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.
The Wall Street Journal
Pundits have a host of explanations for why Bill Bradley's and John McCain's
candidacies failed: Mr. Bradley failed to respond to Al Gore's attacks; Mr.
McCain blundered in attacking the religious right; Mr. McCain stole Mr.
Bradley's thunder; the public isn't that interested in reform after all.
The real explanation is simpler, and it lies in the dynamic of political
insurgency. Insurgents can't match the large-scale political organizations
that governors and congressional delegations give establishment
candidates like Al Gore and George W. Bush. Mr. Bradley and Mr. McCain
had to rely on ragtag armies of idealists with lots of zeal but little
experience. And since insurgents can't count on large reservoirs of cash for
advertisements, they are much more dependent on "free media" -- that is,
Therein lies the insurgent's trap. The media have only two basic stories...
The New Republic Special Endorsement Issue:
I worked closely with Al Gore in the first Clinton administration, and I admire
him. Gore is earnest and smart. For the past seven and a half years he's
taken on god-awful projects that no one else wanted to do--like
"reinventing government"--and has done them well. He's been loyal to a
fault. Contrary to his public persona, he has a droll sense of humor that
occasionally tips into deadpan sarcasm. So why do I support Bill Bradley?
And why do I continue to support him, even when his boat seems to be
sinking? Maybe it's because I kept clean for Gene, passed out leaflets as a
kid for Stevenson, and would have voted for Wilson in 1912. I'm a sucker for
decent, smart, soft-spoken idealists with lofty visions about where the
country should go and what we can do together. For good or ill, that
description fits Bradley, not Gore.
Start with the issues. I'll spare you the...
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.
But you'd be wrong on all counts. One of the most important battles of the entire election is scheduled to occur between April 1 and August 15. That's when the likely Republican and Democratic nominees are expected to launch intense barrages of televised ads designed to raise questions in voters' minds about the suitability of their rivals. The ads will be paid for largely, if not entirely, by big, unregulated donations to the Republican and Democratic national committees "soft money," in campaign lingo.
T his 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.
This may be the largest and most significant political groundswell since the antiwar movement of the late 1960s. It should not be confused with the rise of the corporate-bashing neoprotectionists, whose beliefs are lineally descended from late-nineteenth-century populism. The lineage of the campaign reformers is progressivism rather than populism. They...
T here'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. Credit-card companies are getting a bankruptcy bill that will make it harder for overstretched people who succumb to the companies' blandishments ever to get out from under their debts. Energy companies are on the way to obtaining rights to drill for oil and gas on Alaska's coastal plain. Cigarette manufacturers are confident that the administration will drop the federal lawsuit against them. Pharmaceutical companies will get longer patent protections and more federal dollars. Big labor-intensive businesses will get rules that weaken...