NDN Blog

Abandoning the GOP

Michael Hirsch at Newsweek takes a look at some of the historic names that are leaving the ever more conservative, outside the mainstream Republican party.

Susan Eisenhower is an accomplished professional, the president of an international consulting firm. She also happens to be Ike's granddaughter—and in that role, she's the humble torchbearer for moderate "Eisenhower Republicans." Increasingly, however, she says that the partisanship and free spending of the Bush presidency—and the takeover of the party by single-issue voters, especially pro-lifers—is driving these pragmatic, fiscally conservative voters out of the GOP. Eisenhower says she could vote Democratic in 2008, but she's still intent on saving her party. "I made a pact with a number of people," she tells NEWSWEEK. "I said, 'Please don't leave the party without calling me first.' For a while, there weren't too many calls. And then suddenly, there was a flurry of them. I found myself watching them slip away one by one."

Eisenhower isn't the only GOP scion debating if the party still feels like home. Theodore Roosevelt IV, an investment banker in New York and an environmental activist like his great-grandfather, Teddy, takes issue with what he says is George W. Bush's inattention to global warming (and Republican presidential contender John McCain's flirtations with the religious right). He's unhappy with the cost of the global war on terror and the record deficits incurred to finance it. Ninety years ago, former president Teddy Roosevelt attacked Woodrow Wilson's pro-democracy idealism, calling it "milk-and-water righteousness"; Roosevelt's great-grandson doesn't like how the current president is promoting values abroad, either. "I come from a tradition of pragmatic Republicanism," he says. "This administration has taken the idea of aggressively exporting democracy à la Woodrow Wilson and gone in a direction even Wilson wouldn't have considered."

The party might even be alien to Barry Goldwater, the 1964 GOP nominee who jolted the party rightward when he said that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." Goldwater's youngest daughter, Peggy, who is active in GOP politics in Orange County, Calif., says she is a "moderate conservative," just as her firebrand father became later in life, irked by Republicans in Washington who embrace big government. "The government is taking on more than I feel they can handle," she says.

Laptops in the classroom

Last NDN's Globalization Intitiative released the first paper in A Series of Modest Proposals to Build 21st Century Skills: A Laptop in Every Backpack.  In that paper Simon Rosenberg and Alec Ross of the One Economy Corporation argue that:

Achieving the American Dream in this century increasingly requires fluency in the ways of this network and its tools – how to acquire information and do research, how to construct reports and present ideas using these new tools, how to type and even edit video.  We believe we need a profound and urgent national commitment to give this powerful new 21st knowledge, essential for success in this century, to all American school children. 

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom posted the paper to his site, and you can see it here.

But not everyone seems to agree.  Last week, the NYT published Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops an article that raised serious questions about laptops in schools:

The students at Liverpool High have used their school-issued laptops to exchange answers on tests, download pornography and hack into local businesses. When the school tightened its network security, a 10th grader not only found a way around it but also posted step-by-step instructions on the Web for others to follow (which they did).

Scores of the leased laptops break down each month, and every other morning, when the entire school has study hall, the network inevitably freezes because of the sheer number of students roaming the Internet instead of getting help from teachers.

So the Liverpool Central School District, just outside Syracuse, has decided to phase out laptops starting this fall, joining a handful of other schools around the country that adopted one-to-one computing programs and are now abandoning them as educationally empty — and worse.

From the same article:

Many school administrators and teachers say laptops in the classroom have motivated even reluctant students to learn, resulting in higher attendance and lower detention and dropout rates.

I heard a very good analogy recently that helps makes sense of these seemingly divergent cases.  You can provide the same set of tools to two different people; one may build a masterpiece and the other may build a sinking ship. And we have more examples of masterpieces than we do of sinking ships.  For examples of some of those masterpieces, visit: 

The One-to-One Institute -- http://sparty.crt.net/121/     

The Consortium for School Networking -- http://www.cosn.org/      

The International Society for Technology in Education -- http://www.iste.org/  

Top Wolfowitz Aid Resigns

Is this a sign that the WB Board of Directors is moving towards asking for Wolfowitz's resignation?  Read more here...

Are you an OPO?

From Jose Antonio Vargas at the WAPO:

Howard Dean's cometlike campaign in 2003 was the first to integrate the Internet into a presidential race, and Joe Rospars was there, a 22-year-old working as an "all-around Web guy" until the campaign suddenly collapsed.

Four years later, it's not just the upstarts, as Dean was, who have embraced online campaigning. And Rospars is part of a new generation of strategists who share a passionate belief that they can transform not just individual campaigns but also politics itself...

For these online political operatives -- or OPOs, as a few have taken to calling themselves -- the Internet isn't just a tool. It's a strategy, a whole new way of campaigning, a form of communication, from blogs to MySpace to YouTube, with far more potential than the old media of print and television. "TV is a passive experience, and the Internet is all about interactivity, all about making a direct connection," said Rospars, waxing expansive in the way all the OPOs tend to do.

Yet if it's understood that the Internet has a role to play in the 2008 presidential campaign -- voters are increasingly going online to find out more about the candidates, donate money and join networking sites, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project -- it's not yet clear how large the role of the OPOs will be. And the struggle between them and more traditional campaign operatives for influence over their candidates is likely to be a subtext at every headquarters, Republican and Democratic, in the next year and a half.

NDN is Hiring!

Open Positions

Globalization Initiative Policy Director
Location: Washington, DC

The Globalization Initiative Policy Director will work with Dr. Robert J. Shapiro, Director of NDN's Globalization Initiative, in the policy analysis, communications and event strategies of the Initiative. Specific duties will include establishing and meeting project deadlines and goals; international economic policy analysis; writing and editing policy papers, press releases, opinion pieces, and other written materials, and maintaining relationships with the Globalization Initiative advisors.
Candidates should have a degree in economics or international economics, 4 years minimum job experience in related policy work, possess exceptional writing, organizational, and oral communications skills. Salary commensurate with experience. Please send resumes and cover letters to jobs@ndn.org

Deputy Development Director
Location: Washington, DC

A new position, the Deputy Development Director will assist the Development Director in raising NDN’s $4 million annual budget.  Specific responsibilities may include oversight of small donor individual membership program and scheduled institutional member renewals.  Applicants should have experience in direct solicitation of prospective contributors, competency in data management systems and internet research, and strong organizational skills.  1-2 years of experience required.  The position reports to the Development Director.  Salary and benefits package commensurate with experience.  Please address resume and references, as well as any questions, to jobs@ndn.org.

Hispanic Strategy Center Associate
Location: Washington, DC

The Hispanic Strategy Center Associate is responsible for implementing NDN and the Hispanic Strategy Center's programs.  Specific job duties include monitoring relevant legislation, following Hispanic media trends, implementing NDN and the Hispanic Strategy Center's policy and communications objectives, and overall support of the Hispanic Strategy Center Director.  Candidates must be fluent in English and Spanish, and have 2-3 years experience working in advocacy, politics, or government.  Salary commensurate with experience.  Please address all materials and questions to jobs@ndn.org

Communications Director
Location: Washington, DC

A new position, the Communications Director will oversee the strategic communications operation for NDN.  Primary responsibilities include traditional media relations and the development, production and editing of the public content of the organization.  This position will work closely with the NDN President, executive director and heads of NDN’s major affiliates, the New Politics Institute and Hispanic Strategy Center.  Candidates must have 5 or more years of experience in political communications, press or media, and possess exceptional writing skills.  Video production experience and competency in Spanish a plus, but not required.  Salary commensurate with experience.  Please address all materials and questions to jobs@ndn.org.

The Iraq War and Honesty

Troubling news from recently declassified documents on the killing of Iraqi civilians by US marines in Haditha in 2005.  A Captain and three enlisted men face charges in a military court tomorrow, but does the cover-up extend much higher up the chain of command?

Recently unclassified documents suggest that senior officers viewed the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in late 2005 as a potential public relations problem that could fuel insurgent propaganda against the American military, leading investigators to question whether the officers’ immediate response had been intentionally misleading. 

Col. R. Gary Sokoloski, a lawyer who was chief of staff to Maj. General Richard A. Huck, the division commander, approved a news release about the killings that investigators interviewing him in March 2006 suggested was “intentionally inaccurate” because it stated, contrary to the facts at hand, that the civilians had been killed by an insurgent’s bomb...

The documents also show that derailing enemy propaganda was important to senior Marine commanders, including Col. Stephen W. Davis, a highly regarded regimental commander under General Huck, who played down questions about the civilian killings from a Time magazine reporter last year, long after the attacks and the civilian toll were clear to the military...

Four officers were charged with failing to properly investigate the civilian killings. The first hearing against one of the officers, Capt. Randy W. Stone, is set for Tuesday morning, in a military courtroom at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Three enlisted marines are charged with the killings. Their hearings, to determine whether the charges warrant general courts-martial, are set to begin in the coming weeks. As Marine Corps prosecutors prepare their evidence against Captain Stone and his fellow officers, the unclassified documents suggest that senior Marine commanders dismissed, played down or publicly mischaracterized the civilian deaths in ways that a military investigation found deeply troubling. The documents suggest that General Huck ignored early reports that women and children were killed in the attack, and later told investigators that he was unaware of regulations that required his staff to investigate further.

And this kind of intentional inaccuracy in word and deed - recently pointed out to the nation in the Tilman/Lynch hearings - is reflected on a diplomatic scale by the Bush Administration.  After basing Speaker Pelosi for meeting with the Syrians, we now hear that Secretary of State Condi Rice is meeting with top representatives of the Syrian and Iranian governments, and it isn't even going very well:

The United States reached out to the Iranians, seeking a diplomatic conversation after years of pursuing a policy of trying to isolate them. But the Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, seemed unimpressed, offering a blistering critique of the American role in Iraq. He also used the international platform to attack Israel and to reaffirm Iran’s right to a nuclear program, which it says is peaceful and the West says is intended to build weapons.“The unilateral policy, the arrogant one-sided policy, is a principal reason for the complex situation we are seeing in Iraq,” Mr. Mottaki said of Washington’s stance in remarks made at a news conference at the end of the two-day meeting. “Even the ordinary people of the United States realize that the policies pursued by the United States in Iraq are flawed, and they at least must admit that the policies have failed.” Mr. Mottaki’s remarks disappointed many diplomats here — including Iraqi officials — who had tried to orchestrate a brief meeting between him and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a step toward thawing tensions between the two countries.

And yesterday's tragic news makes it hard to be optimistic about the surge and our presence in Iraq.  Especially since the worst attacks were in a town that had been pointed to as a success

Romney on the air in Spanish

Leading Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is up on the air, with the first Spanish language radio ads of the '08 cycle.  But here's a few things you won't hear in his ads.  First, Mitt Romney wants to amend the constitution to make English the national language: "English needs to be the language that is spoken in America. We cannot be a bilingual nation like Canada."  And Romney opposes comprehensive immigration reform that would bring millions out of the shadows and provide a path to citizenship for hard-working, tax-paying immigrants who play by the rules and want a better future for their families.  At this month's Conservative Politcal Action Conference Romney said: "McCain-Kennedy [Comprehensive Immigration Reform] isn't the answer. As governor, I took a very different approach. I authorized our state police to enforce immigration laws. I vetoed a tuition break for illegals and said no to driver's licenses. McCain-Kennedy gives benefits to illegals that would cost taxpayers millions. And more importantly, amnesty didn't work 20 years ago, and it won't work today."  This kind of anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic rhetoric is bad policy.  It did not help Republicans win elections in 2006 and it won't help them in 2008. 

Jonathan Chait and TNR on the netroots

If you haven't read it already, check out Jonathan Chait's cover story from The New Republic on the netroots The Left's New Machine.  And American Prospect Senior Editor Garance Franke-Ruta has a reasoned critique of Chait's tomb over at her blogTNR Editor Franklin Foer says that the magazine will be publishing responses to Chait's piece in coming editions, let's hope that Franke-Ruta is one of the responders. 

The Week That Was 5-4

In the continuing repudiation of the Bush era that NDN has written extensively about, Ronald Reagan’s Director of the National Security Agency, Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army, retired, spoke out against President Bush and his failed foreign policy on last weekend’s Democratic Radio Address.

The next night, former CIA Director George Tenet went on 60 Minutes to talk about his new book At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA.  In it, he took some pretty serious swings at the administration.  He saved his harshest criticism for then National Security Advisor Condi Rice, for largely ignoring his warnings about al-Qaeda’s determination to carry out attacks in the United States. 

Also on Sunday, the Washington Post reported that over $800 million in foreign donations that were never collected and spent in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  Senator Landrieu of Louisiana wants Karen Hughes to come explain what happened to Congress.

Paul Wolfowitz remains on the hot seat at the World Bank.  He defended his actions before the bank’s Board of Directors, which is now reviewing the case and will then decide what steps, including firing him, to take.

There were immigration marches across the country this week, which while smaller than last year’s had a special focus on making sure families aren’t separated, because of a failure to pass fair Comprehensive Immigration Reform. 

In the biggest story of the week, President Bush vetoed the $124 billion Iraq Responsibility Act as expected last night and immediately gave a nationally televised 6 minute speech in which he lashed out at Democrats in Congress for sending him a bill that he said "substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgments of our military commanders."  He also called it a "prescription of for chaos.

And there was a politics and the internet kerfuffle this week when in an effort to migrate to an official MySpace page, Senator Barack Obama lost about 80-90% of his friends that were on his unofficial page.  And the unofficial page creator Joe Anthony felt more than a little left out.

The GOP Presidential candidates debated last night, which gave America the opportunity to see ten AARP eligible white men on a stage together.  Their views seemed outside the mainstream compared to their Democratic counterparts last week.  The only vaguely newsworthy moments were Giuliani’s trouble with the abortion question, Thompson’s trip-up on discrimination based on sexuality, Romney’s ignorance of the budget process, McCain’s guarded support for federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and the fact that three of the ten said they do not believe in evolution.

Finally, the Queen is visiting Britain’s former colonies – Virginia specifically – for the 400th Anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.

NPI Event: The Exploding World of Web Video

If you missed this week's NPI event don't worry, you can watch the video here and learn much more by visiting the New Politics Institute on the web at http://www.newpolitics.net.  Click on the names or images below to watch the videos.


       Simon Rosenberg                              Peter Leyden                                  Phil De Vellis     


           Daniel Manatt                                 Karina Newton

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