|Katrina vanden Heuvel
Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, long has been one of our favorites here at Legal Schnauzer. She's smart, articulate, unapologetically progressive, and she's easy on the eyes.
My eternal flame for Katrina is OK on the home front because Mrs. Schnauzer likes her, too. "Whatever's the opposite of a man crush, that's what I've got on Katrina," the missus says.
Our collective Katrina crush has grown stronger since our gal recently had the guts to write the truth about Barack Obama--that he's on his way to a failed presidency. In our view, the vanden Heuvel piece is the most insightful analysis so far of the Obama administration:
The president has suggested unconvincingly that he'd prefer to be a successful one-term president than a two-term president who didn't get anything done. But there are other alternatives. If the president continues on his current course, we're looking at a failed one-term presidency that the nation cannot afford.
What should be Obama's No. 1 priority? He must help our nation overcome what vanden Heuvel correctly calls 30 years worth of "calamitous conservative misrule." Obama, sadly, simply does not seem to get it:
Forget about electoral mandates or campaign promises. This president has a historic mandate. Just as Abraham Lincoln had to lead the nation from slavery and Franklin Roosevelt from the Depression, this president must lead the nation from the calamitous failures of three decades of conservative dominance. This requires beginning to reverse the perverse tax policies that have contributed to gilded-age inequality and starved the government of resources needed for vital investments. This demands correcting destabilizing global imbalances, laying a new foundation for reviving American manufacturing and shackling financial speculation. It means ensuring the United States leads rather than lags in the green industrial revolution. And it requires unwinding the self-destructive military adventures abroad. The president must strengthen America's basic social contract in a global economy, not weaken it.
Is this an easy task? Absolutely not. But Obama must take it on or risk having a one-term presidency--and sending the country into further decline, led by the likes of John Boehner, Rand Paul, and (possibly) Sarah Palin:
Every entrenched corporate and financial interest stands in the way; it is easier to take a less confrontational path. President Bill Clinton, for example, found it convenient to join in the conservative project of corporately defined trade, financial deregulation and social welfare constriction. From NAFTA to the repeal of welfare and the failure of labor law reform, to deregulating derivatives and repealing Glass-Steagall, he got his agenda wrong. He was seduced far more by Wall Street's Robert Rubin than by Monica Lewinsky.
Now Obama faces the same challenge. This isn't about conventional politics. This is simply about the fate and future of our country. This president has a clear and imperative historic mandate. If he shirks it, he risks more than failing to get reelected. He risks a failed presidency.
Our gal Katrina does not even address Obama's greatest failing--his complete ineptness on matters of justice. On January 11, 2009, president-elect Obama stated that he was going to "look forward, not backwards" on the apparent crimes of the George W. Bush administration. In essence, Obama was telling the American people, "You are not above the law, but officials in the Bush administration do enjoy that status. I might have a background in constitutional law, but I'm not strong enough to actually stand up for the rule of law. Even though my most ardent supporters say in surveys that their No. 1 priority involves justice matters . . . well, I don't care what they think."
Since that moment, Obama has been on his way to a failed presidency, one marked by a few muted successes and a growing sense of weakness--topped off by a "shellacking" in the November midterms. All of that, we submit, could have been avoided if Obama had shown some courage on justice issues.
As for vanden Heuvel, want another reason to admire her? She has a spine, something Obama seems to lack. We recently discovered a video of vanden Heuvel taking Karl Rove apart on ABC's This Week. Even George Will seemed to sense that his doughy right-wing colleague had been sliced and diced. It's like watching Bambi shoot the hunter--although putting vanden Heuvel in the role of Bambi is not a good fit. We suspect she sprinkles the chopped-up testicles of conservative men on her morning cereal--and we need more progressives like that: