Saturday, March 27, 2010

Another Major Accomplishment

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton announced a new U.S.-Russia treaty to reduce each country's nuclear weapons by nearly a third.

According to the President: "Broadly speaking, the new START treaty makes progress in several areas. It cuts -- by about a third -- the nuclear weapons that the United States and Russia will deploy. It significantly reduces missiles and launchers. It puts in place a strong and effective verification regime. And it maintains the flexibility that we need to protect and advance our national security, and to guarantee our unwavering commitment to the security of our allies."

With this agreement, the United States and Russia -- the two largest nuclear powers in the world -- also send a clear signal that we intend to lead. By upholding our own commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we strengthen our global efforts to stop the spread of these weapons, and to ensure that other nations meet their own responsibilities."

I can't help recalling that President Kennedy made two of his most important speeches--on the nuclear test ban treaty, the very first effort to stop the nuclear arms race--and on Civil Rights, that proposed what eventually became the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts--one day after the other. This immense and important accomplishment days after the health insurance reform law makes for a similarly momentous week for President Obama.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy 70th birthday to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House. Maybe I'm showing my age as well as my politics, but I think she's hot.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One of those Hell Freezes Over moments, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gives President Obama a big hug, congratulating him for the passage of the health insurance reform bill. But props to her: she fought this fight in the early 90s as First Lady, and she came closer than anyone to pulling it off--until now.

UPDATE 3/24: TPM runs this photo with a story about how the Clintons worked behind the scenes to get health insurance reform passed. Interesting.

Also, there's this interesting observation from David Leonhardt at the New York Times:"For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yes, We Did

The dimensions of the healthcare bill victory--and the dimensions of the defeat for Republicans--is just starting to be felt and evaluated. But this E. J. Dionne column is a good start:

Yes, we did.

Finally, President Obama can use those words. The passage of health-care reform provided the first piece of incontestable evidence that Washington has changed.

Congress is, indeed, capable of carrying through fundamental social reform. No longer will the United States be the outlier among wealthy nations in leaving so many of its citizens without basic health coverage.

In approving the most sweeping piece of social legislation since the mid-1960s, Democrats proved that they can govern, even under challenging circumstances and in the face of significant internal divisions. "