Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. Founded by Mark Kleiman (1951-2019)
Occupy the White House
We all know the famous story of FDR meeting with a group of liberal activists early in his term.Â They made an impassioned plea for their policies, and the President said, “Okay, you’ve convinced me.Â Now make me do it.”Â This must the progressive mantra for President Obama’s second term: make him do it.
While progressives celebrated in November 2008, President Obama appointed an economic and leadershipÂ team that did some good things (the Recovery Act, for example) but in many other cases undermined the promise of the 2008 campaign.Â And the cossacks work for the Czar.
As I have argued before, Obama is essentially a Rockefeller Republican — a noble enough tradition in American politics, but hardly one that can grapple with the problems facing the country.Â Progressives thus cannot expect that President Obama will fight for fairness, justice, and the middle class now that he is safely re-elected.Â He will be exponentially, infinitely better than the alternative, which is why I contributed to him and made phone calls on his behalf.Â But we should not kid ourselves.Â He will not fight for us unless we push him to do so.
Progressives need to fight vigorously against the Village mentality telling him to cave before Congressional Republicans, appoint Wall Street bankers to key positions, continue massive deportations and splitting up of families, violate civil liberties, and neglect the peril to the planet.Â That is our job.
Yesterday, The New Republic’s John Judis wrote a shrewd piece distinguishing between the electoral system, where Democrats emerged with a victory, and the pressure system, where the Right still dominates.Â Progressives have done amazing work over the last several years to begin to equalize the imbalance, but more work needs to be done.Â We will have to dig deeper, make more contributions, write more e-mails (and blog posts!), and work at building a pressure infrastructure to compete with the malefactors ofÂ great wealth who distort what remains of our democracy.
Do not trust this President.Â Occupy the White House.
Author: Jonathan Zasloff
Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees.
Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses.
Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.
View all posts by Jonathan Zasloff
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