Seth Hoy: Can the Republican Party (once the ‘Party of No,” then the “Party of Hell No” and now the “Party of Papers Please?”) really afford to further alienate the fastest-growing U.S. voting bloc—Latinos?
Linda Milazzo: In Kentucky, political neophyte, libertarian extremist, and Tea Party enthusiast, Rand Paul, clobbered the hand-picked candidate of Senator Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican in Washington. Both election results send an earsplitting message to the leadership of America’s two dominant parties, warning that: ‘Your choices, endorsements and power don’t matter. We’re electing who WE want.’
Brad Parker: Sideways is the new direction for this bundle of believers, these frustrated yet sunny souls. Status quo has wrapped its stony fingers around the electoral apparatus of each ardent constituency. We are in a stall, a dead calm sea. And the natives are restless, very restless. But before we muster up the courage for a new direction, let us take a deeper look at the state of the State.
With articles by Robert Reich, Joseph Palermo, Charley James, Randy Shaw, Nomiki Konst, Rev. Irene Monroe, Mario Solis-Marich, Anthony Asadullah Samad, Georgianne Nienaber, Andrea Nill, Tracy Emblem, Wayne Williams, Cathy Cockrell, Tina Dupuy, Ron Wolff, Tom Degan, Shamus Cooke, Michael Sigman, David A. Love, Sharon Kyle, Bob Letcher, Robert Illes, and Ivan Eland
Randy Shaw: Yet Ronald Peters’ and Cindy Simon Rosenthal’s just-released book, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the New American Politics , shows that Nancy Pelosi played a far greater role than is realized in reviving progressive politics after the disappointing 2004 defeats. Pelosi shaped the Democrats message, framed attacks on Bush and the Republican Party, maintained party unity and then delivered for progressives after becoming Speaker in 2006. Nancy Pelosi is not only the most powerful female politician in United States history, but she may also be the most effective progressive national elected official of her time.
Paul Loeb: It’s been a frustrating time since November 2008, but our challenge is to spend less time bemoaning our disappointments and more energy engaging with ordinary citizens the way so many of us did a year and a half ago. If we give people enough ways to act on our present crises, we never know how history might turn.
Tom Degan: On the one hand the latent threats of violence and intimidation that underlies the actions and speech of the Tea Party crowd is enough to make any clear-thinking person seriously alarmed about the direction the lunatic fringe of American politics seems to be headed. On the other hand, these people are just so damned funny! We’re talking Ambivalence City here! Part of me wishes them to go away and the other part would mourn their loss if they ever did. Let’s face it: These assholes are the best thing to happen to progressive politics in this country since Eleanor Roosevelt.
Joseph Palermo: The Democrats must pass a lot of legislation before the midterms or they’re going to be very sorry. Soon enough, given the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, we’re going to see campaigns where our choice for U.S. Senator will be between the “Doritos Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips” candidate and the “Pepsi/Pizza Hut/KFC/Frito Lay/Taco Bell” candidate. Former President George W. Bush is raking in the bucks speaking at the National Grocers’ Association. First he defiled the presidency by getting John Yoo to turn the Justice Department into a law factory for monarchical presidential powers, now he shares the stage as an inspirational speaker with Terry Bradshaw. Our elections are about to become a satirical skit that Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report did a long time ago.
Ron Wolff: Appointed judges, intellectual and political elites, mainstream journalists, bureaucrats, and Europeans — the customary targets of conservatives — fall victim to his keyboard. He almost equates property rights to the means of pursuing happiness, totally ignoring reams of evidence to the contrary. (As we know from last week’s article, nobody expects a correlation any more between belief systems and evidence.)
Ten years ago, the story dominating the headlines was Y2K. In 2009, according to Yahoo, the story that dominated in terms of searches online was — wait for it — Michael Jackson’s death! Not the economic meltdown, not the healthcare debate, not even the inauguration of the first black president of the United States!
Great pessimism during economic busts is as characteristically American as great optimism during boom times. The oh-ohs’ whateverism is less fleeting and thus more dangerous. A culture of denial, disengagement, dissociation is dysfunctional. We need a culture of engagement and responsibility, even with all our traumas, distractions and high-tech toys.
I don’t recall how or when single-payer was taken “off the table” – except that Senator Max Baucus said it was. Without single payer, progressives focused on the public option – which although a compromise, could have held insurance companies accountable. Everyone knew it was tough and compromise would happen, but we were supposed to be part of that decision.
What’s in a greeting? With Ramadan, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice and Christmas all going on this time of year, one would think that an all-inclusive seasonal greeting emblematic of our nation’s religious diversity would be embraced by us all with two simple words — Happy Holidays! However, the season’s greeting is the ongoing chapter in [...]
When Barack Obama backed a Senate health reform plan that differed radically from prior proposals, he ignored the lessons he learned as a young organizer on Chicago’s South Side. Obama once knew that it’s wrong to bypass the community’s agenda to strike a backroom deal, regardless of its superior terms. Obama also understood that failing to consult with the community disempowers the base, and discourages people from participating in future organizing campaigns.
When President Barack Obama took office, many activists and organizations saw their role as mobilizing the public support necessary to enable him to implement progressive change. After Obama’s September health care speech this strategy appeared to be working, but the President has since ignored the progressive base and taken a sharp turn to the right.
Obama still has time to deliver for his base. But this will require activists and constituency groups to ramp up public demands for such a course, rather than thinking they are helping the progressive cause by making excuses for a president whose inspirational words about social transformation have not been matched by actions.