Friday, June 17, 2011

A Ray Of Sunshine

It's been quite a day in politics. Not a good day, mind you, but quite a day. It started with Anthony Weiner's resignation over something that shouldn't have done more than raise a few eyebrows.

Then Mitt Romney made what I took to be a self-effacing comment about his current employment status, and various and sundry progressives wanted me to think that this means he's the anti-Christ. To me, the troubling part of that article came near its end:
“We have all been distressed by the policies that this administration has put in place over the last two years,” Mr. Romney said. “We have seen the most anti-investment, antigrowth, antijob strategy in America since Jimmy Carter. The result has been it’s harder and harder for people to find work.”

Romney: ‘I’m Also Unemployed’
Not only is this tirade completely wrong from an economic perspective, it's wrong from a historical one as well. Jimmy Carter was the first proponent of "de-regulation", which was later referred to as "getting the government off our backs". Of course, it mostly got government off the backs of the folks who run the financial sector and other large businesses, allowing them to cause the unemployment Romney and the folks he was talking to were lamenting.

I don't remember any of the progressives who were castigating Romney mentioning this.

So, it was a bit of a relief to be pointed to this video this evening:

This reminds me of the Strange Bedfellows Campaign, in which progressive and libertarian bloggers and activists got together to try to make our government more accountable. In this regard, we're natural allies, even if we don't often agree on what the role of government should be. Government that isn't accountable to its people is nearly always going to be a failure.

Speaking of which, former Senator and Stand Your Ground Award winner Russ Feingold addressed the Netroots Nation today. One thing I get from this is that he still wants to work with the Democratic Party. He made the inevitable plug for supporting President Obama, which isn't going to happen unless something really fundamental changes pretty soon. But the interesting part of the address had to do with the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics.
The Super PAC Priorities USA, which was founded by former Obama White House aides to collect and spend the unlimited corporate funds allowed under the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, and other Democratic Super PACs are nothing short of a disaster for the party, Feingold said.

"It's dancing will the devil," he told hundreds of liberal activists gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Russ Feingold: Democratic Super PACs Are ‘Dancing With The Devil’
The Nation adds:
His deeper message, however, was a call to action for progressives to practice a politics of principle rather than simple partisanship -- a theme that is central to the work of the national reform group he leads, Progressive United. Yes, he argued, Barack Obama should be reelected in 2012. Yes, he hopes that Democrats make a comeback after the devastating 2010 election cycle that cost him his Senate seat and cost his party control of the U.S. House and governorships across the country.

But, he warned, a victory-at-any-cost approach will cost the party the credibility it needs to attract Americans who are disgusted by political corruption – and it will yield little in the way of progress.

Decrying the failures of the Obama administration on issues ranging from bank regulation to tax policy to trade agreements, he urged progressives – especially progressive bloggers, who have become such a powerful influence in the party – “to call out Republicans and Democrats” who fail to stand for reform.

Feingold to Netroots Nation: Call Out Corporate Democrats
My views on this subject are pretty clear, I think, but I'll just restate them quickly here. You don't get the attention of a politician like President Obama by first saying you'll support him no matter what, then saying what you want him to do. You get absolutely nothing from a politician who doesn't have to give it to you.

Still, I like Feingold's spirit. What his career in the Senate tells me is that he is not going to let the Obama Administration dictate what he does, either.

Hopefully, I'll find a video later. It was quite a speech.

It would be such a pleasure to have a government that was composed of people like this, who disagree fundamentally on some issues, but who will take principled stands when they think they're right. One Ron Paul, Russ Feingold, or Ralph Nader is worth all the self-serving hypocrites who have been calling for Rep. Weiner's resignation this week put together.

There really are good people in politics; it's just that sometimes, you have to look really hard to find them.

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