Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is a Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His website can be found here and his blog can be found here.
You'd be forgiven if you thought of the contest for the presidency as two big battles--first, the primary battle to choose each party's nominee, which this year will be effectively over by the end of March, and then the general election battle, which starts just after the nominating conventions in August and runs through Election Day. And you might suppose that in between we'll have a four-and-a-half-month breather.
This is the hour for reform, not recrimination. To view Ralph Nader as representing the "progressive left," in opposition to liberals and moderates inside the Democratic Party, is to commit grave error. The passions aroused by the Nader campaign have much in common with those elicited by John McCain and Bill Bradley in their primaries. Put simply, we are witnessing the birth pangs of a reform movement in America intent on ending the corruption of our democratic system by organized money. Nader and his Greens may fade, but the determination by millions of Americans to rescue American democracy will only intensify.
How is the new economy affecting our lives and what should be done about its excesses and injustices? This debate is emerging all over the world, but it surfaces only sporadically and partially, like the tip of a giant iceberg into which other things crash.
There's no longer any countervailing power in Washington. Business is in
complete control of the machinery of government. If corporate America understood
its long-term interest, it would use this unique moment to establish in the
public's mind the principle that business can be trusted. But it's doing just
the opposite. Every industry and every major company is cashing in as fast as it
can while the good times last. The danger for business is profound.