The Moose suggests that the donkey must find a way to be comfortable in the winners circle.
If you intend to be successful in life, what political party would you identify with? That is a question that the Democrats should take seriously. Yes, the Democratic Party has historically championed those who are left behind in our society. That is a proud tradition that should never be abandoned. As a matter of fact, the Moose is fond of an aphrorism of his boyhood hero, Senator Ralph Yarborough who declared, "Keep the jam on the bottom shelf so the little people can reach it."
Democrats, at their best, have championed both those who are left behind and those who wish to get ahead. Of course, many in the first group intend to be in the second. In the past forty years, JFK and Clinton were both Presidents who are identified with prosperity and justice. With those two exceptions, many Democratic leaders handle justice with comfort, but have difficulty with promoting prosperity with ease.
It was well and good for most Democrats to have opposed the Bankruptcy bill. It was a bad piece of legislation that unfairly favored the credit card and banking interests. But the Democratic Party should be more identified with prosperity than debt. And now, many Democrats are abandoning their free trade principles by opposing the Central America Free Trade Agreement. Does the Democratic Party want to be identified as standing at the gates of globalization?
Democratic Virginia Governor Mark Warner is showing the way by preparing the workforce for the challenges of globalization. The New York Times editorialized on Monday,
"Instead of trying to turn back time, politicians in Washington should be following the very good example being set by Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia. Seeking to stem the job hemorrhage in rural southern Virginia as the region's textile plants were shuttered, Mr. Warner started creating one-stop worker-assistance storefronts in depressed rural towns in 2002. Beyond helping laid-off workers navigate the maze of federal trade adjustment assistance and unemployment checks, Mr. Warner backed a program to help workers without a high school diploma get a G.E.D. in 90 days or less. He put up incentive money to attract Nascar engine builders to the region. Indeed, the area's love for Nascar has been harnessed: state-sponsored ads tout the G.E.D. program at Nascar races."
"So far, about 20,000 workers have gone through some aspect of the program, at one of the 131 centers in the state, Mr. Warner's aides say. The unemployment rate in one of the hardest-hit towns, Martinsville, was still a whopping 10.4 percent in May, but it was 15.7 percent in January 2002, when the program started."
This is true genius that Hank Hill and Toby Keith Democrats have to admire - combining prosperity and NASCAR!
If you are an ambitious young person who wants to get ahead, do you identify with the Democrats or the Republicans? If you are a social liberal you might. But, otherwise, the Party might appear to be a negative opponent of economic growth. Of course that would be an unfair perception, but an understandable one.
Although income inequality has been greatly exacerbated in recent years by the Bush tax policies, America remains a country that is adverse to class politics. The challenge for the Democrats in the next few years is to be seen as the party that champions both prosperity and justice - the party of optimism.
In this new global economic order, there is a profound need for an activist government to soften the blows of competition for a workforce that will be subjected to more risk. Health care and worker training are but two areas where the public sector must fill in the gaps. Bush's "ownership society" promotes profits while shifting risk to workers. It is a right wing dystopia of no regulation, no taxes and no workers' rights.
Prosperity and justice - Kennedy and Clinton showed the way. --