Sunday, October 10, 2010

Democrats: Acting Responsibly to Restore the American Dream

If you haven't seen it yet, there's a video on Huffingtonpost today, in which Arianna and Mike Huckabee find some common ground about capitalism and the middle class. Its a great discussion, and I think it illustrates some interesting ways that progressives can engage Republicans on common ground.

I would love to see more conversations like this between people from different political backgrounds, because ultimately our system of government predetermines some kind of compromise in the end, regardless of who is in power.

What's interesting it that despite party differences, Mike Huckabee and Arianna Huffington agree on quite a few things.

For example, they both agree that an erosion of the moral basis of capitalism is destroying the American middle class. But Mike seems to reflexively think this erosion is because of too much government intervention, and Arianna makes a great point that government itself is, in fact bought and paid for by capitalist interests.

These special interests purchase influence on legislation to benefit their greed - even if it hurts the country in the long run. In fact, that's how we got where we are now.

What we need here, is a way to persuade conservatives like Huckabee that government is the problem inasmuch as it is influenced by lobbyists and special interests.

From this perspective, passing health insurance reform and Wall St. reform was about government acting morally, to restore a sense of fairness to industries that had become too powerful and abusive of the American people.

We progressives wanted stronger reforms, but our conservative brethren thought if we tampered any more with the system we must be "socialists," so we went for a moderate approach. In the end, we implemented reforms that in fact changed a lot of things: we ended discrimination for preexisting conditions, and covered millions of uninsured Americans. We ended the insider dealings of Wall St. by requiring derivatives to be traded openly. And we stopped the recession, while at the same time investing in green industries that will lead our country into a new era of prosperity and freedom from foreign oil.

Socialists? Tyrants? Hardly. Democrats have acted morally and responsibly, and history will vindicate them for how much they achieved in two short years.

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