Proudest Moment

Government is the way we organize our responsibilities to each other.

That’s the phrase I repeated over and over in my first campaign for Congress in 2006. It seemed then that while maybe overly-idealistic, that description of government’s role was at least appropriately aspirational. And it at least had the benefit of contrasting clearly with the Republican philosophy, which seemed to be not quite “survival of the fittest,” but at least “to the victors go the spoils.”

Over the first 14 years of my congressional life, I never stopped believing in the theory that government in America should be a source of societal justice, but in practice that ideal had become less and less realistic. As our society became more and more polarized, and public expectations of government became less and less ambitious, I began to suspect that my ambitions for the federal government, especially for Congress, were far greater than the public’s, and that the country’s expectations for government were historically low.

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The Do Nothing Republicans Only Want Power

In the 1850s, there was a political movement called the Know Nothings. They were fundamentally populist, but they also were intensely xenophobic, racist (although they opposed slavery), and anti-Catholic and Irish. Their name derived not from professed ignorance, but because... Read More ›

The insurrection and the challenges ahead

“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, cause it’s gonna put up a fight,” said fictional President Andrew Shepherd in the movie “The American President.” Last Wednesday, we vividly saw how tough that fight will... Read More ›

It’s the trust, stupid

A few days after this year’s election, House Democrats conducted a conference call to review the election results. To say that the mood was confused is an understatement. While we all were relieved and excited by Joe Biden’s victory over... Read More ›

What do Republicans want?

Last week, as the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $3.3 trillion bill to help stabilize the American economy, the Republican excuse for opposing it was that it was a Democratic “wishlist.” Other than wondering why they didn’t call it... Read More ›