…the new progressive era will need a fresh and gutsy generation of candidates to seek election victories not through wealthy campaign financiers but through free social media. A new generation of politicians will prove that they can win on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and blog sites, rather than with corporate-financed TV ads. By lowering the cost of political campaigning, the free social media can liberate Washington from the current state of endemic corruption. And the candidates that turn down large campaign checks, political action committees, Super PACs and bundlers will be well positioned to call out their opponents who are on the corporate take…Those who think that the cold weather will end the protests should think again. A new generation of leaders is just getting started. The new progressive age has begun.
I’m really intrigued by this. The next several months (and year or two) will only tell if we can see the culture in Washington change. More importantly, it’ll tell us if the culture of the everyday America changes - is Occupy Wall St. a movement that will demand change and a better America or go with the season? The Arab ‘Spring’ has certainly had lasting power, but it’s seemed to take Americans the longest to finally start standing up for governmental change. Reports of protests from Europe and South America (for mostly financial and austerity reasons) then the Arab world (for social rights reasons) flooded our browsers and television screens for months, yet here, where much of the economic disaster began years ago, we’re just now seeing people get angry.
It used to be that a sworn oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution was the only promise required to become president. But that no longer seems to be enough for a growing number of Republican interest groups, who are demanding that presidential candidates sign pledges shackling them to the corners of conservative ideology. Many candidates are going along, and each pledge they sign undermines the basic principle of democratic government built on compromise and negotiation. […]
The oldest and most pernicious of these modern oaths was dreamed up by Grover Norquist, the leader of Americans for Tax Reform, who has managed to get 95 percent of all Republicans in Congress to pledge never to raise taxes for any reason. If they end tax deductions, Mr. Norquist’s pledge-takers say they will match the increase in revenue with further tax cuts.
That pledge is the single biggest reason the federal government is now on the edge of default. Its signers will not allow revenues in a deal to raise the debt ceiling.
Its success has now spawned dangerous offspring. There is the Susan B. Anthony pledge, in which candidates promise to appoint antiabortion cabinet officers and cut off federal financing to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. It has been signed by Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum. There is the cut, cap and balance pledge to gut the federal government by cutting and capping spending, and enacting a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. It has been signed by all of the above candidates, plus Mitt Romney and Herman Cain.