hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Monday, July 29, 2002
After all that work compiling as comprehensive a list of party platforms as I though would be necessary, I find my list is glaringly incomplete. namely, I've forgotten

Robert Borosage

robert borosage, co-director of "campaign for America's future", who I've always dug whenever I've seen him on television. Here He writes in the Nation a rather bitter denunciation of DLC "new democrat" types. (got the link from Andrew Sullivan) I do agree with him on one point:

"Since the DLC is infamous for taking credit for every victory and blaming others for every defeat, its leaders are not likely to admit that they've been wrong"

The best example of this was after the 2000 election when the DLC claimed Hillary Clinton was a new democrat while Al Gore was not, even though they ran on exactly the same platform.

As for the general dispute between "old" and "new" democrats, I find it largely pointless. The arguments seem to me to be mostly about what tone and rhetoric will be most effective in getting elected, and not at all about policy differences (neither side uses an especially effective tone or rhetoric). To the extent that there are real policy differences, they seem to be magnified because of sheer personal animus, and the common ground is downplayed because neither side bothers to think things through, keep an open mind, or do the arithmetic necessary to have everything add up. I realize that sounds arrogant, but I'll try to back it up in future posts.

To my mind, the only really polarizing, unpleasant doctrinal issue in American domestic policy is whether you believe it is acceptable to redistribute income from the affluent to the poor and middle class in order to serve socially desirable goals. Both old and new democrats basically believe that income redistribution ("progressive taxation" is the preferred euphemism) is acceptable in principle, though new democrats are less thrilled about it, and are likely to hedge with a lot of weasel words. Everything else is an argument about the practical consequences of various policies, which should not be a reason for division or acrimony.

In any case, much more to say about all this, for now, I'm adding a link to campaign for america's future

perhaps more importantly, here is a link to their book: The Next Agenda: Blueprint For A New Progressive Movement

edited by Robert Borosage and Stanley Greenburg, with contributions from jeff faux, william greider, theda skcopol, jonathan oberlander, theodore marmor, heidi hartmann, richard rothstein,
bruce katz, joel rogers, lynn a curtis, william e spriggs, carl pope, robert wages, peter barnes, rafe pomerance, david moberg, ellen s miller, micah sifry, roger hickey. (I don't know who most of these people are either)

To see how cool these people really are, they actually print the entire text online for free. I don't think any other cash-starved think tank would be idealistic enough to do that, though I intend to buy a copy at some point.