In the Arena

Hopes for 2011

  • Share
  • Read Later

Well, I didn’t do my annual Teddy Awards this year–named after Theodore Roosevelt, for political courage. I was in Afghanistan during the weeks I usually suss that one out, but I also was sort of stumped: it wasn’t a particularly stellar year for political courage. As a chronic and pathetically loyal Mets fan, I know there’s always next year. Here are some hopes I harbor for 2011:

–that the Obama White House pays some retrospective attention to the transition plan for Afghanistan that Richard Holbrooke favored. I’ll have more on this in the print edition next week, but it seems to me–and to more than a few others I’ve spoken with–the best dim hope of ┬ástabilizing the region and reducing our presence there.

–that the Obama White House makes the distinction between establishing a better relationship with the business community and sucking up to the financial community. The former creates jobs, the latter creates paper profits. Indeed, a worse relationship with the financial community would be an excellent idea–breaking up the big banks, imposing a financial transactions tax on derivatives trading and not appointing any more financial wizards to ranking positions in the Administration. It is time to encourage long-term investment and shun–indeed, shame–the short-term speculators who helped to ruin our economy.

–that the two Republican Senators from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, will follow up on the courageous vote in favor of the New Start Treaty with more independence, drawing the line between their native conservatism and the nihilistic radicalism being peddled by Mitch McConnell, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

–that the Obama inner circle opens its doors to smart politicians like Ted Strickland and Ed Rendell, who’ve spent the recent past governing in the real world–and in states the President will need in 2012. (And former Senator Ted Kauffman, from Delaware, as well.) There also should be good jobs found for creative ┬áCongress members like Tom Perriello and Kathy Dahlkemper who were defeated last year.

–that the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham Energy bill gets a second look, especially as Congress comes to terms with the new strict EPA regulations on carbon dioxide (a regulatory task imposed by the Supreme Court, by the way)…and also that John Kerry continues with the excellent work he is doing across the board.

–that Andrew Cuomo emerges as the Democratic version of Chris Christie. Albany is a sewer that badly needs cleaning.

–that the following terrific print journalists–my colleagues excluded–continue the great work they’ve been doing: Dexter Filkins, Chris Chivers, Carlotta Gall, Pamela Constable, Jeff Goldberg and Yochi Dreazen in the war zones; Dana Priest and David Sanger in Washington or anywhere else they want to be; David Leonhardt on the economy; Evan Osnos, Peter Hessler and Jim Fallows in Asia (actually, Fallows on anything); John Heilemann and Matt Bai on politics. I know this is weird, but Andrew Sullivan and Leon Wieseltier had a knock-down drag-out this year–I love them both, as friends and writers, and read them religiously. Plus two pairs of opinion writers I admire–Michael Tomasky and David Brooks; E.J. Dionne and David Frum (E.J. always; Frum especially this year, for standing up to the barbarians in his party). And the young blogging guns: Ezra Klein, Jonathan Cohen, Matt Yglesias and Andrew Exum. (And, of course, my favorite overseas traveling companions–David Ignatius and Steve Coll).

I also wish my former boss, Tina Brown, the best of luck with NewsBeast. She’s a great journalist and the competition she provides will make Time better.

–that Lisa Cholodenko (“The Kids Are Alright”), Karthyn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) and Nicole Holofcener (“Please Give”) continue their brilliant careers with more wonderful films in 2011.

–that BBC America starts broadcasting “Trial and Retribution,” especially seasons 5 though 8, which are not available on Netflix…(or, conversely, that Netflix makes them available).

–that everyone reads the coming memoirs by my friends Rodney Crowell (“Chinaberry Sidewalks”) and John Darnton (“Almost A Family”).

–that Lorrie Moore and Jonathan Lethem produce new novels.

–that I get see Arcade Fire, the Black Keys, Wilco, the New Pornographers, Mumford and Sons, Jenny and Johnny, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Blackdub, Prince, The Heavy, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears…and yes, Lauryn Hill, Nas and Kanye West perform in concert this year. (And that there’s another great lineup at the Austin City Limits festival.)

And that you all have a terrific new year, with a special shout-out to those Time readers who opened their homes and their lives to me on my Election Road Trip this year. See you all in 2011!