Monica Potts is a senior writer for The American Prospect and a fellow with the New America Foundation Asset Building Program. Her work has appeared in TheNew York Times, the Connecticut Post and the Stamford Advocate. She also blogs at PostBourgie.
Michele Bachmann speaks at the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
In the nearly 30 years since Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman to grace a major party's presidential ticket, female politicians became less of a novelty. Ferraro's selection as Walter Mondale's vice-presidential candidate in 1984 was replicated by Sarah Palin on the Republican side in 2008, the same year Hillary Clinton almost became the Democratic nominee for the top spot. Pundits declared 1992, when more female senators were elected than ever before, "the year of the woman." And 31 women have served as governors since Ella Grasso became the first woman who wasn't the wife or widow of a politician to be elected governor -- of Connecticut in 1974.
Fred Stokes is a former cattle rancher who now runs a small family farm, mostly for his own use, in Mississippi. Stokes' county, Kemper, has only about 10,000 people, and Stokes, who is 76, says his small town has been shrinking; all the farmers are aging, most of the agricultural land is owned by one company, and it's almost impossibly hard to make a living as a rural American. "I'm not one of those who wants to reconstruct the Little House on the Prairie and be overly romantic," he says. "Mainly, I see the landscape being restructured in a very negative way."
Shane Tawr doesn't remember exactly why he first decided to try his hand at chicken farming. Tawr had a government job in Milwaukee but wanted relief from the city's bustle. He decided in 2004 to head down to the Ozarks, buy a chicken farm, and work for himself, just as many of his Hmong ancestors had done in Laos.
Last month, many of us heard the story of Brett Hallman. Hallman's mother was early in her pregnancy when she learned her son would have spina bifida, a neurological disease that affects the spinal cord's development and, in the worst cases, makes children with the disorder unable to walk and have brain damage.
House Minority Leader John Boehner wants to slash domestic spending. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
This week, President Barack Obama released a budget that, as promised, cuts discretionary domestic spending in key areas in the name of deficit reduction. But he left big entitlement programs mostly untouched, which fueled fire on Republican-led efforts in the House to slash even more.
The cry from most progressives, and many economists, that deficits don't matter while unemployment hovers just under 10 percent has gone mostly unheard by the American people. But there's another cry: that the deficit doesn't matter at all, at any time. TAP talked with James K. Galbraith, the Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. chair in government/business relations at the University of Texas at Austin, who might be the country's biggest deficit dove.