Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Truly Progressive Alternative to Bush

According to Jeff Cohen, in his May 3 Common Dreams article "I'm Tired of Bushes and Clintons", the truly progressive alternative to Bush, an alternative that would lead to real social progress in the US, is not Clinton -- or, for the same reason, Kerry-style centrism, but even further to the left, closer to the 'old' (?) Dean and the 'new' (?) Gore.

Here are some excerpts:
But I believe that until we sweep away the Bush-Clinton era and transcend narrow Bush-Clinton debates (and non-debates), we won't be able to put our country back on the road to social progress.

Many Americans long for a strong presidential candidate in 2008 who will go beyond the tepid Bush-Clinton dialogue and chart a new course for our country -- including in foreign affairs. Aspiring Democrats who refuse to forcefully challenge a failed foreign policy in fear of being labeled "weak on defense" will fare no better than Kerry did. The backpedaling, "GOP-lite" strategy doesn't work.

Any Democrat who breaks from the Bush-Clinton consensus will become a target of mainstream media -- not just Fox News -- much like Howard Dean was in the weeks before the Iowa caucuses. If Al Gore steps out to run for president on a platform derived from his recent speeches on Iraq, foreign policy and Constitutional liberties, brace yourself for the spectacle of elite pundits straining to convince us that the man who was vice president for eight years is now irresponsibly leftish and "out of the mainstream."

Among mainstream pundits, it's conventional wisdom that Bill Clinton and his centrist realpolitik saved the Democrats. But simple math tells us the opposite: Triangulation may have worked for Clinton personally (and for corporate backers seeking media consolidation and corporate-friendly trade deals like NAFTA), but far from saving the Democrats, the Clinton years represented a free fall for the party. When Clinton entered the White House, Democrats dominated the Senate, 57-43; the House, 258-176; the country's governorships, 30-18, and a large majority of state legislatures. By 2000, Republicans controlled the Senate, 55-45; the House, 222-211; governorships, 30-18, and almost half of state legislatures.

For Americans who want to turn our nation toward health, driving Bush-style extremism from the White House is essential.
But it won't be enough to replace it with Clinton-style vacillation and triangulation.


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