Engaging Citizens from the White House

The White House now has a new office of citizen participation, so it’s time to set some things straight.  First, some applause is in order.  It is high time that elected officials started paying attention to what the public has to say.  But second, a lot of caution is needed.  Who is engaging whom?  how? … Continue reading Engaging Citizens from the White House

From Summer 1986 to Senate 2009

Between my first and second year of policy school at Duke University, I spent a sumer at the Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C.  It was the best summer job ever, even though it paid nothing. Co-Director Mike Pertschuk would come bounding into the office, look me in the eye, exhilirated after some meeting, and tell… Continue reading From Summer 1986 to Senate 2009

Obama’s Pragmatism

On his blog, Requiem for Certainty, pragmatist philosopher Colin Koopman dissects Obama’s inaugural speech and finds lots of good stuff for both pragmatist philosophy and democratic politics, including the recurring pragmatist theme of hope. The inaugural address also made a pragmatist promise in another key moment.  Obama spoke of “stale political arguments” concerning the relative… Continue reading Obama’s Pragmatism

Morning in America

Now this really is morning in America.  And maybe we can get on with the work of mourning a long dark history of racism and hatred that has always worked against the American ideal of freedom and equality. I am so proud that my country elected a brilliant man, an African American, a person willing… Continue reading Morning in America