"Chicago" - Sufjan Stevens
(I generally find Stevens a little precious for my tastes -- and actually this song is a little precious too -- but I like it in spite of myself.)
- Well tomorrow is the big day in Wisconsin. It is horribly cliched, but it seems to be all coming down to turnout. The pollsters have Walker leading, but the question is whether or not they have correctly guessed the makeup of the electorate.
- "Still waiting for our first black president" - Articles like this, slamming Obama for being insufficiently zealous in pursuing the interests of black Americans, make me despair. First, the author seems elusive in terms of what legislative remedy he wants the President to pursue, although he seems to come down on the side of some sort of criminal justice reform. Great. So the first black president takes office in the midst of the worst economic crisis in generations, in a country beset by mammoth problems with its financial industry, its auto industry, and its health care system, and Professor Harris suggests that criminal justice reform -- with an explicitly racial emphasis -- should have been at or near the top of his list. Because let's face it, as we've discussed here over and over, a president has only so many things he can realistically push through any congress, even where he enjoys large majorities. Had Obama done here what Harris suggests, I suspect that people across American would have been scratching their heads wondering at the new President's priorities. Obama's triumph electorally was in not being perceived as a candidate who was explicitly a protest kind of candidate in the way that Shirley Chisolm, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton all were. He was a breakthrough candidate who won in the whitest of white states by speaking to the common interests that bind us. If he followed Harris's advice, we would not be fretting over whether he will wina second term, because he would have been crushed.
- Speaking of second terms, I haven't posted since the jobs numbers came out. These were really discouraging, not simply because they suggest a much more difficult electoral environment than hoped for, but because they seem to show an economy with a real absence of momentum, one which just cannot seem to overcome the continued series of problems left unresolved over the last several years, from bad mortgages to public sector layoffs to the European financial crisis. The question remains if, and at what point, the political leadership of the West is going to decide that putting people to work should be a priority. I confess I remain discouraged.
Alright, work beckons. I will be spending an anxious evening tomorrow night flipping between the Wisconisn results and the Celtics. I don't have a good feeling about either venture, but hope to be pleasantly surprised.
What's going on with you?