Ivan Eland: This government “Star Wars” effort has been a boondoggle, but then huge costs and poor performance rarely cause any government program to be terminated—evidence of this effect is exhibited by the continued flow of money to the project despite three decades of failure.
Randy Shaw: Tax Day has passed with little attention to the chief reason U.S. students are overwhelmed by debt, millions are homeless, children go to bed hungry and our public transit infrastructure is being destroyed — the allocation of half of every discretionary dollar to the military.
Randy Shaw: Progressive activists get so focused on mobilizing their base that they overlook the intensity of their opponents’ base. And Walker’s base was motivated.
Obama can narrow the enthusiasm gap by aggressively campaigning, but it will be up to labor and environmental groups to rouse their disaffected supporters to the polls.
Randy Shaw: In the Beltway, the Obama Administration frustrated key constituency groups and organizations by failing to push for transformative change. In the world where most people live and work, activists were not deterred by Obama’s inaction and instead seized upon the “Si Se Puede” spirit to build successful campaigns for justice.
To help avoid the “defining downward” of progressive goals on the key issues of 2010, I thought it would be helpful to assess what would constitute activist victories and whether progressives should cheer measures short of what they are now backing.
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.