From the executive editor.
FOR DEMOCRATIC POLITICOS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES most especially, all roads lead to Robert Rubin. The former Clinton treasury secretary bestrides the summit of power and wisdom, commending those Democrats he considers fiscally sound to Wall Street's mega-donors, while commending his own Wall Street perspectives--free trade and balanced budgets are his holies of holies--to the Democrats. Problem is, as our founding co-editor Robert Kuttner documents in our cover story, what Rubin is selling is neither good politics nor good economics, nor even very disinterested. How, Kuttner wonders, has an Eisenhower Republican become the Democrats' economic guru?
Elsewhere in this issue, Barry C. Lynn describes how giant corporate institutions such as Wal-Mart have all but banished the free market from much of our economy--a staggering, epochal transformation that has, however, eluded the attention of economists, whose theories obstruct their observation of the actual world. (In a separate piece, I draw parallels between Wal-Mart's attempts to expand into Northern cities and a prominent earlier episode in American history, the Civil War.) Our other founding eo-editor, Paul Starr, argues that two defining commitments of liberalism--to broadly shared prosperity and to alliances with like-minded democracies--have always made America a stronger nation. Tara McKelvey reports on some mob lawyers who have kept the government from redeploying soldiers to Iraq, even as the efforts of civil liberties attorneys have fallen flat. Garance Franke-Ruta, Sam Rosenfeld, and Matthew Yglesias debate the all-important Hillary question. And Theodore Sorensen remembers his Kennedy-White-House colleague, the great historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., whose commitment to renewing and deepening the liberal project has been a constant inspiration to those of us who produce this magazine.