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Archive for August, 2009

Stuck In a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of

August 27th, 2009

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Originally published on The Huffington Post.

How did everything fall apart so quickly?

After the first 100 days, President Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress were on top of the world. The President’s job ratings were in the 60s. In the Pew Research Center poll, Democrats had a 19-point edge in favorability over Republicans (59 percent favorable for Democrats, 40 percent for Republicans).

By August, the President’s job approval had dropped to 51 percent in the Pew poll and the NBC News poll. The Democrats’ lead over the Republicans in favorability had dropped to 9 points — entirely because of a sharp drop in positive opinion of the Democratic Party.

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Don’t Pass on the ‘Next New Deal’

August 24th, 2009

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Originally published in Roll Call.

As we move into the final make-or-break months of the health care debate, every progressive should, in the James Carville tradition, put a simple warning on the wall: Do not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. While many are fighting passionately for one particular policy proposal, such as a public plan, it would be tragic to allow the inclusion or exclusion of any single element to derail reform.

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Not Building the Afghan State, Protecting the United States

August 20th, 2009

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Originally published on The Huffington Post.

President Hamid Karzai is the favorite in this Thursday’s Afghan elections, but his reelection is no sure thing. It is quite possible that Karzai’s main challenger, the former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, will force a run-off and even pull off an upset victory. No matter who wins, the imperative of America’s military remaining in Afghanistan will not change. This is not a mission of charity and it is not a mission to build the Afghan state; this is a mission to defend the people of the United States. While democratic elections are a wonderful achievement, our mission remains the same as it was eight years ago — to eliminate the Taliban and al Qaeda as deadly threats to us and our allies.

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It’s the Economy, Stupid

August 3rd, 2009

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Originally published in Roll Call.

It’s one of the most over-quoted scraps of paper in political history, but James Carville’s war room bulletin board list from 1992 should nevertheless go up on the walls of every energy reform advocate in 2009: “Change vs. more of the same; The economy, stupid; Don’t forget health care.”

That final one is as true today as it was back then — health care is coming first. But when Washington circles back to energy in the fall, reform advocates must convince Senators that voters want and expect change in the way that we generate and use energy.

And they must emphasize above all else the promise of how energy reform could generate economic growth.

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