Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Winning the West, PPI, April 2006

Winning the West (full text in PDF) was published earlier this month by the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), and written by David J. Hayes, deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior during the second term of the Clinton administration. The PPI describes itself as part of the 'third way' that seeks to modernize 'progressive' (sic) politics beyond the left-right debates of the 'last century'. It is a project of the Third Way Foundation, chaired by the Democratic Leadership Council's Al Frum. ' Its “progressive market strategy embraces economic innovation, fiscal discipline, and open markets, while also equipping working families with new tools for success.' I often wonder why a number of centrist individuals and institutions insist on calling themselves 'progressive.' Maybe because they feel that 'liberal' is discredited and they are trying to reclaim 'progressive' from more leftist understandings of it? Be that as it may, the eleven-page report deals with what 'progressives' need to do in order to win more elections in the West.

The background to this is that the West boasts six of the 10 fastest growing states in the country, and that Democrats have done better in Colorado and Montana in the past few years.

Focusing mainly on the crucial importance of agriculture in the West, the report concludes by recommending that 'progressives' need to follow the following four principles:

Progressives need to lead the way toward win-win solutions that satisfy environmental imperatives and meet landowner needs. They have a shared interest with Westerners in conserving landscapes and protecting water supplies. This is a sensible path that will lead to success at the polls.

If progressives follow these four principles, they will find allies among Western voters who want sensible resource management and are troubled by the Bush administration’s over-the-top pursuit of more logging, drilling, mining, and the like. To win the West, they must reclaim the mantle of pragmatic, principled leadership.

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