John Peeler: Joining the conservative chorus against Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the federally sponsored mortgage giants, Gingrich has had trouble explaining his receipt of $1.8 million over several years as a consultant to Freddie Mac.
John Peeler: Obama has set a major contrast in style and strategy with George W. Bush: he does not grandstand, he does not order massive military interventions. He doesn’t question Bush’s commitments, but he set up the rules of engagement and the negotiating positions to allow him to dial them back.
John Peeler: One of the most striking features of our current global economic morass is that many Third World economies are weathering the crisis rather well, while the supposed leaders of the world economy (the United States, the European Union, the Japanese) are in deep trouble that looks to get deeper.
John Peeler: Nationally, Democrats have been lukewarm at best in their defense of labor unions, but Republicans have been, and are increasingly, solidly opposed to unions.
John Peeler: “Winner-Take-All Politics” provides a well-documented analysis of how the United States government, since the 1970s, has systematically enriched the top one percent of the country at the expense of everyone else. Written by distinguished political scientists, Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, the book shows how big business interests ratcheted up their national organizations to defend their interests in national policy debates. In addition to employing far stronger lobbying, these interests created think-tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, designed to challenge the liberal conventional wisdom of the New Deal and Great Society and replace it with an explicitly conservative, free-market-oriented way of thinking.
John Peeler: I suggest that as bad as things are, economically, politically, socially, they are not bad enough to permanently shift the way we think, to force changes in what we consider to be common sense. Such a fundamental reshaping of the political landscape has occurred only a few times in our history.
John Peeler: Republicans stand to win an election even though more voters oppose their ideas than support them. What’s going on?
John Peeler: Obama appears determined that the wars not overwhelm his domestic agenda, even as, pragmatically, he cannot walk away from either without exposing himself to withering political attacks. If Bush saw himself as a war president, Obama wants to be a reformer with two wars to manage.
John Peeler: There is a more fundamental issue: if we allow our response to be governed by intolerance, we deal a hard blow to the version of America that embodies freedom of religion for all. Will we then turn in upon ourselves, resentful and repressive towards the Other, and terrified to live by our own truth?
John Peeler: Many conservatives are now pushing to amend the Constitution to change the provision of the Fourteenth Amendment that allocates citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. Unlike many examples of creative interpretation, this proposal would formally amend the amendment. Liberals learned in the 1970s, with the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, how hard it is to amend the Constitution; here is our chance to teach the same lesson to conservatives.
John Peeler: The Democratic Party just is not a mirror image of the Republicans. It’s true that partisans have become steadily more polarized in the last generation: the Republican Party really is a conservative party today, in a way that it wasn’t even in the days of Richard Nixon. The Democrats are distinctly more liberal, but they are not a liberal party in the same sense as the GOP is conservative.
John Peeler: But suppose there were no violence by the activists, just a refusal to comply with what they held to be an illegal seizure of their ships in support of an illegal blockade and an illegal occupation. The Israeli government and military are manifestly completely unprepared for that. They know only how to respond to Palestinian violence with disproportionate force.
John Peeler: The 2010 Pennsylvania Primary had a lot of good news for progressive Democrats. The 18 May balloting saw Representative Joe Sestak take out five-term Senator Arlen Specter, just a year after the latter switched to the Democratic Party in the face of an assured loss in the Republican primary. And, the Democrats held the seat long occupied by the late Jack Murtha. On the other hand, the most progressive candidate in the gubernatorial primary, Joe Hoeffel, finished a poor fourth, and the winner, Dan Onorato, is not only less progressive, but starts well down in the polls against the Republican nominee, state Attorney General Tom Corbett.