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Issue #19, Winter 2011
First Principles: The Role of Government
Government, its scope and role, was at the center of the recent election campaign, and voters unequivocally said “enough.” But progressives aren’t going to give up on government because of one election. A strong role for the federal government as incubator, nurturer, and watchdog is central to the progressive vision of society.
Rick Perlstein: Enemies of State
Alan Wolfe: Why Conservatives Won’t Govern
Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer: The “More What, Less How” Government
America 2021: Jobs & the Economy
The Jobs & Economy Roundtable: In 2021, we will still bear scars from the Great Recession. But will America be a mighty economy again? What key investments are needed to ensure our growth and prosperity? Five experts take the long view.
The 10 Percent Solution
Andrea Louise Campbell: How progressives can stop worrying and love a value-added tax.
The Science Wars Redux
Michael Bérubé: Fifteen years after the Sokal Hoax, attacks on “objective knowledge” that were once the province of the left have been taken up by the right.
Utopia Lost
Yehudah Mirsky: Human rights as utopian politics may have failed us, but human rights as catastrophe prevention is the least we must insist on.
After Hegemony
Nina Hachigian: America is no longer the world’s only pivotal power. Americans are adjusting—but can their leaders?
The Philosopher President
Alan Brinkley: Two years into Barack Obama’s presidency, we can’t doubt his intelligence, but we can wonder whether there are more important qualities.
Apocalypse Then, and Now
Jennifer Klein: Two historians trace our economic mess and growing inequality to that dismal decade—the 1970s
God and Country
Mary Jo Bane: Despite increasing religious polarization, there is surprisingly little religious hostility in America. So why doesn’t it feel that way?
Editor’s Note
Michael Tomasky: Michael Tomasky introduces Issue #19.
Amend and Improve, 2016
David Kendall: The key to improving health-care reform lies outside Washington. A response to Jacob S. Hacker.
Letters to the Editor
Democracy Readers: Letters from our readers
Moral Witness Through Comedy
Michael Tomasky: Imagining the hastening of the day when Arab Americans are just another unsuspected and unsurprising part of American culture.
View Previous Issue
Events
Bold and Nimble: A 21st-Century Case for Ambitious Government
Democracy: A Journal of Ideas: Join us for a discussion of Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer’s “The ‘More What, Less How’ Government” on March 9 at NDN. Liu and Hanauer will be joined by Michael Lind of the New America Foundation, Megan McArdle of The Atlantic, and E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post. Click here to RSVP.
News
Shadi Hamid on “The Cairo Conundrum”
Democracy: A Journal of Ideas: In our Winter 2010 issue, Shadi Hamid wrote of the dilemma confronting the U.S. in Egypt. His closing lines: “Egyptians, along with Arabs and Muslims throughout the region, have demonstrated their desire for substantive political change. It is time we did the same.”
News
Read Gene Sperling’s Essay on “Rising-Tide Economics” from Our Fall 2007 Issue
Democracy: A Journal of Ideas: President Obama today announced the appointment of Gene Sperling as the new director of the National Economic Council. Readers who are wondering what to expect from Sperling can find their answer in the pages of this journal.
Features
First Principles: The Role of Government
Michael Tomasky: Progressives aren’t going to give up on government because of one election. A strong role for the federal government as incubator, nurturer, and watchdog is central to the progressive vision of society.
Features
Enemies of State
Rick Perlstein: Historically, nothing has terrified conservatives so much as efficient, effective, activist government.
Features
Why Conservatives Won’t Govern
Alan Wolfe: Rather than using government badly out of a conviction that it always fails, they now refuse to allow government to do its work at all.
Features
The “More What, Less How” Government
Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer: What is government for? Over the last two years, this has been the dominant question of American politics. Yet so few leaders have offered coherent answers.

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