Politics

Politics

ACORN to the Rescue

By From the December 2011 - January 2012 issue

Remember ACORN? Well, the original left-wing "community organizing" group may be back in a new guise as a key behind-the-scenes ally of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement.

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, fell on hard times in 2010 after damaging videos showing workers in several of its offices actively helping conservative provocateurs posing as clients to fraudulently obtain benefits and set up a child prostitution ring. ACORN allegedly disbanded last year, but in reality continued its operations under a variety of front-group names, with one in Atlanta even snagging a Housing and Urban Development grant despite a congressional ban on federal funding of ACORN.

In New York, the original ACORN chapter morphed into something called New York Communities for Change (NYCC). Its head, Jon Kest, the former head of New York ACORN, has been a big supporter of the ragtag band that started to occupy Zuccotti Park near Wall Street last September. NYCC is clearly ACORN under the old mismanagement: it works out of the old ACORN's offices in Brooklyn, uses old ACORN office stationery, and employs much of its former staff.

Send to Kindle

Politics

The Democrats’ Worst Loss Yet

By From the November 2011 issue

HOWARD BEACH, N.Y. -- The victory of Republican Bob Turner in a solidly New York City congressional district represented the worst possible nightmare for Democrats. All of their ads attacking Turner as someone who would ravage Social Security and Medicare fell flat. Turner won in the most true blue of Democratic territories, an area that had last elected a GOP congressman in 1920--the year HBO's period drama Boardwalk Empire is set. It had elected such famous Democratic liberals as Geraldine Ferraro, Chuck Schumer, and, before his infamous all-thumbs texting scandal forced his resignation and prompted a special election, Anthony Weiner. And Turner himself represents the kind of voter Democrats need to keep. The son of a machinist and a homemaker, he grew up in a solidly Irish Democratic family in which he was the first member even to graduate from high school. But the entire family has rebelled against the growing cultural and economic liberalism of the Democratic Party and is now Republican.

Send to Kindle

Politics

Debbie the Devilish Democrat

By From the September 2011 issue

There hasn't been a national political chair as controversial as Florida's Debbie Wasserman Schultz since, well, Michael Steele. He was the gaffe-prone chair of the Republican National Committee until earlier this year, selected by a party that was spooked by Barack Obama's victory into thinking it had to embrace diversity at any cost.

Wasserman Schultz's selection in May is also a sign of a troubled party. The White House has had to endure flak from party liberals over issues ranging from the troop surge in Afghanistan and the failure to close Guantanamo to giving ground on tax cuts. In addition, recent surveys show Jewish Americans increasingly view the Obama administration as hostile to or at best ambivalent toward Israel. "Weak Jewish support could significantly narrow Mr. Obama's margins in states like Florida, while a disappointed left could deprive him of the volunteers so critical to his success in 2008," says Karl Rove, the strategist behind both of George W. Bush's presidential victories.

Send to Kindle

Politics

We’re Tackling Trillions Now

By From the June 2011 issue

Political leaders and movement activists need bifocal vision. It is necessary to be able to look up along the path while also looking down at one's feet as they take small steps toward the goal, so that one doesn't trip and fall short of the horizon. We recognize this as common sense, and it shows up in aphorisms: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step," "leg over leg the dog got to Dover," and "taking the entire salami a slice at a time."

Yet on March 15, claiming that the measure wouldn't cut spending fast enough, 54 House Republicans voted against a three-week continuing resolution that reduced the 2011 budget by $6 billion. Because those reductions came out of the budget baseline, the bill would have meant a $60 billion cut over the next decade. Those 54 Republicans were joined by Heritage Action and the Club for Growth, which announced they would rate a vote to cut the budget by $6 billion as a bad vote on the report cards they send out to members.

Send to Kindle

Politics

Opportunity Can’t Wait

By From the May 2011 issue

It turns out President Obama may be more of a reactionary rather than a liberal when it comes to education policy. How else to explain his administration's decision to side with anti-reform teachers unions on a fundamental issue of fairness?

In March, the Obama White House issued a statement saying it would "strongly oppose" a bill sponsored by House Speaker John Boehner that would revive and expand scholarships for low-income students in Washington, D.C. It allowed teachers unions to kill the highly successful program in early 2009, meaning that no students other than those with existing scholarships can be part of the program in the future. The Obama administration remains determined to continue to close the door of educational opportunity to D.C. students.

Send to Kindle

Pages