Of all the things that have surprised me about the economic crisis that began almost three summers ago, the most surprising thing of all has been the indifference of American political and policy elites to the trauma of the generations below them. The elders tell the young what they should be worried about — the national debt — but refuse to listen when the young try to express what they actually are worried about — the waste of their first years, the forfeit of life opportunities.
Christopher Hitchens, continuing to punch out some of the best writing around as he battles with esophageal cancer, rakes President Obama over the coals in his latest op-ed at Slate. Hitch is right on here, taking the Obama administration to task for it's overly cautious response to uprisings in the Middle East, especially with what is going on now in Libya.
There are mixed signals coming from Washington about the deficit.
This isn't new, but at least the mixed signals include a growing number of lawmakers who are beginning to be more honest and hint at supporting real action on long-term debt.
Unfortunately, President Obama is not among them.
Democrats in the legislature have literally abandoned their posts, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signaled he is not interested in any compromise whatsoever.
Doctors (who should lose their licenses for this) are giving hypocritical teachers fake doctor's notes so they can abandon their posts, left wingnuts are calling Walker a Nazi, right wingnuts are responding with their own brand of insanity and a whole hell of a lot of nothing but empty grandstanding is getting done.
And while the political hacks vie for air time on MSNBC and Fox News, a real compromise has been on the table this whole time, waiting for any major politician to take notice.
I'm not one of those centrists who pretends I'm not a partisan. I'm as politically opinionated as the next guy — but I do attempt to watch when my personal biases result in giving candidates I support, or in this case an organization, more leeway than I'd give anyone else.
Two weekends ago I flew out to New York City, for a conference for independent activists.
I was hoping for a learning experience that would be welcoming for independents of all (or at least most) stripes, but I got a rally for left-leaning to left-wing independents. It really would have taken some serious effort to collect a less representative sample of independents.
In his inaugural speech, President Obama said, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history." But his timid responses to democratic uprisings in the Middle East have shown his commitment to those on the right side of history is sorely lacking.
The first post I was invited to write for this site was about why I was coming all the way from Nebraska to attend the launch of the nonpartisan political organization No Labels in New York. This weekend I am traveling to your fair city once again, this time to attend the Conference of Independents, hosted by IndependentVoting.org, a political organization headquartered in New York City that is tied closely with the Independence Party of New York, as well as Michael Bloomberg.
This isn’t nearly as big of an event as No Labels’ launch, as the target audience is a more focused group of actual independent activists, and is positively tiny in comparison to the conservative CPAC conference, but that it continues every other year and is growing is just another example of how what I call the ‘independent groundswell’ is beginning to organize itself.
Last week, a federal judge in Florida ruled that the health care reform bill passed last year was unconstitutional.
Unlike other rulings on the bill that have come from a handful of other judges, what makes this one noteworthy is that 26 states were in on the case, asking for the courts to block implementation, and that the whole package was deemed unconstitutional. That last part especially, as even another judge ruled against the constitutionality of the individual mandate, without striking down the whole bill.
It would be a mistake to count moderate Republican Jon Huntsman out for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, and even more of a mistake if Republicans don’t give him serious consideration.
I don’t think it at all inappropriate to rescind any further military aid until a list of basic democratic reforms are in place, including freedom of the press. I don’t believe it grandstanding for the President of the United States of America to come out unequivocally for their right to democratic self-determination. Whether it has any chance of passing or not, it would not be an empty gesture to bring a motion to the United Nations to call for open elections, monitored by international observers.
The president offered some straight talk during his State of the Union address on the relationship between our deficit, long-term debt problems and social welfare spending. He admitted that there would have to be sacrifices to bring our deficits under control, and that only working on non-military discretionary spending barely scratches the surface of the issue.
But what do the American people want to do about this? Normally you could just look at public opinion polling, but in this case, most polls are asking the wrong questions.
A balanced look at President Obama’s actions and expressions of personal belief, in aggregate, points to a mainstream liberal, not a centrist.
Neither party has shown any willingness to start tackling the long term deficit issues facing our country. The most recent illustration of this, spun all tightly into a well-packaged bit of public relations, is the list of proposals put forth by the Republican Budget Study Committee last week.
As a pretty staunch centrist independent, I agree very little with Rush Limbaugh. But when I see eye to eye with those whom I have deep seated disagreements with, I think it's good to highlight those commonalities.
In this case he is right on the money with his opposition to the effort to force commentators to give equal time to differing opinions on political commentary shows. As much as something like this passing might just lead me to start watching cable news again, this inaccurately labeled "Fairness Doctrine" is a clear infringement on free speech, and I'm glad the recent calls to bring it back don't look to be gaining traction.
Just two short years ago, political punditland was awash with predictions of permanent Democratic majorities as far as the eye could see. A few years before that, Karl Rove’s troopers were claiming that they’d changed the face of our electoral landscape, with similar predictions of “painting the map red." Both claimed the country was going their direction, and a more strident liberalism or conservatism was the ticket to permanent majorities.
Time has shown both of these predictions were complete garbage. Centrist independents, and moderates of all stripes, rewarded the two major parties’ increased pandering to their bases, and abuse of power, by swinging the opposite direction a few years later. The number of years between swings has been shrinking even more, as more in the center let it sink in that neither party is going to turn back.
The good, the bad, the game changers and the so-sos. Here are ten things that happened in 2010 politics that we'd do well to remember in 2011.
—Solomon Kleinsmith on partisanship in the wake of the Arizona massacre.
As we follow the developments in Arizona around the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, we're gathering opinion and reaction from a variety of It's A Free Country contributors. Blogger Solomon Kleinsmith submitted this piece late Saturday night.
The tragic news coming out of Arizona has dominated the news this weekend, and both ends of the political spectrum are jumping all over the issue, trying to use it to their own selfish political ends. Heaven forbid a tragedy like this ever go to waste...