Sunday, August 05, 2007

More Democrats Consider Themselves Liberal

The Reagan/Gingrich revolution didn't just give prominence to a new brand of conservatism; it shifted the whole political spectrum to the right. When NTL was formed in 2006, we had a debate for oh, at least a minute or so, about what to call ourselves. In the end, we stuck with "Liberal" instead of progressive, not because we see ourselves as all that liberal (the truth is we're not), but because we thought it was time to take that word back from the Republicans and define it on our own terms.

In a McClatchy article by Steve Thomma on the growing liberal movement, there is both good news and bad news. Here's the good news. A recent poll shows forty percent of Democrats now call themselves liberal, the highest percentage in three decades.
"There is greater support for the social safety net, more concern for inequality of income," said Andy Kohut, the president of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. "More people are falling into the liberal category based on their values."
The article notes the strong anti-war sentiment among Democrats, and increasingly, independents. And it highlights the fact that Democrats are increasingly turning against free trade, which is strengthening its ties to labor movement.

It's discouraging, though, that the article ends on this note:
"On economic questions, they seem to be moving more and more to the left,'' said Larry Gerston, a political scientist at San Jose State University in California. "More Democratic candidates are asserting traditional liberal positions on bread and butter issues, like health care. It augurs ideas of big government and safety net programs."
And this is the bad news. Mr. Gerston is a political scientist, not an economist, but it's hard to believe that in the long shadow of Bush's $9 trillion-dollar debt (and climbing), anyone would still let a statement like that go unchallenged. So tomorrow's post will shed some light on the myth of liberalism and "big government."

1 comment:

WhosPlayin said...

I think that should read $9 trillion debt rather than deficit.

Regarding the dreaded "Big Government" and "Tax and Spend" labels, I think what we need to start asking ourselves and others is this:

Would you rather
A) Have small government and small taxes, or
B) Keep more money in your wallet and live a better life.

These really are the choices. I really must encourage folks who want to know how the economics of that work to Google "Fiscal Progressivism". Sometimes the government CAN spend money to SAVE you money.