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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Solidarity in Washington

Michael Tomasky writes:

Whatever the criticisms . . . the central fact is that, so far, Obama's coalition is holding together. This is true in the country at large, where his approval ratings, though down several points from the very early days, are still more than high enough to provide him political capital. And it's true among Democrats of all stripes in Washington. I recently conducted eighteen interviews (most of them off the record or "on background," alas) with administration officials, members of Congress and staff, operatives, and insiders—this in addition to casual conversations with other such people that come naturally in my line of work. I heard quibbles, and sometimes more than quibbles, especially about the bank bailout, which was often described as a transfer of wealth from the middle class to Wall Street. By and large, though, I was struck by the sense of good feeling and optimism among these people. There was a broad understanding of the importance of the historical moment. In stark contrast to 1993 (Bill Clinton's first year as president), the factions within the Democratic Party are keeping their disagreements pretty quiet for now. People grasp that in this moment of high political capital, when they are up against a GOP that is becoming increasingly forceful in opposition, Democrats must prove this year that they can pass legislation that will fix the country's problems. And there was a confidence in their ability to do so that surprised me.

link: 'The Unencumbered Man' - The New York Review of Books


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