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The Populist Vision

The Populist Vision

By Charles Postel
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Tag: Conservatives

Don’t Cry for Me, Alaska

What can you say about an ambitious politician who says that “life is too short” to worry about, you know, boring things such as responsibility or duty? You can say that all of us who ever took Sarah Palin seriously—or pretended to take her seriously—should be deeply ashamed.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Long, Hard Summer

As the president and centrist Democrats in Congress haggle over the deficit, they could usefully recall that the party’s inability to deliver on Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign pledges, particularly on health care, led to a stunning defeat two years later.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


Political Foolishness and Teen Pregnancy

The decline in contraceptive use may cheer those who have promoted faith-inspired school curricula, but now we have sad and clear evidence that political foolishness among adults is leading to foolish and harmful behavior among kids.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama and the Stone Tablets

The president has shied away from handing Congress his own plans on “stone tablets,” but if he doesn’t intervene in the health care debate, and soon, lawmakers are going to send him an unworkable monstrosity of a bill.

Posted on Jun 28, 2009 READ MORE



Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

Supreme Court Surprises With Civil Rights Decision

The Supreme Court has spared the 1965 Voting Rights Act, agreeing by an 8-1 margin to leave a ruling on its more controversial parts for another day—and perhaps another court. The near-unanimous narrow decision came as a surprise, with justices apparently retreating from earlier divisions that led some court watchers to predict the legislation’s demise.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Iran Dilemma

The president’s initial caution served the interests of freedom by making clear that the revolt against Iran’s flawed election is homegrown. As the struggle continues, we cannot pretend that we are indifferent to its outcome.

Posted on Jun 21, 2009 READ MORE


The Lone Wolves Among Us

The white supremacist who allegedly took a rifle into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and killed a security guard is more than a bitter, demented old man. He is a known figure in the domestic hate industry and a reminder that words have consequences.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Yves Logghe

Two Elections in the World Spotlight

The world saw two major elections on Sunday—one on a continental scale, the other much smaller but no less talked about. The European Parliament will tilt further to the right after an election with near record-low turnout. In Lebanon, meanwhile, it appears that the U.S.-backed governing coalition will survive a strong effort by Hezbollah to win a majority.

Posted on Jun 7, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / steve9567

Domestic Terrorism by Any Standard

If right-wing broadcasters don’t want to be blamed when someone murders a person they have demonized repeatedly—as in the case of George Tiller, the doctor shot dead in his Wichita, Kan., church last Sunday—then they ought to moderate their rhetoric.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Rush and Newt Are Winning

A media environment that tilts to the right is obscuring what President Obama stands for and closing off political options that should be part of the public discussion.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


America’s Changing Moral Universe

Way back in 2004, pollsters and pundits just knew that cultural and moral issues were the wave of the future. But a funny thing happened on the road to the revival tent. Updated

Posted on May 31, 2009 READ MORE


A Justice for Us All

President Obama’s nominee said she hopes Americans “will see that I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.” Ordinary people have had a difficult time of it before the current Supreme Court.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Sotomayor Is No Leftist

Republicans would be foolish to fight the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court because she is the most conservative choice that President Obama could have made.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


The West’s Reckless Approach to Relations With Russia

The basic question is whether the United States wishes to treat Russia as a permanent enemy, even if it is not. The result of treating states as enemies is that sooner or later they become them.

Posted on May 26, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and the Limits of Mastery

President Obama wants to build a new liberal majority and to do it he’s trying to charm everyone left of Rush Limbaugh. That strategy has led to some awkward moments.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Combating Epidemic Ignorance

Some on the right are blaming immigrants for swine flu in the U.S. Actually, the outbreak had nothing to do with immigrants and everything to do with ordinary travel and commerce.

Posted on Apr 29, 2009 READ MORE


Specter Comes Full Circle

When Arlen Specter ran for Philadelphia district attorney in 1965, he proudly proclaimed himself a “Kennedy Democrat,” but said he was running as a Republican to take on what he saw as the corruption of the city’s then-legendary Democratic machine. Forty-four years later, Arlen Specter has come full circle.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE


What to Make of the Ironic Mr. Obama

How many ironies can a single presidency engender? A cool man who has aroused both warm feelings of affection and a fiery opposition, Obama is seen as too moderate by parts of the left, but the right thinks he has a radical statist agenda.

Posted on Apr 26, 2009 READ MORE


Bill Maher on GOP Drama

The “Real Time” host marvels at Republican rage in the era of Obama: “The conservative base these days is absolutely apoplectic because ... well, nobody knows.”

Posted on Apr 26, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Eve Pell on America’s Culture of Punishment

“Cruel and Unusual” by Anne-Marie Cusac reveals a startling reality: Since 1973, America’s imprisonment rate has jumped more than five times and is now the highest in the world. Why?

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 READ MORE



White House / National Archives

Reagan and Nixon Greeted Despots, Too

Few aspects of American politics are as ridiculous and dangerous as the right-wing urge to substitute macho posturing for foreign policy.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


Columbine Questions We Still Don’t Ponder

As Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold’s posthumous infamy turns 10 on April 20, I wish I were surprised that Columbine-like shootings are still happening, or even that our national discussion about violence hasn’t yet matured past gun control and video games.

Posted on Apr 17, 2009 READ MORE


The Obama Doctrine

The president insists that the U.S. can’t achieve great objectives on its own. This may break with George W. Bush’s style, but it is in keeping with the traditions of Roosevelt, Truman and George H.W. Bush.
 

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


Running on Fumes

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Posted on Apr 12, 2009 READ MORE


Where’s the Outrage Over Workers Getting the Shaft?

The AFL-CIO spent $250 million in last year’s elections on behalf of Obama and other Democrats, yet a waffling president and a handful of senators have managed to kill the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, a cruel defeat for labor.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / U.S. Department of State

Labor Joins Israel’s Far-Right Government

Israel’s next government just got a little less ultraconservative, as Labor has agreed to join the coalition-in-progress of conservatives, nationalists and religious fundamentalists in exchange for a commitment to continue negotiations with the Palestinians. It remains to be seen, however, whether Labor’s MPs can stomach the agreement.

Posted on Mar 24, 2009 READ MORE


Kill AIG Bonuses With a Tax? It’s a Lousy Idea

Obama needs to stop straddling and to threaten to veto any cockamamie tax scheme that emerges from Congress as retribution for the repulsive bonuses handed out at American International Group.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE



Jacob Heilbrunn on Alger Hiss

Susan Jacoby’s lucid new book reminds us that the Hiss case offered a vengeful postwar right a golden opportunity to tar the New Deal as a crypto-communist conspiracy—and why it still matters.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


Our Justified Populist Rage

We are at the beginning of a great popular rebellion against those who showed no self-restraint when it came to lining their own pockets.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


A Big Moment for Volunteerism

The House this week is expected to vote to expand civilian service, and the Senate will soon take up a similar bill. This issue holds the promise of producing that much prized but elusive Washington commodity: a large bipartisan majority. 

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


For Competition Before They Were Against It

Republicans insist that “competition solves health care,” and tell us that government programs are worse than private health insurance. So, don’t they welcome a private-versus-public competition, believing that the former will trump the latter? Well ... uh ... no.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


The Point of Pointing Fingers

Obama speaks disdainfully of “ideology,” but there comes a time when first principles need to be articulated. Conservatives have entered this fight with guns blazing while progressives have hidden behind a Maginot Line armed only with the word pragmatism.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE


If Only Obama Were as Radical as They Say

While conservatives cry socialism, the president is trying to steer a moderate course. Moderation, however, may be the wrong recipe. There is something deeply disturbing about the drip, drip, drip of billions into the banking system with no apparent impact.

Posted on Mar 8, 2009 READ MORE


The Man Who Won’t Change

Rush Limbaugh asks why women don’t like him. Well, I think I know why. Pull up a chair, my dears, and I’ll tell you, and him, a sad, sad story.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


Finding Peace in the Culture Wars

If President Obama’s primary task is to restore economic growth, he has also been waging a quiet, long-term campaign to ease the nation’s divisions around religious and moral questions.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


Rushing Toward Irrelevance

Once, conservatives liked to say that “ideas matter.” Although many of their theories later proved flimsy, they at least attempted to address real problems with fresh thinking. But ideas no longer matter—and in fact they’re dangerous, according to the maximum leader of the right.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


Mitt Romney
c.berlet / publiceye.org

Conservatives Cling to Romney

The conservative wing of the Republican Party still has a lot of affection, oddly enough, for the former governor of the People’s Republic of Taxachusetts. For the third straight year, Mitt Romney beat out the likes of Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee in a poll of conservative activists.

Posted on Mar 1, 2009 READ MORE


Robin-Hood Republicanism?

Only months after the 2008 primaries, most Americans probably don’t remember Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul. But that doesn’t mean the conservative populism they championed during their campaigns is as fleeting as their dark-horse candidacies.

Posted on Feb 26, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Zachary Karabell on ‘The Case for Big Government’

Jeff Madrick’s new book insists that the anti-government ethos that is a treasured American prejudice is not grounded in the new economic reality. But is he fighting the last war?

Posted on Feb 20, 2009 READ MORE


Chris Matthews

Who Dares Defy King Rush?

Chris Matthews dares GOP strategist Todd Harris to say something negative about Rush Limbaugh. He can’t, which leads the “Hardball” host to wonder whether anyone in the GOP is willing to risk Rush’s ire.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE


Blame Your Puny Paycheck

This didn’t start with the mortgage and credit crisis. It all began with the wage crisis.

Posted on Feb 16, 2009 READ MORE



Allen Barra on the Myth of Ronald Reagan

At last, a revisionist takedown of our 40th president, portrayed as an empty suit too often lauded by the common people he betrayed.

Posted on Feb 13, 2009 READ MORE


Stronger, Please, Mr. President

Having allowed his Republican opponents to dominate the economic debate, Obama used his first news conference to rebut them—coolly and civilly, yet without leaving any doubt that he can strike back harder if necessary.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / World Economic Forum

Livni Surprises In Israel Election

Tzipi Livni, leader of the centrist Kadima party, took a slight lead in exit polls and early returns after Israelis voted Tuesday in parliamentary elections. However, with Likud a close second and a splinter ultraconservative party set to win about 15 seats, conservatives may be the real winners. Update

Posted on Feb 10, 2009 READ MORE


Supreme Sexism

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s renewed struggle with cancer is both a demonstration of courage and a dismaying reminder that she represents a quota of one.

Posted on Feb 9, 2009 READ MORE


The Real Obama

It took less than three weeks for the real Barack Obama to come into view. He turns out to be both a conciliator and a fighter. Update

Posted on Feb 8, 2009 READ MORE


Stimulus Skeptics Wrong (Again)

Mythology is overshadowing history in the debate over Obama’s plan to stimulate the depressed economy. Excessive airtime is devoted to the prejudices of cable hosts and radio personalities who regurgitate ideas they barely understand.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE


What’s Your Rush?

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Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste

President Obama’s outreach to Republicans is popular, but the coming week will test his resolve. Eventually, he’ll have to say “no” to the GOP, or lose what he’s fighting for.

Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


Making Him Do It

Intragovernmental squabbling probably makes the conflict-averse Obama uncomfortable. But the “make him do it” dynamic could finally bring the center of Washington’s political debate closer to the progressive center of American public opinion.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


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