Mark Schmitt is a senior fellow and advisor to the president at the Roosevelt Institute, a New York-based think tank affiliated with the FDR Library. He is a former executive editor of The American Prospect.
If for a moment you're tempted to believe Michael Steele's spin that yesterday's gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey were referenda on the Obama administration, let me remind you of the Democratic victories in those same two states in 2001. Remember how the elections of Mark Warner and Jim McGreevey marked a rejection of George W. Bush and the Republican agenda, and the conservative power structure never recovered from the blow? Don't remember that? Me neither.
American presidents have tried seven times to bring us into the community of nations that provide health care to all citizens. Seven times the effort failed. More accurately, it was blocked. In the 1940s, the anti-reform movement was led by doctors, through the American Medical Association. In the 1990s, it was led by the insurance and small-business lobbies.
When it's her long-awaited turn to play an inning behind the plate, I rush over to my daughter and help her strap on her leg guards, chest protector, and mask and then watch as she does her best imitation of Jorge Posada, crouched unsmiling behind the batter. When there's a chance of a play at the plate, she whips off the mask and positions her glove exactly where it's supposed to be.