Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Progressive National Greatness

The Moose urges the Democrats to rescue progressivism from '60s liberalism.

The Moose is a progressive in the tradition of T.R., F.D.R., J.F.K and HHH. However, he eschews the 60's liberalism of isolationism, identity politics and equality of results. The Moose's progressivism is defined by a dedication to robust internationalism, economic justice, opportunity and growth.

Joel Kotkin has written one of the most important pieces for Democrats that has been published since the election in the current Weekly Standard that is provocatively titled A Prescription for Senile Liberalism Less Howard Dean, more FDR. Kotkin's article does for domestic politics what Peter Beinart's "A Fighting Faith" did on the foreign policy side.

Kotkin writes,

"Today's liberals are too mired in their childhood traumas to focus on what is their party's main chance: domestic issues surrounding middle-class concerns in an era of social and economic instability, the rising challenge posed by China and India, and the cloudy prospects facing the next generation. These problems point to the failings of the political status quo; constant reminders of this failure include the nation's creaking infrastructure, dysfunctional educational system, and ever-expanding trade and balance of payments deficits. These phenomena represent a threat to continued American preeminence. Rising to meet the challenge would seem perfectly natural to a nationalist progressive of the last century: a Theodore Roosevelt, Al Smith, Fiorello LaGuardia, Franklin Roosevelt, or Hubert Humphrey."

Kotkin goes on to outline a domestic "national greatness" agenda of internal improvements to address the issues of economic competitiveness and expanding middle class opportunity. He suggests repairing the economic infrastructure, strengthening the educational system and making the exurbs more livable.

The Moose would add that the Democrats should propose the creation of the National Institutes for Technology to improve our competitiveness. We should immediately bolster science and technology training beginning in elementary schools.

The Moose is an adherent of progressive national greatness. It involves a dynamic foreign policy of promoting democracy and an domestic program of economic growth and justice along with service to country. Kotkin has made an invaluable contribution to defining the domestic program of progressive national greatness.

Kotkin proposes a bold, muscular progressivism that is in the tradition of the Democratic Party prior to the rise of the "New Politics" late '60s liberalism. Kotkin concludes,

"What Republicans should fear but Democrats seem reluctant to provide is a middle-class agenda that would distinguish the public interest from the interests of public employees. That is, an agenda built on the notion, nurtured through our history, that government's role should be not to engineer society to fit the notions of a radical fringe but to serve as an enabler for middle-class dreams and a guarantor of American greatness. Such a program, shaped to address the critical needs of the new century, could win significant support and create the basis for a new majority party."

Any Democrat who is serious about '08 has just been presented with an outline for a winning agenda.
-- Posted at 8:30 AM | Link to this post | Email this post