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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Brookings senior fellows William A. Galston and Elaine C. Kamarck have a good read at The Washington Post, (adapted from their article in Democracy: A Journal of IdeasHow to save the Republican Party, courtesy of two Democrats.” the authors explain why even good Democrats should care about making the Republican party better: “…Our democracy is better off with two healthy political parties willing to debate fiercely — and then reach honorable compromises. A Republican Party dominated by a new generation of reform-minded conservatives who care more about solving problems than scoring points would be a huge step toward restoring a federal government that can govern….”
Steven Greenhouse has a NYT update on organized labor’s two-pronged approach toward enhancing unions growth and influence: experimenting with different levels of membership and a more energetic effort to build coalitions for political change.
Also in the Post, George Will predictably snarls, along with the higher-brow Hillary-haters, at another Clinton candidacy. But he gets in a potent dig at the prospect of a Christie presidency, riffing of an incident in which the NJ governor got down and dirty with a NY Daily News sportswriter. “But who wants to call the person “Mr. President” who calls a sportswriter an “idiot”?,” asks Will. Put another way, do voters really want to be reped by a bellowing gasbag at future G-20 summits? “So’s yer muddah, Putin.”
At the National Journal, Ronald Brownstein’s “Bad Bet: Why Republicans Can’t Win With Whites Alone” notes an often overlooked point: “Greenberg, who polled for Bill Clinton, says Obama faces unique problems among whites both because of his race and the gruelingly slow economic recovery. “Those things together make me think these white numbers [for Democrats] are not the new baseline–that they are much more likely to go up than down,” he says…Veteran Republican pollster Whit Ayres is no less dismissive. “Any strategy that is predicated on [consistently] getting a higher percentage of the white vote than Ronald Reagan got in 1980 is a losing strategy,” he says.”
Yes, every effort toward bipartisanship by House GOP leaders should be encouraged. But, as Keith Brekhus points out at PoliticusUSA that the failure of House Republicans to support Speaker Boehner and Majoritry Leader Cantor on the Syria resolution provides yet another example of their limp leadership. Says Brekhus: “…They have demonstrated that they have lost control of their own caucus, because the number of GOP representatives who have chosen to join them in support of the policy can almost be counted on one hand. Of the 232 House Republicans not named Cantor or Boehner, a grand total of six of them, have joined in expressing support for the authorization of force in Syria…as the mutiny spreads within the GOP ranks, Boehner and Cantor are spiraling deeper and deeper into political irrelevancy.”
At The Daily Beast Michael Tomasky spotlights the “brazen hypocrisy” of Republicans on U.S. military intervention in Syria, noting “The Gold Weasel Medal goes to Marco Rubio, as others such as Tim Noah have noted. Back in April, Rubio thundered that “the time for passive engagement in this conflict must come to an end. It is in the vital national security interest of our nation to see Assad’s removal.” Removal! Obama’s not talking about anything close to removal. So that was Rubio’s hard line back when Obama was on the other side. And now that Obama wants action? Rubio voted against the military resolution in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week.”
Nobel prize for Economics laureate Joseph E. Stglitz makes a strong case for Janet Yellen to head the Fed, including his belief that she does not suffer from “cognitive capture” by Wall St. and he adds, “Ms. Yellen has a superb record in forecasting where the economy is going — the best, according to The Wall Street Journal, of anyone at the Fed. As I noted earlier, Mr. Summers’s leaves something to be desired.”
Credit President Obama with overseeing significant progress toward energy independence for the U.S. As Bill Scher writes at Campaign for America’s Future: “In many ways President Obama’s energy policies have been a huge success. Carbon emissions are down. Oil consumption is down. Renewable energy consumption is up. North America is projected to be effectively energy independent by 2020, and the United States by 2030.” On the other hand, adds Scher, “renewables still amount to a paltry portion of our overall energy usage, with wind and solar power producing only three percent of the nation’s electricity. In other words, this is the area that has the most room to grow, the most potential for creating green jobs and further slashing our carbon pollution.”
Yikes, now they want to privatize the money.

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