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Showing posts from January, 2010

Good Crazy

Many people have written extraordinary articles and diaries about Obama's performance last Friday at the House Republican Retreat. But for me, none have captured what I saw better than Melissa Harris-Lacewell in an article she wrote titled "The Obama I Remember" for The Nation.

She begins by summarizing her experience as a neighbor and constituent of his beginning with his term in the Illinois State Senate. And then she says this.

These early encounters with Obama remind me that he is President not solely, or even primarily, because of innate gifts, but because he moves up a learning curve more swiftly and fully than anyone else in public life. My consistent support for President Obama, despite my real differences with him on a number of policy issues, is deeply rooted in my understanding of his openness to and capacity for learning.

I trust that when he does not have the answer he will seek it. I trust that when he fails with one strategy, he will adjust. I trust that when…

On the potential danger of progressive ideologues

As we debate strategies and tactics for many of the common goals we share, I've been thinking about passion, rage, and other emotions that inevitably become part of the process when we all care this deeply about something. I am one that believes that emotions are a necessary part of the mix. Those that seek to avoid them make me suspicious. That's because they are part of our make-up as human beings and tend to fester in ugly ways if we don't acknowledge them.

But emotions can also cloud our thinking if we let them lead us or if we try to deny them completely. I believe that this is part of the blindness referred to when Merriam Webster defines ideologue this way.

an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology

We progressives are pretty good at spotting the ideologues on the conservative end of the spectrum. I'll grant that, with our embrace of science and reality, we tend to be less susceptible. But that doesn't mean it never happens, as a …