Friday, January 16, 2009


Why the Youth Vote Is the Big Story -- For 2008 and for Decades to Come (Eric Greenberg and Karl Weber, Huffington Post) It seems doubtful that the impressive success of the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort, which had so much impact in such swing states as Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, would have been possible without Obama's army of Millennials.

  • Religion & American politics: This is our moment, this is our time (by Robert Bellah, Social Science Research Council) For the reasons I have just suggested, radical individualism is what I call the default mode of American culture.  It is where we go when things are relatively stable and we face no enormous challenge, or are denying that we do.  It is the power of this core tradition that has given rise to American exceptionalism, what makes us so different from most other advanced nations in the world, none of which share this strand to the same extent.
  • Obama's Grand Bargain - The principles and promise of Obamaism. (By Bruce Reed, Slate) While pragmatism has been a hallmark of most successful presidencies, post-partisanship is mostly uncharted territory. As Ron Brownstein writes in his history of partisan division, a president is the only person in Washington with the power to disrupt the inexorable, bipartisan slide toward partisanship for its own sake.

  • Not so democratic - Jeers for the cross-endorsement deal (Newsday) Call it the Full Employment for Politicians But Limited Choice for Voters Act of 2009. Actually, it's not a law at all, just a convenient agreement among political leaders that leaves you with no real choice for three countywide offices.
  • With Nod to History, Bloomberg Sees Recovery (By DAVID W. CHEN, NY Times) And as is often the case, Mr. Bloomberg tried to cast himself as an independent and nontraditional politician.
  • Full text of Mayor Bloomberg's State of the City Speech (by Staten Island Advance) We will get New York City through these hard times with the same approach that has always worked for us. Independent leadership based on facts and pragmatism - not politics and ideology. Innovative thinking that embraces new solutions to old problems - and an insistence on accountability, always.

  • Top Independent Candidates for U.S. House in 2008 (Ballot Access News) Comment: Lesson to third parties and independents: Run someone who is respected and has name recognition.
  • The Minnesota Recount Was Unconstitutional (By MICHAEL STOKES PAULSEN, Wall Street Journal) If Messrs. Franken and Coleman agreed, an absentee ballot could be counted. Either campaign could veto a vote. Dean Barkley of the Independence Party, who ran third, was not included in this process. Thus, citizens' right to vote -- the right to vote! -- was made subject to political parties' gaming strategies.

  • Obama memorabilia displayed in homes (Deborah Netburn, LA Times) For some, the idea of having a pictorial representation of a national leader in one's living space brings to mind communist mandates of the 1950s. The home is the place for family portraits, or art that defines one's tastes. So when Obama shows up next to a landscape painting of the old summer home by Uncle Max, one might wonder if displaying a picture of the president is an invasion of politics in what should be a propaganda-free space.
  • The Big Blue Wall (Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic) Since his days at the Los Angeles Times, Brownstein has been a principal expositor of the idea that electoral coalitions are built around and sustained by culture, rather than economic well-being. 

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