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.
Like Tim Fernholz, I'm at the joint conference on "how progressives should think about the deficit," put on by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Center for American Progress. Tim notes that the presence of Franklin Raines, former president of Fannie Mae, and Bob Rubin, formerly of Treasury and Citigroup might "offend those both on the left and the right."
"A Primer on Reconciliation," put together by Ken Strickland of NBC at First Read does a nice job of explaining the arcane process and some of the limits that will make it both difficult and risky to push health reform through that process, despite the appealing feature that it can bypass Republican obstruction.
Who Governs?, by Robert Dahl (Yale University Press)
New Haven, Connecticut, at the tail end of the 1970s was a pretty good place for a precocious kid to get a political education. The city contains all the ethnic and social dynamics of New York City or Philadelphia in microcosm. But it's small enough that a 15-year-old with a ten-speed could get to any neighborhood to knock on strangers' doors before an election or a primary, of which there were dozens. The city loved politics and was then embroiled in a fierce battle between "the reformers" and "the machine."
In the column that Adam and Michael Kazin already demolished, David Brooks quotes the libertarian econo-blogger Arnold Kling: "One could argue that this country is on the verge of a crisis of legitimacy. The progressive elite is starting to dismiss rural white America as illegitimate, and vice-versa."
President Barack Obama at a fundraising event for Sen. Arlen Specter held Sept. 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Every Democratic presidency since Lyndon Johnson's (that is, both of them) has followed a pattern: A fresh face enters the White House bringing new hope and big ideas, delivers his agenda to Congress, and quickly gets the back of the hand from the contemptuous grandees of his own party. With little accomplished, congressional Democrats suffer major losses in the midterm elections. Over the next two years, even less progress is made.