have the left wing and right wing minority agendas that have done so much damage to the country and its ability to restrain self seeking totalitarianists around the world. The astonishing event sequence of right wing abolition of banking regulations that is immediately used by left wing activists to force loans to the unqualified (not necessarily undeserving) citizens which in turn is sold internationally as paper based on the Constitution’s ‘ credit of the United States’ which in its turn allows 97 million American households to be sacrificed to aid 6 million low-income citizens and 2 thousand high-income lenders would be unbelievable if it hadn’t actually happened.

Unfortunately, there is nothing in the new “problem most Americans have with Washington” that appears to counter the existing minority lobbyist ‘axis of evil’ unless a hundred or so congressmen turn out to be fairly savage ‘caretakers’ only interested in the general welfare and common defense of the country instead of its many ideological Earmarkers .

AnjuChandel Author Profile Page:

Barack Obama has brought the "needed" CHANGE to America: from "United States of America" to "United States of "Barack" America"! As "Barack" means "Blessed", today the US and the world feel "Blessed" - Barack - with his becoming the president!

On 4th November'08, Barack Obama "Created History": he facilitated the "re-birth" of America! Time for a sequel for Tom Cruise: "Re-born on the 4th of November"!

Or shall we say that, in fact, the seed of re-birth of America was planted on the 4th of August in 1961? Barack Obama was born on this day! We should declare 4th Aug as the "International Day of Blessings"!

May Barack Obama Live Long and Lead!

May God always "Barack" America, and the world!

Honestly, on 11/4, for the first time I felt a strong desire to become an American citizen and proclaim with immense pride and joy that "Barack Obama is my president, too!"

Usama1 Author Profile Page:

Every think tank has an agenda. It acquires 100s of millions in funding NOT because its pretty!!! Corporations and private individuals with narrow goals use think tanks to intertwine with and propagate their goals and interests to others, usually officials with the ear of political leaders. As well, WaPo SHOULD report the formidable think tanks its writers adhere to in order for their ideas be placed in proper context. For example, Anne Applebaum of WaPo is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) the Neo Con think tank funded by ExxonMobil American Express and others which supported the Milton Friedman concepts of economic liberalism which Greenspan worshipped. Its necessary for people to UNDERSTAND and BE AWARE who is saying what and from what context.

Zakariya failed to mention the circumstances of the world today, called a World Order. And that World Order is led by America serving American interests in the large part, but also the EU. And that World Order is harming many people, specifically the poorest of people. Why did he fail to mention this? Does he have an ulterior motive? Certainly the C of FR has an agenda given that IT gave Samuel Huntington the soapbox to espouse his Clash of Civilizations theory on the Foreign Affairs journal from C of FR.

So YES you should know. But WaPo has been known to be a Neo Con rag since at least 2000

tmaffolter Author Profile Page:

This is a very intelligent article. I would add that, at his core, Obama appears to me very much a pragmatist--much like Franklin D. Roosevelt was during his tenure. The Democratic party stands for certain general principles, but the great challenge for Obama, and the party, is to find new ways to realize those principles. Obama will no doubt have successes and failures, but what I am most concerned about is to be certain that he is provided the latitude to enact some new policies that represent true change. This country needs to get over the ossification that exists in our federal political system.

dummy4peace Author Profile Page:

I hope President-elect Obama will invite Dr. Zakaria to join his cabinet.

malagasy Author Profile Page:

This is a good article Mr. Zakaria, but I'd add to your thoughts, on how Obama can revolutionize the ideology of the West: We among Obama's fervent supporters hope that he can also change this headlong, misguided "growth at any possible cost" philosophy that's such a troublesome feature of the West and the USA in particular in recent years.

Even among many liberal groups, the metric used to gauge a country's "success" has been economic growth even if that growth comes at the expense of the environment, causing damage to the ecosystem and the world around us.

This issue is especially acute for the USA-- even though we are 1/20 of the world's population, we use up 1/4-1/5 of the available resources here. Furthermore, the US population continues to expand very quickly-- we're at 300 million, and if we hit 400 million or 450 million, if we also continue with the same level of consumption and "ecological footprint" that Americans are (regrettably) infamous for, the results for the planet would be catastrophic.

Obama can hopefully help the United States and the West in general to reconcile our societies with the idea that we can flourish, without requiring ecologically ruinous growth year after year. Asian countries such as Vietnam and China would understandably be a bit slower to come around to that at first (as they would argue they have a right to reach the kind of prosperity that the West has long taken for granted). But if we plant the seeds of this idea, then soon the world will follow, and Obama can take the first step toward it.

orange2 Author Profile Page:

To Usama1, RE::

"According to Sourcewatch, these are Fareed Zakariya's affiliations past and present. Sadly, or expectedly, the WaPo failed to mention them."

So what is your point, exactly? You imply that the Washington Post is hiding something. I don't recall any newspaper listing every former membership or association of any of its columnists. Heck, I didn't know that Paul Krugman, an economic columnist for the New York Times, was a professor of economics at Princeton until he won the Nobel prize a few weeks ago. Was the NYT hiding information about Krugman by not listing his associations? I don't think so.

You imply that there is something wrong with those organizations that you listed as Fareed Zacharia's associations. Is there?

And since you were able to find Mr. Zacharia's former memberships and directorships just by looking them up in SourceWatch, that information isn't much of a secret, now is it?

jeangerard Author Profile Page:

The equally important question is "Will the American people go back to their TVs and coucnes and leave Obama alone to pull of miracles? Or will they take their responsibility to continue to support him by continuing their own political action at local, state and national levels and help him bring about the changes we so badly need?

padmanabhan40 Author Profile Page:

Republicans lost mainly because of the Wall Street collapse in end August 2008. Had the collapse been deferred by 3 months, history would have been different! Yet, in politics one gets the luck one deserves, and Obama deserved it more given his superb grass roots organization, ability to assemble a very dedicated campaign team and access to humongous amounts of money.

Republicans (who are not necessarily all conservatives) will rue the fact that their agenda of small government and low regulation was inappropriate in an environment created mainly by corporate excesses that were cheered on by the policies of gurus like Greenspan.

Obama will now find he has to deliver quick results, not mere rhetoric - in the midst of a recession and having created an image of a know it all. Already the spin masters have started muttering that "unrealistic" expectations are being raised on what to expect from Obama! Given his inexperience compounded by his arrogance, he has made his task harder. For the sake of the American people let us hope he will deliver at least some of the key promises of his campaign like universal health care and withdrawal from Iraq.

rkerg Author Profile Page:

President elect Obama will have his work cut out for him trying to clean up the huge mess that the Bushies have made in their 8 years marked by greed hubris and incompetence. It is interesting to note that most of those who are saying that he lacks the
foreign policy experience to do the job voted for Bush, not once but twice. LOL.

Usama1 Author Profile Page:

According to Sourcewatch, these are Fareed Zakariya's affiliations past and present. Sadly, or expectedly, the WaPo failed to mention them.

Aspen Strategy Group, Member
Bilderberg 2003, Attendee
Council on Foreign Relations, Director
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Trustee
New America Foundation, Director
International Freedom Center, Director

FULL DISCLOSURE folks. Why is this Pulitzer prize winning newspaper failing to report ALL the affiliations of those who write for it????????

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page:

Dear Mr. Zakaria

I believe you are right.

It was striking, on Tuesday night, how tired and decrepit the defeated old guard appeared to be... and so out of date. How passé the lot! That night, one could also feel how youthful was the overflowing energy. No doubt, that was no less than a moment of profound, long-awaited national liberation.

The time has indeed come for a new generation of young Americans to exercise power, to reform the national socio-political landscape and to rebuild the United States of America. As you point out, it is high time that in the process, innovation and social equity replace generalized corruption and cannibalistic capitalism.

The US needs to give birth to new ways of governing itself as an open society with a diverse population, while leading globally in helping create a new world order for the community of nations.

As someone who very much enjoys watching your weekly Global Public Square (GPS), may I suggest you consider interviewing Professor John Gray, sometime soon? In "False Dawn, the Delusions of Global Capitalism", Professor Gray writes: “Without a fundamental shift in the policies of the United States all proposals for reform of global markets will be stillborn.” I feel your viewers and I would enjoy hearing him elaborate on that at this time.


Usama1 Author Profile Page:

Fareed missed the REAL story.

Free Market Capitalism in its so called purist form: Friedmanesque liberalism, has failed the world yet again. Alan Greenspan was recently shocked by the "flaw".
There is a global Food Crisis as a result of globalization and privatization and specialization of national economies to serve Western economic interests rather than self sufficiency for these developing nations.

Massive American and EU corporations are more powerful by the World Order than most of the governments of the world. They have more in wealth and influence, and under Bush's reign, they had access to military might.

Obama is not powerful enough to reverse the course of events which the G8 and other international organizations have set into motion. In fact, he may only put a more palpable face on it so the masses can more easily swallow their fate.

As for Fareed, he's part of the Council on Foreign Relations which serves to further empower corporations far above actual people, and which serves to empower multinational corporations above national governments throughout the world.

So the questions are: Will Obama call out the sick forest for all the rotting trees? Or will he just look at each tree as it falls and call the people to say "too bad"?

apike1 Author Profile Page:

Does anyone remember Jasmine in the series Angel? Well, that's who Obama reminds me of. I hope that people open their eyes to what's really behind the face. I only hope that it's not too late. The first Black American President is a wonderful thing, but with the right person. This is not the right person.

RamanK1 Author Profile Page:

A good analysis Fareed. I have watched you on CBS several times and I think based on your analysis it will be interesting to watch how Obama will create a new ideology for the West. One thing I noticed this election is people all around the world are very excited about Obama. I have relatives in Europe, Australia, Thailand, and Canada. I have heard from all sources that they all share an emotional feeling about the results.

Boy, Oh Boy! Obama just got elected and people are pouring words of their expectations already. Obama will deliver what he promised one at a time because as we all know he is a human, not a machine. I would remember Obama for one thing for the rest of my life - "he created a new chapter in the US history by being a first black in the senate and the first black president elect". For that alone I salute him.

Why are people talking about Michelle's fashion choice already. Why dont we compare her intelligence with other first lady? I consider both Barack Obama and Michelle Obama very intelligent and capable in their respective field of work.

ivojoost Author Profile Page:

First of all, my congratulations to all Americans, it is a great joy and a big relief at the same time. Next generation politics hopefully will move beyond the left-right ideologies. Berendjan1943 made a remarkable comment about The Netherlands. What struck me most was Obama’s appeal on what we share. The materialization of this, for instance infrastructure, health-care, education, energy-supply, maybe even proper housing, next to common ideals, and a pragmatic view about how to handle this without falling back on the either-or old ideological ideas might serve us well. From a pragmatic view, the ‘common good’ materializing needs a cost driven approach. It’s not about the profit. The big mistake by the left that was made a decade ago was not to be comfortable with free markets, but to apply the mantra of profit driven free markets to everything that belonged to the ‘common good’. That will never work. Common good is not about how much profit we might gain, it’s how to reduce the costs and at the same time create the best quality. That requires another way of influence which was already practised by the way Obama’s campaign worked and might be characterized as the communal approach, probably with all kind of local differences. Working together, pragmatically and sometimes very locally, and we can solve these issues. - another dutchie

BerendJan1943 Author Profile Page:

I live in the Netherlands. From the 1990s until 2007 the government is liberalising and privatising healthcare, energy and other activities, which were until recently dominantly gouvernmental-regulated.
Until now the results are damaging: consumer-costs exploded, complexity has grown up to unimaginable heights, transparency is an illusion, and thinking about how to correct the damage has just begun.

jfetter1 Author Profile Page:

Zakaria said a lot without saying much of anything. Going after loopholes in the tax code? Tinkering with healthcare? is this really a "third way"--I thought Clinton-Blair was supposed to be a "third way" also--or is it merely pragmatism and fixing the damage from the last eight years? Also, just because a new generation is ascendent doesn't mean that the old one magically disappears. If anything, the lengthening of lifespans and the drop in birth rates both here and throughout the West heralds a much more gradual transition between generations and thus between political cultures or, to use Zakaria's quote from Tocqueville, between peoples.

Jack_Sharkey Author Profile Page:

I really enjoyed this one, Mr. Zakaria. If it were up to me, however, I would make one change. You mention that the first political trend was that of Clinton-Blair... I think that the real credit here should be given to Bush Sr., who really defined multilateralism and set a great FP precedent for Clinton to follow; but maybe I am biased.

I am glad to see that this country will finally move beyond the recklessness of the Bush Administration, and I hope that Pres. Obama is suited to bring the "change" he has so promised.

As a Republican, I desire that my party will move on as well, past realism which has defined its foreign policy, past the xenophobia which stymies immigration reform, past the antipathy towards the European Union and other allies, and rediscover the principles which defined the party in the latter part of the past century: free trade and free markets, devolution of power, and fiscal conservatism. We shall hope.

youngj1 Author Profile Page:

Well said Mr. Zakaria

cmpatel Author Profile Page:

Good article loaded with philosophical approach.Looks like more cultural evaluation than political challanges that President elect is facing with.Along with economical and financial problems President elect has to prove that Presidency is independent of Race,Religion and Cultural heritage for which many of his opponents critised him during the election time.I believe he is a smart politician to give a good answer to his critics.

DebChatterjee Author Profile Page:


1. What will be President Obama's policy towards radical Islamists who are all poised to throw the Shariah shroud over the planet and plunge into darkness and despair ?

2. Will President Obama cut the defense budget and reduce it to 3/4ths of the present status ? The honorable Barney Frank (D-MA) has suggested that this will be done in the new administration. Will this not compromise the US defense superiority ? Like it or not defense reserach boots industries and jobs for qualified Americans more than commercial sector - the latter outsourcing jobs to India and China.

harveyh5 Author Profile Page:

Fareed identifies only a single need for reform - the tax code and its corruption through loopholes and special deals. How about also dealing with the obvious problems with our financial loan practices?

A new governing ideology would be President Obama making decisions in the best interests of our country as whole. If instead President Obama's decisions are based only in providing pay back and favors to those who helped him get elected, he will be no better than President Bush. While as a liberal I would find such a result more favorable than the decisions of the present administration, alas, it would not represent a new governing ideology, but only more of the same.

OrphicOracle Author Profile Page:

I meant that Obama would probably agree with the Martin Treptow story. Mistype, sorry.

As Emerson wrote - "Our faith comes in moments; our vice is habitual."

OrphicOracle Author Profile Page:

The more I think of it, Obama might have something in common with Reagan; they both had a real love of Emerson, which shows you the broad appeal that fine New England mind has still. Reagan quoted Emerson in his address to the Speech at the National Republican Convention in 1992 - "Emerson was right. We are the country of tomorrow."

And who would disgree that Obama would disagree with the wonderful story in Reagan's first Inaugural Address in January 1981 about the soldier Martin Treptow -

"Under one such marker lies a young man—Martin Treptow—who left his job in a small town barber shop in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There, on the western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire. We are told that on his body was found a diary. On the flyleaf under the heading, "My Pledge," he had written these words: "America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone."

hillmannic Author Profile Page:

"Michelle wore an ugly dress of deep red and black. No celebratory colors or respect for our national colors. Nope, the colors of Che Guevara, the Black Panthers, and Bill Ayers."

Um, America's colors are RED, white and blue. So they wore red, as in, the color of the Republican states. You only would have been happy if they wore all three colors at the same time? I now question your fashion sense.

OrphicOracle Author Profile Page:

Nitpicking, but Fareed, you misquoted Emerson! Aaggh!!

His lecture on Conservatism in 1841 went -
"Innovation is the salient energy; Conservatism the pause on the last movement." Last movement..

And Thatcher and Reagan were not conservatives. She at least was a real radical.

As for Ralph Waldo Emerson, he believed that at bottom, all political questions were moral questions. Obama might usefully explore this avenue of self-evident argument. It is immoral in today's United States that hundreds of thousands of American parents should work five, six days a week, sometimes more than one job each, and still be unable to afford healthcare that properly covers their family. More than most writers, Emerson saw the necessity of trusting his moral sense, even a surrender to it, that "inward voice" as the Quakers called it, "which will work best the more it is trusted".

Emerson wrote in "Fate" that - "The mixtures of spiritual chemistry refuse to be analyzed. Yet we can see that with the perception of truth is joined the desire that it shall prevail. That affection is essential to will."

Emerson was no communitarian, unlike Blair (at least in his early Amitai Etzioni and John Macmurray days).

No, no, Emerson sympathised with the communitarians on the problem, but disagreed over the solution. Emerson said in one of his finest "political" lectures; "New England Reformers" (1844) -

"The criticism and attack on institutions which we have witnessed, has made one thing plain, that society gains nothing whilst a man, not himself renovated, attempts to renovate things around him: he has become tediously good in some particular, but negligent or narrow in the rest; and hypocrisy and vanity are often the disgusting result."

Emerson saw that social reform required improvement among the reformers. The fundamental reform remains personal - one cannot substitute a social good for a personal failing. Social reform will be deficient or empty unless it is also grounded in human ethical development. This was Emerson's supple and enduring belief.

Something else that I think fits this hour, in one of his earlier lectures, one that Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. declared to be America's intellectual declaration of independence;
"The American Scholar" (1837), RWE announced -

"If there is any period one would desire to be born in, — is it not the age of Revolution; when the old and the new stand side by side, and admit of being compared; when the energies of all men are searched by fear and by hope; when the historic glories of the old, can be compensated by the rich possibilities of the new era? This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it."

Think-American Author Profile Page:

If we listen to OBAM speach with clear mind with the glasses as a simple human beings, all created by same creator. It says that we have reached a mile stone that a son of am immigrant in recent histoy achieved something because he is community organizer. Well managed campaign, small contributitons and getting less privilaged to vote
is what was accomplished. He reminds me of Mahatma who got India free from mighty Brits w/o raising a weapon and taking all verbal and physical abuse and redicule from RNC, Fox News (Hannity) and many blinded Republicans and fundamentalist people who were influenced by their own insecurity and fear. Zakaria got it made. But 80% people poor people in the world now have faith in God and themselves, and their children now have hope to strive hard and one day they can beleive in "Ask ye shall recieve and seek, yeah shall find". In last 8 years, what ever pesonal wealth was increased at tax payers expenses by higher echelon in Industry an Govt.
This is a victory for all minoities, young people, working class regardless of their national
origin, color, race, and faith.
Any one now resist this change will be called non-patriotic. When I went to vote I knew that it was OBAMA night. In Northern Va, most people would have voted for McCain. But, in sept 08, McCain had no clue about Economy because he was busy selecting Palin. SNL and RNC ads killed any hope for McCain. His recent ads about OBAMA added fuel to fire. Bush and Chenny should return the oil money back and any increase in their networh for top 1% during Bush Years to IRS. AS a Hindu American, my faith in Law of Karma strengthen.

bhuang2 Author Profile Page:

Hmmm, since the red, white and blue seems to represent (in JJrocket's mind) the fact that dinosaurs existed 6,000 years ago, that witches needed to be burned in Salem, that blacks should take Jim Crow type tests--maybe it is better to dress in somber tones of black and red.

Unless you're celebrating the fact that 4,000 of our boys are dead in Iraq over a war started over a lie. But I guess you're happy with that....

Observer28 Author Profile Page:

Frankly,it was Reagan economics & the entire idea of "greed" that got us in this mess in the 1st place. Clinton came into power with the economy in billions in deficit & he turned it around with the genius of Ron Brown ( God bless his soul)to ZERO DEFICIT. If people tried to look beyond that Lewinsky scandal they would truly appreciate what the Clinton years achieved for this economy. We led truly happy lives then, with the exception of Mrs. Clinton. Word of advise for Obama: HIRE the Clinton economists, please.

jjcrocket Author Profile Page:

A subtle sign of the past, and the revolutionary tendencies of the far left, were disclosed in the color code of the Obama girls outfits. Michelle
wore an ugly dress of deep red and black. No celebratory colors or respect for our national colors. Nope, the colors of Che Guevara, the Black Panthers, and Bill Ayers.

OregonPerspective Author Profile Page:

Ronald Reagan was a rare political talent, who respected the intellectuals who built the conservative movement that he had the skills and opportunity to bring to power.

Could the conservative movement have been launched on its successful run by any Republican other than Reagan? The failures of McCain and the Bushes suggest not.

In Obama, the Democratic party seems to have had similar luck, in finding a talent who's understanding and skills meet the needs of his party and time.

Despite the claims of Republican alarmists, Obama's policies will likely be pragmatic, rather than movement driven, and so the Republican response needs to be as well.

Reagan success was also due to his respect for the Republican tradition of good government, even as he tried to reduce its size. Bush and the Republican congress failed at both.

The next generation of Republican leaders needs to revive both these traditions: respect for intellectual analysis and for effective government, as they move their party back toward the political center.

That sounds like a job better suited to Romney than Palin.

The Republican leadership has slowly driven their party off Reagan's path into a Southern ditch. It will take both thought and luck in leadership to get it out.

greg_cunneen Author Profile Page:

This election may turn out to be the defining transition Mr. Zakaria describes, and one can only hope it is. But I think the main issue in this election was Bush & Cheney. Ineptitude (Bush) and complete amateurism (Cheney) posing as deft and experienced was never going to last in the long run. The surprise for many overseas is that the US didn't see this at the last election.

brentw1 Author Profile Page:


This election should, in my view, end--for once and for all--two misguided policy complexes. First, neoliberalism should be put to bed and made to stay there. From the liberalization of financial markets (and its deregulatory disasters), to Friedman's trickle down mythology, and all the other trappings so joyfully summarized in the Washington Consensus. This nightmare has failed us as it has most nations who have tried its toxic brew of nonsense.

Second, let us welcome back a realist foreign policy and thus bury neoconservatism and its misguided faux idealism. In its stead, we can move forward with an idealistic pragmatism that seeks the good that can be realized, as defined in a multinational world and not through the narrow and anamorphic prism of a Straussian neo-mysticism of the "True" good only known by and knowabe to the initiates.

timothy2me Author Profile Page:

Nothing quite like reading the posts of today's Republicans and their propaganda engrained delusions. Sorry but the true Republican conservatives are a thing of the past. Borrowing and spending is how they have governed since Reagan.

Social Security funds are long gone but the debt remains. At this point Bush appears to have destroyed any hope of it not collapsing or as one poster put it "government will be forced to shrink". Instead of preparing for the boomers the government cut taxes and ran up debt. Debt with nothing to show for it while the US infrastructure decayed.

The challenges Obama faces will be daunting ones. He will have little to no choice but to put this nation even deeper into debt, far deeper. Neo-Republican fiscal irresponsibility has brought about the very thing they love to scream the loudest about, big government. The government will be forced to be the bank of last resort and the employer of last resort and there is little to no choice in the matter. I don’t care for it but I see no other options.

asmith58 Author Profile Page:

so am i supposed to believe that a product of chicago machine politics is going to reform the government and end corruption? and that he's going to turn his back on his leading bundlers, lobbyists and corporate executives? glad 2 hear that everyone still has their rose colored glasses on. what are u gonna tell me next? that the ministers aren't going to be looking for any hand me downs? i guess human nature applies to republicans and not democrats. thanks for the sociology lesson fareed! so when obama pushed corn ethanol subsidies, it must have had nothing to do with winning the support of the farmers in his state? you must be as naive as those neophytes in grant park making the peace sign celebrating because they think the war is over and the soldiers are going to be immediately drawn down. clearly, they know so much about how the military?

colinnicholas Author Profile Page:

For me it's wonderful that we will have an intelligent articulate man in the White House at last. It's been a long time. At least eight years.

Maybe W can hit the comedy club circuit where he can do less damage and make people laugh instead of cry.

spidermean2 Author Profile Page:


school_is_in_session Author Profile Page:

Did you notice the Texas Vote? Way to go Texas. Your're on the correct track.

For a funny view from a Texas blogger, go to http://politicalmpressions.wordpress.com/

Clearly, Obama captured the youth and the future.

The right wing evangelical Bush experiment ended in dismal failure and trashed the name Bush forever.

Very truly yours,
Providence Candlelight

Ali4 Author Profile Page:

"The most interesting thing to watch in the post-election period is how Obama handles the grassroots movement he started. He has proven to be a creative thinker, and I doubt he will just drop it until the next election.

I predict he will create a party-within-the-party that:
-gets out his messages,
-keeps grassroots pressure on Congress,
-maintains a huge fund-raising operation,
-develops and backs local candidates

Like MoveOn.org or Emily's List on steriods."

The problem with this, as others have found out, is that it's easily imitatable. Obama was effective in his campaign because the internet hadn't been used this way and to this extent in a campaign before. We've seen the dawn of a new way to campaign and a new way for EVERYONE to push political agendas. Also, he won because so many OPPOSED what's happened to the U.S. and put aside differences to see another Republican didn't get elected. When you get down to individual issues, I predict Pres. Obama will find it one heck of a lot harder to use internet effectively.

sbernstein68 Author Profile Page:

Great analysis, Fareed - as usual. I think the McCain campaign's (echoed by many Conservative television commentators and newspaper columnists) dependence on worn-out bugaboos like calling Obama a "Marxist" and a "socialist" or winking about his race or supposedly "exotic" background did not ring true with savvy American voters. It seemed like a joke - and not even a funny joke to the millions of Americans who are too smart to fall for that kind of tactic. The Republican Party also once again used religious and social-issue litmus tests for its own nominees, but this time, I think it was to their detriment. And McCain's. Obama, a bit like Clinton before him, seemed hipper, younger, more attuned to the diverse, progressive America of reality, while McCain referred constantly to the past, to ideas of the past and to figures of the past (although I'm pleased to know he admires Teddy Roosevelt, he referred to him so often one thought he knew him personally).

shadwell1 Author Profile Page:

As long as American is riding the Obama wave, perhaps Obama himself can propel a nationwide movement that will help reduce healthcare costs in America as well as the improve the overall economy. Since Obama has admitted to bumming cigarettes during the course of this campaign, much to Michell's displeasure I suspect, wouldn't it be wonderful for him to lead America in a campaign to really quit smoking. Once sworn in, the pressures of the job of president will surely make him yearn for the pack of cancer sticks. His health is now a matter of national and international concern. Quit, quit, quit.

marchino Author Profile Page:

True, Carter did decontrol domestic petroleum prices to stimulate production--and what happened--prices soared from $20 to $70 per barrel. Reagan did deregulate the communication industry, stimulated economic growth by cutting taxes and government expenditures--something Barack Obama has not tendered in his plans to correct the problem. Reagan overhauled the IRS and the country enjoyed the longest recorded period with no economic downturns.

asnii Author Profile Page:

Fareed appropriately indicated some conservative contradictions and corruption. Issues which served to energize the current status. As I read here I see some conservaties not only offer opinions, but they pour salt on the writer. Attack the ideas, not the person or what you think the intent is. Attack the idea(s) and leave the salt at home.

mnjam Author Profile Page:

The only true "deregulator" was Carter. His administration coined the term to refer to its policy of deregulating transportation -- airline and trucking routes and rates. Which it actually did. No subsequent administration, including Reagan's, deregulated anything. Environmental, financial and communications regulation may have been relaxed in various ways by Reagan, Clinton and/or Bush 43 -- but none of these Presidents actually ended any of these regulatory frameworks.

marchino Author Profile Page:

Your portrayal of the liberal Democrat's tendency to deregulation is simply not accurate. The master innovator of free markets and the force behind market deregulation was Republican President Ronald Reagan. The deregulation approved by Bill Clinton was the signing of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which removed regulations in the 1933 law erected to protect our savings and retirements safe from speculation and risk, and has contributed to, as economist Robert Kuttner has stated, the 2007 sub-prime mortgage financial crisis. Our current financial crisis is, in part, a result of this legislation that Congress and then President Clinton enacted into law nine years ago. Not all deregulation is sound and beneficial.
Stagflation has now integrated itself into the economic fabric of America. With the increase of the price of oil and food and the slowing of the economy, your prescription shouldn't be the traditional Democratic solution, and unfortunately is being offered by yet another traditional Democrat, Barack Obama. Higher taxes remove the incentives. Reagan economics took America out of the era of Jimmy Carter's 1970s that had outrageous inflation and unbelievable interest rates in the high double digits. Increased US manufacturering and lower taxes with energize and incentivize American entrepreneurial activity and restore economic health in America.

JackTar1 Author Profile Page:

Judge the ideology of conservatism by what it is, not by its propaganda. They're so-called deficit hawks, but they always start by cutting the nation's revenue when we're already spending more than we take in. They spout off about small government, then run up massive federal spending (i.e., big government) and debts for taxpayers. Both of these patterns happened under W. and Reagan. This is how conservatives actually rule. They've never lived up to their words.

pdck Author Profile Page:

Fareed you really miss the point, as most non-conservatives do when writing about conservatism. The intellectual idea hasn't died, we just couldn't find people to stick to the program. Republicans were disillusioned with McCain because he isn't really one of us.

Look at what Obama will face... huge deficits. There's no ideological war any more about spending or not spending... government at this point simply can't afford to do anything other than downsize itself. Obama will have to govern as a conservative... shrinking government, or at least not expanding it faster than the rate of inflation.

Unless you can think of some other way he can "innovate," whatever that means.

thickman22 Author Profile Page:

this self-congratulatory rant reeks of an elitist misunderstanding of the american psyche. the past eight years of the bush administration - with its profligacy, international aspirations and its general affront to individual liberty - by no means defines the traditional conservative ideology to which you admit most in our country subscribe. please consider reminding your readers and viewers of the difference between that which is exhausting and that which has proven successful.

drpat2001 Author Profile Page:

while what you say about the "conservatives" is true, i'm not sure that you grasp obama's third way. in fact, your "third way" looks far too much like new labor, and new labor has run into the ground for it too belongs to the 20th. century even if it did go beyond thatcher etc.. the big problem is that the US has not actually joined the globalized world. yes, its corporations and giant financial investors have, but the people of the US are i'm afraid mired in the past, and much of the white population, mired in the worst of the past. as for its claim to religiong, it has ressurrected elmer gantry evanglicalism of all kinds (which unfortunately has also made its way into the catholic fundamentalism of today). how many americans know anything about the world beyond its borders, or for that matter, within the US itself, beyong their own county not to speak of state? I remember when I came home to Ireland from Brazil on vacation in 1968. i went down to a place called Mahon Bridge. it was a crossroads with a mountain on one side and my uncle's farm on the other. there was a little shop there, owned by pat power. he was 99 years of age, and in bed when i went to see him. he knew all about latin america. i had no trouble discussing most of its major issues with him. where did he get his information. he listened to the radio all day and read the Irish Times. He had high school education. i doubt that he read books, he had spent a lifetime mounting penny upon halfpenny as yeat's said about pat in his shop. Moreover, our education system is focused on specialization, so that a phd will know all about X and nothing about the rest of the globe. this is the america that must change if it is to re-discover and re-invent itself and through that, re-invest america's positive role in the world. obama has the capacity, but he will need to call on the american people for much sacrifice and a great deal of effort.

smokberry2002@yahoo.com Author Profile Page:

Fareed, your show is by far the most intelligent and interesting program to hit the airwaves in this country. Your shows fills a big hole in that it deals with international issues in an intelligent way. People can actually learn something.
As far as Obama goes he will become one of the greatest presidents. He is smart, thoughtful, and kind. This is what we have been missing for a long time. I was so sick of the arrogant cowboy mentality.

vk5u Author Profile Page:

"The present crisis presents an opportunity for Obama to recast the traditional divide in American politics. Rather than the usual left-right split over the size and role of government, he has to address himself to the greatest problem most Americans have with Washington--they see their government as predatory and corrupt."

I think many still believe that predatory and corrupt governments are predicated by the proliferation of the government's size, involvement and, ultimately, intrusion in the lives of its people. It is inevitable. Mr. Obama will certainly face the pressure from his party to move further left, and maybe he is infact, more liberal than we would think. We will find out in the first 100 days after Jan. 20.

upthedownspout Author Profile Page:

We must consider the role of the American people here. Can people of different ideas come together for the good of us all? I believe a sweeping change for the good can be made easily. WE NEED A LEADER! Bush was not good at asking us to sacrifice. We need someone to show us what we can achieve and how to get there. People must have faith in America collectively and look beyond themselves and their needs, we could go far under this man. We must all put forth effort to reshape and remake our country.

momido Author Profile Page:

As a german watcher, i wonder what kind of people had voted for sen. McCain. Of course i do respect them all. But what serious alternative had you Americans in this election 2008? There is no need of flashback to see what the republicans have left after 8 years of leading the world most important country. There was just one way for you. To give Mr. Obama a chance to go ahead with his ideas. I wish your country good luck. It was the right choice. Let us support Mr.Obama. We will also support him in Germany.

momido Author Profile Page:

As a german watcher, i wonder what kind of people had voted for sen. McCain. Of course i do respect them all. But what serious alternative had you Americans in this election 2008? There is no need of flashback to see what the republicans have left after 8 years of leading the world most important country. There was just one way for you. To give Mr. Obama a chance to go ahead with his ideas. I wish your country good luck. It was the right choice. Let us support Mr.Obama. We will also support him in Germany.

gosforth1 Author Profile Page:

having gone through an election where the mainstream media took 'being in the tank for democrats' to an entirely new level, we are now subjected to phrases such as 'she's another jackie o, it will be like camelot all over again,
he's a transformational figure, he really is a moderate and a unifier. The only problem with these phrases is that not one of them has any basis in fact or truth. When, as president obama and his liberal majority begin to over reach and are pushing left wing legislation, where will the media be, where it's always been, not in the case of a republican adminstration as part of the loyal opposition, but in the case of democrats, still in the same tank.

saunded Author Profile Page:

The most interesting thing to watch in the post-election period is how Obama handles the grassroots movement he started. He has proven to be a creative thinker, and I doubt he will just drop it until the next election.

I predict he will create a party-within-the-party that:
-gets out his messages,
-keeps grassroots pressure on Congress,
-maintains a huge fund-raising operation,
-develops and backs local candidates

Like MoveOn.org or Emily's List on steriods.

kjlepak Author Profile Page:

Mr. Zakaria's observation that cutting earmarks has nothing to do with addressing the financial crisis is erroneous. The reallocation of resources for dealing with the ongoing financial debacle will require all kinds of spending cuts, part of which could certainly come from "earmarks". Admittedly this is a small amount relative to what is needed. The problems that will confront an Obama administration are huge, and he will have his hands full addressing the domestic tangle of failing state revenues besides the federal budget. A new leadership for the West? He won't have the time.

ssensharma Author Profile Page:

This is all good news. We all are waiting to see Barrack doing something instead of talking and preaching. He has acted so far as a pied piper, taking the confused people along with him...but now he has to deliver. We'll sit and watch, but support him as the leader of this great nation.

MikeL4 Author Profile Page:

You have no credibility Fareed.

vijay2j Author Profile Page:

The realignment should lead to a new way of thinking, free of any fixed ideology (liberalism or conservatism). In essence it should use the right principles for solving the problems of the time, you can call it Realism or Pragmatism. The goal is to preserve the capitalism, democracy and human rights. The principles used can swing in a narrow band bot to left and right of center.

ZZim Author Profile Page:

Excellent points Fareed. Obama certainly has the opportunity to do that.

His brief political career so far has been remarkable only for the scrupulousness with which he has obeyed his elders and toed the party line. So far he has done nothing remotely in opposition to the "old-line liberalism" you mentioned.

But that was because he was an up-and-coming youngster with no power base of his own. The only way for him to advance his career was to win the approval of those senior to him.

Now that he's the boss, he might choose a different course. We have no reason to believe that - other than that we want to paint our hopes and dreams on his blank slate, but he might. And instead of undermining him, the "old-line liberals" like Pelosi might support him. So who knows? It could happen.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.