Here’s a little roundup of my weekend reading; first, via PunkAssBlog:

Worst part of the whole debate:

Jim Lehrer’s first question: “Gentlemen, at this very moment tonight, where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?”

(Candidates each speak for several minutes, demonstrating remarkable ability to discuss their tax and spending platforms without once touching on the financial recovery plan.)

Jim Lehrer’s next question: “All right, let’s go back to my question. How do you all stand on the recovery plan? And talk to each other about it. We’ve got five minutes. We can negotiate a deal right here.”

(Candidates further demonstrate ability to say nothing to the point and also refuse, even when point-blank instructed by Lehrer, to speak to each other.)

Jim Lehrer’s next try: “All right, let’s go to the next lead question, which is essentially following up on this same subject. And you get two minutes to begin with, Senator McCain. And using your word “fundamental,” are there fundamental differences between your approach and Senator Obama’s approach to what you would do as president to lead this country out of the financial crisis?”

(Candidates argue about the differences between their tax and spending platforms. Neither apparently has any idea that we are even having a financial crisis.)

Over at the NYTimes, Krugman asks, “Where are the grown-ups?

So the grown-up thing is to do something to rescue the financial system. The big question is, are there any grown-ups around — and will they be able to take charge?

Via Gawker, Stewart and Colbert pontificate on the state of national discourse:

Can any [politician] break through this mess?
STEWART: I worry that those people are there, but we won’t recognize them — or we’ll destroy them so thoroughly that their voice won’t be heard. I just imagine Lincoln out there, and people throwing the gay stuff at him. ”And what about depression running in his family?”

Emphasis mine. I don’t know about Lincoln, but I certainly think we have an FDR for the 21st century kicking around, and she’s hiding in plain sight – though no one’s listening to her. Well, some are:

Unlike the current leadership of the Democratic Party, who are simply bouncing off the Bush proposal like pinballs, accepting the basic terms of the deal and trying to beef up some goodies to help with the November election, Hillary is presenting a vision of what a Democratic economic plan should do. It is not pandering for votes though it is very aware of the needs of constituents found from rural backwaters to Manhattan skyscapers. She may have details wrong, but it is not for lack of trying. It is a commitment to use power to make institutions serve public good before private greed.

This is and is not a different person than I saw this time last year when the primary contests revved up. Hillary has always been someone willing to dare to do great things, but the primaries -brutal, rigged, stacked against her as a person in a way I have never seen in 30 years of politics – appear to have scoured her clean of any hesitancy or defensiveness that formerly attended her attempts at great works. Maybe it was seeing the people who needed her to be their advocate. Maybe it was understanding the depth of respect and trust so many of us have in her after the decades of public abuse. Maybe it was knowing that there is nothing for her to lose by simply doing what is right.

Whatever the reason, there is a clear and unwavering voice who makes clear the difference between those who want to play politics and those who want to use it for the public good. It is a political philosophy comfortable with making life better and more secure for ordinary people.

(Rumour has it that, now, that doomed bill is headed to the Senate. If true, here’s hoping HRC can get her hands on a louder mic. Fingers crossed.)

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