What I object to is being told that all Democrats must embrace these things as the party's core values . . . .
I consider myself to be an "old school" Democrat. I believe in unions, Social Security, the New Deal legacy and racial equality. For the past 25 years, I have watched the tremendous harm done by deregulation and tax cuts. We have seen organized labor weaken and a loss of opportunities for lower income Americans. While Bush and the Republicans are losing credibility over Iraq and the handling of the economy, I question if there is any real hope of reversing 25 years of "trickle down" economics as long as Democrats fail to connect with mainstream Middle American values. Democrats need to do so if there is any hope of building a solid Democratic majority that can effectively govern.
Supporting organized labor is a mainstream Democratic belief. Social Security and Medicare are mainstream. A social safety net which everyone must recognize in the aftermath of Katrina as quite important is mainstream. Civil rights is mainstream and some may disagree but even some affirmative action programs are in my view, mainstream, although I do not like to see rigid racial quotas for hiring and colleges admissions. I do recognize that African Americans were oppressed and denied educational opportunities. We should all be concerned when any segment of the population lags behind in education and economic opportunities.
What is not mainstream in my view is how some socially liberal Democratic activists have attempted to define absolute abortion rights, gay marriage or civil unions with the equivalent benefits of marrriage and gun control as the core values of the Democratic Party. Most of these social liberal activists are far more passionate about defending late term abortion or advocating gay marriage than pushing for an increase in the minimum wage or expanding access to health care. The social liberal activist have produced an environment within the Democratic Party that is so self destructive and politically correct it is almost impossible to develop strong leadership and even communicate with mainstream America. That is the kind of liberalism that I object to - not traditional New Deal liberalism which is still very much in the mainstream. In fact, it is the social liberal activists which have moved us away from our traditions of representing the common person.
I have no problem with anyone's belief in favor of abortion rights, gay marriage or gun control. What I object to is being told that all Democrats must embrace these things as the party's core values - something that is equivalent to a suicide pact for the party and a free pass for big business Republicans to rule America for at least another generation.