Team One America

I read an article last night by Friedman supporting a gas tax. At the same moment that he recognized the need to support our economy and bail out the Big 3 auto-makers, he suggested that we need to act now on altering the basic geometry of our national energy strategy.

I think he’s right in many ways, but wonder how many priorities an administration can have. We do need to prop up the existing economy.  The United States has benefited from its acceptance of free market principles. Im actually uncertain how were getting around some parts of the WTO with giving aid to our auto industry. Isn’t giving aid to industry (be it agriculture, steel) illegal with the WTO?

senate_in_session(Anectdotally, I went to the Senate chamber in 1994 and witnessed the WTO vote. Shout out to Shifter and IAD.)

Would it be smart right now to raise the minimum wage? Or increase business contributions for health care? Friedman is correct that raising the gas tax would be a nifty way to encourage transition, but I’m not certain that it’s the efficient choice right now. I’m so pleased we (are about to) have a smart man in the White House who chooses for us.

Obama/Team One America did a few things lately I really respect.

Getting Clinton out of the Senate was really smart. You’re talking someone who still wants to run for president, and who REALLLLY does not agree with everthing on Obama’s domestic agenda.

She would have taken every opportunity to fight. I had the thought some time ago (about Pelosi) that this will be a real measure for her as a politician – her ability to evolve.

You lead a minority. A minority fights. You manage a majority.

And all of a sudden she has an administration she isn’t fighting with. That means she has to manage her majority. Wonder how she’ll do. Am pretty sure Obama made it easier for her by removing Clinton.

Another smart move by Team One America: inviting the schmuck Warren to speak at the inauguration. It guaratees a full, nationwide hearing on certain issues in a non-threatening way. (If you click here you’ll got warren’s site… check out number 8.)

No legislation is proposed at the inauguration. Nothing is really at stake. But the people who work the platform with the new president are gonna get a lot of profiles, and attention. Why would Obama give a major platform to someone who I’m sure he doesn’t agree much with? I think he trusts the judgment of the population. The more that U.S. citizens hear that the strongest critics of gay marriage are the people who think humans were kicking it with dinosaurs in the land of Cain and Abel a few years back, the more likely a coalition can be formed to create real change.

I’m pretty sure Clinton didn’t want don’t ask, don’t tell, but it was the best he could do. Politicans don’t get the luxury of having only one fight. Obama can’t lead where the country can’t follow. Part of the job is helping us – as a nation – follow. And I’m very encouraged with the management of issues that we’re seeing. Hope it continues once the live fire starts…

Author: Robert Bettmann

Founder of Day Eight, and the DC Arts Writing Fellowship.