Bloggers and unions form group to push Democrats to the left

via IHT

WASHINGTON: A group of liberal bloggers said it is teaming up with organized labor and MoveOn to form a political action committee that will seek to push the Democratic Party farther to the left. Soliciting donations from their readers, the bloggers said they are planning to recruit liberal candidates for challenges against more centrist Democrats currently in Congress. moveon

The formation of the group marks another step in the evolution of the blogosphere, which has proved effective at motivating party activists to give money and time to political campaigns, especially in local races. But it also illuminates a deepening wrinkle for President Barack Obama, whose attempt to build a broad governing coalition — often by tempering some of his more liberal previous positions — has already angered some of his supporters on the left. The new organization is in many ways the liberal equivalent of the Club for Growth, a conservative group that has financed primary challenges against Republicans it deems insufficiently dedicated to tax cuts and small government.

Organizers of the new group, to be called Accountability Now, said their intention is to enable Obama to seek more liberal policies without fear of losing support from the more conservative members of his party serving in Congress. But they did not rule out occasional friction with Obama, as well. Continue reading

Barack Obama Forced to Deny Abandoning ‘Change’ Amid Insider Appointments

obama_1_440225a

via Times Online

Barack Obama defended his decision to pack his new Cabinet with veteran Washington insiders and former Clinton officials yesterday after a campaign in which he promised change.

The President-elect responded after naming the former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, a veteran of the Carter and Reagan Administrations, as the head of a new economic panel to stop “groupthink” infecting his inner circle of White House financial advisers.

There have been mounting concerns, particularly from the liberal wing of his Democratic Party, that Mr Obama has pivoted sharply to the centre-right with his choice of top Cabinet posts.

His main economic advisers have close ties to the Clinton White House and Mr Obama has already chosen Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, once served Bill Clinton, and more appointments still to be announced will include a slew of officials who served in the most recent Democratic Administration.

“What we are going to do is combine experience with fresh thinking,” Mr Obama said at his third press conference in as many days. He said he would be foolish, at such a “critical time in our history”, to pick people who “had no experience in Washington whatsoever”.

He added: “What I don’t want to do is somehow suggest that because you somehow served in the last [Clinton]administration you are barred from serving again.”

Mr Obama said he was forming an economic recovery advisory board, with Mr Volcker to head it, to give independent economic advice from outside the White House. “Sometimes policymaking in Washington can become a little bit too ingrown, a little bit too insular,” Mr Obama said. “The walls of the echo chamber can sometimes keep out fresh voices and new ways of thinking.” Continue reading