The American Issues Project released this second ad, and – yes… it makes me happy.
Written with Maegan Carberry for The Huffington Post, our latest installment in The REAL 100 Days project took some time. We fleshed out some ideas – took a hard look at reality, and both of us have taken some flack from our respective colleagues.
We get asked, all the time, WHY???? Obama won. The GOP lost. Isn’t that “game over?”
Here’s the thing… the game is not over. Governance is not a game. The future of our nation is not a basketball. Men and women of good faith can disagree but, ultimately – we want America to perservere, prosper, and live up to the ideals laid down by our Founding Fathers.
Here is an excerpt:
We propose the stimulus debate, or lack thereof, proved beyond a doubt that forward-thinking individuals must join the netroots-driven political realignment happening across America to have meaningful impact. We must challenge each other to frame different approaches to our common future outside of MSM coverage and the petty politics-as-usual sentiments of our quick-to-give-up peers.
Obviously, there are micro-level facts that cannot be ignored: Republicans did not vote for the stimulus despite reasonable efforts by the president to include them in the process. Democrats did not prioritize addressing Republican objections to “pork” in the bill, which arguably included legislation that is worth debating and implementing but was perhaps inappropriate in the urgent context of the economic crisis. The ineffectual negotiation skills of the dynamic duo of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid undercut Obama’s hard-earned credibility with moderates who supported his candidacy and alienated Republicans willing to cooperate. GOPers looking to establish solidarity within their disheveled party chose unanimously to protest, which time will prove to be either an act of courageous dissent or spineless plausible deniability. Perhaps, it was a cynical – but canny – move that will illustrate Obama as a savvy campaign oriented politician, who allows Speaker Pelosi to take the heat whilst he governs from the center. Reasonable citizens on any side of the ideological spectrum are right to raise red flags amid these circumstances and proceed with caution.
Don’t miss the bigger picture. The Obama phenomenon, as Mark Penn will tell you, was not about microtrends or even microtargeting, which his campaign perfected on web 2.0, netroots and traditional platforms. His campaign conveyed a new idea for American politics, voters were intrigued, then hooked. The vague war cries of “hope” and “change” may have oversimplified the underlying message and warranted appropriate skepticism, but it tapped into a cultural shift at the grassroots level – and will continue to happen whether our society’s mainstream reporters, professors in Ivory towers, congressmen up for reelection, or basement-dwelling pajama-clad bloggers choose to acknowledge it.
Read this column in its entirety HERE.
From The Huffington Post:
The inaugural parties are over and our collective hangovers are exacerbated by the reality that America has a lot of work to do. Over the coming 100 days, the MSM will hang on our new president’s every action, while politicos and activists will watch to see if the bipartisan promise of hope can come to fruition. It will be easy to fall victim to histrionics and unrealistic expectations. That’s why we have decided to blog The Real 100 Days on both of our sites, www.maegancarberry.com and www.medializzy.com, which we’ll also be posting here at HuffPo. We’ll be deconstructing the media’s coverage of Obama’s new administration and holding our commander-in-chief accountable to his promise to find ways to work across party lines.
His first day was a bit of a freebie, although he does get stellar marks for his dance moves and we both cried when Beyonce sang ‘At Last.’ For many Americans, with thanks to the MSM, we shared an almost private moment between husband and wife as the Etta James classic rang out first at the Neighborhood Ball, where they were introduced by Denzel Washington. Our President and First Lady made their debut in a uniquely poignant way – bridging the distance between generations, allowing symbolism to stand on its own historic weight.
Across the MSM coverage, there were moments of brilliance and moments unfit for broadcast. No one bats 1000 every season. Unfortunately, some commentators drew inferences from Obama’s Inaugural address that simply were not there. In some instances they seemed eager to find an ungracious statement. Having listened to the speech live, and re-read the text, watched the speech again and again – not once in the 18 minute address could President Obama be defined as lacking humility. In fact, he went out of his way to thank former President Bush for his service to our nation.
Sadly, many of President Obama’s most ardent followers remain incapable of mirroring his grace. As former President Bush took the stage, “Arrest Bush” signs went up and dozens of folks began chanting “nah, nah, nah, nah, hey hey hey, good-bye.” Such behavior was rewarded by few in the MSM, just as it was being exploited by some in conservative-leaning media as proof of Mr. Obama’s perceived liberalism. Both are wrong. While unnecessary, the behavior reflects only on those displaying it.
President Obama laid out clear objectives, a sober agenda, and has reached out across the aisle. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is reportedly in near-daily contact with Republican Whip Eric Cantor in the US House. With the economic stimulus package, Obama needs a broad bi-partisan coalition. He may get there with the assistance of the next generation in the GOP Ranks, like Cantor, who ultimately want what is best for the nation, not what pleases an artificial or temporary political need.
Throughout his first 100 days, President Obama will likely deploy a charm offensive. Already, he is winning over Republicans impressed by his public statements on Israel. On the White House website, a sturdy support for Israel is enumerated. Keeping General David Petraeus and Defense Secretary Gates, along with his very crisp salute to the troops has eased concerns and opened a communications channel between the President and the loyal opposition that may evolve into a bond where national security is no longer a political football but, instead an issue of common concern. Now that is presidential leadership.
We’ll be back tomorrow with thoughts on Guantanamo, alleged wire-tapping, the debut of the State Dept, Robert Gibb’s first press conference and more. We welcome your comments and observations here and on our blogs.
Keeping to his campaign promises, President Obama issued an Executive Order to close down the global netowrk of CIA prisons, including the detention center at Guantanamo Bay where HVT Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) has spent the time after he was captured sporting a look that even the greenest stylist would refer to as “late Belushi-chic.”
Interestingly enough, the Executive Order could be reversed… and it has some other loopholes. Per the New York Times:
The orders, which are the first steps in undoing detention policies of former President George W. Bush, rewrite American rules for the detention of terrorism suspects. They require an immediate review of the 245 detainees still held at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to determine if they should be transferred, released or prosecuted.
And the orders bring to an end a Central Intelligence Agency program that kept terrorism suspects in secret custody for months or years, a practice that has brought fierce criticism from foreign governments and human rights activists. They will also prohibit the C.I.A. from using coercive interrogation methods, requiring the agency to follow the same rules used by the military in interrogating terrorism suspects, government officials said.
And here’s the part that will warm the cockles of every Code Pink protesters heart:
But the orders leave unresolved complex questions surrounding the closing of the Guantánamo prison, including whether, where and how many of the detainees are to be prosecuted. They could also allow Mr. Obama to reinstate the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation operations in the future, by presidential order, as some have argued would be appropriate if Osama bin Laden or another top-level leader of Al Qaeda were captured.
The new White House counsel, Gregory B. Craig, briefed lawmakers about some elements of the orders on Wednesday evening. A Congressional official who attended the session said Mr. Craig acknowledged concerns from intelligence officials that new restrictions on C.I.A. methods might be unwise and indicated that the White House might be open to allowing the use of methods other than the 19 techniques allowed for the military.
Details of the directive involving the C.I.A. were described by government officials who insisted on anonymity so they could not be blamed for pre-empting a White House announcement. Copies of the draft order on Guantánamo were provided by people who have consulted with Mr. Obama’s transition team and requested anonymity for the same reason.
Nevertheless, Republicans remain gravely concerned about President Obama’s move to close GTMO with no clear alternative – especially with KSM being readied for trial, and the chance that Usama bin Ladin may eventually be captured. No one was more clear on this issue than GOP Whip Eric Cantor:
“The single most important role of government is to defend our nation and protect innocent Americans from those who seek to destroy our way of life. We all want to protect our troops in combat and our citizens at home, but there are serious questions that must be answered before Guantanamo Bay is closed. For example, how does it make sense to close down the Guantanamo facility before there is a clear plan to deal with the terrorists inside its walls? And what will American soldiers do with the terrorists they capture in the field before a Presidential Commission offers them a clear position?
“Actively moving terrorists inside our borders weakens our security, raises far more questions than it answers and is the wrong track for our nation. Most families neither want nor need hundreds of terrorists seeking to kill Americans in their communities. We need to have a serious, careful, and realistic national discussion about the ramifications of closing Guantanamo Bay.”
For the American people, the issue is one of grave concern. But the population is split – according to a new CNN poll released yesterday:
A new national poll suggests Americans are split over whether the U.S. should close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicated that support for closing the detention facility has increased dramatically since 2005.
Fifty-one percent of those questioned in the survey support the closing of prison at Guantanamo Bay, with 47 percent against the closing. That’s basically a split, when taking into account the survey’s sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Buckle your seatbelts, folks. It is going to be a rough ride.
I have two favorite moments this week. The first, was President Barack Obama taking the Oath of Office – because it was a brief glimpse of the man. Yes, just a man. Chief Justice Roberts misplaced the word “faithfully” and Obama jumped the gun a bit… so it was flawed and human and if ever Obama was going to demonstrate he’s not the “The One” – despite Oprah’s plaintive cry last year in South Carolina asking if he was… Obama proved he is just a man. (And, for you folks who think that leaves the door open to saying he isn’t President under the Constitution – he took the Oath a second time. Listen HERE. Now go back to bitching about his birth certificate. Which, in case you missed it, the US Supreme Court decided was authentic & real)
Which leads to my other favorite moment this week….
At the Neighborhood Ball, Beyonce belted out the Etta James classic “At Last.” President & First Lady Michelle Obama danced together and it was a beautiful moment. For all the world to see. They are clearly in love, clearly comfortbale with their new roles and responsibilities, and for all the world to witness the moment was beyond meaning, historic, and significant. It was about damn time. Talk about a romantic date night.
Of course…. governance beckons. There is the Middle East peace process, a fragile cease fire between Israel & Hamas, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to manage, the collapse of our domestic economy, Social Security is on the verge of crisis, healthcare and Medicaid are increasingly cumbersome – and necessary for some Americans, plus the Intelligence community needs strengthening and reform, and…and…and… it is all on Preisdent Obama’s shoulders now.
As the stages are broken down in hotel ballrooms, at the National Building Museum, at the DC Armory and elsewhere across our fair City, shining brightly as ever… it is time to look at the successes and struggles for the 44th President. We shall see if all that talk of bipartisanship and post-partisanship are realized. We’ll look at Obama’s unlikely Republican partners and his break with some members of his own party. Who is the “we” ????