Debating Obama: A Forum

Debating Obama: A Forum

Responses to Eric Alterman’s "Kabuki Democracy," featuring Michael Kazin, Barbara Ehrenreich, Norman Ornstein, Salim Muwakkil, Theda Skocpol and Chris Bowers.


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"

Dear reader,

I hope you enjoyed the article you just read. It’s just one of the many deeply-reported and boundary-pushing stories we publish everyday at The Nation. In a time of continued erosion of our fundamental rights and urgent global struggles for peace, independent journalism is now more vital than ever.

As a Nation reader, you are likely an engaged progressive who is passionate about bold ideas. I know I can count on you to help sustain our mission-driven journalism.

This month, we’re kicking off an ambitious Summer Fundraising Campaign with the goal of raising $15,000. With your support, we can continue to produce the hard-hitting journalism you rely on to cut through the noise of conservative, corporate media. Please, donate today.

A better world is out there—and we need your support to reach it.


Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

Ad Policy