Sparking curiosity and provoking puzzled stares, Professor Harris proposed his model of Federalist and Antifederalist thinking provides a useful lens for understanding this year’s presidential candidates. Those of us who want to draw a straight line to match today’s political parties to the Federalist and Antifederalist perspectives were baffled. How in the world did Hillary end up in the same set of boxes as McCain and Bush?
The categories proposed for each candidate include…
Barack Obama is a red box Federalist driven by his understanding of us as a people committed to particular principles and one another.
Hillary Clinton is a blue box Antifederalist driven by a commitment to government and the solutions it should provide the people.
John McCain is a red box Antifederalist driven by a belief in who we are as one people of a particular nation.
And, another note of interest, George W. Bush is a green box Antifederalist driven by a firm faith in natural order, what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil.
Each of these explanations could benefit from additional elaboration. What I’ve provided is simple and most definitely incomplete.
For example, it isn’t that Hillary only sees government or the blue box but that her campaign was largely a matter of policy proposals. When she needed support for her proposals, she appealed to an understanding of who we are as a people or what we should understand about natural rights. The American people are fighters who believe health care is a universal right. The category distinction a matter of where each candidate is most likely to stake out their first position and then where they look for support.
When I saw this video of John McCain’s new ad, I thought it spoke directly to the assertion that he is a red box Antifderealist. The conclusion and his purported slogan for the general election is the best: John McCain, putting country first.
If McCain is putting country first, he has red written all over him! Watch the video and consider what it says about who we are as a people and what we will do through government as a result.
If you find similar links to support or challenge the categories proposed for Clinton, Bush, and Obama, please post them in the comments!