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Archive for November, 2009

How Do Dems Win Back the Public? Focus On Middle Class

November 25th, 2009

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Originally published in Forbes.

When the health care debate reaches its merciful conclusion sometime in February, the administration’s focus is certain to turn to jobs, jobs and jobs. With unemployment closing in on a 26-year high, Democrats fear that if numbers don’t improve, they may be facing a cataclysmic midterm election.

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The Right Way to Bring Terror Suspects to Justice

November 23rd, 2009

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Originally published in Roll Call.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was in high dudgeon last week when he demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder remember the lessons of the O.J. Simpson trial to illustrate the peril of trying the 9/11 conspirators in civilian court. Read the rest of this entry »

Dems Wearing Out Their Welcome?

November 21st, 2009

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Originally published in National Journal.

The signs of the public’s impatience with Congress are growing ominous. They can be seen in a new Pew Research Center poll showing that that sentiment is becoming dangerously widespread for incumbents. Read the rest of this entry »

Obama Loyalty May Not Be Transferable

November 14th, 2009

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Originally published in National Journal.

It is difficult to get Democrats to vote if neither Barack Obama nor George W. Bush is on the ballot. That’s one of the lessons of the 2009 elections.

Last year, Obama carried Virginia with 53 percent of the vote. This year, only 43 percent of Virginia voters said they had voted for him for president, according to the Edison Research exit poll. A lot of Obama Democrats didn’t bother to show up this time.

Last year, 20 percent of Virginia voters were African-American. This year, just 16 percent were. Turnout among voters under age 30 fell by more than half, from 21 percent in 2008 to 10 percent in 2009. Likewise in New Jersey, young adults’ share of the vote declined from 17 percent in 2008 to 9 percent in 2009.

The Obama movement believes more in the president himself than in a progressive ideology.

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Obama’s War Room Options

November 7th, 2009

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Originally published in National Journal.

In Washington, the Afghanistan debate boils down to two major strategic options: counterinsurgency or counter-terrorism.

Counterinsurgency is the “big war” approach aimed at fighting the Taliban. It encompasses the political strategy that Gen. Stanley McChrys- tal recommended when he wrote, “The conflict will be won by persuading the population, not by destroying the enemy.” This option would require, McChrystal says, at least 40,000 additional U.S. troops.

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Ensuring Opportunity for All

November 5th, 2009

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Originally published on The Huffington Post.

This week, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect gay, lesbian, and transgender Americans against workplace discrimination. Although it may seem obvious that no person should be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity — according to Gallup, 89% of the country believes that gay and lesbian Americans “should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities” — in nearly 30 states across the country, a person can still be legally fired for being gay. And despite the fact that 71% of Americans agree that “how an employee performs at their job should be the standard for judging an employee, not whether they are transgender,” only 12 states and DC protect employees from being fired because of their gender identity.

So if Americans overwhelming support employment discrimination laws protecting the LGBT community, why have we not yet passed those protections on a federal level?

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