03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Moment's "Why" Questions

This confounding moment in American history is raising a lot of important "why" questions for us all. Here's a few that are particularly on my mind right now:

Why is the "sanctity of contracts" only an inviolable axiom when it comes to contracts that ensure Wall Street bonuses, but not union workers wages?

Why has almost nobody objected to the renomination of Ben Bernanke, the guy whose failure to better regulate banks helped destroy the economy?

Why is Rahm Emanuel so often billed as "tough" when he has spearheaded almost every single White House capitulation to corporate interests?

Why do some progressives seem to believe it is OK for progressives to criticize George W. Bush for taking a position, but not OK for progressives criticize Barack Obama for taking the same position?

Why do the same politicians who say we need to spend trillions to save the banking industry oppose spending a fraction of that to save blue collar industries?

Why does Glenn Beck rail on government spending after he publicly backed the Wall Street bailout - and actually criticized it for supposedly being too small?

Why are a tiny handful of corporate Democrats, and not the bigger number of progressives who comprise the majority of the Democratic caucus, billed as holding the all-important "balance of power" in the Senate?

Why do congressmen and senators rail on the supposed awfulness of "government run health care" for the public but never complain about the "government run health care" they enjoy?

Why do we criminalize marijuana but legalize - and promote - alcohol?

Why has the word "reform" so often come to mean "sell out"?

Why does almost every "national" political show on every television network almost exclusively feature guests who live and work only in Washington and New York?

Why do so many political observers insist that a country should be patient during a president's first year, when history tells us that a president's first year is when change has the biggest opportunity to happen?

Why do politicians and the Beltway media pretend Democrats need 60 votes to pass a health care bill through the Senate, when the reconciliation process would allow them to pass major portions of the bill with just 51 votes?

Why do so many political activists and organizations seem to believe the only place to make change is in Washington - and specifically, in the White House - and not in state and local arenas?

Why is deficit spending only bad when it is on programs like health care that would help millions of average people, but deficit spending is perfectly fine when it is on subsidies and bailouts that help a tiny handful of very rich people?

Maybe your answer to these questions that existential question Anheuser-Busch asked us back in the late 1980s - "Why ask why?" Frankly, that might be the only answer.