I was getting ready to attend next week's America's Future Now conference, whose theme is that progressives must lead, and thinking about the relationship problems progressives are having with Barack Obama and the Congressional leadership. All the relationship books say that you need to be clear about what you need, so that you can communicate those needs to your partner in a healthy way. (At least that's what I imagine they say; I don't really know.)
The relationship between progressives and the Democratic leadership involves love, anger, and a lot of co-dependence. Some progressives seem to defend the President no matter what he does. Others have written him off as the hopelessly cynical tool (or manipulator) of a corrupt political system. Then there are those in the middle, the ones who get disillusioned and then fall in love all over again whenever he gives a great speech like he did yesterday. Political life must be a series of fifty first dates for them. more »
It's an interesting time to be a progressive in the United States. In many ways, the election of President Barack Obama represented a logical, if improbable, end to the era of phony Reaganomics and demonization politics. But the Obama presidency has been a serious test for the progressive movement. more »
nytimes.com — If a bank is too big to fail, it’s way too big to exist. If an oil well is too far beneath the sea to be plugged when something goes wrong, it’s too deep to be drilled in the first place. When are we going to stop behaving so stupidly? We nearly wrecked the economy and we’re all but buried in debt. But we can’t break up the biggest banks, and we can’t raise taxes. Now we’re fouling the magnificent Gulf of Mexico and ruining entire communities along the southern Louisiana Coast. For a nation that can’t stop bragging about how great and powerful it is, we’ve become shockingly helpless in the face of the many challenges confronting us.
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When the jobs-focused plenary panel at America's Future Now convenes— with Angela Glover-Blackwell, Rich Trumka, Jared Bernstein, and Bob Herbert — it's likely they will continue a discussion America desperately needs, and that tea party conservatives wants desperately not to hear. It's time, past time, to address the black and brown "canaries" in our economic coal mine, by protecting the social safety net and taking direct action to create jobs.
baselinescenario.com — When representatives of American power encounter officials in less rich countries, they are prone to suggest that any failure to reach the highest standards of living is due in part to weak political governance in general and the failure of effective oversight in particular. Fortunately, our constitution grants the Senate the power to approve or disapprove key government appointments, and over the past 200 plus years this has served many times as an effective check on both executive authority and overly strong lobbies — who usually want their own, unsuitable, person to be kept on the job. Unfortunately, two massive failures of governance at the level of the Senate also spring to mind: first, the strange case of Alan Greenspan, which stretched over nearly two decades; second, Ben Bernanke, reappointed Thursday.
Smith Bagley passed away on Saturday, felled by a stroke on Christmas Eve. I was honored to count him a supporter and a friend. Smith is celebrated for his remarkable generosity; his commitment to social justice and to the Democratic Party. more »