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Progressive Pragmatism, Obama, and the future of our party

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ArtVandaley Donating Member (419 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-18-04 02:17 PM
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Progressive Pragmatism, Obama, and the future of our party
Everyone is debating if our party should move more to the right in order to get votes or if we should stick to hardliner ideological principles in order to draw a clear distinction. I think we need to go somewhere in the middle.
I don't think moving to the right is a good idea. Every time we move "to the center," the right moves farther to the right and calls us liberals, out of touch with the mainstream. Running candidates like Bayh, even if he won, would just make our problems bigger and our party would be moved even farther from any sort of identity or principles.
I also don't think that turning into partisan ideologues is the answer either. Just shouting out our beliefs and convey the image of a party that listens to no one else will not win us elections. That is what the republicans do, and true enough, it is working for them. But that is because at this moment, like it or not, the country's political leanings are right of center, and they can exile slightly over half the country and not miss a beat. We aren't in that situation.
What we need is to articulate our progressive beliefs articulately to the people, but make it clear that what we believe in above all else is the wellbeing of the American people, and we are willing to listen to all sides of each story and work for the best solution. We should say that we are governing for the best of the people, and articulate why our ideas work for the majority of people. Explain why gay rights, civil rights and civil liberties are essentially fundamental to the well being of this country, citing the history of the Constitution and the forming of our government to prove so.
I think Obama is the best example of the new Progressive Pragmatist. In his speech at the DNC, his ideas and principles were clearly very progressive and left of center, yet you could tell that he was addressing all of America, not just those who already agreed with him. I think sometimes we get so pissed about certain things that we assume everyone else should be too, but that isn't always the case.

The bottom line is this: in the history of the United States, there have been periods were the country is to the far right, then it gets too far and swings left for a while, then it swings right again. We are at a point where it is to the far far right, and this won't last forever.
If abortion becomes illegal under Bush, within two years most people, even some more moderate pro-life voters, will realize that it was a huge mistake to outlaw it. Moderate republicans will leave the party in droves. If it doesn't, the republican party is finished, party hardliners will form a new party and split whatever is left of the right in half.
Bush is going to face a huge fight within his party over immigration issues. If he caves right, he'll lose any hope of ever converting Hispanics into GOP voters. We will then have to make a serious effort to get these votes, through not just immigration, but through providing new economic opportunities.
Small businesses tend to usually vote republican. However, they are struggling because the market is dominated by huge corporations that outsource jobs and pay dirt wages to the workers they keep. If we make it clear to these voters that an open, free market capitalism is what we strongly believe in, and we want to make the market more competitive and open to new businesses, then we may grab quite a few votes there. Breaking up corporate control of the market place should be a central principle in our platform, for many Americans realize what it is doing to our country.

I'm rambling a bit. I think we need a moderate-progressive for the next election, someone fairly safe (not a center-right DLC Dem like Bayh, someone more like Richardson, who will help us solidify the Hispanic vote). Then in 2016, Obama will be ready to run for president and take our party and our country into a great new phase of history.
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