fresh voices from the front lines of change







Populism Roils Both Parties

Both parties, strategizing for 2016, recognize populist wave. W. Post: “Presidential hopefuls in both parties agree on at least one thing: Economic mobility, and the feeling of many Americans that they are being shut out from the nation’s prosperity, will be a defining theme of the 2016 campaign … Democrats say it’s too early to draw conclusions, but they note that if [Jeb] Bush and other Republicans find new ways to engage middle-class voters with populist themes, the pressures on [Hillary] Clinton will mount significantly.”

Focus group suggests Sen. Warren intrigues voters across political spectrum. W. Post: “They were dismissive, sometimes harshly, in their assessments of Bush, the former Florida governor. They were also chilly toward former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton. When the name of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was introduced into the conversation, however, many of those around the table, regardless of party affiliation, responded positively.”

“Obama and Elizabeth Warren Are Not at War Over the Economy” argues TNR’s Danny Vinik: “In the end, they are both playing important political roles within the Democratic Party—and the party is better off for it.”

GOP governors move away from right-wing. NYT: “…rather than reprising the Tea Party insurrection of 2010, Republican governors taking their oaths this month have expressed more muted, less ideological priorities … Yet that pragmatism is likely to be tested in the 24 states where Republicans also control the legislature and where bills are expected that would further restrict abortion, roll back the Common Core education standards and ensure that the president’s health care law does not gain a foothold in any more states.”

The Nation Turns 150

The Nation magazine announces big plans for its 150th year: “…The Nation will mark its 150th anniversary with a variety of innovative print and digital products, a nationwide series of live events and a documentary film by award-winning filmmaker, Barbara Kopple … In March, we will publish a paper and e-book history of the magazine … followed in April by a 200-page special anniversary issue featuring essays from the archives by Hannah Arendt, Jonathan Schell, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others …”

Right-Leaning Dems Flirt With Republicans

Enough Senate Dems available to give Republicans veto-proof majorities. W. Post: “‘There will be a group of about 15 Democrats who are willing to work with [Republicans] on any given issue,’ [Sen. Tim] Kaine predicted in an interview … Fifteen is an encouraging number to Republicans [since 67] will be needed if Republicans want to override an Obama veto”

But Democrats resist deal with Republicans on corporate tax reform. The Hill: “Obama and GOP leaders have pointed to taxes as one of just a handful of areas for potential agreement over the next two years … But liberal lawmakers say there’s no way they can agree to a deal that would favor powerful corporations over individuals and families that have yet to feel the economic recovery … Still, other Democrats say it’s far too early to reject a potential business-only tax reform plan — especially, as one Senate aide said, if Republicans were willing to talk about a deal that also included funding to shore up U.S. infrastructure.”

Obama silent so far on House GOP attack on Social Security. TPM: “TPM asked multiple times last week for the White House’s position on the House action, but never received a formal response, a stark contrast to the loud public pronouncements of Brown, Warren, and others. It also invokes the uneasy relationship between the White House and Social Security advocates, who were dismayed by Obama’s willingness to accept cuts to the program during the 2011 grand bargain talks …”

US manufacturing still in trouble, finds new report. The Guardian: “…the United States may have added only about one new manufacturing job in the last few years for every five that were lost during the financial crisis and the recession that followed.”

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