Friday, November 19, 2004

Food for thought

Who woulda thunk food could come from "cow on wall?" If you didn't get that movie reference to a moose, then I really need to quit watching so much TV. Bull Moose writes interestingly enough about Clinton's speech at the opening of his presidential library. In it, Clinton talks about conservatism and progressivism and how they are both fundamentally good.

America has two great dominant strands of political thought -- we're represented up here on this stage -- conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barrier that are no longer needed or should never have been erected in the first place. It seemed to me that in 1992 we needed to do both to prepare America for the 21st century: to be more conservative in things like erasing the deficit and paying down the debt and preventing crime and punishing criminals and protecting and supporting families, and enforcing things like child support laws and reforming the military to meet the new challenges of the 21st century. And we needed to be more progressive in creating good jobs, reducing poverty, increasing the quality of public education, opening the doors of college to all, increasing access to health care, investing more in science and technology, and building new alliances with our former adversaries, and working for peace across the world and peace in America across all the lines that divide us. Now, when I proposed to do both, we said that all of them were consistent with the great American values of opportunity, responsibility and community. We labeled the approach "New Democrat." It then became known as the third way, as it was embraced by progressive parties across the world.
This New Democrat approach, the Moose writes, is the winning formula to getting back in the Oval Office. I don't think so, for two reasons. One, both Democratic candidates after Bill Clinton were centrist enough, but they did not win. Two, the more centrist we become, the more far-right the Republicans become. I think a moderately progressive Democrat can win the White Hosue easily enough, and once in, I don't think the party is going to be shouting to increase spending in any meaningful way. We can rule from the center, something the GOP has a hard time doing. But to win, I think we need to follow the Rove lead and rally the base, i.e. liberals and progressives, around our next candidate. A more clear message and concentrating on getting out the vote gets us in. Kerry got $56 million votes a few weeks ago kiddos. That's nothing to sneeze at. Imagine what we could do with a little more money and a more consolidated base. That gets us the magic number 270 and the W (sports analogy).

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