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Posts Tagged ‘Progressivism’

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

In this long PBS style fundraiser marathon of a speech that Robert Reich gave in Washington about his book The Common Good, I got the sense that he was talking about what’s called the social contract. This idea that Social Democrats/Democratic Socialists and some Progressives push that government is there to make sure everyone is taken care and has what they need to live well in society. And Reich is probably using the New Deal from the 1930s and the Great Society from the 1960s, as his idea of what the social contract or the common good is.

As a Liberal I’m all in favor of a public safety net for people who truly need it. And if we’re going to continue to have a public safety net for people who are uneducated and under skilled, than that safety net should be used to empower people so they can get a good enough job to become economically self-sufficient and no longer need public assistance at all. Instead of just giving low-skilled workers and non-workers money that is produced by people who work hard for a living and don’t qualify for public assistance.

I’m all if favor of requiring people to who are on Welfare to go to work and even take the first job that opens up for them that they’re qualified for. As well as giving them child care assistance so they can go to work, if they have kids. As well as education assistance so they can go back to school and further and finish their education, so again they can get themselves a good job. That programs like Medicaid and Food Assistance, to use as examples, Public Housing would be another one, would be for low-income workers, instead of non-workers.

My idea of a safety net ( which I prefer over social contract or welfare state ) is a public social insurance system. There for people who can’t survive even in the short-term without that financial assistance. But also there to help those people get on their feet economically. Similar to auto insurance, or property insurance. You don’t use those insurances to pay your bills. You use them when your car is in an accident, or your house is on fire or gets flooded.

A safety net should be for people who lose their jobs, don’t have a good education, can’t afford health insurance, don’t make enough money to feed themselves, can’t afford housing. Not for people who simply don’t want to work in America.

Politics and Prose: Robert Reich- ‘The Common Good’

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Progressivism
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

What people need to understand about progressivism, is that it isn’t socialism. Sure, they are both about big centralized government, but progressivism isn’t completely about government. And doesn’t think individualism and individual initiative is necessarily a bad thing. Or that freedom isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Progressives, unlike Socialists in many cases, believe in all of those things. A true Progressive, doesn’t believe that government can and should do practically everything if not everything for the people. Socialists, don’t seem to have a problem that a new tax increase and government program can’t solve and do something new for the people.

Progressivism, was basically born in the late 1890s and early 1900s, under people like Teddy Roosevelt and later Woodrow Wilson and many others, as part of the so-called Progressive Era. These people who might have seem radical then, but today they would be mainstream Center-Left Progressive Democrats. And thanks to the Great Depression and with Franklin Roosevelt coming to power as President in 1933 with an overwhelming Democratic Congress in both the House and Senate, the New Deal was born. The American safety net and social insurance system. To help people in need help themselves and get themselves back on their feet.

The originally Welfare system was badly designed. Because it didn’t require people on Welfare to finish their education and even look for work. Unlike Unemployment Insurance where people have to look for work and even get help from the program looking for work. But the basic idea of progressivism is that government can help people when they are down get on their feet. And protect the innocent from predators. Either in the economy with the regulatory state. And put criminals way when they hurt the innocent physically and otherwise with the law enforcement state. And protect the country from foreign invaders with the national security state.

If you look at the economic options of the 1930s, the progressive economic approach was actually the middle ground. Which might sound strange even for that period. But think about it, you had Conservatives and Libertarians on the Right, saying that government shouldn’t do anything to help people who are down and stay out of the economy all together. To Democratic Socialists and Communists on the Far-Left, saying that private enterprise and capitalism is the problem. And that government should take over a lot of these sectors in the economy to serve the people. Progressivism, is not socialism, but a very mainstream American ideology.
Right-Wing Watch: FDR & The New Deal- “How Progressives Ended The Great Depression”

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Nelson & Eleanor

Nelson & Eleanor

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

To understand Nelson Rockefeller’s politics, you have to first understand the politics of the Republican Party up until 1966-67 or so. When the Republican Party officially moved into a different direction politically and became the official right-wing party in America. That had already started in 1964 with Barry Goldwater’s nomination for president, but the 1966 mid-terms is where it started paying off for the GOP in Congress and with governorships around the country.

See the Republican Party that Nelson fit into, was the GOP of the 1950s with Dwight Eisenhower. Nelson Rockefeller was no Liberal at least he wouldn’t be today. He certainly wasn’t a Bernie Sanders Democratic Socialist or Social Democrat either of course. But he also wasn’t a Rand Paul Tea Party Conservative Libertarian of today, or a Barry Goldwater Conservative Libertarian. If there is such a thing even sixty-years ago, Nelson Rockefeller would’ve been a Progressive Republican. And I mean that in the classical sense.

A classical Progressive in the sense of someone who believes in hard work, education and opportunity for all. A safety net for people who fall though the cracks of the private enterprise system. Someone who believed in rule of law and a tough internationalist foreign policy and national security. But someone who also believed in civil rights and equal rights for everyone. Nelson was to the Left of Franklin Roosevelt on social issues especially civil rights. But not as far to the Left of Franklin on economic policy and who wanted to create the next chapter of the New Deal.

Nelson wanted a safety net for people who truly needed it. Not a welfare state to manage people’s lives for them. And for everyone who was physically and mentally able, which is most of the country, he believed those people should get a good education, work hard and be productive. And then get to enjoy the rewards of their production. That if you were on public assistance because you couldn’t find a good job or not qualified to get a good job, that government could help you finish your education so you can become independent.

The Eisenhower/Rockefeller Progressives were no longer running the Republican Party by 1964. When President Eisenhower left office in 1961, Republicans were looking for a new direction and leadership. Senator Barry Goldwater filled that vacuum for them in 1964 and that is the direction they stuck with until President Ronald Reagan left office in 1989. And because of this there was no longer a base of support for Progressives like Nelson Rockefeller to step up and lead the GOP in that direction. Because they were now outnumbered by Conservatives.
The Political Lion: Conservatives Re-Take The Republican Party- 1964 GOP Convention

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Governor Nelson Rockefeller, R, New York

Source: This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily Times

If Nelson Rockefeller was alive today and still involved in public service in some way, whether it was in public office or working for non-profits, which he did both in his very long and distinguished career in public service. What party would he be affiliated with? I think it’s clear that maybe outside of the Northeast and of course he was from New York I believe GOV. Rockefeller would’ve had a very hard time getting elected as a Republican today. Especially in a Republican Party that’s now dominated by the Christian Right and to some extent Neoconservatives.

But neoconservatism has lost a lot if influence in the Republican Party, at least in the last two elections. Which I believe is a good thing, but the Religious-Right is still there and powerful there. And of course now with the Tea Party movement that’s now run by economic Conservatives and Religious Conservatives and with GOV. Rockefeller being fairly liberal at least to some extent on social issues except for crime and punishment, I don’t see how Nelson Rockefeller gets elected in the Republican Party today. He would probably be a better fit as a Democrat today with his liberal views on some social Issues. And his beliefs in public service and infrastructure investment, but probably like a Joe Lieberman.

Nelson Rockefeller was a social Liberal and somewhat progressive on economic policy. But more conservative on crime and punishment and foreign policy. I mean the Rockefeller Drug Laws aren’t called that for nothing, GOV. Rockefeller played a big role in advancing the War on Drugs in America. And also served as President Ford’s Vice President. Mr. Rockefeleller clearly had conservative leanings, but not enough of them for him to be successful in the Republican Party today. So where would Nelson Rockefeller go politically or maybe he would work on a third-party Movement instead.

I don’t see Nelson Rockefeller as a centrist, but an independent and they are different. A centrist is someone who’s pretty much middle of the road on most major political issues. But Rockefeller had clear political views, some conservative which is why he was a Republican. But also some liberal and progressive which is why I don’t believe he would be a Republican today. So maybe the Independence Party or a movement for that would’ve taken off with Rockefelller and George Wallace as their Leaders.

Nelson Rockefeller would be a prototypical Independent candidate and perfect for that type of political party as well. Someone who could help advance an Independence movement and would’ve been a great third-party candidate today. I don’t think he would’ve gotten elected President this way, but definitely been a factor as a presidential candidate. Sort of like George Wallace in 1968, Jack Anderson in 1980 and Ross Perot in 1992. And perhaps because of this we could’ve ended the two-party-system that under represents a lot of American voters and we could’ve had more choices in who to vote for.
History Comes To Life: Nelson Rockefeller Announces For The Presidency in 1968

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All The Kings Men

Broderick Crawford

Source: SPPN: All The Kings Men

I think the best way to describe Huey Long aka Louisiana Kingfish would be compared him with the recently deceased President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez. Even though Huey was a lot more Democratic than Hugo and believed in a greater deal of freedom. But they were both basically dictators who were corrupt who meant well and wanted to do good things. But weren’t really cutout to be chief executives and people with strong Progressive-Socialist leanings.

Both Huey and Hugo spoke about share the wealth and Social Justice, but wanted as much power as possible even centralized all the power with them to do these good works for the people. Huey Long was clearly a Democrat as far as party and politically and believed in democracy except when it went against him. And Hugo Chavez was a Socialist, but certainly not a Democratic Socialist.

Hugo was not a full-blooded Communist like Fidel Castro, but probably more like Neo-Communist. Someone who allowed for political opposition and a certain level of economic and personal freedom, but someone with strong dictatorial leanings as well. Huey was probably more Democratic than Hugo, but politically they were similar.

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Kingfish

Kingfish

Source: Daniel JB Mitchell: Huey Long Seen as Threat to FDR in The 1930s

Franklin Roosevelt and Huey Long were very similar Progressive Democrats in that they were both economic Progressives who believed in things like infrastructure investment funded by the public and making American capitalism work for more people. But there were several differences in the two and they mostly resulted around character.

Franklin had a lot of it and wasn’t a corrupt man or a corrupt politician looking to become some dictator over the United States. Huey was exactly that, but a dictator over Louisiana first as Governor where he basically ran the whole state under his leadership and when he left the Louisiana governors mansion to serve in Congress as a Senator, he was still running Louisiana.

But now Huey Long as a U.S. Senator had more national power and since these two men were similar ideologically at least on economic-policy, President Roosevelt saw Senator Long as a threat to his leadership and power and someone who needed to be put down. But Huey Long would’ve gone down anyway because of his lifestyle and how he carried himself in office.

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attachment-1-7BookTV: Robert C. Byrd- Child of The Appalachian Coalfields

Robert Byrd certainly had his flaws like once being a member of the Ku Klux Klan, which he later renounced. But what I respect most about Senator Byrd was his knowledge of the United States Congress and Constitution. Which is what missed most about him in Congress today. Senator Byrd was a self-taught Appalachian West Virginian, who literally had to work for everything that he ever received in life. The definition of someone who comes from nothing is almost someone who comes from Appalachia. Perhaps especially West Virginia which might be the poorest and most underdeveloped state in the union. Despite it’s beauty and natural resources, like coal. Which you would think could finance their infrastructure and education system by itself. You can say all you want about his Far-Right KKK bigotry of his early years and even into his fifties. Which will always be part of his legacy, but he was a lot more than that and a very effective and excellent legislature.

Bob Byrd was a classical legislature and member of Congress, who viewed his role as either a Representative, or Senator, or Senate Leader, as his job to represent West Virginia the state he loved and represented for 56 years in Congress, to represent his state . Because his state had so little. So what other members , the media and public, would call pork, Senator Byrd saw those infrastructure projects and pork, as tools to advance the state that he loved and represented in Congress again for 56 years. Six in the U.S. House and 50 in the Senate. Twelve years as Democratic Leader in the Senate alone. Six as Majority Leader and six as Minority Leader. And he was also what I could call at least a Classical Progressive. Someone who didn’t want government to do everything for everybody, which is how Socialists tend to feel. But use government to help people in need and help people could couldn’t help themselves.

Even with his KKK membership and beliefs that minorities weren’t equal and not deserving of the same rights and protections under the U.S. Constitution in his early career in Congress, Bob Byrd was always a Progressive. Not that progressivism is about bigotry, because of course it isn’t, but he always believed that government could be used as a force for good not to manage people’s lives for them, because again he wasn’t a Socialist. But used to help people in need in and outside of West Virginia. And use to empower people to get themselves on their own feet. With things like infrastructure, education, job training and a real safety net for people who truly need it. People who didn’t have the skills and education to financially support themselves. Who needed short-term assistance to get those skills and help them get those skills. SO they could eventually make it on their own.

 

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