Health-care reform is historic, surely the most significant social legislation passed since Medicare. But it is a flawed and conservative bill, akin to the reforms Mitt Romney championed as the Republican governor of Massachusetts. It gives the insurance companies millions of new customers with no public option or Medicare buy-in to help put a lid on costs. It sustains the outrageous law that prohibits Medicare from negotiating bulk discounts for prescription drugs. It sustains the exemption of insurance companies from antitrust laws. This reality — a historic reform that isn't strong enough to get the job done — is characteristic of the Obama administration, a progressive-centrist government in a moment that demands fundamental reform.
Yes, we did. Finally, President Obama can use those words. The passage of health care reform provided the first piece of incontestable evidence that Washington has changed. Congress is, indeed, capable of carrying through fundamental social reform. No longer will the United States be the outlier among wealthy nations in leaving so many of its citizens without basic health coverage. In approving the most sweeping piece of social legislation since the mid-1960s, Democrats proved that they can govern, even under challenging circumstances and in the face of significant internal divisions.... more »
We are happy to bring you another edition of our “Political Dispatch” podcast series from PoliticalBuzz.com. “PD” is a weekly series bringing you insight and analysis from the best political journalists and strategists as well as exclusive interviews with top politicians and campaign staffers.
This week we talked with… more »
The common thread in yesterday’s unbroken string of Democratic and progressive victories was the popular rejection of right-wing overreach. The series of elections held across the country yesterday weren’t supposed to yield a coherent narrative. Yet a common theme emerged: Radical-right Republicans hit a wall last night all over the country, even on a conservative social issue in what may be the most socially conservative state in the nation. So can Democrats take some hope from last night’s results? Provisionally; sort of. If Barack Obama can make next year’s election a choice between his ineffectual moderation and the Republicans’ wacked-out lunacy, the Democrats should do well. If next year’s election is a referendum on his stewardship of the economy the Democrats will likely get clobbered. It’s clear that Americans have had it with Republican extremism. Whether that will be a decisive issue in 2012 is not yet apparent.... more »
It's not that simple. A 2005 report by The Sentencing Project noted that while increased incarceration rates were accompanied by a decrease in crime between 1991 and 1998, crime rates had increased between 1984 and 1991, a period in which the rate of incarceration was even higher. The director of the Pew Center on the States recently wrote, "Rigorous studies show that increased imprisonment can claim credit for only 25 percent of the nation's crime drop over the past 15 years. The other 75 percent comes from a wide variety of factors, inside and outside the criminal justice system." Those factors include support for improved policing and community crime prevention programs—federal support for which was cut by the Bush administration. We already lock up a larger percentage of our population than any other country in the world. We need to invest more in the programs and techniques that we know prevent crime and lead to healthier communities.more »
American political history is usually told as the story of what political elites say and do. The twists and turns, advances and setbacks, wars, disasters and recoveries, are said to be the work of the founders, or of the presidents, or of the courts, or of the influence of a handful of great people who somehow emerge from the mass. But this history can also be told as the story of the great protest movements that periodically well up from the bottom of American society and the impact these movements have on American institutions. There would be no founders to memorialize without the Revolutionary-era mobs who provided the foot soldiers to fight the British; no films about the quandaries of Abe Lincoln during the Civil War without the abolitionists and the thousands of runaway slaves; no Labor Day to celebrate without the sit-down strikers; no Martin Luther King to beatify without a movement of poor blacks who defied the Southern terror system.
President Obama and Senate negotiators kicked off the national immigration reform process mere days ago, but the contours of the would-be bill are already in sight. With Obama’s proposals only a hazy shade more inclusive than the Senate’s plan, and with the inevitable back room dealing and negotiating already underway, is there any room for everyday people who aren’t lobbyists and professional activists to insert themselves? Is there political space for the policy framework that’s been proposed to be improved upon? Does your lone voice matter? I spoke with activists, experts, community leaders and advocates who said: yes, yes and yes. Read on for six concrete things you can do to help make sure what ends up happening on immigration this year is as equitable and just as can be.
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In the last election the forces of concentrated wealth and corporate power played the same old divide-and-conquer game they have been playing for decades, but this time it didn't work! They tried to divide us by race, religion, sex, sexual preference, class and every other wedge they could find, and it didn't work! The era of dividing the people for profit is over. more »
On the menu this morning:
- MORNING MESSAGE: The Triumph of Middle Class Populism
- "Welcome to Liberal America"
- GOP Heads Towards Intra-Party Civil War
- Senate Turns Left
When it comes to politics, it ain’t over ’til its’ over. And even then it may not be over. With the presidential election just days away, the contest remains close enough to ensure some jangled nerves and nail-biting among Republicans and Democrats. Still, the latest news and numbers should give President President Barack Obama a boost as he delivers his closing argument to voters.
Should Obama emerge the victor when the dust settles after Tuesday, his closing argument will become the winning message. And voters convinced to reward Obama with a second term on the strength of that message will — and should — expect him to live up to its vision and promise.
On the menu this morning
- MORNING MESSAGE: Middle-Class Zeros Could Get Zeroed Out Tuesday
- Last Pitch To Undecideds
- Chaos As Florida Restricts Early Voting
- Money May Not Be Enough To Take Senate
- Budget Jockeying in Congress Before Election Day
At a time when the country is still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the storm has reaffirmed progressive principles that have been under attack in recent years. Sandy has, in fact, brought together a trifecta of progressive policy vindications: the dangers of climate silence, the importance of a strong and responsive federal government, and the necessity of collective bargaining rights for workers.more »