Robert Borosage

Robert Borosage is co-director of the Campaign for America's Future and co-editor of The Next Agenda: Blueprint for a New Progressive Movement and Taking Back America: And Taking Down the Radical Right.

Recent Articles

The Austerity Trap

"T his is junior's 'read my lips,'" gloats former Clinton campaign adviser Paul Begala. Bush has broken his pledge not to dip into the Social Security surplus. Democrats are rolling out town meetings, television ads, and a press offensive to castigate Bush for "squandering the surplus" and to tell him to "keep his hands off Social Security and Medicare." This, Democratic pollsters argue, will discredit the Bush tax cut, derail his plan to privatize Social Security, rally the base of the Democratic Party, and set Democrats up as the party of fiscal responsibility for the 2002 elections. "This is the defining moment of the Bush presidency," crows Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. McAuliffe is right: It is a defining moment--but more for the post-Clinton Democratic Party than for Bush. With the nation tottering on the verge of recession, layoffs mounting daily, and the federal budget in massive surplus, Democrats are calling for more austerity and making the...

Beyond Jeffords

T wo headlines that appeared within 12 days of each other--"Jeffords Quits Republicans, Dems Take Control of Senate" (Associated Press) and "L.A. Turns to the Left as Top Office Goes to a Democrat" (the Los Angeles Times )--have given encouragement to millions of politically active progressives, many of whom have been in a dark funk since the Supreme Court's gang of five put George W. Bush into the White House. But can progressives build on the good news by dramatically escalating independent citizens' politics while teaming up with elected officials to define an agenda and take it across the country? It is a shame that it took a Republican defection to derail the Bush operation. Since the November election, too many Democrats in Congress have been reluctant to confront Bush's agenda--and some have actively embraced it. They've seemed oblivious to the increasing anger of Al Gore's voters and the growing doubts of average citizens. Bush at Bay Jim Jeffords's decision to leave the...

Liberal Loss or Progressive Mandate?

T his was the winter of Democratic discontent. By stealing the presidential election last fall, Republicans gained control of all branches of the federal government--the presidency, both houses of Congress, and, of course, the Supreme Court. Their dominance in state legislatures means that reapportionment is likely to carve out more Republican seats. And though lacking a mandate from the country, a conservative White House is seeking to make changes that will take decades to undo--deep tax and spending cuts, privatization of Social Security, vouchers for Medicare, and rollback of corporate accountability and environmental regulation. At this moment, some Democrats want to refight the 2000 election--this time with fellow Democrats--in order to win some sectarian advantage or to score some self-interested point. Instead Democrats should use this time to take stock, state basic principles, and develop strategies to move forward. It is easy to envision Democrats leading a powerful public...

The Heretical Mr. McCain

"I'm deeply concerned with a kind of class warfare going on now. It's a growing gap between the haves and the have-nots in America, and unfortunately it's building along ethnic lines. I'm not sure we need to give two-thirds of the tax cuts to the wealthiest in America. I believe we must save Social Security and Medicare. We must pay down the debt." Bill Clinton? Not likely. No self-respecting New Democrat would ever use the language of class warfare. This is Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, countering GOP complaints that he's using class warfare in criticizing George Bush, Jr.'s, tax giveaway to the rich. Heroic, unvarnished, off the hip, irreverent John McCain is tearing up the Republican catechism in his "Straight Talk Express." And in doing so, he is exposing the frauds, little and big, of the current political consensus. This week, McCain detailed his own tax cut plan, calling for cuts totaling about $497 billion over 10 years. Like...

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