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.
The buzzword of this election year, at least for Republicans, is "uncertainty." House Republican Leader John Boehner uses the word at every opportunity: "Small-business operators ... are filled with massive uncertainty." "When there is that much uncertainty employers just freeze. ... They are afraid to move forward because they don't know what is coming next." The expiring Bush tax cuts, implementation of financial regulation and health reform, and the lingering possibility that Congress will pass cap-and-trade climate legislation are all blamed for this paralyzing doubt.
At The New Republic, John Judis today offers a lengthy “Response to My Critics” -- those of us who challenged his hyperbolic account of the president’s “Unnecessary Fall.” While I’m one of four critics he links to, Judis barely touches the points in my “Tale of Three Presidencies,” which mainly concerned his failed attempt to show that Obama’s pattern of sagging support looked more like Jimmy Carter’s fatal fall than like Ronald Reagan’s short-term drop during the severe recession of 1982.
President Barack Obama. (White House Photo/Pete Souza)
"The Unnecessary Fall," John Judis' premature diagnosis of the demise of the Obama administration published in The New Republic, has generated a lot of approving buzz, even though it is mostly familiar.
For most of the 20-year history of The American Prospect, I have been not a writer but a reader of the magazine. When the first issue was published in 1990, I was probably exactly the sort of reader the founders had in mind. In fact, having just been hired as a speechwriter for an ambitious and wonky Democratic senator (Bill Bradley of New Jersey), I got a copy as soon as I could, figuring that immersing myself in the swirl of new ideas about policy and politics could be considered a legitimate part of my new job. If the goal of the early Prospect was to set an ambitious liberal agenda, I hoped to be a cog in the transmission belt between the magazine's ideas and actual policy.