Official Business — November 30, 2012, 5:49 pm

A Discussion with John R. MacArthur and Thomas Frank on the Obama Mandate and the Future of the Left

Join Harper’s Magazine publisher John R. MacArthur and columnist Thomas Frank at the New York Society for Ethical Culture on Tuesday, December 4, for a discussion of liberalism in America and what progressives can expect now that Barack Obama has been elected to a second term as president. MacArthur and Frank will be joined by moderator Dr. Joseph Chuman for a vital conversation about the state of our democracy and the obstructions that prevent any president from enacting truly progressive change.

The conversation will draw on MacArthur’s book The Outrageous Barriers to Democracy in America: Or, Why a Progressive Presidency Is Impossible, in which he argues that the country is in a political ice age, frozen by two parties of entrenched, well-funded elites. Pity the Billionaire author Tom Frank will discuss what the acceptance of a “grand bargain” would mean for Obama’s second term, the topic of his column in the January 2013 issue of Harper’s.

The event is free to the public. A donation of $10 is suggested. If you RSVP with a donation of $20, you’ll also get the current issue of Harper’s Magazine and a copy of You Can’t Be President.

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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