#53 Squaring the Circle

On November 5, 2010

In my last commentary three weeks ago, I wrote:

Incessant and hypocritical demands by “small government” advocates that the federal government “create jobs” – while simultaneously “keeping its hands off” our free enterprise system, avoiding further stimulus, and reducing the public debt – cannot accelerate [a reduction in the unemployment rate and economic growth.]

#52 Saving, Not Borrowing and Spending

On October 14, 2010

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending a fundraiser in Chicago hosted by President Obama for Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias. As he always does, when the President shook my hand, his first words were “How’s Penny?” Penny Sebring is my memorable wife, for those few of you who don’t know.

#51 Long-Term Solutions for Short-Term Dissonance

On July 27, 2010

I started writing these modest commentaries when Barack Obama announced his presidential candidacy, in part to make sense of that process for my own edification. Since the campaign, my attention has been less intense, but I continue to try to make some sense of happenings in Washington and in our culture more broadly. Here is my latest intermittent attempt. I apologize in advance for its unusual length. Much to say after the long respite.

#50 Reading Niebuhr to Understand Obama

On April 30, 2010

David Brooks discovered early in the presidential primary campaign that one of Barack Obama’s favorite philosophers is Reinhold Niebuhr. These many months later, I have finally read the new edition of Niebuhr’s 1952 book, The Irony of American History. As a result, I understand President Obama better; the book confirms my faith in him.

#49 From Caricature to Communitarian Cornerstone

On March 24, 2010

As the world now knows, the U.S. Congress has passed health insurance reform legislation. Ninety-eight years after Republican President Theodore Roosevelt first proposed expanding health coverage, this bill was signed into law by President Obama. So much for the ridiculously-premature proclamations of a “failed presidency.” Perhaps a presidency with a legacy is more like it. A communitarian cornerstone in the new foundation he is seeking to lay.

#48 Sorry, but It’s Complicated

On February 24, 2010

As those of you who have been receiving these musings over the past two plus years may have noticed, their frequency has declined since Barack Obama took office. That, in itself, is telling. It’s hard to maintain the intensity of a campaign. It’s hard to be positive. It’s easier to be critical, to find fault. To blame. Counter narratives take hold.