"moderate" Democrats

I'll bite too. An excellent question, even if I'm not sure about Carl's two definitions--Chris

I'll bite. What is the definition of a "moderate" Democrat?

I catch grief from friends for being Right, Left and just plain radical on issues. But I find the people that embrace the label "moderate" Democrats to be.... Well, there's a couple categories.

There's the Israel-hawks that optimize there politics around their "support" for Israel (Israel gradually annexing Palestinian land).

And then there's the people that seem to spend more time and energy criticizing Democrats than talking about public policy or criticizing Republicans.

Am I missing something? How do "moderate Democrats" define themselves?

Tags: (all tags)



As a liberal Dem
I can't speak for moderate Dems but here are some key issues:
Pro-free trade.
Pro-balanced budgets.
Pro-Death Penalty.
Pro-Defense spending.

Thats all I can think of now. But like I said these are just my general impressions of what moderate Democrats think.

by sam89 2005-01-18 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: As a liberal Dem
key issues for you? or to define "moderate" Dems?
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: As a liberal Dem
I am for defense spending, I just don't like what they are going to spend it on.  I think we can afford to cut back on our spending some too (although it would be political suicide) since the US spends more than EVERY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD COMBINED per year.  If we are going to spend the money that lets have the money go toward increasing the armor on the ground vehicles, better Kevlar for soldiers, pay increases for soldiers, expanding the number of troops, better benefits for National Guard and Reserves retention instead of being spent on new missle types and Anti-missle defense systems, etc.
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 09:37AM | 0 recs
My definition has pretty much been that of a Populist....One who's POV tend to trend towards the popular opinion...Pro-Abortion, Pro-Death penalty, Pro-limited Gun Control (Not Gun Nut, but not wanting to get rid of guns completely), Anti-High Taxes (Ok with some taxes but not willing to tax and spend), Pro-Powell Doctrine (Strong Defense...Should only enter a war if there is a reason (IE Pearl Harbor attack) and then should demonstrate unstoppable force (Gulf War Bombings in 1990) to win before sending in ground troops...in other words don't go into war half-assed like Rumsfeld and the 2 Draft Dodgers did) etc, Pro-eviroment (but not to the extent the Greens or the eco-terrorists go too), pro-religion but not government sanctioned, etc.

  Of course they don't have to accept all of these opinions...I for one am anti-death penalty and probably not as into the enviroment as others.  But basically I have always seen the moderates adopting some of the conservative beliefs and some of the liberal beliefs.

by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate
Left off Pro-Balanced Budgets...Although I think many liberal Dems are heading this route after they have witnessed the Tax-cut and spend GOP.
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate
Here's what I hear when you post.

I hear someone who is willing to buy into the Republican charicature of Democratic interest groups.

You label serious environmentalists as eco-terrorists. My brother and my father are serious environmentalists. The girl I took to prom in HS is too. And I worked for the Nature Conservancy briefly.

The idea that people that feel passionately about the environment are destroying stuff is just not consistent with what's going on.

There is divergence of opinion in the environmental movement. Some like the Kyoto Treaty. Some think it's so flawed as to be not worth the effort. Serious environmentalists are pro-deer culling around here, but some of the animal rights people don't like it.

But in all my time with environmentalists I don't think I've ever met a single person to spike a tree. I don't know that anybody I know has either.

So "moderate" Democrats would go a long way toward not being divisive if they stopped using GOP characterization of other Democrats.

by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate
And I hear you assuming and reading into things that aren't there...a very bad habit you have.

No I do not equate serious enviromentalists with eco-terrorist.  Try not to read into things that aren't there.  A serious enviromentalist (in my eyes) is one who works hard to pass laws protecting the enviroment and keeping corporations or citzens from illegally damaging the enviroment.  The Greens are an excellent example of this.  Other strong-enviromentalists do break the law but it is usually in peaceful protest.  I am for a strong enviroment, but it is not a priority to me the way it is to other people.  An Eco-terrorist (in my eyes) is someone who tries to protect the enviroment by hurting those they feel are damaging it, either by damaging equipment or hurting people.  I include things such as slashing tires with caltrips (I think this is what they are called), damage equipment and trucks to keep the workers from working, putting spikes in the trees (and hopefully telling the loggers they are there...not telling them would be the one of the worst things that could be done.)  Civil disobedience to combat illegal actions is one thing, but if the company has the legal right to cut down the forest, then the protests should be as peaceful as possible (sit-ins, chaining to the trees, etc.)

Just because you have not met an eco-terrorist, doesn't mean they don't exist.  I have several friends who are strong enviromentalists, one of whom has known a tree spiker.They are obviously rare, but they do exist.  Look at people who have been prosecuted for it.  Do they make up the majority of enviromentalists?  Of course not, that's like saying all Muslims are part of Al-Qaida or that all Christians are right-wing zealots.  It just isn't true.  But saying they don't exist would be wrong as well.

I respect serious enviromentalists very much.  I may not agree with all of their positions, but I respect what they are doing, even if at times I think some of their proposals go a bit overboard.  I respect groups that want to change things by legislation and peaceful protests.  

Ultimately, never in my statement did I say enviromentalist = Eco-terrorists.  I had them as two seperate groups, simply saying most moderates support enviromental laws but not to the point the Greens or the eco-terrorists do.  Nowhere in that remark does it say they are one in the same.  Some destroy stuff to prove their point, most protest peacefully and make the enviroment one of their main political beliefs.  I think you need to re-read my first post a bit better and not just assume what you did.  I don't buy into the republican stereotype of enviromentalists...I know too many to do that.  So don't assume I do, when you know very little about me.

Afterall, remember what happens when one assumes...

by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate
Linking the party with fringe groups is counter-productive and in this case, inaccurate.
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate
Where do I like the party to fringe-groups?  No where I can see.

But that being said...

Are you telling me that there is no-member of the Democratic party who is part of a fringe group like an Eco-terrorist group?  Please prove that to me.

That is like saying that there are no GOP members in the Army of God or other Right-wing fringe groups.

Do I think a lot of party members are in the fringe groups?  Heck no.  They are a miniscule minority.  But it would be naive to think that no Democrat is a member.

You seem to be missing the point of my first post and leaping to conclusions that SIMPLY ARE NOT WARRANTED.  Go back and re-read the post please.  All I said was Moderates support the enviroment, but not to the extent the Greens or Eco-terrorists do.  NO WHERE in that statement does it tie the eco-terrorists to the Democratic Party.  The Party doesn't support these groups.  But one has to accept the probablity that a few individuals within the party belong to a group such as this.  Just FYI, if I don't come out and say "The Democratic Party supports or is made up of Eco-terrorists" then I am not linking the party to that particular fringe group.  Stop reading into things that aren't there...Sometimes a big white whale is simply a big white whale.  

(And sometimes he is Rush Limbaugh...sorry couldn't resist.)

by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 11:10AM | 0 recs
Pro-eviroment (but not to the extent the Greens or the eco-terrorists go too)

yitb, your original line makes it sound like half the Democratic Party are eco-terrorists. There's the "moderates" and the "eco-terrorists".

by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: eco-terrorists
Carl, YITBOS original line might sound like that to YOU, but it does not sound like that to ME or to HIM.  He's explained this, so you should feel comforted that your reading was errant.  He's not saying the 'moderates' against the 'eco-terrorists'.  YOU are being OVERLY SENSITIVE ;)
by manyoso 2005-01-18 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: eco-terrorists
Thank you.  Thought maybe I was going crazy.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 11:42AM | 0 recs
Try again for the third time...
OT: Where did you go to school?  I assume you graduated in 96 or was that the year you pledged?  I'm a delta sig from Epsilon Sigma.


by manyoso 2005-01-18 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Try again for the third time...
Missouri.  96 was initiation year.  BB is the Beta Beta Chapter, which is Missouri.  Good to see another Delta Sig.  Which chapter is Epsilon Sigma?
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: eco-terrorists
He set up the contrast on the environment between "moderate" Dems, eco-terrorists and Greens (not Dems). This is exactly the kind of bullshit wordgames Republicans pull.

I not only think my reading is reasonable, it is the most reasonable reading of the post.

by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: eco-terrorists
Carl, we've agreed on far more than we're ever likely to disagree.  I remember you from way back.  I think you even used to read Likely Story.  But, you are being overly sensitive in this instance.  Which is ok.  We all have our pet peeves and I can see you are rattled.  But, anyway, his clarification should make it all better, right?
by manyoso 2005-01-18 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: eco-terrorists
The clarification is problematic too.

His words indicate eco-terrorists are the most supportive of the environment. This is goofy.

This is like saying the hawks are the only ones that support Israel or the United States.

Good policy is good policy. Good environmental policy balances interests and improves the environment.

I reject the linear absolutist thinking that underlies the post as well as the specifics of needlessly using a GOP "frame".

by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: eco-terrorists
eco-terrorists are by far the most radicalized of the pro-environment set.  I would say they are the 'most supportive' if one were to interpret that as a statement of the extents to which they are willing to go.

irish terrorists who maim and kill english folk are the most supportive of the IRA if by that you mean the extents to which they are willing to go.

but, if you read back and look at the totality of his posts, I think you are seeing dichotomies between the two of you that probably do not exist.

by manyoso 2005-01-18 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: eco-terrorists
How do my words indicate Eco-terrorists are the most supportive?  Not even a loose interpretation could indicate that.  If anything I would say the Greens are the most supportive.  I personally feel the Eco-terrorists hurt their cause.  Fringe groups such as that are counter-productive.  

There is no GOP frame here.  No other person can see one.  You appear to be the only one.  

by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: eco-terrorists
Carl, go back and read all my posts to see how "republican" I am.  I am far from one.  At this point, either you just don't get it or you are deliberatively misinterpreting what I wrote.  

BUT, please disect my post and show me exactly how I contrast moderate Dems, eco-terrorists and Greens.  ALL I SAID WAS THEY DON'T HAVE THE SAME ENVIROMENTAL POLICIES.  HOW IS THIS HARD TO UNDERSTAND?

by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 11:54AM | 0 recs
Re: eco-terrorists
Give a label to the set of Democrats that aren't "moderate" or "eco-terrorists".
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: eco-terrorists
I would call them Democrats.  

One issue doesn't make you a Democrat.  We are the big tent parties.  Many different factors led us to become Democrats.  Personally, I chose the Democratic party because most of my beliefs tend to be the same as most of the Democratic candidates.  That doesn't mean I agree with everything the party does or believes.

Some Democrats have a conservative POV on the enviroment.  Some have a liberal view.  Some have a moderate POV.  That doesn't mean that their are 3 possible views of enviromental policy.  I may look at two people and say they both have liberal enviromental policies, but one may have more liberal beliefs than the other.  You keep looking at this as a black or white issue.  It isn't. The world is grey.  Most issues have shades of grey to them. Enviromentalism is one of them.  

There isn't a textbook definition for Moderate Democrats.  My first post was some of the POVs that I felt moderate Democrats might have.  These aren't by any means the only one.  Ultimately, I feel I am a populist.  In my opinion, that makes me a moderate.  I have been called liberal by people who consider themselves conservatives.  I have been called moderate by friends who consider themselves liberal. I have never been called a conservative, but there is a first for everything.  

I have some beliefs that are attributed traditionally to conservative people.  These include long sentences for violent crime, forcing a balanced budget, and lower taxes (but not elimination of the IRS or having a VAT), especially for the less fortunate.  I have beliefs that are traditionally called liberal.  These include pro-gay marriage, some type of public health option (not necessarily a mandated public health service that all Americans have to use, like Canada, but a lower cost government one that can be used as an alternative to private companies), legalization of some drugs such as pot, pro-union, anti-death penalty, rehabilation sentencs for non-violent criminals, etc.  I also hold some views that are popular with a majority of Americans (as evidenced through public opinion polls) such as Pro-choice and the Powell doctrine to defense and war.  I consider my self a populist, but others would probably call me something else.  Ultimately, what does it truly matter?  I support the Democratic party and am not giving up on it, as several others have.  I am supporting Dean for DNC, not for his ideology but because of his plan for the party.  I like that he wants to run a 50 state election.  I like that he believes, as I do, we need to win elections at the local and state level, creating a "minor" league of potential candidates for higher level politics.  I like that he understands how important it is to get control of the Sec of State offices in all of the Blue states and Purple states.  I like he wants to try to have an opponent in every race to force the GOP to contest races they might not have to otherwise.  I like he is willing to bring the fight to the GOP which is what this party needs right now.  We need to be willing to get dirty.  It took a lot for me to be convinced to support him, but eventually he won me over.  

by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 04:04PM | 0 recs
Moderate Dem as I see it.
It is more virtous to win that to feel ideoligically pure.

If a Conservative Dem can win in Texas or another very red state then that Dem should not be critised for being MUCH more conservative than a dem from Cali or another very BLUE state.

To me its more about being pragmatic than about being a litmus test of ideas.

by donkeykong 2005-01-18 10:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Dem as I see it.
Let's apply some pragmatic evaluation to your ideas about pragmatism.

Does it work? Does it work for Dems to migrate to the Right?

by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Dem as I see it.
Clinton was to the right of Mondale and Dukakis.
by donkeykong 2005-01-18 10:57AM | 0 recs
interpretting Clitnon
This is one interpretation of three elections.

How did the Democratic Party do under Clinton's "centrism"?

by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: interpretting Clitnon
Fair point, although one has to wonder if the 1994 election would have happened if Clinton's health plan had passed or if Hillary had not been put in charge (which created a backlash...still not sure why but what can you do.)  Had that policy passed would the GOP have taken over?  If they hadn't taken over, would Bill have been impeached (NO).  Would the country have suffered from Clinton fatigue in 2000 which may have been a factor in Gore's loss (from the lack of Clinton Campaigning and the association of Gore with Bill.)?  I wonder...
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: interpretting Clitnon
Since the Dems controlled the Congrss when the plan failed, which wing of the Dem Party balked at passing the Clinton plan?

Was it the liberals? Or was it the "moderates"?

If your interpretation of history is correct isn't it the moderates that pretty much fucked the Democratic Party?

by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: interpretting Clitnon
I was just posing a hypothetical question.  There is no interpretation of history.  
Politics within the party fucked that bill royally and hurt the party.  I would say it was a group of moderates, conservatives and probably a liberal or two who didn't think it went far enough.  Remember, some vote against a bill because it doesn't go far enough.  Protest votes.

It amazes me you were chiding Donkeykong for being like this earlier, yet you do the exact same thing.  Not to start a flame war...debate is good but belittling others opinions like you have been because they disagree with you is not helpful in fostering new ideas or propelling the debate.  

And for the record, I happened to agree with your post I responded too.  I was posing a What if afterwards.

by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: interpretting Clitnon
This is an alternative history, and as such has little to do with the pragmatic accounting of how DLC centrism has faired at the ballot box.

Quickly, a complete review overwhelmingly supports the notion that DLC centrism has FAILED.  Utterly.

I believe this has less to do with ideological differences and much more to do with the DLC's strategic points of emphasis.  The current crowd has forgot (or never learned) how to fight a majority.  You don't do it by joining them.  That is the way to ensure they stay the majority.  The Right learned this lesson thouroughly and now are reaping the reward.

by manyoso 2005-01-18 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: interpretting Clitnon
Great points.  Just to add, the current crowd also has not learned how to get dirty.  One thing I respect about the GOP (and it is one of two things) is there willingness to fight tooth and nail.  The democrats are like the good guys in Pro wrestling.  We play by the rules, but lose when the heel hits us with a wrench or other object.  The current DLC is afraid to fight.  One thing I will say about Dean (and this is why I am supporting him for DNC chair after not supporting him for Pres)he will bring the fight, which is what the party needs for long term success.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: interpretting Clitnon
manyoso, while we lost seats under Clinton, it is hard to make the case that a more liberal policy would have fared any better.  Clinton at least put an end to landslide Republican wins at the national level.  Many of the seats we lost were due to a slow progression of conservative southern democrats slowly either switching, retiring and having republicans replace them, or losing.  Remember, Richard Shelby was once a Democrat.  
by pat0704 2005-01-18 03:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Dem as I see it.
What's the point of being a Dem? Is it just about winning?
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 10:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Dem as I see it.
cause losing is so much fun???
by fightforamerica 2005-01-18 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Dem as I see it.
I think he is asking which s more important, Sticking to our party values or Compromising everything to win, the way the GOP has.  I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle personally.
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-19 04:13AM | 0 recs
Republicans compromising?
On what has the GOP compromised?
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-19 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Republicans compromising?
It is tough for those suffering the most under Republicans to take comfort from our "pricipaled stands"
by fightforamerica 2005-01-19 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Republicans compromising?
In my opinion they have compromised on smaller government, they have compromised on less spending.  They used to be the party of the fat cat, now the fat cats appear to be a minority and zealots seems to the favorites (along with the Fat cat zealots, who are the most important figures in the party).  Of course this is just one person's opinion.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-19 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Republicans compromising?
I'm shocked!

Republicans embraced "no suffering" budgets when they started to control who paid and who got rich.

by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-19 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Dem as I see it.
I disagree...I don't think the moderate Dems whole goal is to win.  Maybe in this election since most Dems hated Bush, but not overall.  I feel they want to uphold there values, but are willing to compromise on some things to achieve others that they place a higher value.   They tend to pick their battles vs the extremes of both parties who generally want EVERYTHING their way.  There is a Neo-con Woman's Group (they were in US today last week) who WILL NOT compromise on anything they have said.  They want NO-ABORTION whatsoever...they won't even compromise on Rape/incest/health stipulations (against it).  The left has groups like this too.  Personally, I have always felt that this hurts the groups more than helps them as they probably won't get their big items passed, but that is just my opinion.

It seems like many are lumping moderate and conservative Dems together, which to me is quite erroneous.  They are two different beliefs, with the conservate dems more like the GOP than any other part of the party (IMHO).

by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 10:56AM | 0 recs
And let's not forget.....

...that between the year Martin van Buren left the Democratic Party and the year Strom Thurmond left it, we were a party of Northern immigrants, Southern segregationists, and Western populists.

If FDR built a coalition out of THAT, I think we can fit Nancy Pelosi, Dennis Kucinich and Tim Roemer under our tent.

To answer your question, winning requires a sense of who you are and a smart way of communicating it. Both that sense and that communication should, and often do, defy categories of 'left/right' and 'red/blue'.

(For more info, see: Dean, Gov. Howard, Pres. candidacy of;).

by CT Lex 2005-01-18 10:46AM | 0 recs
What do you have against Jews?  I guess you don't like the Kennedy's or Feingold.  The Kennedy's are very pro-Israel.  Seems like you are an anti-Zionist.  I believe in Israel.  Have you forgotten that it was the Jewish land to begin with?  I am a member of the religious left.  I am opposed to the 10 Commandments on gov't property as they wouldn't be the exact Commandments given to Moshe at Mt. Sinai.  Under FDR, America waited too long to enter WW2.  Additionally, they turned away many Jewish immigrants.  Those Jews had to go back to Europe and get slaughtered by that schmuck Hitler.  They had nowhere else to go.

I'm in favor of big tent.  I'm pro-choice as I believe that it should be between a woman, her doctor, and family but I personally am against abortion.  I don't force my beliefs on others.

The thing about Israel is when the right wing is in power in America, Israel is seen as bad.  Israel was prosperous when Bill Clinton was in power.   Israel has the right to exist.  But when you come out saying that Israel has no right to exist, as I see it is implied, you lose about an entire wing of people that donate to the Democratic party.  Right now, the DCCC Chair seved in the IDF (he's Jewish) and the DSCC Chair is also Jewish.

by kydem 2005-01-18 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate

Just because someone mentions the word Israel-Hawk doesn't mean they are anti-jewish, anti-semetic, or anti-Zionist.  They just mentioned that many moderate Dems support the policy.  And just because someone is not an Israel-Hawk, does not make them anti-semetic.  Is a person racist if they don't support reparations?  Some people (myself included) do not agree with the current policy of blindly supporting Israel in every endeavor.  That is too black and white for a shades of grey world.  I think the Palenstinians have some valid points, just as I think Israelies have valid points.

An Anti-Zionist would be one who feels Jews are second class citizens or worse.  That they do not deserve equal rights and that they are bad just because they are jewish.  Just because someone disagrees with a political position about another country (NOT A RELIGION) does not make them anti-semetic.

Sorry, KYDEM.  That is addressed to others, not just you.  It is starting to get on my nerves a bit and you happened to put me over the top.

by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate
Just to point out a few things...

  1. Nowhere did Carl ever say he was against Jews or that they didn't deserve to exist.  How you can even infer that is a mystery to me.  

  2. Why would you think he doesn't like kennedy or feingold because he doesn't believe in the Israel-Hawk position?  Since when does one have to agree with a person 100% to like or support them.

  3.  Technically, when Jesus was born it was Roman land.  Unless you are a believer in a literal translation of the bible (in which case the earth is only 10,000 years old or so.), no one knows who settled that land first.  We do know that people practicing the Jewish faith eventually settled there and were conquered by the Romans and others as time went by.  Most people feel that Israel should exist as a country.  This is not the position of Israel-Hawks.  Many of us also feel the Palestinians deserve their own country.  That doesn't make us anti-semetic.

  4.  Go and read up on the history of WW2 in America before Pearl Harbor.  FDR had no congressional or public support to enter the war.  Most people wanted the US to remain Neutral, feeling it was a European War.  Pearl Harbor changed that.  If that attack hadn't happened, Europe would probably be a different place.  

  5.  What are the exact commandments?  This is more for curiosity than anything.

  6.  Bush is very Israel-Hawk, more so than Clinton.

  7.  Isn't Bayh anti-abortion?
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 11:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate
Bayh has a mixed abortion record.  I've never been against a Palestinian state.  I've said in the past, orally, that I would support one when they agree to a peace treaty which includes the shutting down of Hamas as well as the stopping of weapons smuggling.

Bush is pro-Israel and there's no disputing that.  However, he's only pro-Israel because that's what the Christian right wants.

Bayh's record on abortion
Voted NO on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime. (Mar 2004)
Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life. (Mar 2003)
Voted NO on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions. (Jun 2000)
Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions. (Oct 1999)
Voted NO on disallowing overseas military abortions. (May 1999)
Rated 50% by NARAL, indicating a mixed voting record on abortion. (Dec 2003)
Expand embryonic stem cell research. (Jun 2004)

The exact commandments?  There are 10 major ones that many religions use but Judaism has 613--both positive and negative commandments.  LINK

by kydem 2005-01-18 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate
Maybe I am missing something, but I am failing to see where that site is saying that those 613 commandments were the same ones Moses got from God in Exodus.  It sounds like they are a combination from many different sources.  I could eb wrong though so please clarify.  Thanks.
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate
Israel has equal rights for all.  This goes unreported in the mainstream media.

It puts me over the top when someone calls me pro-Likud or an Israel hawk.

by kydem 2005-01-18 01:10PM | 0 recs
define "equality"
So Palestinians under Israeli occupation have full human rights on par with, say, Israeli Jews?
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: define "equality"
read this.  until recently, only Orthodox Jews qualified for the law of return.  Now, all three major denominations of Judaism qualify.  The mainstream media has mainly an anti-Israel bias.
by kydem 2005-01-18 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: define "equality"
So when you wrote "equal rights for all" you meant all Jews and not gentiles. Is this correct?
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: define "equality"
equal rights, in general, is a different thing than the law of return.
by kydem 2005-01-18 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: define "equality"
Are you claiming that the only right (from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) abridged by the Israeli gov't is the right of return?
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: define "equality"
Carl is right.  The palestinians do not have the same rights as Jewish Israelies.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 04:08PM | 0 recs
Re: define "equality"
Just like it has a liberal bias...Many of the people in the media and higher ups within the conglomerates are Jewish.  You may be the only person I have ever seen who claims the media has an Anti-Jewish Bias.  The facts don't support that claim.
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 04:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate
I never called you an Israel-Hawk.  I said Do not call those who aren't Anti-semetic.
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 04:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate
Please Kydem don't make that argument. Thats a Republican argument. "If you don't support the war you're anti-American." I'm Jewish, I've been to Israel (when there was peace). I think Israel has the right to exist and I think Israel has done some good things. I think Sharon and his thugs have hijacked Israel through fear and propoganda much like Bush and the Repubublicans.
by sam89 2005-01-18 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate
this just in--since people have discussed ethical standards for bloggers and journalists.  someone on the Palestinian Authority's payroll are also on the AP's payroll.  LINK

I don't like being referred to as an Israel-hawk.  I am very sensitive to such things.  When I say very sensitive, I mean VERY sensitive.  I have cousins that were very close to buses that were bombed, buildings that were bombed, etc.

I may not be the biggest Sharon fan but I wholeheartedly support Israel 200%.

by kydem 2005-01-18 01:02PM | 0 recs
supporting Israel 200%
Does this mean you support Israel annexing enough Arab land to double its size?
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: supporting Israel 200%
arafat had a good deal in the 1990's and he refused the deal as he gave in to Arab leaders.

keep in mind, Israel is less than the size of Jersey.  And a lot of the Arab countries around there are theocracies.

by kydem 2005-01-18 01:25PM | 0 recs
meeting of the minds
Apparently Arafat didn't think it was a good deal.
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: meeting of the minds
he came back a few months later saying he'd accept it
by kydem 2005-01-18 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: meeting of the minds
Got a link to support that?

A link to an independent news source.

by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: meeting of the minds
it's in clinton's book
by kydem 2005-01-18 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: meeting of the minds
Perhaps you can quote it because I don't remember Clinton saying that.

And Clinton saying Arafat intimated something to him privately ain't the same as Arafat saying he'd take that deal.

by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-18 01:58PM | 0 recs
Funny you should mention Feingold.  Just because he is jewish doesn't mean he is a raving pro-Israel hawk-and vice versa-just because somebody is not pleased with how Israel treats the Palestinians doesn't make them an anti-semite. Feingold himself is less pro-Israel than you and many others are.  I agree with Feingold's position, and am against yours.


Q: What about the current crisis in Israel and Palestine, which just seems so despairing? What is your position?

Feingold: Well, I have long believed that Israel should seek to give up the so-called Occupied Territories in return for security, and that a Palestinian state should be established. I have felt that way all my life. I think it is unreasonable to ask the Israelis to do this in a context where there is no guarantee at all that suicide bombers will be controlled. Even though Ariel
Sharon would've been my last choice for prime minister, I do agree with his spokesman who said given what has happened in the last few weeks that Israel is, in fact, on the front line of terrorism. I think that is true. But that doesn't mean that the Palestinian people themselves don't deserve self-determination and a state. They do. So the tragedy right now is that the people who are running the show are the very conservative elements in Israel along with the scariest people on the Palestinian side who, quite frankly, are big fans of bin Laden.

Q: There is absolutely no defense for these suicide bombings. But I have to believe that Sharon isn't helping anyone's cause by attacking Arafat the way he is.

Feingold: I don't know what he thinks he's accomplishing by this image of Arafat holed up in this building. I don't get it. If there is some rationale, I'd love to hear it. I don't think it's helpful.

Q: And the Israeli military seems to be taking steps that are going to sow resentment among Palestinians for another generation.

Feingold: That's true. But they're in a terrible dilemma. I don't know how you explain to your families that you're going to sit back and twiddle your thumbs while suicide bombers strap bombs to themselves and kill your kids. Who would put up with that?
I believe that the Israelis and the Palestinians, by and large, want peace, they each want their own country, and they want to get along, and they are going to get along. I know it sounds unbelievable, but I know enough about this, having been there, that these are sophisticated people. It's not like in Pakistan, where people have been told about Jews for a thousand years but don't know any. The Palestinians know the Jews. And the Jews know the Palestinians. And they know they're not really different. And they know they are from the same background. And they know if they coordinated that they could be an economic success and a real basis for a rebirth in the Middle East.

by Geotpf 2005-01-18 08:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold
Wow, good answers.  I will definately have to look more at Feingold as the field of 2008 Presidential Hopefuls becomes established.  Right now, I like Clark, Edwards and Warner, but Feingold is one to watch out for.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-19 04:17AM | 0 recs
I can't speak for all moderates, as many have used to preface what they say, but to me, being a moderate Democrat is summed up well with these points:

  • Abortion - Legal, but only in the case of rape or incest.

  • Gun Rights - Pro-gun ownership and responsible gun use.

  • Economy - Lower spending, work to keep Government running on-budget.

  • Defense - No cost is too great to insure that our fighting men and women are safe.

  • Same-Sex Marriage - It's a state issue, states ought to have the right to decide one way or another.

The New Democrat
by demburns 2005-01-18 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderates
Do you consider yourself a moderate Democrat. If so thinking abortion should only be legal in rape/incest is a Republican talking point, and a stupid argument. If you think rape is somehow more traumatic than other circumstances you see the world in the black/white of the religious fundamentalists. If you really think abortion is murder then you would also ban it for rape because no one will die if the baby is born. Even Bill clinton would disagree with you on this one.
by sam89 2005-01-18 12:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderates
I wouldn't consider your Abortion statement a traditionally moderate POV.  Most would call that a conservative POV.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-18 04:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderates
I would say that a moderate Democrat would be one to adopt a pragmatic approach to the abortion issue.

They do not want unrestricted abortion, but believe banning it would do more harm than good.

They would support Roe, but also support restrictions such as parental consent laws, right to know laws, and the partial-birth abortion ban. In other words, Roe - as modified by Casey.

by wayward 2005-01-19 06:12PM | 0 recs

I would define it as pragmatic policymaking.  (Not the same as pragmatic electioneering).

Everyone would say that they believe in policy that leaves people happy, secure, healthy, and living an enjoyable, fun lifestyle.  Moderates, however, are telling the truth when they say that. An ideologue starts with some preconceived postulate about what makes people happy, and they will not abandon their postulate.  For example, a libertarian starts with the postulate that minimum government intervention leads to maximum happiness.  A moderate starts with no postulates, only reasonable hypotheses and a willingness to see what worked and what didn't.

by joshyelon 2005-01-18 11:32AM | 0 recs
Moderate Democrat
Mostly I think it is a matter of priorities. As a moderate, my top priorities for the national government are (in no particular order):

  1. Improve the conditions of the worst-off members of society.
  2. Protect civil liberties.
  3. Protect the environment.
  4. Create economic growth.
  5. Protect public safety.
  6. The use of empirical methods to decide what policies are effective in accomplishing the above.

Where I see myself as differing from more liberal Democrats is that I see #4, #5, and #6 as more important than they seem to. I am also less concerned about income inequality than I am about absolute living standards for the poor. Additionally, I tend to see markets, competition, and capitalism as powerful beneficial things that need tempering from government. I think most on the left seem a necessary evils at best. I also see liberals as frequently being more concerned about symbolic victories than they are about results. Generally, they have a more emotional, and less rational, way of solving societal problems. Both a moderate and a liberal would use hard data showing positive results to defend a government program. But if the data showed negative results, the liberal would attack the methodology and the motives of its sponsors. The moderate would want to retool the program.

I have to say that these knocks on moderates as unprincipled (not really stated here but implied) tend to irk me. Often, conservatives get more credit from liberals for being principled than moderates get. I think this usually reveals naive thinking, believing that there is dichotomy of choices between conservatives and liberals. In some issues (gay marriage, for instance), this is true. But often it is just a disagreement over priorities, or different understandings over how well something is working.

Moderates would caricature liberals as naive do-gooders who think throwing money at a problem solves it, and would caricature conservatives as heartless bastards. In that view, moderation is where the heart and head meet.

by Raskolnikov 2005-01-18 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Democrat
I think #6 is most important of all.  One failing program can taint ten sucessful ones.  Additionally, appearing dogmatic seems to hurt Democrats much more than it does Republicans.  Maybe that has something to do with the absolutism that is at the heart of much of conservative ideology.  Democrats seem to do much better when they have a "roll up the sleeves and look under the hood" attitude instead of pretending to have all the answers.  
by pat0704 2005-01-18 02:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Democrat
I think it depends what you are dogmatic about. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is pretty fundamental to politics. Many people only get seriously interested in social issues when they have generally comfortable lives themselves, or unless those issues directly affect them. If they are concerned about their job, health, safety, or well-being of their children, they will circle the wagons.

I don't think Democrats see this. If you really want to implement a Democratic agenda, I think you need to get the fundamentals right first. Republicans do see this, and they are dogmatic about the fundamentals. Crime. National defense. The moral environment in which we raise our children. Reassured on those points, the public elects them and gives them free rein to implement the rest of their agenda as well, which enjoys less popular support.

Democrats have easy access to the high ground on a lot of health and (non-crime) safety issues. But those just aren't perceived as problems right now for the political mainstream.

by Raskolnikov 2005-01-18 10:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Democrat
You have a lot of misconsceptions about liberalism.

Where I see myself as differing from more liberal Democrats is that I see #4 [Create economic growth], #5 [Protect public safety], and #6 [The use of empirical methods to decide what policies are effective in accomplishing the above] as more important than they seem to.

Liberals are just as committed to economic growth as any other group. In fact, if you look at the record, since World War II the liberal administrations of Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson have produced some of the best economic outcomes in terms of high growth and low unemployment:

GDP Growth Rate    (annual percent)
Kennedy 1961-63    4.8%   
Ford    1974-77    4.6   
Johnson    1963-69    4.1   
Truman    1945-53    4.0   
Reagan    1981-89    2.9   
Eisenho    1953-61    2.3   
Carter    1977-81    2.1   
Nixon    1969-74    1.9
Bush    1989-93    1.5

Average 1946-93    3.0

Average Unemployment Rate (percent)

Johnson 1963-69 3.8%
Truman  1945-53 4.0
Eisenho 1953-61 5.4
Kennedy 1961-63 5.5
Nixon   1969-74 5.9
Bush    1989-93 6.6
Carter  1974-77 6.7
Reagan  1981-89 7.2
Ford    1974-77 7.4

Average 1946-93 5.7

So we liberals have nothing to apologize for on the economic management front.

Philosophically, we left/liberals also see less of a conflict between policies that promote high economic growth and those that reduce poverty and inequality.

You "moderates" are always going on about "growing the pie" rather than "redistributing it," but there is no necessary conflict. The period between 1948 and 1973 -- the heyday of liberal economics -- was a period of high productivity growth, high economic growth, and substantial reductions in inequality and poverty.

The policies that produced them included aggressive use of fiscal and monetary policy to keep unemployment low and growth high, substantial public investments in education and R&D to keep productivity growth high, support for labor market institutions like unions and the minimum wage that ensure that workers get their share of the growing pie, and large-scale welfare state programs like social security, Medicare and Medicaid, Great Society antipoverty programs, and the like.

On crime, the idea that liberals are pro-criminal or want to do nothing about high crime rates is just part of the propoganda put out by the Right-Wing Noise Machine. No truth to it whatsoever. Hubert Humphrey put an 84-point anti-crime program front and center in his 1968 presidential campaign. Bobby Kennedy was seen as more of a "law-and-order" candidate than was Richard Nixon. Rudy Giuliani gets all the credit for the falling NYC crime rate, but it was David Dinkins who began beefing up the police force, and under whose administration crime rates in NY started falling. Why don't we get any credit for that?

The idea that liberalism is responsible for high crime rates is ridiculous. Crime rates rose everywhere in America between the mid-1950s and the early 1990s, whether they were governed by liberals, moderates, or conservatives.

Just because we liberals also favor strong civil liberties protections for the accused and for minorities who are discriminated against by our criminal justice system does not mean we are any less sensitive to crime as a social problem than you moderates are. In fact, the problems in our criminal justice system engender a disrespect for the law that itself breeds higher crime rates. Again, there is no necessary conflict between civil liberties and fighting crime.

The idea that liberals are less pragmatic or less rational and more "emotional" than you moderates is also bunk. If liberalism means anything, in means a non-dogmatic balancing of ideals like freedom, equality, or community; or balancing growth with justice in economic policy. Liberals are devoted to pragmatic experimentation in the service  of finding out "what works."

The health insurance issue is a excellent example of this. Every other industrialized country in the world has some version of a single-payer health insurance system that covers everybody. Those countries spend less on health than we do, and their health outcomes -- life expectancy, height, infant mortality -- are better than ours.

A real pragmatist who "uses empirical methods to decide what policies are effective" would immediately advocate adopting such a system here in the US. But it's you "moderates" who, ironically are ideologically biased against such a system because it is not "market-based" enough. Who is being the ideologue here, and who is being the pragmatist?

So we liberals have nothing to apologize to you moderates for.

by tgeraghty 2005-01-18 03:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Democrat
Cheers, tgerahty! Great post.
by Rob in Vermont 2005-01-18 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Democrat
  1. On economic growth, your numbers don't match what the Bureau of Economic Statistics has. But your general point is correct that economic growth isn't noticeably worse under Democrats. However, you miss the point. The left-liberal in 1948 was Henry Wallace, not Truman. Truman was the military hawk who threatened to draft striking workers. Kennedy ran to the right of Nixon on national defense in 1960, accusing the Eisenhower administration of having allowed a missile gap with the Russians. One of Johnson's first major laws was a tax cut. My comments were not aimed at them, but at the post-Vietnam variety of American liberal.

  2. On growing the pie, I strongly agree that many programs can both grow the pie and result in more equal distribution of it. Education is the best example, and it tends to be supported by moderate Democrats and Republicans as well (I live in a city that went for Bush that always seems to pass its school funding levies). But liberals tend to want to throw money at schools rather than support accountability and choice options. By choice, I don't mean private school vouchers. In Minnesota, my home state, the left at the teachers unions opposed public school choice and giving high school seniors the option of taking college-level classes that might better suit their needs. The law was passed anyway by a moderate Democratic governor. Welfare reform is another example. Liberals accurately saw risks in setting work requirements, but didn't seem to see the risks in allowing the cycle of welfare dependency to continue.

  3. On crime, the strength of the liberal approach to crime is to address the underlying societal factors behind it. The strength of the conservative approach is to put the perps behind bars. The weakness of each is that they are soft on the other approach. Moderates want to blend the two. Bobby Kennedy did indeed have a good track record, but what ideological group tended to oppose "truth in sentencing" laws?  New York is a good case study. One of the things that New Yorkers are thrilled about lately is the massive decrease in quality of life problems - panhandling, graffiti, the sex trade, vandalism, etc. That was largely driven by a crackdown that was opposed by many on the left. As I said, it is an issue of priority. Granting greater power to the criminal justice system increases the likelihood that that power will be abused. Tying their hands reduces that likelihood, but increases the likelihood that someone guilty will go free. Everyone draws that line in a slightly different place. Liberals draw it further away from public safety.

  4. On health care, you make the common mistake of assuming that every other industrialized country is like Canada or Britain. Most have a mix of public and private care. And I would say that again it is liberals being dogmatic on the issue. Liberals haven't deviated from their support for single payer. Moderates have been experimenting like mad. One thing we are discovering is that many of the experiments don't work. I am personally coming a lot closer to embracing a single payer system, but before performing major surgery on the US health care system, I don't regret us trying less invasive procedures first, particularly since a single payer system is politically impossible, and half a loaf that reduces the problem of the underinsured (which was a result of the various reforms in the 90s) is better than none.

  5. On empiricism: trade and environmental policy were two things I had specifically in mind. The left often ignores the empirical economic work supporting globalization as a key to improving global living standards. The left also frequently ignores evidence that certain health and environmental problems might not really be problems. It never seems to be a moderate who is convinced that mercury levels in flu vaccines are so bad that you shouldn't get vaccinated, or gets in a dander about unsupported claims of health risks in baby toys. Meanwhile, real environmental and health problems don't get the resources they could.

Anyway, I really don't want to get into a major bout of infighting with regard to liberals v. moderates. You are far closer to being my ideological kin than George Bush or Ralph Reed. My response, and its tone, was primarily rooted in a perceived attack on moderates as unprincipled. I hear that a lot and it tends to get under my skin. My larger point was to articulate what I see as moderate principles. I found that hard to do meaningfully without drawing contrasts.
by Raskolnikov 2005-01-18 10:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Democrat
For the record, Truman supported full-employment planning, national health insurance, strong labor unions, price controls, and expanded public spending for Social Security, education and affordable housing. That's liberal by any definition.

And, by the way, the Kennedy "missile gap" was nonexistent and pure demagoguery, we now know. If that's your ideal model for Democratic politics . . .

I will just reiterate that many of your points in the reply seem to be, as before, caricatures of liberal positions or policy outcomes that are spun by the right-wing media machine.

  • Liberals "tend to want to throw money at schools"

  • "The liberal approach to crime is to address the underlying societal factors behind it."

  • "The left often ignores the empirical economic work supporting globalization"

  • "The left also frequently ignores evidence that certain health and environmental problems might not really be problems."

These are conservative talking points, not serious analyses of liberal political positions.

Yes, liberals are opposed to privatizing the public school system, but I'm sure many if not most liberals would be open to experimenting with public school choice in return for increased levels of (and equalization of) funding. To get empirical once again, however, the actual record of school choice, charter schools, etc. both in the US and abroad does not show strong results in terms of improving learning outcomes, but does regularly show increased levels of racial and income segregation. So who is being the ideologue here? Liberals have good reasons to want to go slow in this area. And if you think we are going to solve the problems of our educational system without investing more money in it, you need to go back and reread your Milton Friedman -- "there's no such thing as a free lunch."

On trade, liberals have been supporting reduced tariffs on trade in goods and services since the 1930s. What many of us object to, however, are "investor protection agreements" such as NAFTA, which go far beyond anything that can be justified as "free trade" by international economists, and have the effect of enshrining a laissez-faire economy through the back door. We liberals also realize that, like national economies, the global economy needs a set of rules that promote growth and equality; a set of rules that certainly diverges from the prescriptions of laissez-faire classical economics.

As for the environment, I would just say that the damage that the right is doing in terms of ignoring serious environmental problems is far, far worse than any supposed "hyping" that liberals have done.

by tgeraghty 2005-01-18 11:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Democrat
I recognize that I was not making in depth analyses of liberal positions. It wasn't my point, and this isn't the place. I was drawing rough contrasts on a broad array of subjects.

Again on empiricism. Minnesota pioneered several innovations with school choice. Its hardly being ideological or dogmatic to want to experiment with something new. Liberals opposed the mere concept of experimenting at the time. I fully recognize that not everything has worked, but that is a sign of strength. Choice allows poorly performing charter schools to be shut down. Implicit in your comment is that the failure of individual businesses indicates that the market isn't working. In fact, it often indicates the exact opposite. However, personally I think our schools are doing quite well. The numbers get skewed because of the patchwork nature of the US educational system, and income distribution problems. The problem with inner city schools isn't lack of money - they get more money than almost any other schools, per student. Rather, the performance problems are a symptom of the underlying social problems. I don't see school choice as a fix for a broken system, but a way to improve upon a functional system.  

On trade: I think you completely misread the arguments from your own side. Protectionist sentiment abounds among liberals simply on its own merits, or lack thereof. Arguments about NAFTA codifying laissez faire are largely specious, but the point is at least legitimate, if true. You don't want NAFTA prohibiting you from engaging in legitimate efforts to improve the environment and whatnot. But a lot of what you get from the left is mere protectionism.

I agree about Republicans on the environment.

by Raskolnikov 2005-01-19 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Democrat
"Implicit in your comment is that the failure of individual businesses indicates that the market isn't working."

No, it's not at all. I simply referred to outcomes (improvement in reading and math; racial and class segregation which itself is linked to poor educational outcomes), not processes. In fact, I am not opposed to experiments with school choice and charter schools, especially within the context of the public school system, and I also realize that there is not yet enough evidence to make a complete judgment on the success or failure of these initiatives. I think, though, that the evidence to date is not promising.

As to funding, many if not most high-poverty rural and urban school districts spend far less per pupil than do schools in more affluent districts; were this not the case, the equalization of funding issue would not be an issue. Those high-poverty districts that do spend  as much or more as affluent districts tend to have to spend much of the extra money on special ed and remedial programs which don't do much to raise outcomes to even average levels. So funding is a real issue, which you seem to deny over and over.

On trade, yes there are leftists who would abandon the trade expansion legacy of the Democratic Party, but why do all liberals get tarred with this? Reagan and Bush II have done more raw protectionism than all the Democrats since FDR combined. (That's not to say that we might not need to deviate from the laissez-faire free trade ideal from time to time, especially to deal with our unsustainable trade deficit and to ease adjustments for workers and communities who are hurt by trade expansion).

by tgeraghty 2005-01-19 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Democrat
This might depend on which schools you are looking at. In Minnesota, the two big urban districts have the first and third highest per pupil spending in the state. They also are among the worst districts in the state on test results, for demographic and socioeconomic reasons. Mileage can vary in other states. The GAO recently did a study showing how spending can vary.


Anyway, the point is that there isn't a whole lot of evidence that more money is going to make a significant dent in solving the problem. International comparisons also bear this out. The US spends the most per pupil, but is mediocre in terms of results, close to performance with the Czech Republic, which spends a third as much per pupil. Results seem primarily driven by factors other than money, at least when you get to the developed world. Culture, socioeconomic conditions, teaching methods, etc.

This is what I mean by criticizing throwing money at a problem. At best, there is a loose relationship between financing and results. We need to be smarter with what we have before we can convince voters to shell out more. They see real spending as having ~tripled in the past few decades, with results not remotely keeping pace.

I think this illustrates a difference between moderates and liberals. I have never voted against a school referendum, but I don't count on those funding decisions to make a huge difference. I think instead we need to know more about what yields results. Experiment. Test. Evaluate. Rinse. Repeat. Not to say that all testing is accurate and free of problems. I think the science of education is about where medicine was in the mid-19th century - a mishmash of guesswork, science, quasi-experiments, ideology, leeches, and non-antiseptic surgery (NCLB is a great example of the latter). But you can either give up on the whole endeavor, or keep learning. My gripe with liberals on education policy (present company excluded) is that they tend to oppose the experiments that help us learn.

by Raskolnikov 2005-01-19 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Democrat
That's an interesting report, although I would say the conclusion suggests that urban schools do need more money (even if its not the ONLY thing they need):

Our findings suggest that spending differences between the inner city schools and suburban schools in our review do exist, but these differences for the most part depend upon the metropolitan area. In some metropolitan areas, inner city schools spent more per pupil whereas in others suburban schools spent more per pupil. Spending differences, regardless of metropolitan area for the most part, seemed to be the result of differences in salaries and student to teacher and staff ratios. However, the very heavy concentration of poverty in inner city schools may place them at a spending disadvantage, even when spending is equal. In addition, the suburban schools, as well as the high-performing inner city schools we visited, generally had more experienced teachers, lower enrollments, more library books per child, and more parental in-school volunteer activities than the other inner city schools in this study. These factors are important to consider in improving the performance of inner city schools.

Obviously, though, it's a complicated problem without a simple or easy solution.

by tgeraghty 2005-01-19 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Moderate Democrat
real spending . . . tripled in the past few decades, with results not remotely keeping pace.

But isn't it also true that a much higher percentage of kids are expected to graduate from high school and go to college today, compared to 30-40 years ago?

Back then, if you weren't doing all that well in school, or you didn't plan to go to college, you could drop out of high school and still get a well-paying unskilled factory job. That obviously is not possible anymore (even with a HS degree).

So part of the increased spending with stagnant results is due to the fact that schools are now expected to educate a much higher fraction of the lower end of the achievement distribution than in the 1960s?

by tgeraghty 2005-01-19 03:52PM | 0 recs
Health Care
I didn't make any mistake on health care. In fact, the Canadian and British systems are very different. In Britain, virtually all health care providers are part of the public sector. In Canada, only insurance is nationalized, not doctors and hospitals. Every other industrialized country has some form of public health insurance that covers the entire population, although, yes, not everything is covered (like with our Medicare), so there is private insurance to fill in the gaps.

So what? The principle is similar, almost everyone is covered under the same system, administrative costs are thus much lower, and countries can control health care costs far more effectively.

If people would stop automatically assuming that such a system is "politically impossible" here, it would become far less so. But if you have an alternative proposal for covering everybody and controlling costs, I'm all ears.

by tgeraghty 2005-01-18 11:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Health Care
On the possibility of a single payer system, you seem to think that all America needs is a pep talk on the subject: "believe in your dreams and they will all come true!"

You need to recognize that people have valid concerns about single payer. Look at how poorly the public reacted to the rationing attempts of HMOs in the 90s. How do you expect them to react when the government tries it? How will single payer be financed? If you think the public is willing to pay significantly more taxes at the moment, you haven't been paying attention. Additionally, cost containment is also an issue in countries like Canada. As such, it isn't clear that single payer would do much to solve health care costs. Yes, it would probably reduce administrative costs, but that is about a one time 10% reduction, at best, in an area of the economy that has been growing that much per year.

As for what I would advocate, I thought Kerry's plan had merit, improving on coverage without going all the way to single payer.

by Raskolnikov 2005-01-19 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Health Care
"You seem to think that all America needs is a pep talk on the subject."

No, I realize America needs much more than a pep talk on this issue, and that there are weaknesses of single-payer, espeically the potential effects on medical innovation (which I think could be solved through government subsidy for medical R&D).

But, if conservatives can put ideas like privatizing the public schools on the national agenda (again, I realize this is not exactly what YOU mean by school choice, but it is what many CONSERVATIVES mean by it), why can't WE put single payer on the  national agenda through educating the public, through organizing, through building our own left-wing noise machine?

by tgeraghty 2005-01-19 10:27AM | 0 recs
a) Powell Doctrine in foreign policy plus some humanitarian efforts where feasible (as Clinton said, we can't do everything, but we must try to do something). Modernize military. Pay our soliders. End pork barrel.

b) Fiscal Responsibility. Pay as we go. Tax incentive structure to encourage savings. Audit to determine which services are best being used where.

c) Civil Libertarian in a lot of ways. You stay out of my business, and I stay out of yours. On the issue of gays, I will settle for civil unions so long as it includes federal benefits.

d) Education- fund no child left behind- its not a bad idea. But also refocus testing on critical thinking, andnot just on memorization

e) Affirmative Action- support it for the lower income or for areas in which demonstrable problems of retention and outcomes

f) Healthcare- market based solution,but with strict guidelines, such as using the medicaid system of each state to bargain for services and aggreggation to increase bargaining power. I would allow each state to tailor make a program, but again with strick federal guidelines to prevent states from blockign the economies of scale. Also would do as Kerry suggested for castrophic and add certain elements such as early prevention

g) Corporate welfare end it. Also realize that corps are the backbone of economic growth. promote it through basic sciences. But disassociate corp power from govt. THere must be a chinese wall between the two.

h) FCC- bring back fairness doctrine. ALso, stop consolidation, but prevent govt interference with free speech.

This are some issues/

by bruh21 2005-01-18 12:25PM | 0 recs
I concur
by Paul Goodman 2005-01-18 02:38PM | 0 recs
Wow, I didn't know we has soooo many Democrats
we could draw distinctions within our party about who is holy enough.  Who the hell cares where the line between some sect of the party begins and the other ends?

As a party that believes in diversity, how about welcoming diverse voices without labels?

How about we win something by brining more people into the tent, not telling people what corner they belong in.

by fightforamerica 2005-01-18 12:49PM | 0 recs
My own view of moderation always had less to do with any specific issue and more to do with a general willingness to hear diverging view points and to reach compromises on important issues. A moderate Democrat would be someone who generally believes that liberal principals are good for the country, but isn't dogmatic about them and will sometimes adopt more conservative stances on certain issues when that seems reasonable. So, while a a non-moderate Democrat would probably flat-out reject, say, the use of private-accounts as a part of social security, a moderate Democrat would probably consider the idea and study it before coming to the conclusion that it just doesn't make sense and is indeed a bad thing.

When it comes to social issues moderates are not necessarily "pro-life", or pro-anything really. But they do acknowledge that people feel quite strongly about those things and are more willing to try to take every view into account. An example would be a pro-choice moderate that seeks policies that would diminish the number of abortions by diminishing unwanted pregnancies. Of course, some moderates do have more conservative social views.

All that said, it is unclear whether this type of moderation is a reasonable stance for a party when the other party controls the government and so remarkably unmoderate.

BTW, I consider myself a moderate with pretty liberal views on social issues, FWIIW
by gusfray 2005-01-18 12:52PM | 0 recs
I use to think I was a Moderate Democrat until two things happened, Bush got elected and I moved from San Francisco to Southern California.  After that I considered myself very liberal even though none of beliefs changed.  The problem is we have let the other side define us for two long.  Just because you believe that the market is not the best choice to regulate every human activity dose not make you a Socialist.  End the end I think anyone who is not ruled by strict dogma is a moderate.    
by CalvinR 2005-01-18 12:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Depends
This is true
by bruh21 2005-01-18 12:56PM | 0 recs
Depends on the Issue
I'm passionately anti-Bush and definitely not a "conservative" Democrat (my top two picks in the primaries would have been Clark and Dean), but in fact I consider myself to be an Independent and not a Democrat at all.   Here are a few issues where my views part company with mainstream Dems and would be closer to moderate Republicans:  1) affirmative action - I think we need more educational opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and this shouldn't be based on race or ethnicity (this is an ethical issue, not just a pragmatic one),  2) support for the first Gulf War (I supported it at the time and in retrospect), 3) school vouchers -  they are theoretically a good idea, even though in practice most of their supporters are just trying to lower taxes or get the public to pay for religious education, 4) limits on punitive damages in a civil suits - it is a good idea in cases where the liability is accidental and not willful, 5) being "conservative" about govt. programs in the sense that physicians are conservative ("first do no harm") and favoring smaller govt., other things being equal,  6) no special call to support economic interests of particular unions or small farmers (I'm  in favor of more social justice but believe that  wealth redistribution, benefits for essentials like healthcare, and better adult education programs are much better policies than various market distoritions like subsidies), 7) look for structural solutions to problems like high drug costs rather than trying to demonize corporations that actually help lots of people and give good jobs to many others.
by LastToKnow 2005-01-18 12:59PM | 0 recs
School vouchers are just a way to raise my taxes
lower the effectiveness of public schools by increasing class size and reducing funding.  Finally, religious schools are just a cover for racism.  There are conveniently very few segregated churches, and those are not the churches that want government funding for their schools.

My son goes to a charter school.  It's a very good school and it's not run by a corporation, but rather by a batch of parents.  It's a good idea, but most charter schools aren't.  My parents helped start a very similar school years ago.  However, on the whole, charter schools are also just a way to raise my taxes.

On the whole, public schools are the most cost effective way of educating people.  There is nothing in the bylaws of the vast liberal conspiracy that says we have to like paying taxes.

by unterhausen 2005-01-19 05:09AM | 0 recs
Wow, I didn't know we has soooo many Democrats
we could draw distinctions within our party about who is holy enough.  Who the hell cares where the line between some sect of the party begins and the other ends?

As a party that believes in diversity, how about welcoming diverse voices without labels?

How about we win something by brining more people into the tent, not telling people what corner they belong in.

by fightforamerica 2005-01-18 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow, I didn't know we has soooo many Democrats
I agree fully. I am a moderate, an Evan Bayh supporter, a fan of the DLC and centrism. I know many liberal Democrats, many Democrats who were raised very conservatively. The fighting we have within our party only serves to weaken us. What we need is a frank and open discussion of ideas - what it means to be a Democrat in this day and age. We can believe different things, so long as we are unified when the time comes to stand up and deliver a message to the American people.

The New Democrat

by demburns 2005-01-18 01:58PM | 0 recs
Canadian Perspective
Liberal Democrat = Right Winger

Moderate Democrat = Extreme Right Winger

Moderate Republican = Insane Right Winger

Right Wing Repuplican = Off the graph


by Bob Smith 2005-01-18 06:00PM | 0 recs
You exaggerate slightly
I don't think you guys have a Department of Peace, do you?  Never thought of Dennis Kucinich as a right winger before.
by Geotpf 2005-01-18 08:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Canadian Perspective
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-19 04:22AM | 0 recs
I agree with Kerry -- labels are for republicans.
Issues are so diverse and every person assigns theirs with very different prioritization. The simple fact is that there is no universal measuring stick for assigning labels that can simply frame anyone's complex political makeup.

Is there any candidate in existence with whom you agree with completely on every single issue? That's practically an impossibility. We are left to favor those candidates whom we agree with most, or perhaps disagree with the least. But every single one of us holds positions that are considered conservative or liberal, and certainly are perceived as such by some other people, particularly those who may assign a high priority to a political position of yours that is in opposition to theirs.

Add in the fact that liberal and conservative ideals change with time and may even switch positions on the political spectrum depending on the era, and you have an even more convoluted task of defining political labels.

Kerry is right. Labels are a red herring. That's why I'm a registered independent. But right now, I am allied with the democrats because I oppose Bush's policies.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-01-18 06:50PM | 0 recs
Nyberg is nothing if not consistent
"There's the Israel-hawks that optimize there politics around their "support" for Israel (Israel gradually annexing Palestinian land)."

No matter what the topic, poor, tormented Nyberg starts whining about the evil "Zionists". Israel has offered to withdraw unilaterally from Gaza and most of the West Bank, has already withdrawn completely from Lebanon, and has returned 100% of the Sinai to Egypt...all land that was acquired after the Jewish state was attacked. Gee, Carl, those Jews certainly are territorially acquisitive, aren't they?

Your anti-"Zionist" pathology has become obsessive. Please consult a shrink.

by swahilizulu 2005-01-19 06:17AM | 0 recs
Israel is a problem
I did. She agrees with me. Israel needs to make peace.
by Carl Nyberg 2005-01-19 09:30AM | 0 recs


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