NDN Blog

Ned Lamont and the future of Trade

Greg Manciw, an economist at Harvard, runs an intriguing blog on matters economic. He holds his lofty position, at least in part, because of he quit / was pushed from his previous role as Chairman of the President's council of Economic Advisors. This happened after some some heretical thoughts on outsourcing; heretical in the sense that most sane economist's completely agreed with him. (NDN's Rob Shapiro has often notes that this administration doesn't have a serious economist anywhere near the leavers of power so Manciw might not regret his decision much.) Anyway, today Manciw is found musing about what New Lamont's jobs policy tells you about the direction the Democratic party has been taking on trade issues.

This rhetoric scares me. Wages, benefits, and labor and environmental standards are primarily a function of the level of economic development. Complaining about poor countries' low wages and benefits is essentially blaming the poor for being poor.....Demanding "strong standards" can easily become an excuse for imposing trade restrictions, which will only improvish the world's poor even further, as well as denying Americans the benefits of globalization.

Say what you want about Joe Lieberman, but he managed to combine two things that the Democratic party today finds difficult: a strong record on labor issues, with a recognition that open trade benefits the American people. This record makes the task for the mid-terms - and lets put Mr Lamont to one side for moment - clear, but very tough. Democrats must make an issue out of stagnant wages for working people, but not do so in such a way that portray global trade as a pantomime villain. Sadly, not even Tradesport seems able to give these odds.

NDN in the News

Simon is in the USA Today discussing Senator Lieberman's decision to run as an Independent.  For more of Simon's thoughts on the CT primary, check out his blog entry from yesterday. 

"Simon Rosenberg, president of the centrist New Democrat Network, called Lieberman's loss "a political failure of great magnitude" and urged him to "end this part of your remarkable career."

Where the smart money is after Connecticut

And a big NDN hello! to our new readers, after yesterday's fun and excitement. I'll be leaving the state of the nation stuff to Simon, and go for the fripperires instead. Much discussion today of how yesterday's events in Connecticut will play out during the coming three months. Its a toss-up between Democrats heading for cut n'run rack and ruin if you believe the Vice President; Democrats energised and united if you believe the Democratic leadership; or the country hungry for the McCain-Lieberman Party, if you believe David Brooks. How can you tell who is right? Enter a nifty website a friend sent me this morning, Tradesport.com, which uses betting patterns to provide odds on all manner of good things. What do the punters say? Yesterday, it showed that the long term slide in odds of the GOP retaining the House in November continued. Not quite as rosy on the Senate, however. Joementum or not makes little difference in a fairly steady bet that the Dems are in an uphill struggle to take back the Senate. To think: all of that commentary ink spilled, and the betting men are unmoved. A lesson for us all?

NDN in the News

NPI Fellow Jennifer Nix is in the San Francisco Chronicle today discussing the impact of the netroots in yesterday's CT Primary.

Slate on You Tube, User Created Political Videos and the Lamont Campaign

Interesting article at Slate on the Lamont campaign and it's use and encouragement of user created videos on Youtube...

"Lamont's forces have proved one lesson of campaigns in the digital age: Content is king. Throughout the contest, the challenger's supporters produced and circulated a steady stream of videos that were witty, powerful, and in a way became the fulcrum of the campaign...

The Lamont forces have now shown the better way. (Lieberman's supporters did not seem to participate in any meaningful way in this new medium.) The Lamont videos were far more effective than tendentious blog posts, and they gave energetic supporters an outlet for their energies (a person can only pound so many yard signs). What's more, the videos offered a regular dose of entertainment to supporters who were interested but not obsessed."

Bernanke's Recession Gamble

Startling as it might seen, some news happened outside of Connecticut in America yesterday. Fed Chair Beranke's will-he won't-he dance came down on the side of won't, as rates were left unchanged. Good news for the mortgage, bad news for the economy? Seems like it. What last week looked like recession predictions from baby Bear have been joined this week by the Mama and Pappa Bear's of the economic firmament: Krugman, De Long , Feldstein to name but three. The balancing act is well put in a piece in the Times this morning:

The dilemma for policy makers is that if the Fed is forced into a serious crackdown on inflation, it risks throwing the economy into a recession. That would leave workers whose wages in recent years have barely kept up with price increases in worse shape, just as many are beginning to reap some modest gains from economic growth. And with energy prices up sharply, many workers, whose pay increases have also lagged far behind productivity gains, have less disposable income for other purposes.

There was further evidence that the White House is paying more attention to pocket book issues yesterday, when Press Sec Tony Snow led off his noon "gaggle" by pushing hopeful looking hourly compensation figures from the commerce department. Bill Emmott, former editor of the Economist, writes this morning that a slowdown in the US economy would be no bad thing, just as his ex-magazine wrote last week that slower american growth was exactly what the Fed should be in the business of promoting to combat inflation. And so they might. But a recession, following growth which failed to benefit most American workers, is a fix even the able Mr Snow might not be able talk himself out of.

The morning after

With many days of discussion ahead, I offer a quick take on the meaning of Lamont’s win last night:

1. Those running too close to Bush and his government could pay a heavy price this fall. Joe Lieberman has been one of the most public defenders of Bush and his failed government, even attacking other Democrats who challenged Bush. Two-thirds of the American people want a new direction. Candidates credibly offering a new path will have the upper hand this fall.

2. In this new era, partisanship is a virtue. The conservatives rise to power, and their utter failure to govern responsibly or effectively, requires a new progressive politics of confrontation, not accommodation. This new politics may be uncomfortable to those used to an America governed by Democrats and progressive values, but for our politics and values to triumph progressives must and are learning how to resist “cutting deals,” working to “get things done” on terms set by an irresponsible governing majority.

This is not an ideological development in progressive politics, but a pragmatic one. Senator Lieberman never understood this, constantly seeing this discussion through an outdated and inappropriate ideological prism. Of course there is room for someone with Senator Lieberman’s view on the War, for example. He was after all endorsed by virtually ever major institution in the Democratic family. There is a growing, and necessary, intolerance, however, of progressive leaders unwilling to take on Bush and his failed government head on – and this was the battleground in this election, whether the Senator understood it or not.

I have great sympathy for those wishing our politics could be more genteel, where both sides could come together to work things out for the common good. But we live in a different time, and our the rising partisanship in the Democratic Party is a necessary, pragmatic and I believe virtuous response to the circumstances we face today at the dawn of the 21st century.

3. A new 21st century politics is emerging. As NDN and its affiliate NPI have been saying for some time, new governing challenges, new ways of communication and a changing American people are rapidly creating a new politics unfamiliar to those of us who grew up in 20th century American politics. Political success in the future will derive from a leader’s mastery not just of a compelling and effective governing agenda, but of “new 21st century tools” to get one’s message out more effectively and the engagement of vital new citizens who are yearning to be part of – and ultimately will change – our politics.

4. Senator Lieberman should end his re-election bid. There are many reasons he should bring his campaign to an end, but in this entry I site one above all - performance. From the beginning of this race the Senator has seemed to be conducting a campaign for a different era, a different conversation and a different time. Given his stature, losing a Democratic Primary to an unknown opponent is a political failure of great magnitude. I have offered my advice and my critique of what has been a terrible campaign on this blog for the past several weeks. Given the scale of the mistakes he has made so far, and how out of touch with the state he has become, why should anyone believe he will figure out to do something seldom done in history – win as an independent after losing a primary?

It is time, my good friend. Senator Lieberman, it is time. Time to end this part of your remarkable career with dignity, grace and honor. You had a great run, made a great contribution, and done a lot of good. But it is time to move on.

Update

Given the interest on this issue, i wanted to point to some previous blogs during the Primary campaign. I wrote about Senator Lieberman's three main missteps last week, and earlier in the month had offered my advice on his campaign. I also posted some comments on a perceptive article by Ruth Marcus. I hope this helps understand where I am coming from on this. Simon.

NDN in the News

Joe Garcia, Director of NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center, was in the Miami Herald on Sunday discussing what a post-Fidel Castro Cuba could mean for GOP politics.

''Republicans have had a lot of bark and no bite, but the bark has been enough,'' said Joe Garcia, a former executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation and director of the New Democrat Network's Hispanic Strategy Center. ``Once Castro is gone, you can bark all you want, but Castro's not there. You've got to develop a more realistic agenda that's in tune with the Cuban-American reality.''

 

NDN in the News

Simon was in the Washington Post Friday discussing Iraq and this year's mid-term elections.  

"The Republicans are in trouble," said Simon Rosenberg, founder of the centrist New Democrat Network. "But the map is tough. It's going to be hard for us to win one of the two chambers. It's certainly possible. I think both are going to be hard."

Democrats needed "a broader narrative" on foreign policy, especially in light of the Lebanon crisis, and should avoid becoming wedded to the idea that Iraq -- and Iraq alone -- represented their best chance of winning, Rosenberg warned.

"There's a general sense of chaos, that whatever we attempted to do in the Middle East, it certainly seems to be getting worse not better," he said. "If we bet the whole farm on Iraq, it may not work for us."

 

It's a Purple Monkey, I Think it Speaks For Itself

The title to this post is actually the introduction to a purple monkey puppet that is a recurring guest on lonelygirl15's youtube.com hosted video blog.  I began watching her fascinating, enthralling and slightly voyeuristic collection of viral video after reading the New York Times critic Virginia Heffernan's blog post about this YouTube sensation.

Lonelygirl15 is actually a 16 year-old girl named Bree.  Bree speaks directly into a webcam, sharing quixotic but inspired observations about her life, conservative parents, interest in science, ever more complicated relationship with her friend/producer Daniel or anything else that is on her mind. 

In just two months, Bree and her purple monkey's seventeen videos have been viewed almost four million times.  Heffernan says that MTV should offer Bree and Daniel a spot on their broadband video channel MTV Overdrive.  I can't believe MTV hasn't already.  This technology is exploding and has applications for what we do - watch Julie Bergman at the NPI New Political Tools of 2006 event to learn more.  So, do progressives need to learn to master the 700 pound purple monkey that is viral video?  I think that "speaks for itself." 

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