UK Politics,  Vote 2012

Streep as Thatcher

The movie may be a hatchet job and a “Left-wing fantasy,” but you have to admit (judging from this clip) that Meryl Streep is pretty damn good as Margaret Thatcher:

Meanwhile, as Talking Points Memo reports, candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination are scrambling to identify themselves with Thatcher.

Britain’s “Iron Lady,” famed for her free market ideals and tough-minded style of governance, has always been a popular figure in Republican circles across the pond, but she seems to have taken on new relevance in recent years for the party’s leading lights. While George W. Bush identified strongly with wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, as he struggled to prosecute the War on Terror, national security has fallen far down the list of priorities for the party and the field is significantly divided on foreign policy. Instead, the focus is on the weak economy, which is clearly Maggie’s wheelhouse.

Making the connection explicit, Mitt Romney launched a new campaign slogan “Obama Isn’t Working” depicting a line at an unemployment office as a tribute to Thatcher’s 1978 ad that declared “Labour Isn’t Working.” Of course the “Labour” line was a pun, so Romney’s version loses the witty wordplay that helped it stand out, but in a campaign blog post his aides made clear that the Thatcher connection was what mattered.

Another echo from the Thatcher era is that union-busting is very much in vogue among Republicans– even though organized labor in the US in 2011 is much less powerful and militant than it was in the UK in 1979.