NDN Blog

An Awful Lott

But what a sad statement Lott's return to the leadership makes: With all his history, it appears that the senator from Mississippi is still the best that Republicans seeking renewal of their party's fortunes can come up with.

Back to the Future With Trent Lott, John Nichols at the Nation gives an overview of why everyone should be a little regretful that the GOP decided not to pick the reasonable, moderate Lamar Alexander to be their Whip. 

McCain: Looking Wobbly

Its interesting to see the beginnings of a McCain backlash take shape. Yesterday he was rebuked by the top general in Iraq, who (for reasons that should be perfectly obvious to anyone paying attention) knows that more troops in Iraq is not an option for a host of good reasons. Today, CAP take a close look at McCains "dangerous vision", otherwise known as the plan to send another hundred thousand more troops. It has the benefit of being politically completely infeasible. And that is about the best which can be said about it. It is too early to say the wheels are coming off. But, frankly, McCain looks weaker this week than the week before last. 

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will deliver two major speeches today to prominent conservative political groups -- GOPAC and the Federalist Society -- in what is being billed as his assessment of the current state of conservatism and "how he would lead it." For an American public that just recently registered its utter dissatisfaction with the current course in Iraq, McCain's prescription for the future will be extremely unsatisfying. He has repeatedly called for an increase in U.S. troop levels, isolating himself from most national security experts and U.S. generals in Iraq. Yesterday, Gen. John Abizaid, the Commander of U.S. Central Command, rejected McCain’s calls for increased U.S. troop levels, informing him that he “met with every divisional commander, Gen. [George] Casey, the core commander, Gen. [Martin] Dempsey” and asked them if bringing “in more American troops now, [would] add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq and they all said ‘no.’” Escalation in Iraq would be a disastrous course for our nation's strategic security interests. Moreover, the overstretched American military does not have the manpower to provide more troops in Iraq. "He would just repeat the mistake of Vietnam," said Michael O'Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution. "If McCain refuses to acknowledge that some wars can become simply unwinnable, he may be exposing a weakness in his thinking that ultimately deprives him of the presidency."


Webb on Globalization

Jim Webb, it seems, is not content being a decent man, a fine campaigner, a hero to the Democratic party and a refreshingly authoritative voice on security issues. Today he moves forward on the part of his campaign that discussed economic fairness with an impressive and articulate article in the Wall St Journal. I understood from others, and from his background as an author, that Webb could write. Nonetheless its impressive to see a sitting politician put out something that looks like its been written by a talented human being, rather than (at best) a cautious team of trained operatives or (at worst) a less than infinite number of monkeys.


Up to now, most American workers have simply been worried about their job prospects. Once they understand that there are (and were) clear alternatives to the policies that have dislocated careers and altered futures, they will demand more accountability from the leaders who have failed to protect their interests. The "Wal-Marting" of cheap consumer products brought in from places like China, and the easy money from low-interest home mortgage refinancing, have softened the blows in recent years. But the balance point is tipping in both cases, away from the consumer and away from our national interest. The politics of the Karl Rove era were designed to distract and divide the very people who would ordinarily be rebelling against the deterioration of their way of life. Working Americans have been repeatedly seduced at the polls by emotional issues such as the predictable mantra of "God, guns, gays, abortion and the flag" while their way of life shifted ineluctably beneath their feet. But this election cycle showed an electorate that intends to hold government leaders accountable for allowing every American a fair opportunity to succeed.

I don't agree with all that he says. The picture of american inequality isn't as bleak as he claims. The chances of "political unrest" are far fetched. His paragraph on genetics strikes an odd, unlikely tone. He is light (read: empty) on ideas to fix the problems he cites. And the populist tone of his campaign gives the hint that the suggestions to which he warms would not be those that NDN would endorse. Nonetheless the thrust of his argument is sound, and his last line - that "government leaders have no greater duty than to confront the growing unfairness in this age of globalization." - is welcome for highlighting the central role that globalization must play in any sensible progressive politics of the future. Bottom Line: can you imagine George Allen saying anything half this sharp? Frankly, The more i see of Senator Webb, the more i like. I'm off to find 7000 Virginians to thank.

Bush 2nd Most Unpopular President Since War

Memo to self: must find out what on earth Truman was doing in 1946.....

NDN Hispanic Election Event - Tomorrow (Tuesday) AM

Given the significance of last week's change in the hispanic vote, NDN is hosting a snap event tomorrow morning. Its a fascinating, and electorally vital, topic. Do forward to people you think might be interested. Our invitation is below.

Immigration was one of the most hotly contested issues in the 2006 election. It is now clear that the Republican strategy to hurt Democrats with the issue failed to work in major races across the country; that it has caused a major backlash with Latino voters; and that those who are supporting Comprehensive Immigration Reform come out of the election with legislative and political momentum and a very good chance to make great progress on the issue next year.

To talk more about all this, NDN has pulled together a strong panel of experts to look at what happened with the immigration issue and Latino vote in 2006, and what we might expect in 2007.

I hope you will join us next Tuesday, November 14th for an important forum on the battle over immigration and the Latino vote. The forum will be held from 8:30-10:00am at the Phoenix Park Hotel, 520 North Capitol Street, NW.


  • Frank Sharry - Executive Director, National Immigration Forum
  • Sergio Bendixen - President, Bendixen and Associates
  • Celinda Lake (Invited) - President, Lake Research Partners
  • Cecilia Munoz (Invited) - Vice President Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation, National Council of La Raza


  • Joe Garcia, Director of NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center

Please RSVP to tleaman[at]ndn[dot]org

Dems Win Senate

Just in case anyone missed this - Allen is giving up, and the Democrats have control.

Democrats' Senate Win Seals Control of U.S. Congress (Update1)

Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Democrats clinched majorities in both houses of the U.S. Congress for the first time since 1994 by winning a Senate seat in Virginia, capping a dramatic return to power on Capitol Hill.


When the Polls Close

A handy map from The Swing State Project lists when polls close. (All times are EST.) This morning's post says we might have a sense of the results early. But, on the other hand, there is no national poll that will be a good guide to the House races. And my colleagues tell me that the LA Times recently wrote that all American pollsters are being held in a blackberry free basement to stop leaking, so we might not know until later. Who knows? Roll on 6pm.

Wes Clarke's Vote Vets Ad

Very effective.

Vultures Gather

At the risk of a second consecutive post boosting British publications, who doesn't love the Economist's front covers?


The Financial Times

If a prize were given for the best political coverage of the American economy over the last 6 months, it would be won - hands down - by the Financial Times. They were the first to spot that wages and incomes would come to define the debate about why the growing economy isn't electorally popular. And despite a solid pro-business line (and readership), their DC writers have been exceedingly fair and balanced on the issues. Over the last two days they have had two exceptional, long interesting articles - the first yesterday explaning why the economy isn't winning the GOP any votes, the second today looking at the comensurate rise of economic populism (and anti-trade rhetoric) during the election. I'll quote from both of these later in the day when i can get the text; the FT doesn't give it away for free, sadly. They do, however, let you read their editorials. And this, from today's paper, is bang on the mark.

Republicans have presided over a period of exceptional economic growth. Yet this will not, apparently, win them next week's mid-term elections. This is only partly because of the chaos in Iraq and the scandals that beset them. It is also because middle-income American families have gained so little from the surging economy. The Republican response has been to ignore the problem. The Democrats have pandered to protectionism. Both reactions are -misguided.....

.....The forces behind this development include technology, the rise of winners-take-all markets, globalisation and also, perhaps, immigration. Together, these pressures have exacerbated inequality by increasing the rewards of skilled labour and, at the very top, of the most successful business-people, sports stars and entertainers. At the same time, they have undermined the position of lower-skilled workers...... The charge against the Republicans is that they have done nothing to stem the relative deterioration in middle incomes. True, wages may yet rise sharply later in the cycle. True, too, median real incomes have been adversely affected by the jump in the price of energy. But the impact of policy should not be ignored. In particular, Mr Bush's tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 predominantly benefited the rich......

.....The challenge for the Democrats is to find a credible political alternative. The right long-term strategy for them must be to embrace globalisation, while tackling its distributional impact. They should not shy away from higher taxes on the richest. But that is just a start. They should also suggest ways of using the proceeds to create opportunity for all.

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