I’m in SC today speaking to the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association Women Lawyers and Leadership Conference. Everyone is looking for leadership, but we need to remember that a leader is somebody who gets something done. And then go do it. Same advice I have for members of Congress in my Arena commentary today. Read on and let me know what you would tell the complainers:
Arena Asks: President Obama’s sagging poll numbers have many Senate Democrats up for reelection in 2012 running for cover. And discontent with the president is growing on the House side, too: In his retirement statement Thursday Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) ripped the Obama White House for what he called inaction on the housing foreclosure crisis. Will President Obama be a political albatross for Democratic congressional candidates in 2012?
My Answer: As a lawyer, President Obama should know the first rule of debate: whoever defines the terms is most likely to win it. His failure or perhaps intentional reluctance to do that is the real albatross weighing down members of Congress and causing him to lose the extraordinary voter enthusiasm that swept him into office…
Arena Asks: The Obama administration is scrapping a long-term care insurance program created by the new health care law, reports the New York Times. The administration’s decision was another setback for the new law, which is under attack in court, in Congress and in many state legislatures. How much does this erode support for the health law? Will this be an issue in the 2012 campaign?
My Answer: The decision to scuttle the Class program reinforces the perception of the Obama administration as naive but does not signal the crumbling of Obamacare…
Do you think it’s too late for Obama to redeem himself, as this question seems to imply? If you were advising him, what would you say? And do you think insurgent movements like Occupy Wall Street can help re-inspire the progressive base?
Arena Asks: Democrats across the country are preparing for an onslaught of attacks from American Crossroads, an independent fundraising group that bombed the 2010 elections with negative ads.
Even President Obama seems to acknowledge the shift in power. Will these outside groups give Republicans a big advantage in 2012? And is Obama right to consider himself an “underdog?”
My Answer:Unfortunately for Democrats, the only antidote to democracy is more and better participation in democracy…
Mondays are typically slow news days, and today was apparently no exception to judge from the superfluous questions asked of Politico’s Arena panel today. On the other hand, I’m still ticked off that I didn’t know about the Missoni collection at Target until it was sold out, so what do I know? Did any of you find the Missonis? And really, do you think the media should have spent one drop of ink reporting on Michelle Obama’s shopping trip to Target?
Arena Asks: An Associated Press photographer’s shots of First Lady Michelle Obama strolling away from the checkout counter at a Target store in Alexandria, VA, circled the globe Friday. While many found the photos endearing, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck saw it differently. Considering the photographer just happened to be at Target at the same time, was the first lady’s shopping trip an innocent errand or image manipulation?
You might look at my headline and reply, “Is the Pope Catholic?” because you agree with my contention that institutional sexism is bound to exist in a structure so traditionally male-dominated. Read on and let me know what you think about Arena’s question of whether the new Suskind book’s revelations about the treatment of women in the White House will damage Obama.
Arena Asks: Tuesday’s release of a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind is causing heartache at the White House. “Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President” describes a difficult work environment for women in the Obama administration’s early months, among other revelations. How much, if at all, will the book damage the Obama White House? And did staffers err in giving access to the author, who previously wrote books often critical of the George W. Bush administration?
My Answer:It should come as no surprise to anyone that institutional sexism exists in the White House, as it does in virtually all leadership structures traditionally run by men, progressive or conservative. Suskind’s findings were hardly new or unique to the Obama administration…
Don’t get me wrong: I think religious literacy, as in knowing the history and beliefs of various religions including one’s own, is important for every citizen. And in answer to the question of whether voters should consider candidates’ religious beliefs, I should have added that people need to understand what each of the candidates’ religious beliefs are so as to understand better how that individual might govern. Beyond that…well, read on and let me know what you think.
Arena Asks: Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, writes that the religious beliefs of Republican presidential candidates should be a factor in voters’ decisions. Does Keller have a point? Or does this view, as conservative radiotalk show host Hugh Hewitt suggests, “stoke the fires of religious intolerance by turning this presidential campaign into the occasion for an inquisition into all of the Republicans’ religious beliefs?”
My Answer: I do not care what people believe. I care what they do…
Thanks to Victoria Pynchon for this excellent cross post, originally published on Forbes.com — it’s jam packed with advice Congress really ought to take before the next seemingly intractable debate.
Be sure to read down to recommendation #8. Seems like great minds think alike
As the Charlotte Observer noted this morning, with six days remaining before “expected economic chaos,” our leaders “not only can’t agree on a grand vision for how to get America’s debt under control, they can’t even take the basic steps needed to pay all the bills and avert financial panic.” Until the crisis is solved, we will continue our series of negotiation advice for the Democrats and the GOP from some of the leading lights in the negotiation world.
Politico Arena question of the day really hit a nerve with me. We live in such a mediated society that there is no question the media forms us as it informs us. Nor is there any questions of Fox News’s slant. But ownership of the airwaves apparently isn’t enough for this greedy group. Read on, and then share your thoughts.
“If we can do this, we can do anything.”–Geraldine Ferraro, accepting the Democratic Party nomination for vice president in 1984
Geraldine Ferraro’s place in history is assured. The smart mouthed tough talking Queens Congresswoman tapped to be Walter Mondale’s vice presidential running mate shattered a particularly stubborn glass ceiling. As I mourned her passing following a valiant 12-year battle with multiple myeloma, I found myself watching her acceptance speech again, not with nostalgia but with celebration, appreciation—and a sense of urgency for the next generation of progressive women political leaders to step forward and continue her legacy.