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A Conservative Face to Liberal Ideas
February 11, 2002
by Jeffrey Commaroto

Elected Democrats have been in something of a daze since Bush entered the White House. They gained a little swagger in their step following their take over of the Senate. However much of that got lost immediately following Sept 11th and the question became "How do we fight a popular president when he is fighting a popular war?" But that has been the wrong question these last five months and it has lost the party a lot of ground. The real question is "How does a conservative administration fight Democratic policies and ideologies that were used to make him popular?"

For all the talk of the nation swinging conservative there has been little to no mention of how all of the policies that Americans are applauding run against the conservative instincts that Bush and Cheney advocated during the campaign. From nation building and a more involved America in foreign affairs to big government institutions and the involvement of the government in regulating corporations. These are what Americans are applauding, not corporate welfare and the destruction of the environment.

A good deal of the Bush administration is made up of members who spent much of their lives writing about the inability of government to be effective and who advocated at every turn to scale it down. However with Sept 11th policemen and firemen, both group's state and local employees and federal organizations like the FBI, CIA and FEMA have been heralded as heroes and saviors of the common good. It was big government that was there to save our nation, to extend its power to shut down the air lines to prevent further attacks on Sept 11th and it is government regulation that is helping to secure our travel right now.

It is also Democratic ideology and Clinton era policies that are making this president popular. To Bush's credit he has been willing to toss aside the asinine reluctance to embrace them that he held during his campaign. But unless Democrats aggressively point out this fact, they will be the ones to lose out in the next election.

Republicans have never been afraid to use whatever situation they could to advance their goals and to put fire under their opponent's policies. In times of crisis leaders lead and aren't afraid of advancing the cause they feel is right. As a party Democrats haven't always shown this same tendency and when witnessing leaders like President Clinton show an inkling of the same strategy have tended to shy away. This is exactly what Al Gore did during the last presidential election. It cannot be what Democrats do now.

As Bush and Cheney point out the power and elite training of our military it is the responsibility of Democrats to point out it was the Clinton administration that spent eight years funding and training them to do it. For all the talk of Republicans who made fun of this generation of soldiers and servicemen I believe it is their responsibility now to apologize to those Americans and admit they were wrong.

As Bush and Cheney distance themselves from Enron and call to question what was happening on Clintons watch. It is the responsibility of Democrats to point out the name of Clinton appointed Commodities Futures Trading Commission Chair Brooksley Born who in 1997 called for greater disclosure of energy derivatives. They need to drop the names of Clinton appointed Treasury Secretary Larry Summers who in 2000 proposed a crackdown on tax havens and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) who proposed banning investment of more than 10% of an employees total 401(K) in stock. Finally the name of President Clinton himself who vetoed the Public Securities Litigation Reform Act which helps prevent lawsuits against corporations who are accused of securities fraud. All of these actions could have helped stop the Enron debacle but were opposed, vetoed and/or watered down by the Republican congress.

It is the responsibility of Democrats to call into question Bush's connection to big oil and the administrations reluctance to wean itself away from Saudi Arabia, a known supporter of terrorists and the breeding ground of most of the Sept 11th hijackers. It is the job of Democrats to ask for billions of dollars to be stopped from corporate welfare and put into the development of a national energy system of solar, wind and hydrogen renewable energy that will boost our nations security, create hundreds of thousands of new domestic jobs and clean our environment. Finally it is the responsibility of the Democrats to outline a political structure and ideology that helps wean themselves off of big money corporate donations, supports real campaign finance reform and doesn't shy away from it's beliefs even when they aren't as popular as they are now but are still vital to our national development. In the 2000 election Ralph Nader asked what the difference between the two political parties was and three percent of the voters couldn't come up with an answer. It is time for the Democratic Party to give all of its members the answer they have been waiting for. A true second national political Party!

It is not a conservative wave that is hitting this nation, just a conservative face taking credit for liberal ideas. Poll numbers come and go, just as they did for George Bush Sr. after the Gulf War. But a working Democratic Party that pushes forward the true objectives of the American people and fights the good fight without cowering down can last even longer then it all ready has. Time is definitely on the party's side - it's just a matter of the party getting with the times.


Jeffery Commaroto has authored numerous serious and satiric articles and editorials from a liberalist perspective in addition to running thinkersden.com and commaroto.com

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