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As Democrats gather, liberal positions gaining in popularity

 
 
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 11:38 am
I'm not surprised this is happening. People are fed up with the arrogance and over-reaching of the Republican Party that is owned by Corporate America. ---BBB

As Democrats gather, liberal positions gaining in popularity
By Steven Thomma | McClatchy Newspapers
8/22/08

DENVER " As they meet for their national convention Monday through Thursday, Democrats are poised to shift their party's course " and the country's.

They're turning to the left " deeply against the war in Iraq, ready to use tax policy to take from the rich and give to the poor and middle class, and growing hungry, after years of centrist politics, for big-government solutions, such as a health-care overhaul, to steer the nation through a time of sweeping economic change.

They are, in short, more liberal than at any time in a generation and eager to end the Reagan era, which dominated not just the other party, but also their own, for nearly three decades.

"Every generation . . . there are changes in people's relationship with government," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. This, he said, is such a time.

The shift of the party also reflects a change in much of the population " evidenced in the policy positions advocated by rank-and-file voters as well as the party's presumptive presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.

"Government SHOULD do more, especially when you're spending tens of billions of dollars in Iraq protecting the interests of millionaires," said Rebecca Washington, a Democrat and an accountant from Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

"We've got to revoke the tax cuts for the wealthy," said Vicki Balzer, a Democrat and retired teacher from the Cleveland suburb of Berea. "We definitely need to do something more for the economically disadvantaged. . . . We've allowed big corporations to take millions for corporate leaders while workers get nothing."

Nationally, 40 percent of Democrats in the 2006 midterm elections called themselves liberal, the highest since the American National Election Studies program started asking in 1972.

At the same time, the number of Democrats who support a government safety net for the poor " such as guaranteeing food and shelter for the needy and spending to help them even if it means more debt " jumped by 14 percentage points from 1994 to 2007, according to the Pew Research Center.

Support for that safety net also rose by 15 points among independents and 9 points among Republicans.

That's a remarkable change since the mid-'90s, the decade when centrist Bill Clinton dominated the Democratic Party, signed a welfare overhaul into law that forced recipients to work, expanded free trade against the wishes of organized labor and famously declared the era of big government to be over.

"During the era when Bill Clinton was president, there was a clear re-centering of the party," said Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.

Today, she added, "there is a growing understanding that government can play a positive role in investing in our country."

What changed? Several things:

The Iraq war lasted longer, cost more lives and money, and proved deeply unpopular. A few years ago, Obama was a rare voice in the party opposing the war; today he's one of a chorus.

Anxiety about a slowing economy resurrected fears about American jobs and paychecks in the global economy. Promises to change trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement punctuated the Democratic primaries.

Also, Obama promises a dramatically different tax policy, one that would raise taxes on the wealthy, cut taxes for the middle class and offer new "refundable" tax credits to the working poor that would wipe out tax liabilities and deliver anything left over in the form of checks.

He also wants to tax oil companies and use the money to give checks to the poor to pay for high fuel costs, or anything else.

Many Americans recoiled at the weak federal government response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Republican George W. Bush turned into one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history. Just as American revulsion at Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1980 helped usher in the Reagan era, rejection of the Bush era could help swing the pendulum the other way.

At the same time, the party has new power centers in liberal groups such as Moveon.org and blogs such as dailykos.com, where antiwar fever and anti-Bush anger are magnified.

They helped propel Howard Dean to an early lead for the 2004 Democratic nomination, lost, then regrouped to help defeat pro-war Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut in a 2006 primary, though he went on to win re-election as an independent.

"Enormous dissatisfaction with the Republican Party has brought out the base more," said Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

Ever more vocal and influential heading into this year's election, that base fed the sense that the party should "return to its core values," Richardson said. "The rise of the Internet and bloggers have made the party more progressive."

Schumer also thinks that it's all part of a historic cycle in American politics " or at least he hopes it is.

He said Americans encouraged and grew accustomed to an activist federal government during the Great Depression of the 1930s, one that Democrat Franklin Roosevelt delivered and Democrat Lyndon Johnson accelerated in the 1960s.

They grew disenchanted with that big government by the 1970s, a government seen as corrupt in the Nixon days, unable to stop oil crises or runaway inflation, and unable to rescue Americans whom Iran had taken hostage.

"By 1980, the average person said, 'I don't need government anymore. I'm fine on my own,' " Schumer said.

That sentiment drove U.S. politics for years, helping Republicans win five out of seven presidential elections and giving the Democrats two victories only when they nominated a Southern centrist in Clinton.

This year, however, Democrats rejected Hillary Clinton, who, while arguably more liberal than her husband, was to the right of Obama on big issues such as tax policy and had a history of being more hawkish on national security.

Perhaps it's because Obama was simply a more appealing candidate. But it also might be because times are changing.

Now, Schumer said, Americans feel shaken by big forces such as globalization, terrorism and a sputtering economy. "The whole world changes, and people feel a little bit at sea, and they need help," Schumer said.

Whether the country will turn to a resurgent-liberal Democratic Party to navigate that less-certain world won't be known until November. But for Democrats watching their national convention, it's clear they want something very different.
 
mysteryman
 
  3  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 05:42 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
So, lets see.
Even though they complain about the size of the debt, they are willing to increase it...

Quote:
At the same time, the number of Democrats who support a government safety net for the poor " such as guaranteeing food and shelter for the needy and spending to help them even if it means more debt


I thought the dems were for cutting the debt, based on all of the complaining they are doing about the size of the debt now.

Also, how do you "guarantee food and shelter for the needy"?
Are you going to demand that the needy take what you offer? What if they dont want it?

Quote:
Also, Obama promises a dramatically different tax policy, one that would raise taxes on the wealthy


Define wealthy!!
I want a dollar amount, not a partisan BS session.
Is someone wealthy if they make $50,000 a year?
What about $100,000 a year?

What exactly is the dollar amount required to be wealthy?

"
Quote:
Government SHOULD do more, especially when you're spending tens of billions of dollars in Iraq protecting the interests of millionaires," said Rebecca Washington, a Democrat and an accountant from Cleveland Heights, Ohio.


So the dems now support a bigger, more intrusive govt then we have now?


DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 05:53 pm
@mysteryman,
mysteryman wrote:
I want a dollar amount, not a partisan BS session.
Is someone wealthy if they make $50,000 a year?
What about $100,000 a year?

Based on what I've seen, it appears that Obama will not raise taxes on anyone below $600,000/year income.
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 06:31 pm
@DrewDad,
So then someone who makes most of their money on something other then a weekly paycheck, but still gets that magical $600,000 wont see a tax increase, correct?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 12:04 pm
@DrewDad,
mysteryman wrote:
I want a dollar amount, not a partisan BS session.
Is someone wealthy if they make $50,000 a year?
What about $100,000 a year?

Obama and McCain were asked this at the Saddleback Church forum last week...

LA Times:

Quote:
Their contrasting views on wealth surfaced during their back-to-back appearances in Southern California on Saturday night when each was asked to define "rich."

Obama didn't hesitate. "I would argue that if you are making more than $250,000, then you are in the top 3, 4 percent of this country," he said. "You are doing well."

McCain took a far more discursive approach to answering the question but ultimately settled on a dramatically higher figure: "I think if you're just talking about income, how about $5 million?" [..]

The candidates' answers may stem, in part, from their financial circumstances: From 2000 to 2004, before he began earning substantial royalties from his books, Obama and his wife reported income of between $207,000 and $275,000 on their tax returns. By contrast, McCain's wife's wealth has been estimated at more than $100 million.

But their positions were likely also driven by their tax policies. The Illinois Democrat has proposed tax hikes on individuals with incomes exceeding $250,000, while the Arizona Republican has declared his intention to extend the tax cuts begun by President Bush and make new cuts to corporate tax rates -- both moves that would benefit the very wealthy. An analysis by the Tax Policy Center has calculated that the middle-income earners would get a $325 tax cut from McCain's proposed changes to the tax code, while the top 20% would have their taxes reduced by $6,500.
0 Replies
 
slkshock7
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 12:40 pm
I would agree that the Democratic National Committee and many of the far-left Democratic leadership are joyfully welcoming an apparent (at least to their eyes) shift to liberality. However, I think this is a pipe dream on their part and certainly not anywhere close to the position of the average american voter. People want a change in the political scene from BOTH parties...going back to the heyday of "big government" and budget-busting New Deal-like policies is not change.

The Dems have an excellent chance to assume the reins of power in all three branches of Government this Nov. Therefore, I have little doubt that we will see a lurching leftward of the government over the next few years, especially if Obama wins and all executive branch constraints on the leftists in the Democratic party are effectively lifted. As a social conservative, this pains me greatly. However, looking back on the recent Republican era, it is very apparent that the Republicans went wrong when they forgot that most Americans are centrists. By swinging too far to the left, the Democrats will make the exact same error and will inevitably face the same fate. I take comfort in articles like this that reinforce my opinion that, at worst, Republicans will only be out of power for a few years. All we need to do is give the DNC sufficient rope to hang themselves. This article proves that they are busily buying the rope, even as we speak.
0 Replies
 
nicole415
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Aug, 2008 08:11 am
Quote:
What exactly is the dollar amount required to be wealthy?


There isn't such a number as there are too many other variables. For one thing, net worth is a better indicator of wealth than income. Someone coming out of college who lands a six figure job in San Francisco is most likely not wealthy unless he or she inherited it. OTOH a retired person with substantial assets living in a low cost of living area could be wealthy with only 50,000 in income.
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Aug, 2008 12:31 pm
@mysteryman,
Quote:
Define wealthy!!
I want a dollar amount, not a partisan BS session.
Is someone wealthy if they make $50,000 a year?
What about $100,000 a year?

What exactly is the dollar amount required to be wealthy?


fertheloveachrist, stop your whining and try doing your own homework.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States

100,000 to $149,999 (9.89% )
$150,000 to $199,999 (3.17%)
$200,000 to $249,999 (1.17%)
$250,000 and above (1.50%)


that's from 2005.

today, the top ONE percent make about $273,000/year. and since 9 out of ten households at that income level own their own home, mortgage deducutions reduce their rates well below the 30% rate on income.

"wealthy" is usually defined as the top 1-2 percent.

0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 08:51 pm
Hardly
0 Replies
 
 

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