Take out a sheet of paper.
Divide it in half.
Then read this and get ready to make a some lists.
January 16, 2007
Democrats Seek the Middle on Social Issues
By ROBIN TONER
WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 — The promise may not outlast their political honeymoon, but Democratic Congressional leaders say they are committed to governing from the center, and not just on bread-and-butter issues like raising the minimum wage or increasing aid for education. They also hope to bring that philosophy to bear on some of the most divisive social issues in politics, like abortion.
In their first days in session, Senate Democratic leaders reintroduced a bill that they said was indicative of their new approach: the Prevention First Act, which seeks to reduce the number of abortions by expanding access to birth control, family planning and sex education.
In the House last week, Democrats showcased a vote on expanding federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, which, despite fierce opposition from many conservatives, has won bipartisan support among lawmakers — and voters — who are otherwise divided on abortion.
The mantra, for many Democrats, is the search for common ground.
Conservatives are skeptical that such a search for common ground is much more than a shift in tactics.
“I can tell you what I expect,” said Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee. “I think the Democratic leadership will seek to advance the policy agenda of the hardcore groups but do so under the cover of deceptive rhetorical campaigns.”
And conservatives, by controlling which legislation came to the floor, succeeded in defining the debate over social issues for more than a decade, through votes on same-sex marriage and the procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion, in ways that highlighted the political limits of liberalism.
One measure of how the legislative debate has shifted is that the last time the Democrats were in power, one of the biggest abortion fights was over whether abortions should be covered in the benefit package guaranteed under the Clinton administration’s national health insurance plan, which eventually collapsed. Abortion rights leaders focus on far more modest goals today.
In the past 12 years, Democratic strategists say they have learned some hard lessons. Many said they were dismayed to see the religion gap after the 2004 election, with the Republicans’ overwhelming strength among churchgoers and the widespread perception that Democrats were a secular party insensitive to issues of values.
In fact, Democrats, like Republicans, have long had to fight the notion that they are in thrall to the advocacy groups because of these hot-button issues. Republicans clearly took a dip in the polls after their intervention in the right-to-die case of Terri Schiavo, and many strategists say their intense pursuit of a ban on same-sex marriage and other conservative causes ultimately backfired, making them seem out of touch.
Democrats, after 12 years in the wilderness, say they are not likely to repeat those mistakes. But as Mr. Johnson of the right to life committee and other skeptics note, the true test of the Democrats’ common ground campaign may not come until there is a major court fight, especially a vacancy on the Supreme Court. When the fundamental debate over the extent of abortion rights is front and center, common ground will be hard to find.
To quote the estimable Steve Gilliard: “Fuck bipartisanship.”
Because the Left is now the “Center” and the Right is now a dark forest populated only by trolls, bigots, halftards, Christopaths, little lost Small Gummint children and a groping menagerie og ignorant, single-issue armies who clash by night and have let their own fright-propagand so ensorcelled them they can’t even see what a noxious sewer their has Party become.
And because the only people outside of the GOP Circle Jerk who refuse to acknowledge this huge, glaring fact are the Media.
You know; the people who are actually paid to Report On Huge, Glaring Facts.
So you have your paper, properly folder.
Now on the Right side, write the values that were embodied by the Republican Party, say, thirty years ago.
It’s actually pretty easy.
Just look at their Party platform from that year (The list below has been edited down to snips. If you want to see the whole of it, look it up.)
· On our Inalienable Rights:
…Government must protect your constitutional rights. Government must deal with other governments and protect you from aggressors. Government must assure equal opportunity. And government must be compassionate in caring for those citizens who are unable to care for themselves.
· On the role of a Federal Government:
…Those concerns of a national character -- such as air and water pollution that do not respect state boundaries or the national transportation system or efforts to safeguard your civil liberties -- must, of course, be handled on the national level.
We prefer local and state government to national government, and decentralized national government wherever possible.
Well so do I, but there is a New Orleans-sized difference between “wherever possible” and “at any cost”.
· On Fiscal Responsibility:
Every dollar spent by government is a dollar earned by you. Government must always ask: Are your dollars being wisely spent? Can we afford it? Is it not better for the country to leave your dollars in your pocket?
· On Public Integrity:
Your elected officials, their appointees, and government workers are expected to perform their public acts with honesty, openness, diligence, and special integrity. At the heart of our system must be confidence that these people are always working for you.
They work for us. Get it?
· On the Environment:
…The beauty of our land is our legacy to our children. It must be protected by us so that they can pass it on intact to their children.
A clean and healthy natural environment is the rightful heritage of every American. In order to preserve this heritage, we will provide for proper development of resources, safeguards for clean air and water, and protection and enhancement of our recreation and scenic areas.
As our environmental sophistication grows, we must more clearly define the role of the federal government in environmental protection.
We believe that it is a national responsibility to support scientific and technological research and development to identify environmental problems and arrive at solutions.
We still have a wealth of resources, but they are not of infinite quantity. We must recognize that our material blessings stem from what we grow in the soil, take from the sea, or extract from the ground. We have a responsibility to future generations to conserve our non-renewable natural resources. Consistent with our needs, conservation should remain our national policy.
· On the way to be in the world:
The United States must always stand for peace and liberty in the world and the rights of the individual. We must form sturdy partnerships with our allies for the preservation of freedom. We must be ever willing to negotiate differences, but equally mindful that there are American ideals that cannot be compromised. Given that there are other nations with potentially hostile designs, we recognize that we can reach our goals only while maintaining a superior national defense.
· On Recycling:
We can no longer afford the luxury of a throw-away world. Recycling offers environmental benefits, economic expansion, resource conservation and energy savings. We support a policy which will reward recycling and economic incentives which will encourage its expansion.
· On Science and Technology:
Every aspect of our domestic economy and well-being, our international competitive position, and national security is related to our past and present leadership in basic and applied research and the development of our technology.
Because our society is so dependent upon the advancement of science and the development of technology, it is one of the areas where there must be a central federal policy. We support a national science policy that will foster the public-private partnership to insure that we maintain our leadership role.
We recognize that only when our technology is fully distributed can it be assimilated and used to increase our productivity and our standard of living. We will continue to encourage young Americans to study science and engineering.
We are alarmed by Washington's growing collection of information. The number of federal data banks is now estimated at between 800 and 900 and more than 50 agencies are involved. We question the need for all these computers to be storing the records of our lives. Safeguards must protect us against this information being misused or disclosed. Major changes, for example, are needed to maintain the confidentiality of tax returns and Society Security records.
· On Veterans:
Because they bear the heaviest burdens of war, we owe special honor and compensation to disabled veterans and survivors of the war dead.
We are firmly committed to maintaining and improving our Veterans Administration hospital system.
Younger veterans, especially those who served in the Vietnam conflict, deserve educational, job and housing loan benefits equivalent to those of World War II and the Korean conflict.
Of course this is not the platform I’d write. They’re opposed to abortion. Their dishonest misreading of the 2nd Amendment comes pre-printed on the Platform Form.
And in 1976 they were more than a decade into the soul-murdering Faustian Bargain of the Southern Strategy.
They’re Republicans and I’d stipulate to all of these qualifiers and a buncha other stuff as GOP Que Sera Sera. But there is no way around the fact that the platform – which is always a partisan, political statement of value and vision -- smells faintly of...reasonableness.
1. Governed by or being in accordance with reason or sound thinking:
2. Being within the bounds of common sense:
3. Not excessive or extreme;
A throwback to a day when your opponent need not be your enemy.
When you could differ with honor.
So what changed?
End Part 1 of 2