S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

New Democrat Clinton-Presidential Conference

In the past I have posted about the DLC's Third Way. Democrats must begin to help govern our nation in 2006. It is my opinion that New Democrat centrist politics has not been eliminated as the most logical position for the party as a whole to adopt. We cannot win elections from the far Left only. There are just not enough of us. Moderate voters in both parties will decide which way they want the nation to lean for the remaining two years of the current administration .

Earlier this month a large number of key people in the Clinton administration gathered on Long Island to talk about the hallmarks of that administration. According to a press release from host Hofstra University,

Hofstra's 11th Presidential Conference, William Jefferson Clinton: The "New Democrat" from Hope, took place November 10-12, 2005, at Hofstra's Long Island campus in Hempstead, NY. The conference, including an address by Clinton, was made up of a slate of keynote speeches and panels that took an academic view of a wide variety of aspects of Clinton's presidency. Among those participating in the conference were members of Clinton's White House staff, military experts, journalists, economists and scholars in a wide spectrum of areas.

Included here are text highlights of each days activities, with a quote from what seemed to be significant that day about the Democratic Leadership Council's Third Way principles of governance used by former President Clinton. (for video of key elements of the conference, go to the main website title linked above)

Day One

. . . the main topics of the 1992 campaign were key to Clinton's victory, as he battled for the "forgotten middle class."
"[Clinton] would talk about the ladder," said (Senior advisor Stanley) Greenberg, "how there needs to be the opportunity for responsibility at the top and the bottom. He was for making a broke and corrupt government work for average Americans."

The middle class in 2005 has shrunk. More people are hungry on the bottom rungs. The gap between them and the very rich, favored by the current administration, has considerably widened.

Second Day

Redefining Liberalism: At a panel on "Redefining Liberalism," Clinton was credited with mixing and matching policies that defied the conventional wisdom that Republicans are conservative and Democrats are liberal. The panelists noted Clinton's frequent use of the themes of "community, opportunity, and responsibility" to define his new Democratic platform. Commentator David Gergen, Clinton's counselor for Foreign Policy and Domestic Affairs in 1993, said that
these words were "vague abstractions.(and) don't have concreteness.(but) got back to Democratic liberalism."
Al From, founder and CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and part of Clinton's Democratic Platform Drafting
Committee in 1992, stressed that while Clinton may have taken a center stand on some issues, he was a liberal. "(The) Democratic philosophy was to progress ideas and create opportunity.Clinton tried to reconnect the Democratic Party with the deep strands of liberalism," From said, such as creating jobs and working to eliminate poverty.

The country today has lost its sense of community, becoming much more polarized than in the 1990's. And we are not as much a part of the "community of nations" since our invasion of Iraq. Only the very rich have been given much opportunity since the turn of this century. And the way I see the current administration's manifestation of responsibility is played out in their religiosity. Believing the way they do is seen as everyone's responsibility; otherwise we are excluded.

Ending Day

Former U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Administrator Bruce Vladeck felt "the new democrats got it wrong when it came to health care," reminding the audience that the United States is the only industrialized nation without universal health coverage, with Clinton Senior Adviser Ira C. Magaziner stressing "Nobody failed for a lack of effort." The panel concluded with Senior Health Care Adviser Chris Jennings's theory that the main reason of failure was Clinton's effort to do "too much, too quick."

And not much has changed since then. Far too many people still cannot afford health care. The health care industry, including pharmaceutical companies continue to make record profits, while consumers lose out. There was a need for health care reform in 1992. The same needs are there today.

In conclusion, here is an opportunity to learn what the Democratic Leadership Council is doing these days. Visit this DLC site for a very important and informative Al From presentation about what New Democrats are currently proposing to again win at the ballot box. Take a peek!



RightDemocrat said...

I agree. Democrats win elections by appealing to the center. Our party definitely needs to move center on social issues and strengthen our message on national security issues to regain a majority.

Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system. Health insurance is a major aspect to many.