Katrina vanden Heuvel Calls for Left Unity Behind Obama

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

I have long contended that the Washington D.C. based Institute for Policy Studies is a key component of the movement that put President Barack Obama into the White House.

The I.P.S. provides key policy ideas for the Obama administration, but it also coordinates many key elements of the U.S. left behind the Obama movement.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is an I.P.S. trustee and editor of the leftist journal The Nation.

She is the co-editor of Taking Back America – And Taking Down The Radical Right (2004) and most recently of Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover.

She is a also a frequent contributor to MSNBC, CNN and ABC’s This Week.

Katrina vanden Heuvel serves on the board of the far left Institute for America’s Future and she also serves on the board of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the World Policy Institute.

She is also a member of the highly influential Council on Foreign Relations and is also connected to George Soros‘ far left leaning Open Society institute.

In her younger days Katrina vanden Heuvel was co-editor (with Stephen F. Cohen) of Voices of Glasnost: Interviews with Gorbachev’s Reformers (Norton, 1989) and also co-edited Vyi i Myi, a Russian-language feminist newsletter.

Given her positions of responsibility on the the U.S. left, it is only natural that vanden Heuvel should attempt to address the biggest problem currently facing U.S. communists, socialists and progressives. That is:

How to maintain the leftist unity that brought Barack Obama to power and use its influence and muscle to maintain enough support to enable the president to implement his full radical agenda?

The U.S. left has been fracturing in recent months as many of its more radical elements are dissatisfied with what they regard as a slow pace of change under Obama.

On August 15, 2010, vanden Heuvel wrote an article for the Washingtonpost.com entitled, “The ‘Principled Left’ Obama Needs.”

When Barack Obama embarked on what most political insiders saw as an audacious campaign for the presidency, the question was whether a newly-elected senator from Illinois could entice Democrats to consider a contender other than a former first lady who proposed to be the first woman president and a former nominee for vice president who was saying important things about the growing economic divide in America. What ultimately won him the Democratic nomination in 2008 was a decision by the principled left — professional and amateur — that the one leading candidate who had expressed blunt opposition to the war in Iraq before it began had shown better judgment than Hillary Clinton or John Edwards.

So it was that an exercise in political purism by the broad left put Obama on the path to the presidency. Now that Obama is president, however, his press secretary derides the “professional left” for being too pure in its demands on the White House. In point of fact, Robert Gibbs is wrong; at the most critical point in President Obama’s tenure so far — when Congress was deciding how to vote on a health-care bill that Republicans predicted would be his “Waterloo” — the most left-wing members of Congress and their allies (professional and amateur) across America rallied to support a measure that was deeply disappointing to many of them….

It is staggeringly simplistic for Gibbs to blame the “professional left” for the slew of troubles this White House currently confronts as much as seems to have. The left isn’t responsible for the administration’s insufficient response to the economic and social challenges the financial crisis has posed. The left isn’t responsible for a dysfunctional system that allows the minority party to obstruct with impunity — and special interests and big corporate money to dictate legislative policy. Nor is the left responsible for the fact that a majority of Americans no longer believe the Afghanistan war is worth fighting. (It is actually – New Zeal)

As historian Michael Kazin likes to say, “If the left were not somewhat unhappy with Barack Obama, it would not be much of a left.” Maybe Gibbs needs a history lesson on the relationship of the left to presidential administrations. Both FDR and LBJ, for example, had to respond to insurgencies on their left — labor and civil-rights movements — and in so doing were pushed to adopt bold progressive reforms.

Of course, these are different times, for America and its left. Ruth Marcus makes a credible point when she suggests that some on the left blame Obama for the failure to enact sweeping transformative reforms in less than two years. Blaming Obama is simplistic. After all, didn’t the left — old and new — typically use a power structure analysis to explain the limits of democracy in the U.S.? How is it, then, that it hoped Obama would override all that, and do so in less than two years?

The left I know and am a part of is not some monolithic entity. There are debates and divisions. I am of the school that believes the system is rigged against progressive change, and that great periods of change — the New Deal and the Great Society — took place after years of effort and many setbacks. I also believe that we on the left need to be as clear-eyed, tough and pragmatic about Obama as he and his team are about us. Playing what I call the betrayal sweepstakes — a ceaseless denunciation of the administration’s failures and missteps—doesn’t get us very far. It promotes disappointment, disempowerment and despair, which is just what our adversaries on the right seek.

As someone who would like to see Obama’s presidency succeed, I think he needs a left that engages in the same blending of principle and pragmatism that convinced progressive Democrats to choose him over Clinton and Edwards. The history of progressive change in our country leads me to believe that the left would be wise to avoid falling into either of two extremes — reflexively defensive or reflexively critical.

In the last 18 months, the left has learned the hard way that it needs to be more independent of the White House to realize the change we’re seeking. There’s now more energy being devoted to organizing, less to complaining. There is savvy organizing underway around specific issues — corporate power, filibuster reform, Medicare-for-all at the state level, stronger consumer protection — and the development of active, broad-based coalitions around those reforms that, as our history teaches us, is pretty much the only way things change in our system.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is telling the U.S. left – stop whining, get organized and unified. Push the Obama administration to make the changes you want.

Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and Johnson’s “Great Society” saw the two greatest leaps into socialism in U.S. history.

America now stands on the verge of a third and probably final push to socialism under Obama.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is telling her troops not to blow the greatest opportunity they will ever have to fly the Red Flag over America.


How Many Attended The Glenn Beck Rally?

By: Nancy Morgan
Right Bias

The question on the minds of millions of Americans this morning: How many people attended Glenn Beck’s ‘Restoring Honor’ rally yesterday in our nations’ capitol?

The answer to this question has ramifications far beyond mere crowd size. It is one of the few concrete indicators of the popularity and viability of the Tea Party and their message of traditional values, less government and a return to our Founders’ vision of America.

The New York Times described the crowd merely as “enormous and impassioned.” ABC was more specific, estimating the attendance at Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally in the “hundreds of thousands.” AP chimed in at “tens of thousands.”

Whether the attendance was 300,000 or one million, (you decide) the huge crowd gathered to hear conservative commentator Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and other notables, offered a compelling contrast to another rally being held across town held by Al Sharpton.

An estimated 3,000, most of whom were African-Americans, attended a rally/march hosted by Al Sharpton to commemorate the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Sharpton railed against the Tea Party as he informed the crowd that MLK’s dream “has not been achieved.”

The fact that America has elected a black president didn’t seem to faze Sharpton as he trotted out his familiar message of black oppression. Sharpton’s solution? Support Obama’s latest money grab, appealingly entitled a “jobs bill.’ Yawn.

Jesse Jackson, who arbitrarily claimed the sole right to speak for Dr. Martin Luther King, was aghast that Glenn Beck dared to infringe on his territory. Jackson told CNN that Beck was mimicking King and “humiliating the tradition.”

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous followed up, castigating the message of the Glenn Beck rally across town. “For a year and a half, we’ve been subjected to small hearts and small minds on our small screens,” he said, referring to conservative ideas.

Meanwhile, Martin Luther King’s niece, Dr. Alveda King, offered a different message at the Glenn Beck rally. A message of hope and an appeal to honor.

The message of the Restoring Honor rally was more religious than political, with many speakers openly professing their Christian faith, including Beck. Obama’s name wasn’t mentioned once in the 200 minutes of speeches. And the Mall was left spic and span.

Sharpton’s “Reclaim the Dream” rally offered a telling contrast. Both in terms of size and in terms of the message. This contrast is good news for America. A portent that the much abused race card may, finally, be losing its potency. An indication that millions of Americans value character, honor and God over racial politics.

The times, they are a changin’. For years, race hustlers have tried to keep the race card alive. After all, white guilt has proved very lucrative for Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the segment of the black population that seek to divide Americans by race.

What does it say about Sharpton’s message when one contrasts the 3,000 attendees to the hundreds of thousands of people across town at the Beck rally who were focused on honor as opposed to the color of one’s skin?

This is good news, America. Good news that may signal a death knell for racial and grievance politics and, hopefully, a return to basic American values that are shared by all Americans, regardless of their color.

Who knows, maybe one day soon Al Sharpton may have to go out and get a real job. And maybe one day soon, our elected officials will recognize that America is still a Christian nation. Hope springs eternal.

Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for conservative news site RightBias.com.
She lives in South Carolina


Czechs Tell Norks To Get Serious

By: Radical Ron

Don’t be surprised if this decision ends up being smeared with either the ‘racists’ or ‘bigots’ label by the angry, intolerant, piss-ignorant Left.

North Korean ginseng offer refused

Ginseng is said to have libidinous and energizing qualities.

But the herbal root from the Orient did not have the same effect on trade negotiations between Czech and North Korean authorities.

At issue was a 186 million Kc [US$9,574,650 ed.] debt outstanding from a late 1980s deal for Czechoslovak trucks, trams and heavy machinery.

“We can confirm that a negotiation regarding the North Korean debt was held in July,” Radek Ležatka, a spokesman for the Finance Ministry, told The Prague Post. “Representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea came with an official proposal to forgive 95 percent of the debt.”

Ležatka said the ministry found this proposal “unacceptable.”

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