Thursday, March 18, 2004
JOHN KERRY: NOT LIBERAL ENOUGH? Or at least, according to Katrina vanden Heuvel, not willing to own up to it.
So, next time you're asked, Senator, why not stand firm (you're already tall) and tell Americans, crisply, sharply and with conviction, how liberal values have shaped the greatness of this country. It won't lose you the election. It might just help you win it.I agree with this sentiment. If Kerry's voting record and proclivities are what most would call "liberal" (acknowledging that such labels are ambiguous at best), why not revel in it rather than try to straddle the fence? This would give the American people a clear choice between the major candidates. And vanden Heuvel is correct: much of the liberal legacy of the 20th century is very admirable.
I'm sure you don't need this, but here's a short list of some of the great triumphs of 20th century liberalism--all vigorously opposed by conservatives at the time: Women's suffrage; Social Security; unemployment compensation; the minimum wage; child labor laws; Head Start, food stamps; Medicare; federal housing laws barring discrimination; the Voting Rights Act; the Civil Rights Act; anti-pollution statutes, guaranteed student loan programs and the forty-hour work week.
Senator, these victories made America a more just and open society. These programs embody the civilizing and mainstream values of the past decades and they show how liberals have repeatedly fought for ordinary Americans. A fighting liberal would take on rightwing extremists who are determined to rollback the hard-earned rights and liberties of the 20th century. Why not stand on liberalism's proud heritage? It sure beats running away from a winning legacy.