Here we are again, on a Friday evening, having watched Bill Moyers. The show ended early because of the public television fund-raiser.
Tonight we watched in the bedroom rather than the living-room. My parents are both 90 now and tire more easily. I sat between them on the bed and massaged one of my mother's hands for a while (she has a lot of arthritis) and pumped my fist in the air when Russ Feingold, whom Moyers was interviewing, said something eminently sensible.
This was another show worth watching - if only for Moyers's fine introduction, which summed up with wit and accuracy the buzz around the Obama appointments. I am posting it below. Short and punchy.
After that came an interview with Feingold, bless his heart, who explained what being a progressive means if you are from Wisconsin, and who went on to have an intelligent conversation with Moyers about the Constitution, Obama, and other tiny topics. Two intelligent people speaking in complete sentences about the well-being of the nation. What a concept.
Then, after a little fund-raising break, came the second half of the show with Mark Johnson's musical project, Playing for Change, and if you haven't heard of it (I had not) you are in for a treat. It is one of the most heart-warming enterprises out there, and I do mean out there, since Johnson has traveled the planet for a decade and the project links people together in song (when in doubt, sing!) and instrument-playing across national and economic and religious and cultural boundaries.
Here's the Moyers introduction (read it aloud to get the full effect - and I dare you not to laugh at least once):
No sooner did President-elect Obama begin announcing his appointments to office than the chattering classes of print, the airwaves and cyberspace began The Great Debate:
Ah-hah, some said, this proves he will govern right of center. Karl Rove cackled with glee, and even Rush Limbaugh — from his underground bunker — hailed Obama's choice of Hillary as a shrewd political masterstroke.
Establishment Democrats watched the parade of familiar faces and exclaimed: we're back! Not so fast, shouted the Obama net-root activists who pounded their keyboards with fury all year. "In his heart you know he's one of us," they're saying. These appointments will give him cover to channel FDR.
And from their lofty perch above it all, Obama's fellow Brainiacs twirled their Phi Beta Kappa keys, smiled and said "Foolish ideologues." You know intellect will carry the day! And as always, corporate chieftains the country over rubbed their palms in anticipation of a New Age of Pragmatism, crossed Republicans off their Christmas list, and started writing checks to Democrats.
And Obama's not even President yet!
Meanwhile, the people most uncertain of where they stand right now are that political species known as progressives. They hold a healthy distaste for the orthodox ways of the Washington elites who seem to have a permanent grip on how things work, no matter who wins the election.
Progressives are holding their fire right now, giving Obama the benefit of the doubt, but unsure whether all those establishment figures Obama is gathering around him — largely from the Clinton administration — represent a brilliant strategy of co-option or a signal of his true intent.
So what does the leading progressive member of the United States Senate think about all this? We'll ask him.
Full transcript of the show here.
Brother and his Dearly Beloved arrive tomorrow.
P.S. Wireless internet in the retirement community!