Thursday, November 18, 2004

Progressive Conservative

The Moose marvels at Clinton's political genius.

Even at a library dedication, Bill Clinton revealed why he is in another league compared to most politicians. Specifically, the Moose was struck by this formulation in Clinton's speech -

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.

Unfortunately, the past two Democratic nominees did not fully embrace this winning formula. If Democrats hope to visit the Oval Office again in a capacity other than a tourist, they need to reconnect with this approach to politics. If donkeys were listening today, they would have been reminded of something very valuable.

And also, Clinton displayed a self-deprecating sense humor that should be emulated by Democrats -

Yes, this library is the symbol of a bridge, a bridge to the 21st century. It's been called one of the great achievements of the new age, and a British magazine said it looked like a glorified house trailer.
And I thought, "Well, that's about me, you know. I'm a little red and a little blue."

-- Posted at 4:49 PM | Link to this post | Email this post