James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, July 07, 2006

Libertarian Democrat Manifesto

Via Florida Congressional candidate Frank Gonzalez in the DFC Yahoo Group,
Former Democratic National Committee press secretary (in the 1980's) Terry Michael writes:
You might reduce the resulting GOP brand, which helped produce Republican victories in seven of the last ten national elections, to this: “Government bad. America good. The marketplace will provide. In God we trust. Meritocracy, but not equal outcomes, for all.”

The record of the Republican Party, particulary since they've been in power, is to enlarge government by leaps and bounds. From farm subsidies to the Medicare drug benefit, they've proven they do not believe the marketplace will provide. But I'm not disagreeing with Michael, rather agreeing wholeheartedly with Michael's larger point. It isn't the particular actions of the party, it is the brand. Many supporters of small government voted for George WMD Bush regardless of what he did the past four years; despite lack of evidence, they assumed that John Kerry would be much worse. Bush actions contradicted the GOP's message, but it was assumed that Kerry, "liberals," and Democrats in general support instead something like this:
“Government isn’t all that bad; look at Social Security and Head Start. America isn’t always that good; we try to impose our will on a multi-cultural world. The marketplace is full of bad guys who need to be restrained, including their greed-driven political speech. Hey, we’re religious, too. And, not just equal opportunity for all, but re-distributive social justice entitlements for special “minority” victims, because, except for me and my friends, racism endures.”

The Democrats don't have a brand, and therefore can not effectively and consistently counter the Republicans. But as technology and culture have returned more choices to individuals, Michaels believes the future of the party lies in its Jeffersonian, libertarian roots. The Democratic message should be something like this:
“Government: assure liberty by staying as far away as possible from our bank accounts, our bedrooms, and our bodies. Spread pluralistic democracy and free markets by example, understanding that neither can be planted by force on political real estate lacking indigenous cultivators for their growth. Restore the moral authority of mid-20th century “civil rights,” fashioning public policy around individuals, not tribal identity groups.”

Michaels hopes for a new political party, not by addition but by "reincarnation." It's certainly an uphill battle for libertarian Democrats, but it's an uphill battle for every advocate of small government of every party and of no party. I wish Michaels well. His entire piece, "Re-claiming our Jeffersonian liberal heritage,
with a back-to-the-future re-branding of the Democratic Party" can be found at his blog here.

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