I'm ashamed to admit that I have an old boyfriend who is a Republican. Yes, it's horrifyingly true. A Hannity-watching, Limbaugh-listening, Rove-idolizing Dittohead. Need I say why we're no longer together? During Bush43's first term, he used to crow about the "Permanent Republican Majority" that Rove touted and that his mouthpieces in the media swore was happening. And even back then, I would laugh not only the hubris, but the complete ahistoric ignorance of that concept.
Anyone reciting the political history of United States of America would not be far off to do so to the tune of "Everything Old Is New Again." Our country was founded and has grown under an eternal tug of war between progressives and conservatives. A tug of war in which there have been times where the conservatives clearly had the advantage and others in which the progressives had the upper hand.
In his fascinating new book, The Progressive Revolution, Mike Lux chronicles those times where progressives have had the upper hand and have changed the country for the better. And these changes have not come smoothly or regularly, but in short bursts of time where great changes come after years of conservative opposition.
Lux has delineated five "big change" eras in our past, where progressives have brought change that has helped shape America for the better, usually stimulated by some catastrophic event:
- The American Revolution, starting with Thomas Paine's Common Sense, Jefferson's Bill of Rights and the birth of the nation
- The Reconstruction era and the aftermath of the Civil War, with the Emancipation Proclamation and the Homestead Act
- The turn of the 20th Century with Roosevelt's Anti-Trust Act, Food & Drug safety laws, and women's suffrage
- The 1930s New Deal, with the establishment of Social Security and the Glass Steagall Banking Act
- The 1960s with Civil Rights, the Voting Rights Act as well as environmental protection laws
Could we be on the precipice of another Big Change Moment? Certainly the last eight years under Bush could qualify for a catastrophic event that generates a big progressive push.
Mike Lux comes by his interest in progressive principles from years of experience in Washington. He is the President and CEO of Progressive Strategies, L.L.C., a political consulting firm he co-founded in 1999, focused on strategic political consulting for non-profits, labor unions, PACs and progressive donors. Previously, he was Senior Vice President for Political Action at People For the American Way (PFAW), and the PFAW Foundation, and served at the White House from January 1993 to mid-1995 as a Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison. While at Progressive Strategies, in addition to serving on the board, Mike was also a co-founder of Americans United for Change, Center for Progressive Leadership, Grassroots Democrats, Progressive Majority, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, and Women's Voices/Women Vote. He also played a role in helping launch the Center for American Progress and Air America. Mike also founded and currently chairs a number of new organizations and projects, including American Family Voices, the Progressive Donor Network, and BushRecall.org.
In November of 2008, Mike was named to the Obama-Biden Transition Team. In that role, he served as an advisor to the Office of Public Liaison on relationship with the progressive community and has helped shape the Office of Public Liaison based on his past experience working on the Clinton-Gore Transition, as well as in the White House.
And as completely clueless as I found Rove's hope of a permanent Republican majority, we cannot be likewise blinded to the reality that all too soon, the pendulum will swing away from progressives again. That is why progressives will and should always seek more movement while they have the chance...something with which I think Mike agrees.
So please join me in welcoming Mike to C&L and let's discuss The Progressive Revolution.