notes aug 23, 2008
August 23, 2008 § Leave a comment
Rick Perlstein | August 18, 2008
Progressive political change in American history is rarely incremental. With important exceptions, most of the reforms that have advanced our nation’s status as a modern, liberalizing social democracy were pushed through during narrow windows of progressive opportunity — which subsequently slammed shut with the work not yet complete. The post–Civil War reconstruction of the apartheid South, the Progressive Era remaking of the institutions of democratic deliberation, the New Deal, the Great Society: They were all blunt shocks. Then, before reformers knew what had happened, the seemingly sturdy reform mandate faded and Washington returned to its habits of stasis and reaction.
The Oval Office’s most effective inhabitants have always understood this. Franklin D. Roosevelt hurled down executive orders and legislative proposals like thunderbolts during his First Hundred Days, hardly slowing down for another four years before his window slammed shut; Lyndon Johnson, aided by John F. Kennedy’s martyrdom and the landslide of 1964, legislated at such a breakneck pace his aides were in awe. Both presidents understood that there are too many choke points — our minority-enabling constitutional system, our national tendency toward individualism, and our concentration of vested interests — to make change possible any other way.
That is a fact. A fact too many Democrats have trained themselves to ignore.
snip — whole article here:
Charles Levinson writes in USA Today that Bush literally bought some time. “Iraq initially wanted all combat troops out by the end of 2009, but agreed to push the date to 2011 after the U.S. agreed to protect Iraqi funds in U.S. banks from being seized by creditors,” Levinson writes, citing a Maliki aid.