Dean on Libertarians and Democrats
Western Dems embrace Dean
Mon Jul 18th, 2005 at 12:42:26 PDT
Jerome has a great post on local reaction to Dean's tour of Western states. In Montana, the state party chair was running away until he heard Dean speak. Then he couldn't wait to get his picture taken with the chairman. In Utah, he gave a cogent and passionate defense of the Democratic Party's stance on abortion:
"I'm tired of Republicans telling us we're pro-abortion. I served on the board of Planned Parenthood for five years. I don't know anybody who's pro-abortion," he said. "Most people in this country would like to see the abortion rate go down. That includes Democrats and Republicans. The difference between the parties is that we believe a woman makes that decision about her health care -- and they believe Tom Delay makes it."
But my favorite was in Idaho, where he said this:
"We didn't quite win in Idaho the last time, but we're not quitting," he said. "People say, 'Why'd you come here? This is a Republican state,' but they're wrong.
"This is a libertarian area. We're going to win on a Western platform next time."
We're not going to win Idaho next time, on any platform. But we can start chipping away. A "Western platform" is the future of the Democratic Party, and one that I embrace to my very core -- fiscal and personal responsibility, rugged individualism, freedom to live one's life without government intrusion into the doctor's office or the bedroom. The intersection of libertarianism, good government, and economic populism.
It's good that Dean is preaching that gospel, and it's awesome that it's being well received in the West.
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Tom G Palmer - 7/19/2005
Very good point. The key is for the parties to perceive a libertarian slice of the electorate that's worth going after, and it seems that Mr. Dean is doing just that.
He's a smart guy, although his rhetoric was perhaps too "angry" for his fellow Democrats to give him the nomination. I met with him a few years ago, when he was ginning up his presidential bid. The conversation ranged over Social Security, foreign policy, social policy, libertarianism, taxes and spending, and so on. As governor of Vermont, he had a relatively (I stress the modifier "relatively") libertarian approach, but he seems to have dropped much of that in his campaign and in his work for the DNC. (The calls for what used to be called "nationalized health care" are a bit hard to swallow.) However, if he perceives a socially-tolerant, anti-war, anti-tax constituency, that bodes well for the future. Time will tell.
John Arthur Shaffer - 7/19/2005
Until Democrats give up on the idea of a strong federal government, it seems it's just lip service. Liberals are now only beginning to see what can happen when the apparatus they created is run by theocrats.
There is a great chance of a new party, progressive in nature - rooted in a limited federal government, forming when the Republican Party collapses. The sooner the SC overturns Roe, the sooner this will happen. It's easy to be pro life when there's no cost, it will break the party when it becomes a legislative issue. I have no doubt Delay and company will push for a federal law overturning abortion if Roe is shelved. The interstate commerce implications are less stretched then in the Raich case.
Keith Halderman - 7/19/2005
I would like to be optimistic about this but first I would like to know Dean's position on CAFTA and dietary supplements. (see your post above)Stylistically I like Dean but he is a doctor and used to giving orders. Although I must admit Ron Paul is a doctor too.
Jason Kuznicki - 7/18/2005
I'd long hoped for a breakup of the Republican party, with the free market fiscal conservatives going one way and the religious right going the other. But if the Democrats want to take on a libertarian tint of their own, then great--Between the two major parties, then in many cases a move toward libertarianism will become the compromise that everyone can agree on.
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