Obama Betrays the EPA

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John Peeler: In what has become a pattern for Obama, he backed down, adopted the essentials of the Republican argument, and left his own EPA Director swinging in the wind.

Arab Spring: The Kings and the Presidents

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John Peeler: Just as with the fall of the Soviet Bloc in Eastern Europe, success in Tunisia encouraged protesters elsewhere; success in the most important Arab state, Egypt, meant that success was conceivable anywhere.

Obama vs. Boehner: Point Guard and Linebacker

obama playing basketball

John Peeler: Obama dribbles across mid-court, fakes left, moves right, deftly avoids Boehner’s attempted steal, and goes in for a lay-up. Boehner cuts him off at the knees, grabs the loose ball and runs it back for a touchdown.

Americans Elect?

gene mccarthy

John Peeler: Disillusioned liberals ought to know that if this effort takes off, it is very likely to siphon votes away from Obama and facilitate a complete Republican takeover of the federal government.

Lost Decade?

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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.

Reimagining Capitalism: An End to Mythologies

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John Peeler: The economy, like the polity, ought to be democratically controlled. Democracy should operate at the level of the firm as well as the community: employees should be owners.

Facing Pakistan After Bin Laden

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John Peeler: We cannot say that Pakistan is two-faced: that would imply a degree of unity that does not square with what we know about that country. Pakistan has many faces because no one is fully in control.

Obama Takes Out Osama

obama osama

John Peeler: Obama may not much like war, but he has shown that if he believes he must wage it, he intends to win it. Liberals who were hostile to the Iraq war, skeptical of the Afghanistan war, and dubious about the Libyan intervention will find little comfort here.

Countering the Republican Anti-Labor Campaign

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.

What’s Obama’s Game in Libya?

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John Peeler: It’s just possible that things are going pretty much as the administration intends. That is, Qaddafi’s position is deteriorating, he will ultimately fall, and Obama’s fingerprints will not be on the deed.

Obama and War

obama libya speech

John Peeler: Obama has done, in the Libyan case, just what he said he would: with UN Security Council and Arab League authorization, he has put together a coalition to take limited military measures to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

Libya: What Happens When Sound Bites Don’t Work?

obama libya

John Peeler: No wonder the hyper-cautious Obama is moving as if he were in a minefield that’s been covered with grease. Anything he does (including nothing) will elicit ferocious criticism from both opponents and supporters.

Deficit Commission: Keynesian by Default

deficit

John Peeler: The fact is, neither liberals nor conservatives, neither Republicans nor Democrats, have the stomach for the major sacrifices that Simpson and Bowles are calling for, and it’s not at all clear that the public in general is ready either.

Not a Post-Mortem: Checking Debris After a Big Wave

election waves

John Peeler: The Republican takeover of the House was largely a matter of taking back the seats they lost in the last two elections, many of which are either majority Republican or conservative enough to have voted for McCain in 2008.

Still the Age of Reagan: Long Waves in American Politics

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.

Go Figure: Elections in the World’s Greatest Democracy

John Peeler: Republicans stand to win an election even though more voters oppose their ideas than support them. What’s going on?

On the Art of Exit: Iraq and Afghanistan

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.

Destroying America to Save It: Reflections on a Mosque

mosque istanbul

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?

The Use and Abuse of the Fourteenth Amendment

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.

Obama’s Summer of Discontent

michelle and barack obama

John Peeler: Overall, Obama has been successful as the leader of Washington. Where he is failing is as the leader of the country. That’s a surprise, given his short political career, and his very impressive rhetorical skills.

Flash!! Two Conservatives Think Rationally

george will david brooks

John Peeler: It is always a bit of a shock when a well-know conservative says something sensible, so imagine how stunned I was in this past week when TWO (count ‘em!) prominent rightist talking heads talked sense.

Why Can’t the Left Pull a Tea Party?

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.

Imagine

israeli commandos

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.

Pennsylvania’s Primary: Good News, Bad News for Progressives

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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.

The Confederacy and Slavery: Reflections on a Segregated Education in Savannnah

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John Peeler: Many white Southerners even today think they can somehow celebrate the glories of the Confederacy while ignoring the oppressive, inhumane institution at its roots. I certainly thought so back then. It was a glorious lost cause; implicitly, the country would have been better off had the Confederate rebellion prevailed.

Coal: There Is No Good Way to Get It

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John Peeler: The wrenching drama of the latest coal mine disaster, this one at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, reminds us to be careful what we wish for. Just as the Obama administration is finally imposing a moratorium and stronger regulations on “mountaintop removal” as a means of getting at coal through open-pit mining, an explosion in a deep mine points up the hazards of getting at coal the traditional way.

Israel and Palestine: The Folly of Strength and the Folly of Weakness

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John Peeler: Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel didn’t go so well. When the Interior Ministry announced plans for a major expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem just as Biden was helping to organize renewed—if indirect—negotiations with the Palestinians, he, on instructions from the White House, promptly condemned the plan, a condemnation, which was amplified in a long, “tough” conversation between Secretary of State Clinton and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Massachusetts Debacle

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John Peeler: The defeat of Martha Coakley in the race to succeed Ted Kennedy certainly shows the folly of taking victory for granted and failing to mount a serious campaign. But it also puts on display the complete political incompetence of the Obama administration and the national leadership of the Democratic Party and the Congress.

Two Alaskan Women, Two Alaskan Stories

Sarah Palin, Riki Ott

Palin and other conservatives want us to ignore the fact that shrinking the government and deregulation doesn’t help the small business person and the average worker; it turns the country over to massive corporations like Exxon Mobil. That’s what Riki Ott is telling us.

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