Obama’s Tunnel at the End of the Light

I had a bet with myself about how long it would take for the top Washington pundits to go from slathering adulation like butter on Barack Obama’s every move to finding a snarky way to spin the exact same actions.

By bright and early January 6, after Bill Richardson had withdrawn from nomination as Commerce secretary due to financial scandal back home in New Mexico and some folks had objected to CIA director-nominee Leon Panetta, NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd told the awakening nation on the Today Show, “The 2008 transition was smooth; the 2009 transition is already rocky.” Shortly, the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz beat the “Obama has had a bad week” drum, adding that the flap over putting Roland Burrris into Obama’s senate seat was getting in the way of Obama’s desire to move his economic package swiftly—and (oh, they love this) the Republicans stood Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid down on Burris, hoping to taint the president-elect with Blagojevich slime.

I mean really, the guy hasn’t even been sworn in yet. I thought they’d give him till at least January 15.

Still, I know from my experience as a movement leader that it doesn’t take long in Washington for those who were singing your praises to start chewing you up. Sometimes simultaneously. Beltway culture is fueled by conflict, and the voracious media has nothing to chew about if there’s no political pugilism. But a leader can’t be deterred by this; in fact, he or she is beter off to embrace it as a fact of life.

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What Are You Looking Forward to in 2009?

Heartland and host of NPR station KALW talk show “Your Call”, to a diverse (except for shared relief that George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency is almost over) panel of guests, with global to local expertise ranging from bugs to books, health to wealth, the arts to politics, war, peace, and everything in between. I was privileged to be among the large lineup that included Marian Wright Edelman, Founder & President of the Children’s Defense Fund, Antonia Juhasz, Author of “The Tyranny of Oil” & “The Bush Agenda”, David Kipen, Director, National Reading Initiatives, National Endowment of the Art, and David Cay Johnston, former NY Times tax reporter and author of Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill).

You can listen to the program in full.

Then tell how you’d answer the question, “What Are You Looking Forward to in 2009?” by posting your comments here.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to

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An Irresistible Explanation of 2008 as We Welcome 2009

I don’t know who this Uncle Jay guy is, but he summed up 2008 rather well. Enjoy. And have a Heartfeldt Happy New Year!

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An Inconvenient Debate: Caroline Kennedy and the American Dream

Who says we have no royalty in America?

I’ve waited to weigh in on Caroline Kennedy’s come-lately bid for political office because I’m fascinated by the competing arguments. I almost don’t want them to end in the decision about who’ll fill Hillary Clinton’s seat as the junior senator from New York, once she’s confirmed as secretary of state. But decide Governor David Paterson must.

So what are the narratives of his choice?

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Ask Obama to End the Global Gag Rule

A brief history: The U.S. government has been playing ping pong with women’s lives globally for almost three decades, ever since Ronald Reagan first declared the “Mexico City Policy” by executive order (without a Congressional vote). Bill Clinton reversed the …

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Beyond Roe: Toward Human Rights for Women

With a new Obama administration about to begin, timing couldn’t be more perfect for a fresh look at reproductive rights, health, and justice policies. I reviewed the book Our Bodies, Our Crimes, by Fordham sociology Professor Jeanne Flavin, for Democracy: …

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Show Her the Money

That Warren Buffett’s bio is called The Snowball inadvertently has application also to the gathering speed of women’s intention to share the nation’s economic pie. We already know that the economy’s downturn disproportionately affects women. But a number of interesting …

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A Little Light Music: George Bush’s Presidential Library

My friend Malcolm Friedberg sent the following, and it was too good not to share. This post-election, mid-holiday season seems like a good moment for a little lightness and humor, some spoof, some all too accurate. Soon enough the Washington …

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What Will Michelle Do?

The Obama girls, Malia and Sasha, are so adorable. They make America smile every time they skip onto the stage with their father, and we’re communally delighted to know their good behavior during the campaign will be duly rewarded with …

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WomenGirlsLadies and Feminism’s Unfinished Business

What’s a WomanGirlLady? Each member and (plural) the whole intergenerational panel that goes on the road together. Last week it was Courtney Martin and Kristal Brent Zook plus the amazing Maria Teresa Peterson (head of Voto Latino, who stepped admirably …

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