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From Aquino to Obama: Presidential Time in the Philippines and the U.S. Mark Thompson, Southeast Asian Research Centre (SEARC) and Department of Asian.

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Presentation on theme: "From Aquino to Obama: Presidential Time in the Philippines and the U.S. Mark Thompson, Southeast Asian Research Centre (SEARC) and Department of Asian."— Presentation transcript:

1 From Aquino to Obama: Presidential Time in the Philippines and the U.S. Mark Thompson, Southeast Asian Research Centre (SEARC) and Department of Asian & International Studies, City University of Hong Kong Presentation to APISA 5 Regional Integration in Europe and Asia in the 21 st Century 24-25 November 2011 Overseas Chinese University Taichung, Taiwan

2 Does anybody know what time it is? Stephen Skowroneks presidential time – Timing of presidency – Relationship to predecessors – Recurrent cycles More structuralist – Upends Neutstadts personal model – Ideology, interests, institutional arrangements – Position within regime key

3 You cant compare!! The 1 st to 3 rd World – a sacrilege! – Imperial power to a post-colonial society - absurd! – Spanish King with a German Hanoverian - nein! – Apples and mangos - a no go! – (Well, at least the same national bird)

4 But what if we did it anyway? Test patterns of presidentialism – in varied contexts – strength and relevance of institutional variable Turns largest area specialist literature – into generalizable social science Philippine colonialism and presidential model

5 Presidential regimes Formal institutions – Also social bases (e.g. party alignments) Regime building – Reconstructionist Orthodox innovation (or exhaustion) – (Dis)articulation Opposition – Preemption

6 What time is it for Aquino? Mothers son – Takes up reformist narrative Arroyos failed presidency as foil – Corrupt contrast Performance not stellar – But narrative solid

7 Aquino as articulator Revives reformist narrative – After Arroyos apostasy A good dynast – As opposed to Arroyos cynical dynasticism Key is belief in his sincerity – But how long will that serve him – Regime renewal or exhaustion?

8 Aquino and Ramos Ramos considered best post-Marcos president – Implements reforms after instability Aquino brings stability too – After illegitimacy of Arroyo Ramos success doesnt help poor – Estrada his populist successor – If reformism fails – populism as alternative regime?

9 And Obama? Long unclear if was a reconstructionist – Or preemptive president Narrative ambiguous – change we can believe in – Attempt to found a new regime? – Or create bi-partistanship? Preemptive turn – Welfarism forgotten

10 Mongrel politics Obama cant accept prevailing regime – But opposing it too much risks implosion – As massive mid-term losses suggest Now moving to political center – While portraying Republicans as extremist Tea Party an effort to revive Reaganism – But extremism makes preemption easier – Key to Obamas re-election

11 Obama and Clinton Both ran negative campaigns – Against failing of Bush administrations – no clear positive alternative Both overestimated their mandate – Backlash against socialist health care – Republican victories reaffirming the faith But Republicans overplayed hand before – Also against Obama? – Or will Republican regime be revived?

12 Ideology Foundational ideology – Anti-statism in U.S. – Reformism in Philippines Preemptive strategies – Smart government (Clinton) – Populism (Estrada, FPJ) End of regime possible – Radicalization of Republicans – Corruption of reformers

13 Interests Neo-liberalism in U.S. – Big business/Wall street – Religious right – Tea party unites them Reformism in the Philippines – Makati Business Club – Catholic Church – Middle Class activists unite them

14 Institutional arrangements Changes in U.S. system in new regime – Conservative supermajority in Congress – Conservative dominance in Supreme Court – Increasing polarization of political parties – Media politicized And post-Marcos Philippines – Multi-party system – House shifts, Senate independence – Judicial check – Strong military influence

15 Performance v. Narrative Obama – Strong record – Competent cabinet – Weak narrative – Uncertain re-election Aquino – Weak performance – Administration infighting – Strong narrative

16 Same, same or different? US regimes since Jefferson – Pre-Marcos, Marcos, post-Marcos Aquino revives reformism – Obama pre-empts Reaganism Estradas fall through coup – Nixons institutionalized Philippine parties more fluid – US parties increasingly ideological – Behind clientelism are narratives

17 El demonio de las comparaciones Rizal sees spectre of comparison – Despite socio-economic gap – And US Philippines cultural differences – Presidentialism bedeviled by similar logic Presidency structured – Limits presidents choices – to articulation of/antagonism towards – regime narrative – Performance as role playing

18 Thanks/Salamat And I was walking down the street one day A pretty lady looked at me and said her diamond watch had stopped cold dead And I said Does anybody really know what time it is Does anybody really care If so I can't imagine why about time We've all got time enough to cry Oh no, no, no, no, no, no nooooooooo


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