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.