|Source: The New Republic-|
As I've already blogged before I was hoping to here President Obama on Monday sound like a Jack Kennedy/Bill Clinton Liberal Democrat. Speaking in terms of what works about America, what's great with America, freedom, capitalism and so-forth.
But these things are only great when they work for all Americans and that government can play a role in seeing that there is an American system (key word being American) and that we do what works for us instead of trying to copy cat what other countries do in creating a system that works for the whole country, as President Clinton called an opportunity society.
Which is how New Democrats the Liberal Democrats in the party countered the Goldwater-Reagan Conservative Revolution. And was the next agenda and vision for America from the Democratic Party that moved past the New Deal and Great Society. Not to roll back those programs but that we needed a new vision that was less about government and more about what people could do for themselves if they were just empowered to do so with the tools and freedom to live their own lives. And thats the liberal vision I started hearing from President Obama yesterday.
I've always believed at least since Barack Obama has been President, that he's an economic Liberal. And that his shortcomings as a Liberal have been on social issues and civil liberties. My main disagreements with the President in the last four years, on things like the Patriot Act, indefinite detention and the War on Drugs. Especially as it relates to marijuana prohibition.
But Barack Obama's economic liberalism is pretty clear and it's built around government as it relates to the economy only doing what we needed it to do. That his view of government as it relates to the economy are limited but that it should do those things well. And we should finance it to the point that it can do those things well and do it in a fiscally responsible way. And these areas have to do with things like infrastructure investment, energy policy, education, job training. A safety net for people who fall on bad times so they can get by but also helps them get back up and so they can take care of themselves.
Barack Obama has never been an FDR or LBJ New Deal or Great Society Progressive Democrat. And thats what today's so-called Progressive Democrats don't like about the President. Because when they threw their support around Barack Obama in 2007-08, they thought they were getting one of their own and the President they see now is someone who is not as far to the left as they are.
But President Obama has always been an economic liberal because he's always believed in things like infrastructure investment, energy policy, an education system that works for the whole country where all Americans would have access to a quality education, job training for unemployed workers and low-skilled workers so they can go back to work and get a good job and move up the economic ladder. This is what economic liberalism is about and it's not really about the welfare state or safety net and having this system that takes care of people. But empowering those who need it to be able to take care of themselves. Which separates him from the Bernie Sanders/Dennis Kucinich Social Democrats in the Democratic Party.
This is the vision of economic liberalism that President Obama should get behind in his second term. Especially if we ever get past this debt and deficit reduction debate and the President and Congress can ever reach a long-term deal on that and then push his vision of economic liberalism and creating an opportunity society thats not government-centric. But that we have a limited government there to just do the things that we need it to do as it relates to economic policy. With the rest of the freedom and responsibility going to Americans themselves.
The New York Times: President Obama's 2013 Inauguration