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.
Wendy Block: It’s impossible to eliminate money from politics, and there’s no reason to. But release candidates from huge campaign contributors and the special favors that follow victory, and you’ll see miracles after every election.
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.
Robert Illes: Anyway, I’ll take a kickass Obama for four years than a watery Obama for eight. Yes FDR is a good model, but the real lesson of getting things done may be the obscure guy who came along precisely 100 years earlier.
Charley James: Families with any luck whatsoever have a relative who is larger than life, a genuine character that leaves behind a trail of remarkable anecdotes that celebrate a life well lived. Mine was doubly blessed because we had two, Joe and Norman.
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.)
Brad Parker: If our former Chair of the CDP was correct, that the Democratic Party is a business, then it follows that it is also just another in the current line of American businesses that can’t or won’t Stand & Deliver on its Goods & Services
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!
I believe that the only hope we can believe in is our Progressive Plan for the future. Let us, as Democrats and citizens, disenthrall ourselves from the old tired notion that “That’s just the way it is” and imagine, create and promote a new way – Progressive.
After a year of escalation in Afghanistan, solicitude toward Wall Street and the incredible shrinking healthcare reform, we ought to be able to see that the biggest problem among progressives has been undue deference to the Obama administration.
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.