HuffPost's Arianna Huffington calls for big changes in Washington, including a 'Hope 2.0' campaign, to halt America's tumble into Third World status.
This Tea Party thing is getting infectious. Now left-leaning Arianna Huffington, head of the popular online Huffington Post, is spraying official Washington with machine-gun fire, taking President Obama to task for caving in to big banks, overspending on losing war efforts, and being all hat, no horse when it comes to promising new jobs. In an upcoming book that warns that Washington is ruining the nation, she sounds a call that's familiar to those in the Tea Party: "Our system is too broken to be fixed by politicians operating within the status quo, however well-intentioned. Change is going to have to come from outside Washington." [See who is donating to members of Congress.]
Third World America, How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream calls for a toothy version of Obama's message of hope. "In 2004, hope was ignited by an unknown state senator standing up and proclaiming that we are not blue states and red states, but one people who can only solve our problems together. In 2008, hope was about crossing our fingers and electing leaders who we thought would enact the change we so desperately need. Hope 2.0 is about creating the conditions that give them no other choice," writes Huffington.
In an interview, Huffington expresses disappointment that Obama hasn't acted on his promise not to forget the middle class. "He hasn't really lived up to what was the essence of his campaign," she says. Instead, like other presidents, he seems to favor the oligarchy that influences Washington, she says.
Whether the concerns are the failing middle class or Tea Party anger, Huffington says now is an "incredible moment for this country" to change. How? Get involved. "Democracy is not a spectator sport," she says.
Her assault is a blend of left and right politics, or a "convergence," she says. Solutions include promoting teacher performance, even if it upsets unions; financing elections with tax dollars; moving to a single-payer healthcare system; giving direct federal aid to states to create jobs; and immediately withdrawing from Afghanistan and Iraq. She includes stories of those trying to patch the "moral fabric" of the nation, like Susie Buffett, investor Warren Buffett's daughter, who has found her "own Calcutta" in Omaha where she's aiding and teaching the poor.
"We are obviously not yet a Third World nation," Huffington pens in the book, due out September 7. "My goal for this book is to sound the alarm so that we never do become 'Third World America.' "
Illustration by Ed Wexler for USN&WR.