Wednesday, March 10, 2010

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When I began blogging in May, 2009, my mission was to urge my friends and colleagues to give our new president, his administration and congressional democrats a chance to figure out how to govern and legislate.

I was a little rough on some progressive democrats, who I subtly berated for their impulse to criticize Obama and his crew. I believed that the White House needed breathing room to organize its agenda and shift public sentiment in our direction. I pointed out that this is a basically conservative country and moving too far and too fast would cause backlash.

In my last “Observe Obama” post on January 20, 2010, commenting on Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race, I conceded that the electorate was “revolting against this president and his party.” The inaugural anniversary was my tipping point.

Now, it’s not true that I closed down “Observe Obama” in a fit of political anguish. In fact, I’d been thinking about a blog site upgrade for quite a while. I was frustrated, in particular, by complaints from readers about the difficulty of leaving comments. But I was also eager to be a little less constrained in what I write about.

At first, I was going to find another topical name for my blog. To maintain tradition, I came up with “A Better Obama” and the rather obscure “Internal Politics in the Age of Obama.” Then I went to the absurdly general with such non-starters as “Notes, Posts and Anecdotes” and “Politics on the Brain.”

Finally, I concluded that nothing on my list was catchy enough or original enough or cute enough to paste on the top of the page. So I resorted to a tag that’s been with me for quite a while.

Sometime in the mid 1990s I whimsically chose my email prefix. I had been working in the Labor Movement in Los Angeles for many years and “laborlou” rolled off the tongue pretty easily. Frankly, I thought it was silly and worried that it somehow violated professional protocols. But it was soon obvious that in the era of google and yahoo frivolous email addresses were just fine.

Even better, though, was that friends and colleagues started calling me laborlou.

Yet to name my blog does make me feel self-conscious.

I suppose I’ll get over it.

This new site is still a work in progress. I’ve archived all my past posts (the evolution of my political thinking is open to review and criticism). Material will be better organized, they’ll be a few bells and whistles and, perhaps, guest posts.

As for my sub-head “Lou’s Views on News and Politics,” its origin dates back to ancient times, to my first published column in the student newspaper at Windham College in Putney, Vermont (though the campus is still used, Windham disappeared decades ago).

Thanks to my first editor and old friend Gil Newman (now a Berkeley psychologist) for coming up with “Lou’s Views.”

“…on News and Politics” is my idea.