Obama's America

Obama's not so glorious legacy

512px-Barack_Obama_thinking,_first_day_in_the_Oval_Office.jpg

Like a child star who reached his peak at age 15, Barack Obama could never fulfill the inflated expectations that accompanied his election. After all not only was he heralded as the “smartest” president in history within months of assuming the White House, but he also secured the Nobel Peace Prize during his first year in office. Usually, it takes actually settling a conflict or two — like Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter — to win such plaudits.  read more »

Carrier and the Commonwealth

Logo_of_the_Carrier_Corporation.svg.png

I was asked by Fortune to contribute a piece about Trump’s Carrier deal. They had gotten a lot of people criticizing it and were looking for someone who would give a different perspective. I think many of the criticisms are valid in a sense, but miss the larger context. So I wrote the piece which is now online. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

How Silicon Valley’s Oligarchs Are Learning to Stop Worrying and Love Trump

31530266372_ee9766fa7e_b.jpg

The oligarchs’ ball at Trump Tower revealed one not-so-well-kept secret about the tech moguls: They are more like the new president than they are like you or me.

In what devolved into something of a love fest, Trump embraced the tech elite for their “incredible innovation” and pledged to help them achieve their goals—one of which, of course, is to become even richer. And for all their proud talk about “disruption,” they also know that they will have to accommodate, to some extent, our newly elected disrupter in chief for at least the next four years.  read more »

The Future of Racial Politics

140107597_84f3f6782f_z.jpg

From its inception, the American experiment has been dogged by racial issues. Sadly, this was even truer this year. Eight years after electing the first African-American president, not only are race relations getting worse, according to surveys, but the electorate remains as ethnically divided as in any time of recent history.     read more »

Five Ideas to Make America Greater

Make_America_Great_Again_hat_(27149010964).jpg

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was based on the notion that he could “Make America Great Again.” But beyond the rhetoric — sometimes lurching into demagoguery — the newly elected president comes to office, as one commentator suggests, “the least policy-savvy president in history.”  read more »

Memo to the Next President: Don’t Forget the Working Class

Donald_Trump_August_19,_2015_rotated (2).jpg

At the end of most US presidential elections, most Americans are ready to see the last of campaign ads, social media commentaries and tension-fraught news coverage. That’s even more true this year. But more than in most recent elections, we shouldn’t expect the frustrations and divisions that have surfaced over the past 18 months to disappear after the ballots have been counted. Tensions over class and race, especially, may die down, but they aren’t going away. If a new president will take them on, something good might yet emerge from this ugly election.  read more »

Richard Florida's Federal Fantasy

Atlantic Yards construction.jpg

Urbanist Richard Florida, in a New York Daily News op-ed, has called for President Obama to define his legacy not only by focusing on gun control, immigration and climate change, but by zeroing in on an even more important issue: America’s urbanization.  read more »

Subjects:

The Suburbs Could Save President Obama From Defeat

Obama Picket Fence.jpg

President Obama’s disdain for suburban America has been well-documented. Yet, ironically, the current revival in housing, largely in those same suburbs, might be the one thing that could rescue his floundering campaign. Unlike the Democrat-dominated central cities and the rock-red Republican countryside, the suburbs remain the country’s primary contestable territory.  read more »

Declining Birthrates, Expanded Bureaucracy: Is U.S. Going European?

baby-flag.jpg

To President Barack Obama and many other Democrats, Europe continues to exercise something of a fatal attraction.  The “European dream” embraced by these politicians — as well as by many pundits, academics and policy analysts — usually consists of an America governed by an expanded bureaucracy, connected by high-speed trains and following a tough green energy policy.

One hopes that the current crisis gripping the E.U. will give even the most devoted Europhiles pause about the wisdom of such mimicry. Yet the deadliest European disease the U.S. must avoid is that of persistent demographic decline.  read more »

Whatever Happened to 'The Vision Thing'? Part II

Vision - Lake Superior.jpg

More than two years ago (March 2009, to be precise), New Geography published an article I wrote, entitled Whatever Happened to ‘The Vision Thing'?. It began:

When I was in elementary school, I remember reading about the remarkable transformations that the future would bring: Flying cars, manned colonies on the moon, humanoid robotic servants. Almost half a century later, none of these promises of the future – and many, many more – have come to pass. Yet, in many respects, these visions from the future served their purpose in allowing us to imagine a world far more wondrous than the one we were in at the time, to aspire to something greater.  read more »