Groundhog Day in Obama Land

tar sands protest

Randy Shaw: The President is repeating his own failed script from 2009, once again shifting right just as the GOP is on the ropes and his own base is primed for mobilizing.

Did Monica Lewinsky Really Save Social Security?

clinton lewinsky

Eric Laumen: Amidst the controversy of the Starr commission’s Monica Lewinsky investigation, President Clinton, a centrist through and through, was forced to fall back on the support of his party’s left-progressive wing and abandon bipartisanship.

Friday Feedback: How Not to Be a Union

This week, Steve Barios and Al Nava comment on Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer’s article, “How Not to Be a Union.”

The Biggest Impact of Lugar Primary Defeat

richard lugar

Randy Shaw: Centrist solutions are what kept slavery going for decades, and what allowed Senators who backed Jim Crow laws to be treated as respected figures in the national press.

Jerry Brown “Shocked” that Republicans Wouldn’t Compromise

Paul Hogarth: Suddenly realizing that Republicans aren’t going to compromise while actively starving the public sector certainly makes Jerry Brown look like Barack Obama. But Brown should not get away with it like Obama does.

Back to the Future: Why Republicans Hate the 1960s

obama martin luther king statue

Steve Hochstadt: Republicans avoid talking about their leadership and power in Washington for the past 30 years, because they are fighting to undo the changes in our political system that came earlier, during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Occupy Wall Street: American as Apple Pie

crosby and nash

Those loud right-wing voices in our political discourse that are trying to make Occupy Wall Street look like something “foreign” to American culture are barking up the wrong tree. When David Crosby and Graham Nash recently showed up at Zuccotti Park for an impromptu sing-along with the protesters they linked OWS with the long American tradition of resistance to [...]

The Norquist Factor

grover norquist

Brent Budowsky: Pledges such as the Norquist pledge should be flat-out discarded, as a matter of policy and principle, by all legislators, to achieve a bipartisan agreement at a time of economic crisis.

Brooklyn GOP Win Shows Voters Distrust President Who Cries Wolf

obama-signs-hand-wide

Randy Shaw: With the President still ignoring cries from his base for confrontational and dramatic action, did anyone really expect those Brooklyn Democrats to be highly motivated to get to the polls?

As Food Stamp Numbers Hit Record Highs, Luxury Sales Boom

luxury-wide

Randy Shaw: While Democrats are not nearly as zealous or extreme in their policy proposals, there is now a bipartisan consensus that budget deficits – not unemployment or poverty – are the nation’s top problem.

Will Obama Ever Hold the Republicans Accountable?

obama cafe

Paul Loeb: Obama has forgotten the basic lesson of negotiation — you don’t hand everything over before you start, particularly to people who have utter contempt for your values and goals.

New Politics, Patriotic Capitalism

David and Holly Petraeus

Brent Budowsky: This is the first in a series of columns that will propose that progressive populist Democrats and conservative populist Republicans unite behind new economic policies that I will call patriotic capitalism.



Bringing Democrats and Republicans Together over Food

Senators Bob Dole and George McGovern.

William Lambers: In a hyper-partisan age, is there anything that can bring Democrats and Republicans together? Yes: fighting global hunger. Drawing on the history of the postwar Marshall Plan, Lambers argues that food policy must be the foundation of all foreign policy.

Why Obama Wins on Foreign Policy and Gays but Loses on Economics and Taxes

santa-pied-piper

Robert Reich: When it comes to protecting the fortunes of America’s rich (mostly top corporate executives and Wall Street) and maintaining their strangle-hold on the political process, Senate Republicans, along with some Senate Democrats, don’t budge.

Is Obama Following Jimmy Carter’s Path?

Randy Shaw: Progressives are full of great ideas for putting Republicans on the defensive, and for Democrats regaining the populist momentum. But if Obama follows Jimmy Carter’s example and continues to solely follow his own playbook, such efforts are doomed to failure.

Blame Obama for Democrats’ Problems

randy shaw

Randy Shaw: President Obama spent nearly his entire first year playing “bipartisanship” with those out to destroy him. As much as many of us cheered Obama’s election and still admire many of his skills, the sad reality is that his failure to aggressively push for change in 2009 is the chief cause of the celebrated enthusiasm gap.

Rush Limbaugh’s “Just Say No” Strategy Succeeds

Randy Shaw: The greatest impact of the Limbaugh strategy was to erode popular faith in the capacity of the federal government to implement real progressive change.

America “Refudiates” Rights When Used

easy rider

Ed Rampell: The controversy over building an Islamic community center near Ground Zero shows that in America, you have constitutional rights – until the second you try to use them.

Mandela’s Ubuntu: We Are Human Only Through the Humanity of Others

Carl Matthes: “Mandela’s Way” is about life and one’s reaction to it. It demonstrates the need for us to understand our own motivations and the need for us to develop and articulate our own sense of Life, Love and Courage. The almost three years it took for Richard Stengel to chronicle Nelson Mandela’s life’s lessons and then condense it to enjoyable readable form, makes this book indispensable.

At Long Last, Obama’s Going Bush

hope change obama

Robert Illes: The tea baggers had finally encroached on, and engulfed, the mainstream of the Grand Old Party. As John McCain cringed the other day in Arizona, the running mate he made famous, Sarah Palin was re-filling her 15 minutes of fame card. (McCain cannot stop making the same deal with the devil he made that put her on the ticket in the first place) She gave her “ich bin ein Tea Partyer” spiel… dragging the desperate old maverick along with her. He made no mention of his promise of no cooperation with the Democrats for the rest of the year – perhaps because he had already fulfilled that promise in the first part of the year.

Democrats Return to Slumber after Massachusetts Wake Up Call

Harry-and-Nancy

Randy Shaw: Consider the Democrats top concerns. Health care? “We’ll get to it sometime.” Comprehensive immigration reform? “It’s still a priority.” EFCA? Off the political radar screen. Climate Change? “We don’t have the votes.” The Budget? Freeze all domestic spending but education and research but protect defense.

Hypocritical Outrage: Why the Process of Engineering This Health Reform Bill Is No Uglier Than the Rest of Congress’ Handiwork

mitch mcconnell

Tanya Acker: Twice last week I was on panels with Republicans who expressed surprise about the “unseemly” tactics employed by Democrats in passing health care reform. The horsetrading was so “venal!” The process so “hyperpartisan!” Noble Americans, we should all be so very shocked! Well, not really.

Resolved

New Years Resolutions

David Swanson: I resolve never to expect elections alone to change anything, and to understand that my activist work begins the day after an election.

The Public Option vs. the Ghost of Jefferson Davis HR 3962

But in considering what compromise measure Reid DID include in the bill to make it more acceptable to the right, and to attract votes that he isn’t going to get and doesn’t need, I am deeply disturbed by the way that we chose to identify this “trigger” as the deal-breaker at the expense of fighting something else which is indeed wholly unacceptable.

Time for the Yellow Dogs to Bite the Blue Dogs

yellow-dogs

Where is the spine of the rank and file? When I see ten thousand crazy fascists in the streets in Washington DC with our President demeaned as Adolf Hitler, I get angry at the silence of our so-called leadership.

Media Fails First Test of Obama Era

Jack Cafferty and Maureen Dowd

With the nation’s economy reeling, and corporate advertisers desperate for help, some assumed that the traditional media would have an incentive to provide solid, fact-based coverage of the stimulus package debate. But like “bipartisanship,” this expectation has proved unrealistic. From Jack Cafferty and Campbell Brown on CNN, to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, to [...]

Three Little Words

obama

“I screwed up.” Sounds like a simple, ordinary, and harmless little thing to admit, unless of course you’re the President of the United States. We haven’t heard the likes of this in at least eight years. No wonder everybody in the media is almost literally erupting about it. They can’t believe their ears. Seems THAT [...]

Lessons of President Obama’s First Two Weeks

presidentobama

It’s been less than two weeks, but patterns have emerged that are likely to continue throughout Barack Obama’s presidency. First, Obama understands how to use the media. Examples are detailed below, but the best is the widespread media story last Thursday about how the usually cool Obama “lost it” — in front of cameras and [...]

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