Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Defining Bush-lite

Progressives have wrongly misused the term "Bush-lite" to describe anyone differing from their prescribed "pat" solutions or critiques. Sorry, but calling one of the most liberal Senators (Kerry), Bush-lite in 2003/04 was just too much. Yes, sure he had problems "dumbing" down and articulating his plans, but nevertheless they were solidly liberal in eight of ten times.

Progressives can't have credibility in the party by blindly throwing such terms around. We need to make sure we allowing progressivism to develop new ideas and grow. We can't be relevant to the electorate if we are stuck in the past.

"Bush-lite" to me, applies to Democrat who brings nothing new to the table. It is a "me-tooism" of a shallowness that includes having no big visions, offering no third-way of breaking the left-right deadlock or giving us the ability to reach new voters without losing all core principles.

Mark R. Warner and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson recently appeared together at the Emerging Issues Forum held at North Carolina State University. Notice the difference in approach on governmental / tax reform between the two potential candidates. From WRAL news...

Bill Richardson

Richardson described his approach of tax cuts, education and economic development the "New Progressivism."

"Now you're going to hear from a Democrat that is going to say this: Cutting taxes is good, being pro-business is good. Putting more money in people's pockets is good," Richardson said Monday.

Richardson, a former Clinton administration energy secretary, has also been traveling around the nation as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association with a similar story of bipartisan budgeting success after working with members of both parties to cut personal income and capital gains tax rates.

Richardson pointed to coalition building with the business community, labor and others as reasons for the state's recent success and a projected half-billion-dollar surplus this year.

"Democrats have to be more pro-economic growth.... We shouldn't be reflexively against cutting taxes," he said in an interview. "We should be a party that embraces competitiveness and economic growth."

Mark Warner

Warner said voters don't want partisanship, but rather honesty that people may need to make some sacrifices for government to achieve fiscal responsibility.

"People are so anxious to hear the truth. A little bit of truth can go a long way in the American political process today," Warner said.

Now out of a job, Warner has had more time to talk about how he helped turn a $6 billion budget shortfall into what could be a $1 billion surplus this year with tax cuts and tax increases approved with the help of a Republican-controlled Legislature.

"I don't think it's big government versus small government," he said. "It's smart government." Read entire article.

Admittedly, you can't read too much in from these small snippets. But what I like about Warner on so many topics is that he is continually trying to change the paradigm. He looking beyond thet paradigms of left and right and searching for new solutions, not just parroting the Club for Growth's talking points. Maybe we will be lucky and we will see a real "New Progressivism" emerge from Mark Warner.


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