E.J. Dionne Jr. says Team Romney is flailing because it knows voters prefer the "moderate progressivism" of Barack Obama to the conservatism of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and needs to change the subject:
The Obama-Clinton alliance, formalized with Bill Clinton’s blockbuster speech at the Democratic National Convention, confirms what has often been played down: President Obama has chosen to build on Clinton’s legacy rather than abandon it.So far, one can say for certain that they have not adjusted their views anywhere close to enough.
This is why the 2012 election matters not only to Americans but also to supporters of the moderate left across the world. What’s at stake is whether the progressive turn that global politics took in the 1990s will make a comeback over the next decade, and also how much progressives who embraced markets during the heyday of the Third Way sponsored by Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair will adjust their views to a breakdown in the financial system they did not anticipate.
Paul Krugman explains how the Fed's latest round of "quantitative easing" is different from the two previous rounds:
And Republicans, as I said, have gone wild, with Mr. Romney joining in the craziness. His campaign issued a news release denouncing the Fed’s move as giving the economy an “artificial” boost — he later described it as a “sugar high” — and declaring that “we should be creating wealth, not printing dollars.”William Greider looks with a sigh at the Fed's move:
Mr. Romney’s language echoed that of the “liquidationists” of the 1930s, who argued against doing anything to mitigate the Great Depression. Until recently, the verdict on liquidationism seemed clear: it has been rejected and ridiculed not just by liberals and Keynesians but by conservatives too, including none other than Milton Friedman.
A sweet day for the financial traders does not necessarily translate into good news for Joe Sixpack. Indeed, the story of this troubled era is that what wins for the suits may very well produce opposite result for ordinary folks. What the news stories generally overlooked is that the central bank has already tried this remedy a couple of times and it failed to jump-start action in the real economy, where most Americans toil.Doyle MacManus, in laying out foreign policy differences and similarities between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, chooses, like myriad other pundits and commentators, the word "pre-emptive" in his description of a possible U.S. military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. "Pre-emptive" means taking action to stop an imminent attack or one that another nation is clearly preparing to take. It's self-defense that has been recognized as legitimate since Hugo Grotius began developing international law four centuries ago. What actually being talked about is "preventive war," attacking a nation that may, someday, if it decides to do so, attack. That is a form of aggression that is expressly forbidden by international law, including the U.N. Charter.
The most startling question anyone asked me last year was, “What is Occupy’s 10-year plan?”Leslie Savan evaluates the GOP's "self-mutilating panic":
Who takes the long view? Americans have a tendency to think of activism like a slot machine, and if it doesn’t come up three jailed bankers or three clear victories fast, you’ve wasted your quarters. And yet hardly any activists ever define what victory would really look like, so who knows if we’ll ever get there?
Sometimes we do get three clear victories, but because it took a while or because no one was sure what victory consisted of, hardly anyone realizes a celebration is in order, or sometimes even notices. We get more victories than anyone imagines, but they are usually indirect, incomplete, slow to arrive, and situations where our influence can be assumed but not proven — and yet each of them is worth counting.
Republicans may like to fire people, but whom do they hire to make up for the series of self-destructive moves from Clint Eastwood’s upstaging Romney at the RNC to Romney’s blathering on about the Egyptian embassy and Obama’s “disgrace.” Laura Ingraham’s advice—"If you can't beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party. Shut it down. Start new, with new people"—sounds all tough, but it begs the question: Who they gonna call?Sarah Jaffe points to five liberal pundits who keep attacking teachers:
It's not just politicians falling for the rhetoric of the union-busters when it comes to teachers. Few would dare to demonize police or firefighters' unions the same way they have teachers, who are mostly women, working for decent middle-class wages but hardly getting rich, and in Chicago often working in horrific conditions, with huge classes and in some cases no air conditioning. Yet as the teachers hit the streets and Chicagoans declared support, supposedly liberal pundits echoed far-right talking points about teacher salaries and budget cuts, implied that teachers were hurting students by standing up for their rights and for better conditions in the schools, and argued that not supporting the union was evidence of their independent thought—not their susceptibility to a well-funded message machine or their general contempt for public school teachers.The five on her list: Nicholas Kristof and Joe Nocera of The New York Times, Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog (Ezra Klein's turf), Matt Yglesias and Jacob Weisberg at Slate.
The clash between unabashedly pro-[Chicago Teachers Union] leftists like Corey Robin and liberals like Matt Yglesias is rooted in something far broader. It reminds me of a quote I bring up from time to time by Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski. He said the Left bases itself on the experience of history, while the Right is the mere expression of surrender to the situation of the moment. The Left can have political ideology, while the Right has nothing but tactics.Yasmin Alibhai-Brown:
[Dylan] Matthews and Yglesias, though on the center-left in the American context, have little history or ideology. They can’t see the beyond graphs and minutiae. Yes, radicals can do with a bit more empiricism, but these wonks can do with recognizing the implications of political disputes, which go beyond Chicago and beyond even public education, can’t be understood within the dialectic of an Excel sheet.
It’s more or less over for progressive, liberal Islam. Many of us who’ve tried to keep alive the thoughtful, humane, cultured beliefs and practices of our parents and enlightened scholars can barely breathe or speak after the last wretched week when benighted mobs raved and killed across Muslim countries – some of them newly free and supposedly democratic. The Arab Spring turned to vicious winter and dashed naïve expectations and hopes.[...]Katha Pollitt doesn't like Naomi Wolf's latest book:
I completely empathise with Muslims who live in hopeless economies, who feel the pain of Palestine, whose destinies have been controlled by the West and their own ruthless ruling cliques for decades. That does not give them permission to behave like rampaging beasts even if severely goaded and provoked.
Those crazies detest their brethren who are unwilling to defend or join in with their grotesque street revelries. Even more hated are insiders with independent minds who criticise enemies of progress.
It’s lucky vaginas can’t read, or mine would be cringing in embarrassment that Vagina is what millions think of as feminism.