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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 & International Studies, City University of Hong Kong Presentation to APISA 5 Regional Integration in Europe and Asia

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from aquino to obama presidential time in the philippines and the u s

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 21st Century

24-25 November 2011

Overseas Chinese University

Taichung, Taiwan

does anybody know what time it is
Does anybody know what time it is?
  • Stephen Skowronek’s presidential “time”
    • Timing of presidency
    • Relationship to predecessors
    • Recurrent cycles
  • More structuralist
    • Upends Neutstadt’s personal model
    • Ideology, interests, institutional arrangements
    • Position within ‘regime’ key
you can t compare
You can’t compare!!
  • The “1st” to “3rdWorld” – 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)
but what if we did it anyway
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
presidential regimes
Presidential regimes
  • Formal institutions
    • Also social bases (e.g. party alignments)
  • Regime building
    • Reconstructionist
  • Orthodox innovation (or exhaustion)
    • (Dis)articulation
  • Opposition
    • Preemption
what time is it for aquino
What time is it for Aquino?
  • Mother’s son
    • Takes up reformist narrative
  • Arroyo’s failed presidency as foil
    • Corrupt contrast
  • Performance not stellar
    • But narrative solid
aquino as articulator
Aquino as “articulator”
  • Revives reformist “narrative”
    • After Arroyo’s “apostasy”
  • A good dynast
    • As opposed to Arroyo’s cynical dynasticism
  • Key is belief in his sincerity
    • But how long will that serve him
    • Regime renewal or exhaustion?
aquino and ramos
Aquino and Ramos
  • Ramos considered best post-Marcos president
    • Implements reforms after instability
  • Aquino brings stability too
    • After illegitimacy of Arroyo
  • Ramos “success” doesn’t help poor
    • Estrada his populist successor
    • If reformism fails
    • populism as alternative regime?
and obama
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
mongrel politics
“Mongrel” politics
  • Obama can’t 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 Obama’s re-election
obama and clinton
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?
ideology
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
interests
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
institutional arrangements
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
performance v narrative
Performance v. Narrative
  • Obama
    • Strong record
    • Competent cabinet
    • Weak narrative
    • Uncertain re-election
  • Aquino
    • Weak performance
    • Administration infighting
    • Strong narrative
same same or different
Same, same or different?
  • US regimes since Jefferson
    • Pre-Marcos, Marcos, post-Marcos
  • Aquino revives reformism
    • Obama pre-empts Reaganism
  • Estrada’s fall through coup
    • Nixon’s institutionalized
  • Philippine parties more fluid
    • US parties increasingly ideological
    • Behind “clientelism” are narratives
el demonio de las comparaciones
El demonio de lascomparaciones
  • 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’
thanks salamat
Thanks/Salamat

And I was walking down the street one dayA pretty lady looked at me and said her diamond watch had stopped cold deadAnd I saidDoes anybody really know what time it isDoes anybody really careIf so I can't imagine whyabout timeWe've all got time enough to cryOh no, no, no, no, no, no nooooooooo