Eric Alterman’s "Kabuki Democracy," first published on on July 7, provoked a lively conversation around the web. Politico‘s Abby Phillip took Alterman’s article as a sign that "for many liberals, this is the summer of their discontent." Writing for The New Republic, Neera Tanden charged that Alterman’s diagnosis of the administration’s shortcomings "belittles the substantive and far-reaching change that has already occurred under Obama." Think Progress blogger Matt Yglesias concurred with many of Alterman’s points about our imbalanced political system, adding that reforming it  "is going to take a long, hard slog."

To carry on this important discussion, The Nation organized a more formal debate in our pages, inviting a small group of writers and scholars to weigh in on Alterman’s assessment of the Obama administration’s successes and failings. Their contributions, published in the August 30/September 6 issue, appear below.

Michael Kazin, "Building a Movement by Offering Solutions"
Barbara Ehrenreich, "The Corpo-Obama-Geithner-Petraeus State"
Norman Ornstein, "Ending the Permanent Campaign"
Salim Muwakkil, "Obama, The Right and Race"
Theda Skocpol, "Obama’s Healthcare Achievements"
Chris Bowers, "There Will Be No Silver Bullet"