Why The Left Is Questioning Its Hero

Appearing in:

Forbes

Much has been made by the national media and the markets about the emergence from our desiccated economic soil of what President Obama has called “green shoots.” But although the economy may already be slowly regenerating (largely due to its natural resiliency), we need to question whether these fledglings will grow into healthy plants or a crop of crabgrass.

The political right has made many negative assessments of the president’s approach, decrying the administration’s huge jump in deficit spending and penchant for ever more expansive regulatory control of the economy. Polling data by both The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal shows some growing unease about both the expanding federal role in the economy and the growing mountain of debt.

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Europe: No Longer A Role Model For America

Appearing in:

Forbes

For decades many in the American political and policy establishment–including close supporters of President Obama–have looked enviously at the bureaucratic powerhouse of the European Union. In everything from climate change to civil liberties to land use regulation, Europe long has charmed those visionaries, particularly on the left, who wish to remake America in its image.

“There is much to be said for being a Denmark or Sweden, even a Great Britain, France or Italy,” wrote political scientist Andrew Hacker in his 1971 book The End of the American Era .This refrain has been picked up again more recently by the likes of Washington Post reporter T.R. Reid and economist Jeremy Rifkin. Just last year, international relations scholar Parag Khanna shared his vision of a “shrunken” America lucky to eke out a meager existence between a “triumphant China” and a “retooled Europe.”

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Britain’s Labour Lessons For Obama

Appearing in:

Forbes

LONDON – The thrashing of Britain’s New Labour Party – which came in a weak third in local and European Parliament elections this week – may seem a minor event compared to Barack Obama’s triumphal overseas tour. Yet in many ways the humiliation of New Labour should send some potential warning shots across the bow of the good ship Obama.

Labour’s defeat, of course, stemmed in part from local conditions, notably a cascading Parliamentary expense scandal that appears most damaging to the party in power. Yet beyond those sordid details lies a more grave tale – of the possible decline of the phenomenon I describe as gentry liberalism.

Gentry liberalism – which reached its height in Britain earlier this decade and is currently peaking in the U.S. – melded traditional left-of-center constituencies, such as organized labor and ethnic minorities, with an expanding class of upper-class professionals from field like media, finance and technology.

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Obama’s Energy Triangulation

Appearing in:

Politico

With the possible exception of health care reform, no major issue presents more political opportunities and potential pitfalls for President Barack Obama than energy. A misstep over energy policy could cause serious economic, social and political consequences that could continue over the next decade.

To succeed in revising American energy policy, the president will need to try to triangulate three different priorities: energy security, environmental protection and the need for economic growth. Right now, the administration would like to think it could have all three, but these concerns often collide more than they align. Read more