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Tough Mothering

Are you looking forward to Bill Clinton's second term? I'm not. This past election, in both its campaign and its conclusion, reiterated that the dominant political dialogue in the United States is between the elite establishment and the right. Clinton's co-option of this dialogue was both deft and depressing.

Of course it's easy to deride Clinton's failings, and natural to want to dismiss those voters willing to re-elect, say, Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms. It's also tempting to imagine that the re-elected liberal senators from Massachusetts and Minnesota, Kerry and Wellstone, represent the future -- and that Clinton, now that he doesn't have to run again, will stop veering to the right.

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But disengaging from political reality is self-destructive if you wish to enact positive change. Do progressives really want the responsibility of public office? Sixteen years after Reagan's election, some seem more interested in moral posturing. Nader's smug, halfhearted run was more depressing to me than Clinton's slick, wholehearted one.

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