Needless to say we are pleased with the direction the President-Elect is taking, and are anxious to work with him to turn these powerful words into reality next year.
Here is the full text of this important speech:
Yesterday, we received another painful reminder of the serious economic challenge our country is facing when we learned that 533,000 jobs were lost in November alone, the single worst month of job loss in over three decades. That puts the total number of jobs lost in this recession at nearly 2 million.
But this isn't about numbers. It's about each of the families those numbers represent. It's about the rising unease and frustration that so many of you are feeling during this holiday season. Will you be able to put your kids through college? Will you be able to afford health care? Will you be able to retire with dignity and security? Will your job or your husband's job or your daughter's job be the next one cut?
These are the questions that keep so many Americans awake at night. But it is not the first time these questions have been asked. We have faced difficult times before, times when our economic destiny seemed to be slipping out of our hands. And at each moment, we have risen to meet the challenge, as one people united by a sense of common purpose. And I know that Americans can rise to the moment once again.
But we need action - and action now. That is why I have asked my economic team to develop an economic recovery plan for both Wall Street and Main Street that will help save or create at least two and a half million jobs, while rebuilding our infrastructure, improving our schools, reducing our dependence on oil, and saving billions of dollars.
We won't do it the old Washington way. We won't just throw money at the problem. We'll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve - by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.
Today, I am announcing a few key parts of my plan. First, we will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won't just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.
Second, we will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. We'll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we'll set a simple rule - use it or lose it. If a state doesn't act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they'll lose the money.
Third, my economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.
As we renew our schools and highways, we'll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they'll get that chance when I'm President - because that's how we'll strengthen America's competitiveness in the world.
In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I'm proposing will help modernize our health care system - and that won't just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor's office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.
These are a few parts of the economic recovery plan that I will be rolling out in the coming weeks. When Congress reconvenes in January, I look forward to working with them to pass a plan immediately. We need to act with the urgency this moment demands to save or create at least two and a half million jobs so that the nearly two million Americans who've lost them know that they have a future. And that's exactly what I intend to do as President of the United States.
This change should be directed toward creating a 21st century, low-carbon, innovation-driven economy, as the development, spread and efficient use of economic innovations will continue to be the most important factors driving all our future progress in growth, productivity, and incomes. For example, productivity gains are increasingly tied to an employee's capacity to operate effectively in workplaces dense with information and telecommunications technologies. Within a decade, workers who cannot perform in such work environments will be marginalized economically. Therefore, the stimulus should help businesses and workers prepare for the ideas-based economy, through grants to community colleges to keep their computer labs open and staffed in the evenings and on weekends for any adult to walk in and receive free computer training, a plan Obama endorsed as Senator. The stimulus also could include an innovative program to provide inexpensive laptops to every sixth-grader in America and spread broadband installation to schools, local libraries, and human services offices that currently lack it.
There is already a broad consensus on the need to include infrastructure investment in the stimulus, but instead of addressing only roads and bridges, America can also take this opportunity to invest in a new generation of clean infrastructure. The federal government can lead the way, through greening its buildings and vehicle fleets and putting 1,000 megawatts of solar power on its roofs. It also can provide funding to help modernize the electrical grid and build a new generation of light rail systems for urban areas, as well as greater support for research and deployment in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, and tax credits and other incentives for greening America's homes and private buildings.
Aside from energy, the other rapidly rising business cost squeezing wages and jobs is health care. To help hold down these costs for the long haul, the stimulus can provide support for hospitals, clinics and physicians to purchase and install the hardware and software for standardized electronic medical records systems. This will serve as a first down payment for 21st century health care reform, and will ultimately reduce costs and promote best-practices at the nation's hospitals.
These are all investments we know we have to make if we intend to make the U.S. economy more efficient, innovative and sustainable. They also are all investments that will ultimate pay for themselves several times over. Congress and President-elect Obama can use this opportunity not only to create more jobs, but to do so in ways that will help drive the development of a real, 21st century workforce and genuine 21st century economic infrastructure. And taking this course by passing a stimulus for change could be an early and important opportunity for him to practice both his new politics and a new form of economic leadership.
FOR American and European savers it has been a lost decade. After two booms and two busts, stockmarkets have earned them nothing, or less, in the past ten years. Low interest rates have made bonds and bank deposits unrewarding too. Were it not for the tax relief they receive, contributors to personal pension plans would have been better off keeping their money under their mattresses. It will be little consolation to Westerners that savers in Japan have known this empty feeling for far longer.
This year's figures are enough to put anybody off saving. American mutual-fund assets have declined by $2.4 trillion-a fifth of their value-since the start of 2008; in Britain, the drop is more than a quarter, or almost £130 billion ($195 billion). The value of global stockmarkets has shrunk by maybe $30 trillion, or roughly half. These figures put the losses on credit-related securities-where the financial crisis began-into the shade.
Nor has the bad news been confined to equities. This year the value of all manner of risky investments, from corporate bonds to commodities to hedge funds, has been clobbered. The belief that diversification into "alternative assets" could prevent investors losing money in bear markets has proved false. And of course housing, which many people counted on for their retirement nest-eggs, has lost value too (see article).
As a result, saving seems like pouring money into a black hole (see article). Any American who has diligently put $100 a month into a domestic equity mutual fund for the past ten years will find his pot worth less than he put into it; a European who did the same has lost a quarter of his money.
New York City - Clean infrastructure stimulus is coming and it is coming fast, perhaps as soon as January 20th, given the new accelerated timetable of President Elect Obama and the Congressional leadership. For us at NDN, this is an exciting moment, as we have been advocating on behalf of a large green stimulus package that works for the long term as well as the short term for quite some time.
Clean infrastructure stimulus has the ability not only to create jobs in the near term -- particularly in sectors and regions hard hit by the now official recession, the manufacturing belt and the construction industry -- but also to create the clean, modernized physical plant and infrastructure that America needs to ensure our future prosperity.
However, how the stimulus is structured and carried out is as critical as the dollar amount. On Tuesday, the nation's governors presented President Elect Obama with a list of $176 billion in infrastructure projects ready to go. However, to get the money out onto the street quickly, moving it through the usual government channels won't work. Rather, we need to create a new process and structure to get the money out quickly and efficiently.
Dick Ravitch, the former New York City MTA Chairman and head of New York Governor Paterson's new infrastructure commission, knows more about how federal funds flow to the states under ordinary circumstances than most. Funds normally move slowly. He argues this is no time for business as usual and his recommendation, an emergency infrastructure board, well supervised, with proper auditing controls and carefully monitored by Congress, is critical to getting funds flowing and jobs starting quickly.
Rather than allocate money to agencies, Congress should authorize a board to fund valid projects. Infrastructure projects that get funded should be ones teed up and ready to go with all their zoning and permitting in place so that the only thing missing is funding. This is a far better way to move the funds out quickly than the usual funding channels that generally go through the Department of Transportation. At the same time, money should be allocated according to sound, consistent principles to ensure orderly dispensation of funds. The interests of the people can be adequately addressed by states identifying those that are high priority.
Projects with a green advantage such as public transportation projects, projects that employ green building, water projects and others that move us toward a low carbon economy should go to the head of the line.
As excited as we at NDN are about the speed with which green stimulus is now moving forward, moving money out quickly but also responsibly is vital to making this historic stimulus work. If the money is spent wastefully, or perceived as being spent wastefully according to political expediency, it will not only be a tragic missed opportunity but also reduce its impact and undermine market confidence.
Indeed, just yesterday, China's sovereign wealth fund announced it would no longer invest in American banks because of the erratic changes in US policy. I wrote recently about the problem with the Treasury managing the bailout fund like a hedge fund. What we need is structure and consistency but a streamlined process to move money out onto the street where it is needed quickly and effectively.
At the same time, we cannot let red tape or ordinary bureaucratic lethargy slow funding when a key purpose of stimulus is to get the money out quickly to create jobs and get the economy moving again.
We don't have that much time to get this right, but we do have a great deal of will as we face up to the severe economic challenges facing the country. An emergency board with emergency powers but also the proper rules in force to guarantee the judicious but expeditious spending of the tax payer's money is a good idea that the incoming Administration and Congress should embrace.
Following are links to some of NDN's work on a clean infrastructure stimulus:
"Prison" for immigrants? - A note in Dubois, Pennsylvania's Courier Express discusses expansion plans for a privately run "federal prison for illegal immigrants." According to the story, the prison is under contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. My first question is: why are any immigrants going to prisons as opposed to detention centers? Or is this a case of criminals who are serving sentences and are found to be in the country illegally? I feel like important details were left out of the story, but if non-criminal aliens are somehow being held in prisons then we have a major issue.
The Impact of the 2008 Elections on Immigration, continued: 1. "Firewall" wins -Saxby Chambliss (R) won the runoff election in Georgia against Jim Martin (D) for the Senate. The runoff was widely covered by Timeand Chambliss was even on Halperin's "Five Most Important People in American Politics Right Now Who Aren't Barack Obama." In addition to the political considerations, a win by Jim Martin would have meant a key vote in the Senate for immigration reform. Now Chambliss and the Republican party are touting this "big win." This seat would have meant a huge win for Democrats, but it's important that Democrats put up such a fight in Georgia. Vehemently anti-immigrant and anti-reformSaxby Chamblissand Jim Martin couldn't have more different views on immigration and in their approach to governing - Chambliss has been politicking, selling himself as a "firewall to prevent Democratic excess," while Jim Martin had presented himself as the man who would provide a "bridge" to the change promised by President-elect Barack Obama, and that change includes immigration reform.
2. Reality sets in, in VA - Per a pieceby Anita Kumar in the Washington Post, the Virginia Panel on Immigration is changing its ways, from the hard-line stance to more productive and realistic proposals. After seeing the hard-line anti-immigrant Republican candidates lose congressional elections all over the state, the members of this commission have apparently realized that the anti-immigrant positions they formerly took to score what they considered to be political points just don't work. The panel has shifted its focus from fighting illegal immigration to working with the ever-growing population of immigrants. Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), who served on the commission and is staunchly anti-illegal immigration, noted "I can't totally disagree that some people are leery of the issue, because maybe it wasn't the wedge issue that some thought it would be," Gilbert said. The new recommendations provided by the panel to Gov. Tim Kaine include shortening the Medicaid residency requirements for certain qualified immigrants, offering in-state tuition to immigrants who meet specific criteria and creating an immigration assistance office. The commission also proposed increasing the number of English classes and creating a plan to address the needs of foreign-born residents and urged the federal government to compile more complete immigration statistics, increase the number of visas for foreign workers and pass comprehensive immigration legislation.
A Post op-ed also discusses the significance of this change in tone in Virginia in more detail: "....reform is as needed as ever. Only the federal government can get the job done, and the political climate may be more favorable than last time around." Of the 12 million illegal immigrants estimated to be in the United States, 250,000 to 300,000 live in Virginia, according to the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington. The U.S. Census Bureau says an additional 440,000 people in Virginia are not U.S. citizens but are in the state legally.
3. More Immigration Losers - The Wall Street Journalremarks: the GOP hardliners have to face the reality that immigration reform is not unpopular. This Opinion piece notes Virgil Goode's loss to Tom Perreillo - which became official this week. For the second straight election, incumbent Republicans who attempted to turn illegal immigration into a wedge issue lost their election. Anti-immigration hardliners Randy Graf, John Hostettler and J.D. Hayworth were among the Republicans who lost in 2006. In addition to Goode, joining them this year were GOP Representatives Thelma Drake (Virginia), Tom Feeney (Florida), Ric Keller (Florida)and Robin Hayes (North Carolina) - all Members of a House anti-immigration caucus that focuses on demonizing the undocumented and advocating for things like mass deportation and denying citizenship to U.S. born children of undocumented persons.
4. GOP Immigration Strategy Goes Down in Flames - El Paso newspaper citing the most recent poll conducted by America's Voice and Lake Research.
5. Jeb Bush Readies to Woo Hispanics- In an interview, most importantly, Bush said his party must embrace the nation's changing demographics:
"We can't ignore large segments of our population and expect to win," Bush said. "We can't be the ‘old white-guy' party. It's just not going to work, the demographics go against us in that regard...". "Among Hispanic voters, I think we need to change the tone of the conversation as it relates to immigration. In Florida, we've not participated much in the chest pounding and the yelling and the screaming. I mean, it just drives me nuts when there are substantive policy differences that we can show mutual respect on, but the tone needs to change. And I think we need to recruit more candidates who share our values in the Hispanic community. In Florida we've done that."
This provides a window into the strategy Jeb will use if he runs for Senate.
Intelligence Report: Anti-immigration Leader at Heart of White Nationalist Scene for Decades - This reportjust released by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) details more precisely what SPLC has been reporting for some time: John Tanton, the architect of the modern anti-immigration movement and founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has been at the heart of the white nationalist scene for decades, working with racist intellectuals, Klan lawyers and even Holocaust deniers. Speaking of which, the "think tank" of the hate network funded by Mr. Tanton, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) appears in this article on alleged "Green Card Marriage Fraud." While there is little data to substantiate the alleged incidence of fraud in marriages between one U.S. citizen and one non-citizen, even one case of fraud is unfortunate. In this regard, we thank CIS for furthering our argument for CIR - so long as the immigration system is broken and so long as there are insufficient legal channels for those currently living in the United States, or those wanting to come here, people will continue to find ways outside of the system to come here. So let's get a law passed that provides for a realistic number of visas, a speedier green-card process through employment and family, and additional realistic legal channels for permanent residence.
Outlook on Napolitano- A New York Times Editorialon the role Gov. Napolitano could play in achieving Comprehensive Immigration Reform as DHS Secretary. This op-ed makes many of the arguments NDN has posited on the inadequacy of "enforcement-only", and makes a compelling argument for the urgency of CIR:
How badly have [enforcement-only] efforts failed? Since Congress passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006, instead of comprehensive reform, 32 tunnels have been discovered under Arizona's border with Mexico, according to research by The Arizona Republic's Sean Holstege. That's more than all tunnels previously found in Arizona. Drug cartels finance tunnels, but transporting people into the country illegally has become so lucrative that drug smugglers increasingly are mixing their cargo. If the U.S. had a process to legally bring in needed foreign workers and legalize the current undocumented population, the reduction in the Border Patrol's workload would allow border law enforcement to focus on drug smuggling. There's reason to hope the new Congress will act on that simple reality.
The Immigration Crystal Ball - NPR is doing a great job focusing on border and immigration issues, Jennifer Ludden explores how enforcement priorities may change under President Obama and why"Immigration Experts Expect Fewer Workplace Raids."There's also a great deal of debate over whether immigration reform will happen, and when: 1) an interesting blog by Roberto Lovato, 2) A Dallas Morning News post by William McKenzie posits "Why Immigration May Go Forward," while a John Riley article in Dallas Morning News argues that immigration reform "Takes backseat to the economy."
No one really knows, all we can do is educate and advocate. The bottom line is that President-Elect Obama has demonstrated a commitment to immigration reform - he has spoken about this issue as a priority, and here'show he'll go about it.
The Economy and Immigration - And why should immigration and the economy be considered separate priorities, exclusive of each other? At NDN we've discussed why there is opportunity for immigration reform to form part of a new plan for the economy. In a post this week, Jeff Cornwall of Belmont University also posits that immigration may be part of the answer to give the economy an entrepreneurial boost:
Most studies find that immigrants are more likely to be entrepreneurs or self-employed than the population as a whole. The Philadelphia Business Journalreports on yet another study that adds more support....Current policy makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to enter the U.S. legally.
In a different post, Jaya Ramji-Nogales writes about one of the effects of the economic downturn on immigrants:
The "Lou Dobbs" effect; as xenophobic vitriol and resulting anti-immigrant sentiment has increased, so has violence against immigrants or those who appear to be immigrants. Add that to an economy in free-fall, and the result may be highly combustible.
Number of Undocumented Immigrants Continues toFall - According the Center for International Trade of University of Texas at San Antonio, 1.3 million, or 11% of undocumented immigrants have returned to their home country this year. A right wing website similarly reports a dramatic decline, the difference is in the causes to which the decline is attributed. The UT study correctly attributes the decline to the economic crisis and a decrease in the supply of jobs, combined with increased raids and workplace enforcement. The nativist website draws a very incorrect and very dangerous conclusion: that "illegal immigrants" started heading home "immediately" after the failed attempt at CIR in the Senate in Summer of 2007, which is completely false. The first evidence of undocumenteds leaving began earlier this year, during late summer and Fall of 2008, in response to the economic crisis,as opposed to a bill in Congress. As we move forward, and as President Obama works with Congress to pass immigration reform, we have to be very careful to fight back against that 10% of people in the U.S. who will be spreading misinformation such as this.
Immigration Changing Course, A Story that Needs Telling - The Miami Herald has begun a series on the course of immigration, "It's an important story for a country built on immigration and yet often ambivalent about its impacts. Over a generation, new arrivals from Mexico, the Caribbean and throughout Latin America have reshaped this country. Nowhere is that more the case than in South Florida, where millions of legal immigrants and nearly one tenth of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States have settled."
Hate Crimes Changing Political Climate - On Tuesday, activists called for investigation of Suffolk hate crime statistics. This is the beginning of what we hope to be an ongoing PR campaign to encourage victims to report hate crimes, and to encourage law enforcement to crack down on such criminal activity.
El Universal reports an increase in remittances to Mexico over the last month, with immigrants taking advantage of the recent devaluation of the peso. Remittances rose 13% compared to October of 2007, coming to a total of about $2.4 billion. This is the first rise in remittances after 14 months of a consecutive decline. Even though they rose from last October, remittances are still less than they were in January of this year. And the AP reports on Philadephia's growing immigrant community.
In an interview with ABC News, looking back on his presidency, George W. Bush said that one of his biggest disappointments was the failure to pass a comprehensive bill on immigration reform, and regrets the tone taken by many in his party on this issue:
"I firmly believe that the immigration debate really didn't show the
true nature of America as a welcoming society," he said. "I fully
understand we need to enforce law and enforce borders. But the debate
took on a tone that undermined the true greatness of America, which is
that we welcome people who want to work hard and support their
President-elect Barack Obama’s remarkable showing among Millennials (voters 18-26 years old), who supported him by a more than 2:1 margin, was a direct byproduct of his groundbreaking effort to utilize online communication tools to mobilize these core supporters. The Obama campaign took full advantage of the ability and willingness of Millennials to self-organize on behalf of the campaign and its voter turnout efforts. Now, like proud parents unsure of how to handle the success of a child who has just graduated, the former candidate and his incoming administration must decide how to maintain their new offspring’s enthusiasm while ensuring that it channels its energies into the most productive activities. The answer to this challenge can be found by leveraging both the spirit of service that is so much a part of the Millennial Generation's lifestyle and the ability of Millennials to self-organize using social network technologies.
According to Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, almost 60 percent of Millennials are “personally interested in engaging in some form of public service to help the country.” The ethos of service among Millennials is strongly supported regardless of gender or party affiliation. While many of those surveyed see public service as working for government, or even running for office, there is no reason to channel the generation’s enthusiasm solely into these more politically oriented activities. Instead, the incoming Obama Administration should create an entity to help Millennials find ways to rebuild all of America’s civic institutions.
Just as the Obama campaign's Web site, MyBarackObama.com, was not an ordinary political Web site, this “Sprit of Service,” social network should not be an attempt simply to replicate e-mail lobbying efforts like those of MoveOn.org. That kind of activity can be turned over to an Obama-friendly DNC, which is already salivating at the prospect of inheriting the campaign’s estimated 13 million e-mail addresses. Instead, the new site should attempt to guide its “friends” without asserting direct control over their decisions. As Republican online campaign consultant Mike Turk pointed out to the almost totally deaf ears of his party’s leadership last year, “What makes you successful online is not how many e-mails you can amass, but the quality of the people on the list. [Letting them interact] is the free pizza, Cokes and music with which you feed your volunteers.”
We already see evidence that the net-savvy Obama operatives get this distinction. At the official Web site of the transition, change.gov, visitors are invited to join discussions on critical policy issues, such as health care reform, in the “hope it will allow you to form communities around these issues.” As the 2008 presidential campaign demonstrated, Millennials have enough energy and technological ability to run with this ball once it is handed to them. Millennials are members of a “civic” generation, one that believes, among other things, that their personal involvement will make government work again, reinforce and extend the power of the Democratic Party, improve the education of their siblings, and help their local community successfully cope with difficult times. What change.gov, or its successor, can give Millennials is information on how to get involved, a place to share ideas, and a chance to link to others with similar interests and energy.
The key will be to port this community-building online activity into the post-Inaugural world in a way that gives it a connection to the President without, at the same time, drowning it in bureaucratic rules or short term political priorities. Although government will ultimately benefit from the volunteer activities generated by this site, the perverse impact of provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act and Freedom of Information laws on dealing with volunteers suggest that the site cannot be housed inside government--even as part of the official national service "Corps." Even though those who are attracted to the site are likely to become more closely identified with the Democratic Party, it cannot be housed at the DNC, which would inevitably succumb to the temptation to overly politicize the site.
Instead a non-profit organization, devoted to the cause of harnessing the Millennial Generation's interest in civic engagement, should establish the site with an advisory board of directors made up of “friends of Obama” and an operational staff drawn from the online experts of his campaign. Properly funded, organized and structured, this “Spirit of Service” will enable Millennials to satisfy their desire to rebuild the country's civic institutions and restore America's national pride, while at the same time advancing the policy and political goals of the Obama Administration.
NDN Fellows Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais are fellows of NDN and the New Policy Institute and co-authors of Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics (Rutgers University Press: 2008), named by the New York Times as one of the 10 best books of 2008.
Of necessity, President-elect Barack Obama's first act after November 4 was to address economic security. He has assembled his team and plans are moving forward.
In Chicago tomorrow, Obama is expected to name his national security team. The terrorist attacks in Mumbai have given this announcement added signifigance and necessity. We've all heard that U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton is expected to be named Secretary of State, but who are the others?
According to ABC News, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano will be Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; attorney Eric Holder, Attorney General; Retired Marine General Jim Jones, National Security Adviser; retired Adm. Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence; Susan Rice, Ambassador to the United Nations; and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who will stay on in that role for at least a year.
Napolitano has an excellent reputation as governor of Arizona and understands the critical issue of and need for comprehensive immigration reform, a top priority for NDN. She also no doubt understands the critical importance of U.S. relations with countries in central and south America.
Holder served in the Clinton Administration's Justice Department, helped vet Obama's vice presidential pick and will be the nation's first African-American attroney general.
The New York Times has an intriguing profile of Obama's alleged pick for national security adviser, retired Marine General Jim Jones.
The Washington Post also has an in-depth report on Obama's first meeting with Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who met with Obama in Chicago some nine days ago.
According to the article, many in the military traditionally do not trust Democrats or "intellectuals," as some might call Obama.
Although exit polls did not break out active-duty voters, it is virtually certain that McCain won the military vote.
In an October survey by the Military Times, nearly 70 percent of more than 4,000 officers and enlisted respondents said they favored McCain, while about 23 percent preferred Obama. Only African American service members gave Obama a majority.
In exit polls, those who said they had "ever served in the U.S. military" made up 15 percent of voters and broke 54 percent for McCain to 44 percent for Obama. "As a culture, we are more conservative and Republican," a senior officer said.
However, the article goes on to report that Obama's meetings so far have gone over well with a military. According to news reports, he has come across as disciplined, a person who will listen if not always act on the military's advice and a realist. Hillary Clinton also is popular at the Pentagon and Jones is a strong leader.
Although not technically considered "national security" appointments, make sure to check out Simon's essay on the importance of G-20 ambassadorial posts. In a world where it is no longer possible to separate the issues of terrorism from those of globalization, these are massively important picks.
Today's Post has an excellent analysis of Virginia's changing electoral landscape, detailing Democratic gains with Hispanics, African-Americans, young people and upper income and more educated voters. The story of what happened in Virginia in 2008 mirrors what happened across the nation, and makes very clear the national GOP's problems are structural as well as temporal - they simply are not building a Party and a Coalition suited to the demographic realities of 21st century America.
The party's gains rest heavily upon the state's changing demographics and were amplified this year by deep enthusiasm for the Democratic presidential and senatorial candidates, coupled with a broadly successful turnout operation.
In Northern Virginia's outer suburbs, a growing number of nonwhite residents, particularly Hispanics, are diminishing what had long been a big source of votes for Republican candidates. Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties and Manassas and Manassas Park have all experienced double-digit increases in the percentage of nonwhite residents since 2000. And in each of those locations, Democrats' share of the vote increased proportionally.
The nonwhite population of Prince William, for example, has grown by 13 percentage points since 2000. President-elect Barack Obama carried the county with almost 58 percent of the vote -- 13 points better than former vice president Al Gore did in the 2000 presidential race.
Loudoun experienced a 12-point gain in the minority population since 2000, and Obama did 13 percentage points better than Gore did in 2000. Obama did 10 points better than Gore in Stafford, which saw a 10 percent increase in the minority population since 2000.
This shift, matched with historical Democratic strength in the inner suburbs, makes Northern Virginia a huge source of votes for Democrats. The region's size, compared with the rest of the state, threatens Republicans' ability to win statewide if Democrats can continue to get their voters to the poll, demographers and political scientists suggest.
"The transformation in Northern Virginia has been rapid and dramatic, and Obama came out of Northern Virginia with a margin of [213,000] votes, and that is very hard to overcome," said Ken Billingsley, director of demographics and information for the Northern Virginia Regional Commission. "In Prince William, the change has already occurred, and I am not the least bit surprised that Stafford, Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg are moving in that direction."
According to exit polls, Hispanics made up 5 percent of the statewide electorate this year, almost matching their overall share of the population. Hispanics in Virginia favored Obama over Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP nominee, by an almost 2 to 1 margin. If Republicans hope to recover from their losses in time for the 2009 races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and the House of Delegates, their candidates will have to find a way to overwhelmingly win the white vote and make inroads with blacks and Hispanics.
"I, as a Southerner, understand that for the Republican Party to win presidential elections in the future we can no longer be the party of the deep South and Prairie Midwest," said Trey Walker, a South Carolina native who oversaw McCain's Virginia campaign. "If we don't start appealing to [minorities], we are going to continue to lose." (bold added for emphasis).
Whether the Republican Party can start to speak effectively to the multi-racial America of the 21st century will be one of the most important questions in American politics in the coming years. I think this job will be much harder than many understand for the foundation of the modern GOP - and the key to their success in recent decades - has been the exploitation of racial grievence. Willie Horton, welfare queens, tax and spend, deporting undocumenteds - it has all been about exploiting white fears of the racial other in American life. As I wrote earlier this year in an essay, On Obama, Race and the End of the Southern Strategy, demographic changes in America were making this type of politics a 20th anachronism whether Barack Obama became President or not. With him as leader, there will also now be a moral challenge to this core play in the GOP playbook - for how will this society, this culture, allow the dog-whistle, wink and nod racial politics of the Southern Strategy era with a bi-racial man as President?
While you will hear many Republicans echo Mr. Walker above, and call for their Party to get right with America's emerging demographic realities, I don't know if they understand how fundamental a rethink this is going to require. Just three years ago the GOP House passed a bill calling for the arrest and deportation of 5 percent of the American work force - 10-12 million people, 10-12 million largely Hispanic people. How they move from this politics of Nixon to a politics more fitting of Lincoln is going to be a transformation remarkable to behold - and almost unimaginable today.
In tandem with our enlightening event last week on the New Politics of the Obama Age, NDN also appeared in several stories over the past several days talking about how Obama is using technology to reinvent the presidency, including a front-page story on MSNBC, as well as stories in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Future Majority, News24, and Fox. The MSNBC article, which also embedded Simon's recent video blog on how Obama will Reinvent the Presidency and quoted our Obama Age forum panelist Scott Goodstein, began like this:
After a historic presidential election, the tech-savvy campaigners who helped put Barack Obama in the White House say the nation is in for an equally historic four years of tech-savvy governance.
The way the Obama campaign used blogs, texting, social networking and other Web 2.0 tools to win this month's election is just "the tip of the iceberg," said Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of the political advocacy group NDN.
Robert Shapiro, an economic adviser to Barack Obama's campaign and former US under-secretary of commerce for economic affairs, was particularly helpful to the Prime Minister. When Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor, asked him what was the risk of a big stimulus package, he said there was "no risk, there is a cost – but there is a very large risk if we choose not to do it".
this particular generation of young people are aligned with Obama on social issues. As a group, the "Millennial Generation" — those who will make up the under-30 crowd in the next several elections — are reliably more liberal on issues like gay marriage and stem-cell research than any other generation — and that's not likely to change, said Michael D. Hais and Morley Winograd, authors of Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube and the Future of American Politics. They predict that young people will continue to vote Democratic, catalyzing a "political realignment" in this country that will play out in the next thirty years.
And from the Denver Post article, "Texas as a Swing State?":
Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg, a veteran of the Clinton administration, said that Republicans have alienated Latinos largely because of the immigration issue. Rosenberg is the founder and president of NDN, a Democratic think tank that studies immigration and other issues.
He said that Republican rhetoric surrounding recent immigration bills in Congress offended all Hispanics. A major measure that would have given illegal immigrants a path to citizenship failed last year after a revolt from conservatives, who denounced it as an amnesty for lawbreakers.
"If they do that again, it’s going to be catastrophic for the Republican Party," he said.
Rosenberg said that Texas could become a swing state as early as 2012 depending on the level of Latino participation and whether the Democratic Party will continue to make investments in the community.
Finally, Simon's recent essay, The Long Road Back, was featured on DailyKos in Kos's Midday Open Thread, and our report on computer training for American workers was featured in Progressive States.