Wednesday, June 06, 2012 3:33 PM
There’s been a lot of talk
today about what Scott Walker’s victory means for progressives. There are a lot
of potential takeaways. The Citizens
United decision allowed Walker
outspend his opponent, mostly from out-of-state donors and independent
expenditures. Unlike the RNC, national Democrats (and the president) were conspicuously absent during the race, indicating that Obama may be unwilling
to take a stand on workers’ rights during an election year. Turnout
yesterday was unusually
high for Wisconsin,
which says a lot about how contentious the election really was. And other
Republican governors, who have watched the race closely, may now be planning
similar policies in their own states.
All that may spell big
trouble for workers across the country. But there’s another lesson we may be
forgetting: organized labor’s campaign against Walker was its largest and most significant
in decades, and Tuesday’s results are only a small part of that. Historically, elections have been a pretty minor part of most social movements—especially
labor. And activists in Wisconsin
know this history very well. When the state legislature cut
off citizen testimony on Walker’s
budget proposal early last year, their response was not a petition or an
official complaint, but an occupation. As Allison Kilkenny points
out in TheNation,
Alienation from the traditional leftist institutions was the cause of the
original occupation of Wisconsin's
state capitol, followed by a slew of occupations all across the country, and
the world. Burnt by the Republicans and abandoned by the Democrats, protesters
turned to nontraditional forms of protest, including camping in public spaces
and refusing to leave.
Until the recall campaign
officially began several months later, those nontraditional forms of protest
made up most of the progressive response to Walker. Citizens sent sarcastic
valentines to the governor’s office, closed
public schools, and revealed Walker’s
baser intentions in other creative
But by far the most significant action was the occupation of Wisconsin’s state
capitol, which connected the struggle both to Arab Spring demonstrations, and
later to the Occupy movement it helped inspire. There's also its
connection with labor history—it was hardly the first time citizens occupied
the capitol in Madison.
In 1936, more than a hundred WPA workers and their families camped
out at the state house to protest low wages and inconsistent pay. That
year, sit-down strikes (“occupations” in 2012-speak) erupted in dozens of
factories, plants, and workshops across the country. The next year, there were nearly
Then as now, a stalled recovery threatened a double-dip recession, and many
Americans wanted to see more action from a divided government in Washington. (This was
less than a year after the Supreme Court declared the National Recovery Administration unconstitutional.) Wisconsin even had a
leftwing governor from a radical third party, but like many people throughout
the country, the WPA workers still chose to work outside the system. Last year
we saw a similar (and somewhat smaller) wave of organizing and action in dozens
of cities, including Madison,
and it’s hard to know exactly where all of that will end up.
The recall in Wisconsin gives us some
idea of that, but not a complete picture. The Tea Party is still clearly an
important political force, and many ordinary people remain suspicious of the
intentions and tactics of organized labor. But the situation is far from black
and white. Last night’s numbers make it easy to claim a resounding defeat for
organized labor, but the last 16 months seem to show the opposite. It would be
a shame, for instance, if the recall vote overshadowed recent labor victories,
like when Ohioans voted overwhelmingly to restore
collective bargaining last November. And let’s not forget that Dems
took the Wisconsin senate yesterday in another recall, which may create
some hurdles for Walker’s
more conservative planks.
But even more than that, with
or without a successful recall, the fight in Wisconsin was a significant step forward for
organized labor. Unions have been steadily losing strength for decades, and its
mobilization in Wisconsin
was pretty unprecedented. Writes
For those who see democracy as a spectator sport with clearly defined
seasons that finish on Election Day, the Wisconsin
results are just depressing. But for those who recognize the distance Wisconsin… and other
states… have come since the Republicans won just about everything in 2010, the
recall story is instructive.
Walker’s February 2011 assault on union rights provoked some of the largest
mass demonstrations in modern labor history, protests that anticipated the
“Occupy” phenomenon with a three-week takeover of the state Capitol and
universal slogan “Blame Wall Street Not the Workers,” protests that both drew
inspiration from and served to inspire the global kicking up against austerity.
And that kicking up is far from over. As
Peter Dreier points out in Common Dreams,
Walker spent 88 percent of the money
in yesterday’s recall to get 53 percent of the vote. In 2010, when Walker faced the same
opponent for the same office, his campaign spending was a small
fraction of what it was this year. In Wisconsin, as in many other parts of the
world, austerity may require much more convincing than it did two years ago. In
spite of the recall results, Wisconsin
may represent less an end than a beginning.
Institute on Money in State Politics.
Image by WisPolitics.com,
licensed under Creative
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 10:08 AM
Banksy commits a cardinal sin: defacing an 18th century bust of a priest to comment on the Catholic Church’s child abuse scandal and subsequent cover-up.
This rare interview with science fiction rapscallion Philip K. Dick from 1979 recently surfaced on the Internet.
Take a seat: Abandoned couches take over the streets of San Francisco.
Longform.org picks the 10 best pieces of science writing from 2011.
Eerily beautiful: Orphaned amusement parks.
Have you heard of a little book called 1984? Here’s the original write-up from the New York Times Book Review.
What we talk about when we talk about a woman’s success as a woman.
Mother Jones peeks into the 1 percent’s headquarters: Highland Park, Texas.
As long as there have been political dictators, psychologists have been fascinated with them. The Psychology of Dictatorship: Kim Jong-Il.
An exhaustive piece chronicling how the GOP became the party of the rich.
Bibliophile porn: Photographs of the most beautiful college libraries from around the world.
The United States Artists has awarded its annual literature fellowships to 5 lucky poets and writers, each of whom will receive a grant of $50,000.
French lessons: Why letting kids drink at home isn’t tres bien.
Is feminism over the hill?
Love amid sippy cups: Excerpts from steamy romance novels for parents of young children.
A statistician picks apart Freakonomics for its number-crunching blunders.
Are bankers human? Watch this video to find out.
Thursday, August 18, 2011 4:45 PM
We live in a country where a stunning number of TV meteorologists still aggressively deny the existence of climate change, so I couldn’t help but be both surprised and a bit encouraged by the results of a national poll conducted last November. It seems that Republicans who dare to take a “green position” on climate—which essentially means admitting that something needs to be done to keep the earth’s temperature from rising—could end up wooing undecided voters without alienating their core constituency.
According to The Daily Climate, Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment called 1,000 randomly selected participants and asked them to evaluate a hypothetical Senate candidate based on a number of issues and found that “taking a green position on climate won votes . . . and taking a not-green position [which includes sticking with coal and oil as the nation’s dominant energy sources] lost votes.”
Based on a detailed breakdown of the data, researchers concluded that while Democrats could strengthen their base by focusing on climate, Republicans hoping to woo Independents and disappointed Dems had more to gain at the moment, especially if their opponents stay silent on the subject. “On taxes and the economy, the Republicans are singing one note,” Bruce Cain, professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Daily Climate. “The only way to win is by shining the light on the differences.”
This analysis squares with the findings of another Stanford poll released a year ago, which found that “three out of four Americans believe that ‘the Earth has been gradually warming due primarily or at least partly as the result of human activity and want the government to institute regulations to stop it.’ ”
Whether or not taking a pro-green position on the stump would actually result in actual legislation after the polls close is another question altogether, of course, but it will be interesting to see if data like this changes the conversational climate come primary time.
Source: The Daily Climate
Image by paul nine-o, licensed under Creative Commons.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 4:34 PM
This article originally appeared at
Marin Independent Journal
The negative trends in the nation's capital are mostly due to extreme GOP ideologues in Congress. But they've been enabled by too many Democrats who keep giving ground while Republican leaders refuse to give an inch.
Many a political truth can be spoken in jest, and that was the case with a mock news item that appeared in The Onion last week.
“A day after signing legislation that raised the government debt ceiling and authorized steep budget cuts,” the satirical magazine reported, “President Obama thanked Democrats as well as Democrats for their willingness to make tough, but necessary, concessions during negotiations.”
The Onion went on: “Obama added that while it may look ugly at times, politics is about Democrats giving up what they want, as well as Democrats giving up what they want, until an agreement can ultimately be reached.”
Compromise is one thing, but capitulation is another — especially when core principles of decency and fairness are at stake.
We must stand our ground on behalf of seniors, children, the disabled and other vulnerable Americans. All the rhetoric about “shared sacrifice” rings hollow when the vast majority of us are being sacrificed to the financial benefit of big banks and large corporations.
There are plenty of sensible and effective ways to reduce the deficit—including a transaction tax on Wall Street, closure of tax loopholes for big companies, an end to the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy and a major reduction in the military budget.
Instead, the bipartisan dealmakers in Washington are slashing the safety net that's essential for vast numbers of Americans.
One of the most dangerous aspects of the recent budget deal is that it explicitly sets the stage for future actions to undermine Medicare. This scenario strikes at the heart of precious values. I'm committed to defending Social Security and Medicare on the campaign trail and as a member of Congress.
I fully agree with Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey's explanation for why she voted against the new budget deal.
Woolsey pointed out that the deal “puts virtually the entire burden on working families and the middle class while asking nothing from billionaires, millionaires and companies that send jobs overseas.”
In Washington, job one should be creating jobs. And that won't happen by continuing to give tax cuts to the wealthy while imposing benefit cuts on the rest of us.
Corporations are sitting on huge quantities of cash. But rather than expanding the workforce, they're hoarding the money—and stretching workers in the name of “productivity”—while often posting record profits.
Three years ago I wrote a column opposing the Wall Street bank bailout then being debated in Congress. Unfortunately, my concerns were borne out by later events.
Banks took the bailout money and largely used it to buy other banks—instead of making loans to small businesses and helping homeowners keep their homes.
With the new budget deal, Congress again acted in the financial interests of the rich instead of the vast majority of us.
With chronic unemployment at historic highs and personal savings in the tank, fewer and fewer Americans have the buying power that can pull the economy out of its deep ravine.
Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in the vital lessons of the New Deal. Many millions of good jobs must be created—and that will require well-funded federal jobs programs on a large scale.
Trickle-down economics, relying on the tender mercies of powerful corporations, won't get it done.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 12:09 PM
Andy Serwer has some bad news for Barack Obama supporters out there: The economy’s not going to heal enough in the next year for him to ride a wave of recovery back into the White House the way Ronald Reagan did in 1984. “Reagan won re-election in a landslide, telling voters that it was ‘morning in America,’” Sewer writes at The American Prospect. “Unfortunately for President Barack Obama, the American economy has been stuck at midnight for years.”
Many factors are at play here. The recession was worse than predicted, so the economic stimulus didn’t do enough, and now we have a Congress that is doing absolutely nothing about the jobs crisis in the country, but are instead bickering about things that for previous presidents went unquestioned. Serwer points out that many of the cuts in the debt ceiling deal will come down the road and will therefore not affect the Obama reelection campaign, but the deal, according to economist Chad Stone, “is a modest hit to GDP in an economy that’s already facing substantial headwinds,” and therefore is certainly not going to help matters.
Barring a surprise uptick in the economy in the final months leading up to the 2012 election, the outlook, in Serwer’s view, looks pretty grim for the Obama camp:
Even assuming Republican intransigence and obstruction have given Obama the most challenging political landscape ever for a Democratic president, what matters is whether voters feel like he did what he was elected to do: Bring the American economy back from the brink.
Though I, like many out there, am not so keen on many of the decisions Obama has made in office, I can’t imagine some of the alternatives. Honestly, Serwer’s bleak article scares the hell out of me.
Source: The American Prospect
Image by Mike Licht, licensed under Creative Commons
Monday, July 11, 2011 12:19 PM
Last week I wrote a post about what Alison Kilkenny at The Nation has called “the era of the one-sided compromise,” questioning whether the Republican party, both at the state and national levels, could actually compromise on a budget deal that included some sort of new tax revenue. My conclusion was no, they wouldn’t be able to. Which is exactly what played out over the weekend, as Jonathan Cohn writes at The New Republic:
As you have probably heard by now, House Speaker John Boehner on Saturday evening informed President Obama that he was no longer interested in pursuing a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction. It was a major turning point in the debate. For the past week, Obama has made clear that he hoped to use ongoing negotiations over the debt ceiling to put in place a massive, potentially historic deal to reorder the nation’s spending priorities – a deal that would reduce deficits by as much as $4 trillion cumulatively over the next decade.
This abandonment by Boehner has left Cohn, like so many of us, wondering, “Does anything matter to Republicans more than protecting tax cuts for the very wealthy?” Cohn points out that any “grand bargain” that could have been reached as a result of the current debate would “reflect Republican priorities far more than Democratic ones,” including cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. In other words, the stuff that matters to one side would be represented far more than the stuff that matters to the other. Still, the Republicans can’t stomach the idea of the Bush-era tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest expiring next year.
Cohn sees Boehner’s willingness to negotiate as genuine and writes, “For what it's worth, I’ve actually gained some respect for Boehner…[he] was genuinely interested in negotiating a deal even if that meant agreeing to some compromises, albeit pretty modest ones from my perspective.” However, he acknowledges that Boehner’s not really in charge of the House Republican caucus. “The lunatics are,” he writes. “And it looks like they’ve won.”
And while the consensus seems to be shifting somewhat that the Republicans’ inability to touch their no-new-taxes sacred cow is actually the culprit for negotiations breaking down, Jonathan Chait recognizes a failure on the part of the media in reporting on this issue:
The other thing to add is that this demonstrates a fact that media centrists have failed to grasp for months: the impediment to a balanced (or even heavily rightward-tilting) deficit plan isn't "both parties." It's Republicans. Democrats may not like the idea of cutting entitlements, but their objections don't come close to matching the GOP's theological opposition to tax increases.
Source: The New Republic
Image by Enter The Story, licensed under Creative Commons.
Thursday, July 07, 2011 9:29 AM
As we near the end of the first week of the Minnesota* government shutdown and talks on the national stage continue in a countdown to August 2, a trend—both local and national—is bubbling to the surface. While one party continues to give concession after concession, the other party clings to a single economic factor that is rarely, outside of the party, touted as the most important among a myriad of economic factors. Taxes. While Democrats have gone against the wishes of many of the party’s far-left constituents and agreed to cuts in the name of balancing budgets, the Republican party refuses to thwart the extremists among them to reach anything that might actually be called a compromise.
In a scathing article in the New York TimesDavid Brooks takes on a Republican party that he sees as abnormal in its inability to seize an opportunity to “take advantage of this amazing moment” where “it is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred billion dollars of revenue increases.”
He goes on:
But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative….
[T]o members of this movement, tax levels are everything. Members of this tendency have taken a small piece of economic policy and turned it into a sacred fixation. They are willing to cut education and research to preserve tax expenditures. Manufacturing employment is cratering even as output rises, but members of this movement somehow believe such problems can be addressed so long as they continue to worship their idol.
Writing for The Nation, Allison Kilkenny sees this as “the era of the one-sided compromise, where millionaires are taxed at rock bottom rates while the working poor have their pensions stolen from them.” “The national calls for ‘shared sacrifice’ during these times of austerity,” Kilkenny begins, “presuppose that giant corporations like Goldman Sachs and Exxon Mobil share the same amount of privilege and power as, say, your grandmother.” Yet, a somewhat insignificant tax increase among the wealthy (from 35 to 39 percent) is not, argues Kilkenny, in the same ballpark as “significantly gutting the social safety net for the poor majority.” Focusing on Governor Christie of New Jersey, Kilkenny writes of the “one-sided compromise”:
The state Democrats laid down during this vicious attack on the working poor in the spirit of bipartisanship, naturally. Sharing the sacrifice, and what not. Of course, then the Democrats were simply shocked—shocked!—that a Republican governor, who they had just sold out their own party in order to support, would then turn around and stab them in the back.
In another article, Kilkenny concludes, “it seems like state governments operate in one of two modes: paralysis or aggressive punishment of the poor.” Currently the Minnesota state government is operating within the former mode. Here, too, we find the one-sided compromise at play. As Doug Grow writes in MinnPost, “The depth of the problem Gov. Mark Dayton faces grows more evident each day: He cares about governing; the Republican majority he is trying to deal with cares only about winning.” (See “psychological protest” above.) In a side-by-side comparison of the Dayton and Republican-controlled legislature’s budgets from Minnesota Public Radio reporter Catherine Richert, we see mostly cuts and reductions in the “Common Ground” category, including the following: “Cut education department funding by 5%”; “Eliminate scholarships for high achieving, low-income students”; “Reduce grants for child protection and mental health services”; and “Cuts to job training funding.” (Emphasis added.) When we get to the Taxes row, the “Common Ground” column is left blank.
Despite the widely-reported notion that these government stalemates are a product of the people electing officials that fall into one of two camps—no-new-tax-Republicans or tax-and-spend-Democrats—it seems to me that that’s not the case at all. While Democratic leaders continue to disappoint the far-left among them (and not just on economic issues; see, too, the Afghan and Iraq wars, health care, Bradley Manning, et al.), Republican leaders refuse to put aside for a moment a few core beliefs in the interest of anything resembling an actual compromise. As Brooks writes, “The party is not being asked to raise marginal tax rates in a way that might pervert incentives. On the contrary, Republicans are merely being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures that are themselves distortionary. This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.” But since they need to remain steadfast for the most die hard among them, they won’t even entertain that much. And still, some see the exact opposite. The St. Paul Pioneer Press, in the days leading up to the Minnesota government shut down, wrote,
Rather than work out differences and sign off on large portions of the budget on which agreement is within reach, Dayton has as of this writing refused to get deals done and preserve operations in those parts of government. This is not compromise. This is hostage taking.
I’m not sure how you debate, much less compromise, in such an atmosphere. But it seems that if most economists say a balanced budget must come from a combination of spending cuts and new revenue, including increased taxes, then a party that simply says “no” to one of those two is not compromising, while the party that agrees to at least some from both avenues is closer to achieving what that word—compromise—actually means.
Of course, the fact that I can only write about this in terms of two parties is probably really at the heart of all of our state and national problems.
*Utne Reader is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Source: The New York Times, The Nation, MinnPost, Minnesota Public Radio, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Image by GovernorDayton, licensed under Creative Commons.
Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:59 AM
One of the parties on the ballot on Election Day holds a position that virtually no party in the world’s liberal democracies shares. The Republican Party’s steadfast rejection of climate science makes it a global outlier, an unparalleled bastion of denial, ignorance, and obfuscation on one of the most important issues of the day.
That’s why Ronald Brownstein, conservative columnist for the National Journal, caused a bit of a stir when he wrote on October 9:
Virtually all of the serious 2010 GOP challengers have moved beyond opposing cap-and-trade to dismissing the scientific evidence that global warming is even occurring. … It is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says that although other parties may contain pockets of climate skepticism, there is “no party-wide view like this anywhere in the world that I am aware of.”
It will be difficult for the world to move meaningfully against climate disruption if the United States does not. And it will be almost impossible for the U.S. to act if one party not only rejects the most common solution proposed for the problem (cap-and-trade) but repudiates even the idea that there is a problem to be solved. The GOP’s stiffening rejection of climate science sets the stage for much heated argument but little action as the world inexorably warms … .
Brownstein’s candor on this issue yielded reactions of welcome surprise in outlets ranging from Treehugger to Climate Progress to Ross Douthat’s blog at the New York Times. But a strange thing has happened to Brownstein’s column as Election Day approaches: It has disappeared without a trace from the National Journal’s website.
Maybe the writer changed his mind about climate change and pulled it. Maybe a link has simply broken. Maybe a climate-related weather event has disrupted the connection to the server. Or perhaps someone at the National Journal decided it was time to unhost the attention-getting piece, an unwelcome bit of self-criticism at a time when line-toeing and back-patting is in order.
In the meantime, StopGlobalWarming.org has posted a copy of the column, which is perfect for sharing with conservative-leaning friends and family before they vote.
Sources: National Journal, Treehugger, Climate Progress, New York Times, StopGlobalWarming.org
Image from This Isn’t Happiness.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 4:21 PM
The Tea Party isn’t a coherent political party. It’s united by the fact that it’s “loud, self-regarding, incoherent, and endowed with a bottomless confidence that it speaks for real Americans,” according to The American Conservative. The unquestionably conservative magazine came out swinging against the Tea Parties in the latest issue:
Despite the real idealism of some of its activists both inside and outside the Beltway, the Tea Party is nothing more than a Republican-managed tantrum. Send the conservative activists into the streets to vent their anger. Let Obama feel the brunt of it. And if the GOP shows a modicum of contrition, the runaways will come home.
Source: The American Conservative
Image by ProgressOhio, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 4:22 PM
How can you tell if people are Republicans or a Democrats? Just look at their faces. In a study published on the science journal PLOS One, participants were able to correctly identify the political leanings of both politicians and college seniors, just by looking at photos their faces. “Republicans were perceived as more powerful than Democrats,” according to the researchers. “Similarly,” the study found that when it comes to personalities, “as individual targets were perceived to be warmer, they were more likely to be perceived as Democrats.” The researchers concluded that people used stereotypes to identify Republicans and Democrats, and often, those stereotypes worked.
(Thanks, Barking Up the Wrong Tree.)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 11:55 AM
With President Obama in office, some of the Bush era’s most vociferous antiwar organizations have become peculiarly complacent, Justin Raimondo observes in the American Conservative. Raimondo singles out MoveOn.org, Americans United for Change, and VoteVets, among others for not calling the planned escalation of U.S. presence in Afghanistan what it is: no different than the war policy of the Bush era.
“Like the neoconized Republican cadre that hooted down Ron Paul as he rose to challenge the Bush foreign policy during the GOP presidential primary debates, a similarly brainwashed Democratic base is now cheerleading their leader and shouting down dissenters even as this White House repeats—and enlarges—the mistakes of the previous occupant,” Raimondo writes.
Source: American Conservative
Sunday, September 07, 2008 12:07 PM
Sarah Palin’s religious rhetoric has managed to both rankle progressives and thrill conservatives. While Palin's nomination may have seemed foolish based on her lack of experience, George Lakoff at Tikkun articulates why McCain’s choice is a shrewdly political move that—in a cultural climate that places family values ahead of issues or experience—will appease culturally conservative voters.
“Our national political dialogue is fundamentally metaphorical, with family values at the center of our discourse,” Lakoff writes. “The Republican strength has been mostly symbolic. The McCain campaign is well aware of how Reagan and W won running on character: values, communication, (apparent) authenticity, trust, and identity—not issues and policies. That is how campaigns work, and symbolism is central.” In this political climate, where religious style trumps political substance and the “external realities” of a candidate’s voting record and job experience are nearly immaterial, Lakoff concludes that Sarah Palin is the perfect choice for VP.
Palin is not, however, the perfect choice for advocates of the separation between church and state—people like Rob Boston of Americans United. “I miss the days when pastors delivered sermons and politicians delivered political speeches,” Boston told the Associated Press. “The United States is increasingly diverse religiously. The job of a president is to unify all those different people and bring them together around policy goals, not to act as a kind of national pastor and bring people to God.”
On his blog at the Wall of Separation, Boston explains that he is not opposed to a candidate who makes references to God. He is opposed to candidates who would let faith do the governing. Referring to a speech Palin made at her former church in which she stated that the people of Alaska should “get right with God,” and that the war in Iraq reflects God’s will, Boston chafed at the idea that public officials might hope to mandate the faith of their constituency:
“I don’t want the president, governor, or mayor worrying about the state of my soul and whether my neighbors and I are ‘right with God.’ He or she would do better building the economy, creating jobs and filling potholes. We have great religious freedom in this nation. If any American feels that his or her soul needs a tune-up, there is no shortage of religious leaders willing to help out with that.”
, licensed by
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 12:35 PM
Amid calls for Obama to go for the jugular and burn down Republicans’ houses, it’s worth remembering that this candidate’s insurgent appeal during the primaries was driven in no small part by his ability to lure Independents and Republicans. Former U.S. Representative Jim Leach—a Republican from Iowa—brought that home last night in an eloquent, if a bit dryly delivered, speech teasing out the good values of both parties and tracing where his own had gone astray:
The party that once emphasized individual rights has gravitated in recent years toward regulating values. The party of military responsibility has taken us to war with a country that did not attack us. The party that formerly led the world in arms control has moved to undercut treaties crucial to the defense of the earth. The party that prides itself on conservation has abdicated its responsibilities in the face of global warming. And the party historically anchored in fiscal restraint has nearly doubled the national debt, squandering our precious resources in an undisciplined and an unprecedented effort to finance a war with tax cuts.
I’ve not heard a more elegant, succinct autopsy of today’s Republican Party.
Tonight is Hillary’s night, all the headlines tell us so. But after that, Democrats should start focusing again on winning over Independents and Republicans, not Hillary supporters.
Watch Leach’s speech:
For more of Utne.com’s ongoing coverage of the Democratic National Convention, click here.
Saturday, October 20, 2007 12:00 AM
Over the last six weeks, Beliefnet has been charting the godliness of presidential candidates on its new blog, "God-o-Meter.” The website constantly tracks each candidate’s use of "God-talk," and then scores them on a range from zero (secularist) to ten (theocrat). The website supplements the candidate rankings with a series of religion-based news posts and a graph of their ranking over time. The eight Democrats average an even six, while the nine Republicans check in at a shade above seven. –Eric Kelsey
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