Simon Rosenberg

Team NDN Quotes in Major Newspapers on the State of the Union

There's been a lot of buzz leading up to tonight's State of the Union, and we here at NDN are proud to be a part of this ongoing national discourse. 

Just today, NDN's Rob Shapiro was quoted in Ezra Klein's Washington Post column on competitiveness.  In this piece, Shapiro helps contextualize America's competition with China:

"China competes on price," says Robert Shapiro, director of Sonecon, an economic consulting firm. "There isn't any doubt about that. The United States competes on quality and innovation. That's how our companies outdo other companies."

Yesterday, Simon was quoted in The Financial Times, regarding President Obama's approach to the State of the Union:

“You will see a resurgent president,” said Simon Rosenberg, of NDN, a Democratic-aligned think-tank. “What America needs to do now is to create for itself a new strategy in a fundamentally changed world.”

And, in The Washington Times:

“The Republicans have an enormous burden to prove that cutting spending can actually create growth and prosperity,” said Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of NDN, a Democratic think tank. “I think the president is going to argue that the challenges are big and we need big solutions.”

NDN Fellows Mike Hais and Morley Winograd were also cited in USA Today, in a different story, about Baby Boomers hitting the big 6-5:

Both the millennials and the World War II generation are what New Democratic Network scholars and authors Michael Hais and Morley Winograd consider "civic generations," community-minded people seared by crisis and brought together by challenge.

For the World War II generation, it was the Depression and Pearl Harbor. For millennials, it was 9/11 and its aftermath.

Their Boomer parents, according to Hais, belong to a classic "ideological generation," one driven by "internal beliefs, which they try to enact on the rest of the world."

Boomers "tend to think that their experiences are unique," notes Hais, who is joining Winograd for a second book on millennials that is due out in September.

Predictably, there has been much discussion of "triangulation" - a term the press loves and Team Obama loathes.  Simon weighed in on the topic with The Nation:

"The concept of the third way or triangulation is that reasonable people from both sides can come together and strike a deal," says Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democratic Network and a veteran of Clinton's war room in 1992. "And I think what we've learned in the last few years is that formula requires both sides to be reasonable. And we've discovered the Republicans are not."

Simon also spoke with Roll Call about the role of outside influencers on Congress:

“The ecosystem of each ideological movement within the political parties is much bigger than just the elected officials,” said Simon Rosenberg, a veteran of Bill Clinton’s White House who now leads the progressive group New Democrat Network.

Rosenberg identified religious groups, community organizations, labor unions and activist outlets such as as holding more influence over the agenda. On the left, he sees MSNBC, progressive blogs and Stewart’s Comedy Central as dramatically changing the conversation in Washington, and he said their influence has increased in recent years.

Looking ahead on policy, Nelson Cunningham has co-authored an op-ed with Thomas "Mack" McLarty III in The Wall Street Journal regarding the forthcoming free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.  According to the authors:"A full-throated campaign for the Korea, Colombia and Panama trade agreements, along with WTO accession for Russia, can help reset the presidency."

It's already been a busy week here at NDN and we're all excited to see what tonight brings.

Wed AM Update - Simon has the following quote this morning in a front page Susan Page story in USA Today: 

"We're looking at a different phase of the Obama presidency," says Democratic analyst Simon Rosenberg, president of the think tank NDN. "It's a new strategy, a new team and a very different environment than he faced before. It is the second chapter of the administration."

Team NDN on Larry King, MSNBC, Fox - Fighting It Out on the Airwaves

Just as the national debate heats up, the NDN team is stepping up, taking our arguments to the airwaves at an impressive rate. 

Last Friday Rob was on CNBC, I was on Fox and Alicia on Dylan Ratigan's MSNBC show.  Yesterday Rob was on Fox, and today he appeared on both the BBC and CNBC.  Tonight Alicia returns to Larry King, and tomorrow I will be on Fox in the afternoon.   All in all it will be eight appearances in just four days, on all three cable networks, and even a spot on the venerable Larry King.

And our economic policy analyst Jake Berliner has also begun to get in rotation, and is doing a particularly good job. 

I am very proud of the air time the NDN is getting.  At a time of national struggle, it is critical that mature, modern voices take the to airwaves, and engage in the critical debate about our future now playing out 24/7 on cable news.  Our team keeps getting invited back because we have something to say, are not afraid of the fight, and stick to our guns. 

And be sure to catch Alicia tonight on Larry King talking about the important AZ and FL primaries, and the broader lay of the land.   I will be Fox at 230pm tomorrow.  And look for more to come....

Wed AM Update - Will be on Fox today around 230.  If you see it would love your feedback.

Politics Daily Looks at Immigration, Latinos

Jill Lawrence of Politics Daily takes an interesting look this morning at the politics of Hispanics and immigration reform.  It includes this passage, which starts with a reference to President Obama's speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute last week:

in a speech punctuated with the phrase "todos somos Americanos" (we are all Americans), Obama also reiterated his commitment to fixing what he called a broken immigration system. If anything, he said, the health debate "underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all."

The two commitments amount to a strategy: Prove you're tough on enforcement before asking Congress to approve a path to legal status for millions of undocumented immigrants. There's every probability that most conservatives will resist that idea in 2010 as mightily as they have for the past few years. But if comprehensive immigration reform passes with few or no GOP votes, Obama and his party will have a lock on the Latino vote at least through 2012. If the immigration debate inspires anti-immigrant sentiment or candidates, congressional Democrats could benefit from heightened Latino turnout in 2010.

Latinos still rate Obama very high in polls, suggesting they understand his reasons for delaying action on immigration. But 2010 is their limit. "The disappointment of Latino voters will be profound" if immigration reform doesn't happen next year, NDN president Simon Rosenberg, whose group studies the Latino vote, told me. If Obama and his party delay the bill further, or their efforts look half-hearted, he added, "there will be costs. It will not be pain-free."

Monday Buzz: Remembering Ted Kennedy, Local Latinos, Probing the CIA, More

It was a week of expansive quotations for the NDN family in the news. Simon had the kicker quote in a major NPR piece this week about the Justice Department's inquiries into "enchanced interrogation" techniques. From the piece:

The administration said that the practice, known as rendition and condemned by human rights advocates, would proceed with more oversight.

"I think the Obama administration is having a hard time calibrating all of this," says Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of the New Democrat Network. "They were left a bad set of practices and realities by the Bush administration."

"The Obama team is finding that unraveling this is harder than they thought it would be, and they're trying," Rosenberg says. "But we're going to be having this debate a long time, and this [inquiry] is an important step."

That debate, he says, will necessarily involve how the country treated terrorism suspects in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Suggestions that discussion about what happened in the Bush era is either partisan or out-of-bounds is ridiculous," he says. "Laws may have been broken, and our standing in the world was affected."

"We need to have a conversation about this in our country."

Andres was quoted extensively in the Las Vegas Sun about the lack of Latino involvement in local politics:

Andres Ramirez made a bid at becoming only the second Hispanic mayor in Southern Nevada history when he ran for mayor of North Las Vegas against incumbent Mike Montandon in 2005. He lost, in a city where an estimated 38.6 percent of the population is Hispanic. He would have joined Cruz Olague, who held the title in Henderson for two years in the 1970s.

When Ruben Kihuen was elected to the Assembly in 2006, he became the second Hispanic immigrant to become a state lawmaker, after Pablo Laveaga, who was elected in 1875 and hailed from Sinaloa, Mexico. Kihuen was born in Jalisco. He joked at the time about doubling the number of Spanish-speaking voices in Carson City, referring to Moises Denis, who was born in Brooklyn to Cuban parents.

When you go through this litany with Ramirez, who now works as vice president of Hispanic programs for NDN, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, he accentuates the positive.

He notes that most other large counties in the top 15 for Hispanic population have had their large populations for much longer. In Clark County, and Nevada generally, he says, Hispanics "have become a quantifiable political force only since the last census" - less than a decade.

And while Ramirez won't overlook the historical paucity of elected and appointed officials with Latin American backgrounds, he also underlines the impact of those who have worked in other areas, such as former Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority chief Manny Cortez, "one the most powerful tourism officials in the world."

As for politics, Ramirez also points out that the expanding Hispanic population has voted in increasing numbers in the past decade, contrasting the highly contested 1998 race between Harry Reid and John Ensign, when "35,000 Hispanic votes was considered the most you could get," with the recent presidential election, when more than four times as many Hispanics went to the polls.

As for Kihuen and Denis, their victories are the result of lobbying on redistricting from Ramirez and others following Census 2000. The result: District 11, which is Kihuen's, and District 28, which fulfilled its intent with Denis' 2004 election.

Locally, the lack of Hispanic surnames on councils and commissions, Ramirez says, doesn't negate the increasing number of Hispanic staff members whose jobs are to ensure Spanish-speaking constituents are heard.

The rest is a question of "time and maturity." Ramirez predicts a near future that includes the more Hispanic state senators and more candidates for local offices.

Rob was featured in The Age talking about the benefits of a carbon tax:

TRADING of emission permits around the world will become a financial rort that fails to reduce carbon emissions - and will ultimately be scrapped in favour of a simple carbon tax, a former senior official in the Clinton administration has forecast.

Robert Shapiro, former US undersecretary of commerce and author of Futurecast, predicted that the US Senate would reject the emissions trading scheme proposed by President Obama, which is now before it.

Speaking by video to the Trade 2020 conference convened by Austrade and the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, Dr Shapiro said ''cap and trade'' systems as proposed by the US and the Australian governments to limit carbon dioxide emissions and allow trade in permits do not work as intended.

''Cap and trade has proved very vulnerable to vested interests, and therefore too weak to deliver the necessary emission reductions'', he said. ''Cap and trade creates trillions of dollars of new financial instruments to be traded, and subjected to the next financial fads. China and India will never accept a cap and trade regime.''

A better solution is to impose a carbon tax on emissions and return the revenue from it to households so people are not made worse off, Dr Shapiro said. A similar approach in Sweden has cut emissions there by 8 per cent since 1990 while GDP rose about 40 per cent.

CEDA research director Michael Porter strongly supported Dr Shapiro. CEDA today will release a report urging the Rudd Government to scrap its emissions trading scheme in favour of a carbon tax.

Finally, Simon was also featured in a Politico video about Senator Ted Kennedy. Simon addresses Senator Kennedy's remarkable legacy on immigration reform around the 5 minute mark. Check it out here:

For Demos and Open Left: Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century

Demos, a London-based think tank, asked me to contribute a short essay on what it means to be on the center-left today.  It is one of a series of essays running as a part of a new Demos project called Open Left.  You can find the essay, Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century, and other interesting essays here.  I've also posted it below.  Feedback, as always, is welcome.

I’m on the left because only the progressive moments in our history, and the progressive leaders who forge them, ensure that prosperity is shared more broadly and our country more prepared to face the future. The last century has seen an ebb and flow between right and left. In America we’ve had three broad periods. The first ran between the two Roosevelts: a battle to lock-down a new reform-minded politics born in the aftermath of economic upheaval in the “progressive era.” It was eventually captured by the Democrats. The second went from FDR to Reagan: an era of Democratic consolidation, which built America’s (still unfinished) social contract. The third began in 1980: a conservative ascendancy that saw its greatest triumphs in 1994 and 2004.

It’s worth remembering that until 2007 the conservative movement had achieved more political and ideological control over my country than at any time since the 1920s. Under President Obama that moment is passing, we hope for good – although battles, such as those being fought over the economy, healthcare, climate changes and immigration as I write, must be won to truly turn back the two-decade march. But the most important question from America’s recent past was – would conservatism mature to provide a credible alternative governing philosophy to replace 20th century progressivism? The Bush era answered that question. The answer is no. It is a lesson that the United Kingdom should learn carefully, as it toys with returning a once-discredited party of the right to political office.

But this next progressive era will not be dominated by the two-tired conservative and liberal ideologies of the past. So it falls to the progressive side to build a reinvented governing agenda capable of tackling the challenges of our time, and new political arrangements built around the capabilities of our fast-changing economy, media and people. Three challenges standout; three that are quite different from those we faced even a few decades ago when Bill Clinton and Tony Blair rethought what it meant to be on the centre-left.

Just as FDR tamed America’s industrial society, so now we must make the transition to a low carbon society-a societal transformation which if anything has been understated by our leaders. Everything from how we build and drive to how we power our mobile devices must change. This transformation will requires a great deal of money, innovations yet unimagined, and a public ready and willing not just to follow but to lead. It also needs a strong moral vision, and a role for the state unsuited to conservativism. And while the proposals offered by Ed Miliband and the Brown government this month are a good start, managing this transformation over the next three decades will make or break political careers and parties. Getting this right is a prerequisite for center-left success in the 21st century.

Second, we must re-imagine politics and government for an age when we are all connected. At some point in the next ten years just about everyone in the world will become knitted together through mobile devices and online. All that we know – communications, commerce, learning, socialising, politics, governing, even the concept of free and open societies themselves-will be changed by this powerful and ever more ubiquitous network. Harnessing the promise of this new age of mobile, and the radical democratization of information, knowledge and power it offers will be one of our the great projects of the center-left in the years to come.

Finally, we must come to terms with “the rise of the rest” as Fareed Zakaria has defined the emergent geopolitical reality of our day, this inexorable trend of developing nations like China, India, Mexico and Brazil taking their seat at the global table. In the years ahead these countries will surely produce Chinese Microsofts and Indian Nokias. Their economic maturation will mean that our countries will compete with both their inexpensive workers and a whole new set of globally competitive corporations, further intensifying already virulent global competition for our businesses, workers and students. Producing rising standards of living in the West will require much more investment in infrastructure, knowledge, skills and schools, and our people’s full partnership in understanding that success will require us to do more, to raise our game, or risk being left behind.

This “rise of the rest” will also require a remaking of the global institutions of governance and power. We have seen this process play out this year as the G20 begins to replace the G8, and the debate over how to remake the International Money Fund has begun in earnest. With only about 15 percent of the world’s people today of European descent, the ability for the governments of the West to be the primary managers of global affairs is coming to an end, a process that will not be easy for our governments to manage, or perhaps our people to accept.

The challenges in front of the center-left political parties of the West today are extraordinary, the greatest we have faced since the rise of European fascism seventy years ago. Today, as in the past, only a progressive vision is fit to meet them. Facing them forthrightly, and showing the courage to tackle them head-on will be perhaps the greatest test of them all.

Offering Up a New Version of our Presentation, the Dawn of a New Politics, Friday Lunchtime

If have 45 minutes or so this Friday at lunch feel free to come by our DC offices or watch me try out a new version of our powerful presentation, The Dawn of a New Politics, newly updated to include the very latest information and a look back at the 2008 elections.  You can find info on how to watch the live webcast or come by our office for lunch and a good show here.   Feel free to invite others and spread through your networks.  The livecast starts at 12:45 eastern.  We will begin taking questions, including from our web audience at 1:30pm, and end at 1:45pm or so. 

Hope you can make it.  Will be worth your time on a spring Friday.  Thanks to Sam Dupont and Dan Boscov-Ellen for all their hard work in helping produce this new edition of our compelling look at the big structural changes driving American politics today.

Weekly Update on Immigration

I. Immigration Proxy Wars Continue - Simon's post, featured on the cover of the Huffington Post politics section, discusses the "broken and irrational" immigration system.

This year we have seen how this national failure has infected debates about other vital national priorities. SCHIP was held up. The stimulus was loaded up with a provision to use our broken and dangerous worker verification system that would undoubtedly disrupt the orderly flow of money to the states. And now Judd Gregg withdraws in part over the coming battle over the Census next year, which we know will include an effort by the right to exclude undocumented workers from the every 10-year head count of those living in the United States. Any future legislative initiative at the federal or state level that confers benefits to a population could conceivably invoke a battle over immigrants: will states require schools receiving school construction money from the stimulus to validate that only legal kids are covered with it? Will families who want to weatherize their homes have to prove their legal status? Will kids getting a laptop in a demonstration project have to prove their legitimacy? And of course, moving on universal health care coverage will require the immigration system to be fixed first. Passing comprehensive immigration reform may very well be the key that unlocks progress on a wide variety of other domestic challenges.

II.  Good Signs in the Economic Stimulus - Despite bumps along the road, Congress stripped a potentially disastrous provision mandating E-verify from the final economic stimulus legislation.  After the debate over legal immigrants under SCHIP, the stimulus served as a second example of how these immigration proxy fights don't appeal to the American people.  They demonstrate what NDN has long known - the American people are not against immigrants, they are for smart solutions, and Members of Congress have finally begun to legislate - and to vote - with that in mind.  There is no reward for getting caught up in the anti-immigrant hate mongering.  

 III.  Weighing Your Options - Judd Gregg stepped down as nominee for Secretary of Commerce this week, after minority groups and Members of Congress made public their concern over having Gregg in charge of the Census and the White House took ownership of the Census.  Is Gregg not a team player? Or maybe he just felt like he'd have more fun playing on the Republican Senate team, maybe we'll never know.  The bottom line is that 21st Century America will continue to reject the anachronistic policies and politics of the old, racially charged, Southern Strategy.  The responsibility of the 2010 Census is a grave one - it is imperative that short-comings of the past are dealt with so that all communities, regardless of color, race, ethnicity, and economic status are counted.  Seats will be re-apportioned nationally in just a few years, based on 2010 Census data.  This could mean the gain of one or two seats in states with increasingly young and immigrant populations, like Nevada, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, etc.  As the country becomes more Southern and Western, these states might see a major shift in their role on the national political stage. 

IV. Immigration News In Our Own Backyard - Coming soon in Montgomery County, a new policy will call for county police to begin reaching out to federal immigration authorities and provide the names of all suspects they arrest for violent crimes and handgun violations, an approach that reflects growing concerns about illegal immigration and crime but stops short of the broader enforcement efforts used in some counties. 

In Prince William County, VA, small-business owners are calling on Prince William County (PWC) lawmakers to rescind a controversial immigration measure that has required company owners to prove they are living in the country legally.  And one of the most combative and virulently anti-immigrant men in the country, Prince William County Supervisor Corey A. Stewart, is now softening his tone against immigrants as PWC falls into a steeper recession, largely due to the immigrant business owners and workers that have fled thanks to the 287(g) attack spearheaded by Stewart.  The article reports Stewart is put in his place by Chief of Police Deane, and as the PWC economy collapses, it's telling that the blame is no longer on "immigrants."  As Stewart shifts his message, he tacitly accepts that immigrants contribute to where they live, as opposed to being "burdens" on society: 

"Politicians are guided by the political climate and issues that will give them the most currency," she said.  Although illegal immigration dominated Prince William's budget and policy discussions last year, Stewart is now concentrating on balancing the budget through cuts....Jenkins acknowledges that Stewart has changed but said he thinks Stewart had little choice.  "Corey was so badly damaged politically because of his actions on immigration," Jenkins said. "He is trying to put that tarnished image away and show leadership. That probably forms the basis of his actions in reshaping his image."

NDN Event, Thur Feb 19th: Making the Case for Passing Immigration Reform This Year

On Thursday, February 19, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., please join NDN and a strong group of thoughtful presenters as we make the case for why Congress can, and should, pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform this year.

The panel will feature Simon Rosenberg of NDN, Rick Johnson of Lake Research, Pete Brodnitz of the Benenson Strategy Group, Janet Murguia of National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and Frank Sharry of America's Voice. Andres Ramirez, NDN Vice President for Hispanic Programs, will moderate the discussion. Lunch will be served at the NDN offices at 729 15th St, NW, between H Street and New York Avenue.  Please click here to RSVP. More information on the panelists is below: 

Simon Rosenberg is President of NDN, a leading progressive think tank and advocacy organization. Rosenberg has worked in national politics and the media world for more than 20 years. He started his career in network television, as a writer and producer at ABC News for five years, before working on the Dukakis and Clinton presidential campaigns. He has been a leader in creating a 21st century progressive movement, an influential champion of a new and more modern agenda for the nation, and an innovator in helping progressives use new tools and media to communicate with rapidly growing demographic groups such as Hispanics and Millennials.

Rick Johnson is a Vice President at Lake Research Partners, where he has designed, conducted and analyzed public opinion research for a number of clients. In addition, he has worked with candidates at all levels of the political process. Johnson joined LRP in 2004 after working for General Mills in Minneapolis and also has worked as an independent consultant providing distribution and competitive intelligence research to European confections companies, for Market Facts (now Synovate) creating new market research tools, managing their diary business and managing their joint ventures, and for the Gallup Organization.

Pete Brodnitz is a Principal at Benenson Strategy Group. Brodnitz brings almost two decades of research experience to his clients, ranging from heads of state on three continents to domestic political work at all levels (from nationwide to municipal and state legislative), to Fortune 500 corporate research and work with non-profits.  Brodnitz has also conducted polling for Democratic-leaning issue advocacy groups such as the New Democratic Network (NDN), the Third Way Foundation, the Brookings Institution and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), as well corporate clients such as, Microsoft, Novartis, ESPN, and TIAA-CREF. 

Janet Murguía has become a key figure among the next generation of leaders in the Latino community. Since January 1, 2005, she has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.  Murguía's public service, which began as legislative counsel to former Kansas Congressman Jim Slattery, then in the White House from 1994 to 2000, ultimately serving as deputy assistant to President Clinton, is complemented by her extensive political experience having served as deputy campaign manager and director of constituency outreach for the Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign.

Frank Sharry is Founder and Executive Director of America's Voice, an organization he created to focus on communications and media as part of a renewed effort to win comprehensive immigration reform. Prior to heading America's Voice, Frank served as Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum for 17 years. The Forum, based in Washington D.C., is one of the nation's premier immigration policy organizations, and has been at the center of every major legislative and policy debate related to immigration for the past quarter of a century.

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