Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Changing the political environment

A few articles this morning caught my attention. The ever-interesting opinion page of the New York Times had a thoughful article by David Brooks (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/opinion/10brooks.html?ref=opinion) and a more polemical piece by Bob Herbert (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/opinion/10herbert.html?ref=opinion). The economic crisis does seem to be causing some people at least to start questioning very fundamental principles. According to Herbert, US per capita GDP rose by 66% btween Reagan's first inauguration in 1980 and 2005. During the same period, average income for more Americans decreased. So under a series of conservative governments (I include the Clinton/Gingrich years in this group) there was an enormous shift of wealth to the richest slice of society. Not surprisingly perhaps the Republican Party seems unwilling or unable to offer any constructive options today (see Jack Cafferty (http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/10/cafferty.republicans/index.html?eref=rss_topstories) because they may have yet to make the internal leap that the system they sponsored for the past 30 years is fundementally broken.

Whatever the path out our current situation is, it is not a return to 'trickle down' fiscal policy and the Republicans seem to have no alternative as yet. This is not good news for anyone , conservative or progressive. Without a viable and dynamic opposition, the unreconstructed wing of the Democratic Party (Nancy Pelosi step forward) will see no urgency to get behind the Obama message of change.

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