If the heads of state had come from similar parties it is easier to ensure continuity of policies. Otherwise, the chances of continuity are slim unless the next president is not one for party politics such as Obama’s case. So as to have a clearer view on how administration changes tend to affect continuity in the Asia-Pacific area, this essay henceforth aims to scrutinize the ways in which the change of political leaders may affect policy continuity.
Administration changes can affect policies whenever party politics take precedence over continuity. It has been known that Democrats and Republicans have contrasting values. While the former espouses liberal views and political methods, the latter’s beliefs on and approach to policy debates is conservative and traditional. Party affiliation in the US has a “predominant influence” on the President and his administration. Jim Leach, former chairman of the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, considers “the interplay between the Republican and Democratic parties and within each of these parties” as responsible for adding another coat of complexity to the US system and its policies in Asia-Pacific. For comparison’s sake, the Democratic administration of President Bill Clinton was markedly different from that of his successor Bush Jr. Though rocked with scandals irrelevant to policy-making (i.e. Monica Lewinsky affair), there was at least a shortage of war. As Rozoff (2009) quipped in his write-up, “when Clinton lied no Americans died.” On one hand, the Bush Presidency had enough Republican policies on war to sacrifice thousands of American soldiers. The Democratic Policy Committee condemned such policies as “misguided” for having “severely tarnished Americas reputation in Iraq and around the world” and undermined “U.S.-led reconstruction efforts”