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Poll: Do you consider the bulk of the Democratic Party to be liberal (liberals only)?

Be advised that this is a public poll: other users can see the choice(s) you selected.

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  1. #1
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    Liberals Only Poll

    The question should read: Do you consider the bulk of the Democratic Party leadership to be liberal? This poll is for liberals only, because I'm trying to see how self-described liberals see the Democratic leadership.

    It is public poll to weed non-liberals who partake.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    For the most part. But both the democrats and republicans have right and left wings, and we cannot generalize and say that the democrats are entirely liberal, because they have in past supported some quite conservative positions.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    I had to vote unsure.

    Do you mean the leadership is fiscally liberal; i.e, the oppposite of fiscal conservatives?
    In that case, I vote yes. A recent Zogby poll has demonstrated a complete flip-flop of conservatives and liberals in that respect: 97% or so of liberals and progressives feel the defecit is a serious problem, while only little over 50% or so of conservatives do. That ain't the way it was in the 70s!

    Do you mean the leadership is socially liberal; i.e., they promote the opposite of moral conservatives?
    I should vote yes here too, but voted unsure on the grounds that I haven't noticed any Democratic leadership lately - have you?
    Its turtles, all the way down.

  4. #4
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    I voted unsure too. Is Howard Dean still the head of the Democratic party? I never hear his name in the news anymore.

    Never mind - from Wikipedia:

    Current DNC Leadership
    Chairman: Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont
    Vice Chairpersons:
    Mike Honda, U.S. Representative from California
    Linda Chavez-Thompson, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO
    Susan Turnbull, Maryland Democratic Party
    Lottie Shackelford, former Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas
    Mark Brewer, Michigan Democratic Party Chairman and President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs
    Treasurer: Andrew Tobias, businessman, author, and financial self-help guru
    Secretary: Alice Travis Germond
    National Finance Chairwoman: Maureen White, U.S. representative to UNICEF, Chairwoman of the Leadership Council on Children Affected by Armed Conflict, and board member of Human Rights Watch and the International Rescue Committee

    DNC fundraising
    In the 2001-2002 election cycle the DNC raised a total of US $162,062,084, 42% of which was hard money. The largest contributor, with US$ 10,300,000 was the Saban Capital Group, founded in 2001 by Haim Saban, who also founded Fox Family group. The second largest contributor was Shangri-La Entertainment, which gave US $5,175,000. Newsweb Corp, owned by Fred Eychaner, gave the third highest amount of money to the DNC, US $4,755,000.

    In the 2005-2006 election cycle, the DNC raised a total of US $61,141,823, all of it hard money. The three largest contributors were Hill Wallack (a law firm), Jonathan Rose & Co. (developers), and Bain Capital (an investment firm). Hill Wallack gave US $100,000 and the other two each gave US $53,400. The overwhelming majority of contributions are coming from small donors, giving less than $100.
    Last edited by Snoop; July 14th, 2006 at 05:54 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Once again, RfrancisR, you did not define which kind of liberal. Fiscally liberal, socially liberal --or, the whole idealogy combined, pure liberal?
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix View Post
    Once again, RfrancisR, you did not define which kind of liberal. Fiscally liberal, socially liberal --or, the whole idealogy combined, pure liberal?
    The problem for you is that you define a liberal as anyone who believes in any government intervention in the economy, regardless as to how slight or how moderately they believe that. In which case not only is the entire Democratic Party liberal but so is the vast majority of the Republican Party. You constantly speak of fiscal liberals and social liberals but you omit, entirely, a third part of the equation: international policy. Personally, I don't even like to call myself a liberal because it is too easily confused with economic liberals and neoliberals. You keep using this term "fiscal liberal", but in economics, liberalism is the policy of de-regulation of corporations and businesses --- the economic policies favored by "conservatives".

    For the purpose of this poll I am speaking of liberal and liberals as they pertain to the political discourse in the US: one who is strongly in favor of social programs aimed at alleviating poverty and the struggles of the lower middle classes, being in favor of civil liberties and human rights for the individual, being in favor anti-discrimination laws, in some cases, being in favor of affirmative action policies, being opposed to interventionism in international policy except in extreme cases, but never in favor of national nihilism and hegemony, being in favor of social responsibility, acting, not merely, in one's own interest but for the common good and in a morally responsible manner, and being in favor of environmental justice (again the common good).
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop View Post
    Is Howard Dean still the head of the Democratic party?
    Yes, Howard Dean is the token liberal at the top of the party.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by RfrancisR View Post
    The problem for you is that you define a liberal as anyone who believes in any government intervention in the economy, regardless as to how slight or how moderately they believe that.
    Then you become a economically moderate liberal, but a liberal nevertheless. Once again, I am still pleading with you to read some political science textbooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by RfranicsR
    In which case not only is the entire Democratic Party liberal but so is the vast majority of the Republican Party. You constantly speak of fiscal liberals and social liberals but you omit, entirely, a third part of the equation: international policy.

    But international policy doesn't change what your political idealogy is. International policy is definitely a huge issue, but the ideas behind them are thrown around the board. It's impossible to classify one specific idea as 'liberal', so I don't see why you're makign a hassle over that.

    Quote Originally Posted by RfR
    Personally, I don't even like to call myself a liberal because it is too easily confused with economic liberals and neoliberals. You keep using this term "fiscal liberal", but in economics, liberalism is the policy of de-regulation of corporations and businesses --- the economic policies favored by "conservatives".
    What exactly is your definition of a 'neo-liberal'? I would define it as new class, but I don't know enought to fully speculate on the issue with the broadest knowledge.

    As for economics, it all depends on what type of de-regulation you're talking about. Affirmative action, environmental protection, trader-regulations, anti-trust laws, increasing minimum wage, taxing the rich more, increasing program benefits -- all of these are liberal/populist economic and fiscal policies.

    Now, you are trying, I think, to start using the idealogy of 'classical liberal' inplace of modern sense of 'liberal'. But when I use the word 'liberal', I use it with utmost exactitude. If you're refering the olden sense of the word, say "classical liberal' or, the modern term, 'libertarian'. If you're not, then I still don't get what you are whining about.

    Quote Originally Posted by RfrancisR
    For the purpose of this poll I am speaking of liberal and liberals as they pertain to the political discourse in the US: one who is strongly in favor of social programs aimed at alleviating poverty and the struggles of the lower middle classes, being in favor of civil liberties and human rights for the individual, being in favor anti-discrimination laws, in some cases, being in favor of affirmative action policies, being opposed to interventionism in international policy except in extreme cases, but never in favor of national nihilism and hegemony, being in favor of social responsibility, acting, not merely, in one's own interest but for the common good and in a morally responsible manner, and being in favor of environmental justice (again the common good).
    Exactly. Now you're getting it. You just defined most of what makes liberals liberals.

    Alleviating poverty, supporting civil rights, proned to isolationist policy, supporting environmental justice, making people act in the interest of everyon else, etc, etc.

    These are classic examples of modern liberalism.

    Congrats, RfranicsR, I think you're getting what a moden pure liberal is. (Leastways explaining yourself)
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix View Post
    Once again, I am still pleading with you to read some political science textbooks.
    I think you ought to do the same. Because you most certainly aren't well-read in the political science books that I read. I fully understand your view. Anything left of conservative is liberal. I understand it fully. I simply think it is wrong.
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix View Post
    But international policy doesn't change what your political idealogy is.
    Surely you jest.


    Exactly. Now you're getting it. You just defined most of what makes liberals liberals.
    And the fact that the bulk of the democratic party can, at best, be described as barely supporting those things, and, sometimes, outright in opposition to those things makes the bulk of the Democratic Party NOT liberal. I have never stated that liberalism is anything else. However. I don't believe that tepid support for those positions, and a willingness to abandon them in exchange for perceieved expediency makes one a liberal. Again, as an example, Bill Clinton rarely supported those views. When he did it was only to give tepid support for them. He, in fact, supported welfare reform! A liberal would never have supported such a thing. Your expanding of liberal to include clear centrists like the Clintons demonstrates how radically conservative you are.

    Read some political science books and learn the difference between a moderate like Clinton and a liberal like Dennis Kucinich.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    But international policy doesn't change what your political idealogy is. International policy is definitely a huge issue, but the ideas behind them are thrown around the board. It's impossible to classify one specific idea as 'liberal', so I don't see why you're makign a hassle over that.
    If we describe liberals as generally dovish (which liberals are) and conservatives as generally hawkish, then we can. But as with some civil libertarian issues there is some tendency for some cross over. The problem is, that if we view liberal and conservative through international policy, you can no longer claim that the Democratic Party is run, by and large, by liberals.

    If you understand the link between international policy and domestic policy then you stop seeing the Democratic party as particularly liberal. Their policies are a softer form of imperialism, in fact, Chalmers Johnson, basing his thinking in Sun Tzu's Art of War calls Clinton a better imperialist than George W. Bush. Imperialism is most certainly opposed by "liberals". Although, as Johnson points out Clinton's was more of an economic imperialism and Bush's is more militaristic. But as both Chomsky and Johnson point out, Clinton was quite militaristic. None of these things would be associated with "liberals".

    Clinton was far more a neoliberal (again relying on Johnson here, also called the "Washington consensus" in policy circles, "neoclassical economics" in academic circles and "globalism" in public ideology) than an American political liberal. He repeatedly supported neoliberal policies throughout the world imposing such policies on third world countries through the IMF and World Bank, and pretty much supporting the same in the US, with only tepid or moderate policies to contradict it in the US. He proposed capital gains tax cuts in '93 and another round of capital gains cuts in '95. He barely enforced anti-trust laws in the US. He did more than his fair share of union busting.

    He supported some "liberal" views --- abortion, gay rights, and affirmative action. But on abortion he signed a budget tying payment of UN dues to anti-abortion language. On gay rights he codified the military's ban on gays and signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). What's "liberal" about that? What's "liberal" about school uniforms? He supported that as well. He sent a bill to Congress that largely resembled the Patriot Act, which as we know, is a huge violation of civil liberties --- that's not a liberal position --- not 40 years ago, not today. Even his national healthcare plan relied heavily on the private sector --- and he did little to actually fight for it (again, tepid support).

    In international affairs, up until it became politically unacceptable to do so anymore, he supported the right wing Suharto regime in Indonesia. He refused to back the democratically elected Aristide in Haiti until Aristide agreed to back a whole host of neoliberal "reforms". He backed China's MFN status despite its human rights record. A "liberal" would've supported no such thing.

    He supported WTO, GATT and NAFTA --- three giant neoliberal organizations opposed by "liberals".

    Again. What's liberal about him?

    What? He wasn't as far right as Bush? He wasn't a conservative? Not being a conservative doesn't make one a liberal --- except to conservatives.
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    What do you mean by "liberal"?

    I can't remember which Lefty it was (starcreator, manise, wannaextreme, they all kinda blend together), but they refused to acknowledge any other definition of "liberal" than what most people consider "classic liberal" (e.g., "liberals" such as Alexander Hamilton and F.A. Hayek)--those who consider liberty to be pre-eminent. Under such a definition, I consider myself "liberal".

    I prefer less-intrusive government, though, so I guess that makes me not a liberal. That includes moral legislation, such as outlawing same-sex marriage (which I consider unwise but Constitutional) or smoking in bars, and economic intervention, such as farming subsidies and welfare.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    What do you mean by "liberal"?

    I can't remember which Lefty it was (starcreator, manise, wannaextreme, they all kinda blend together), but they refused to acknowledge any other definition of "liberal" than what most people consider "classic liberal" (e.g., "liberals" such as Alexander Hamilton and F.A. Hayek)--those who consider liberty to be pre-eminent. Under such a definition, I consider myself "liberal".

    I prefer less-intrusive government, though, so I guess that makes me not a liberal. That includes moral legislation, such as outlawing same-sex marriage (which I consider unwise but Constitutional) or smoking in bars, and economic intervention, such as farming subsidies and welfare.
    It wasn't me, and I agree with you - the suggestion that classical liberals are the only liberals is absurd. If I made this claim, I would not be, by my own definition, a "liberal".

    However, it's important to recognize that both classical liberals and modern liberals fit under the heading of liberals - both groups believe that government's highest value should be the protection of freedom, but have different ideas about how government should work toward it. It is the prevalence of modern liberalism that makes the word "liberal" often allude to the modern liberals and not the classical or neoliberals.

    Someone who prefers a highly compacted government may indeed be a classical liberal. But as far as I've seen, you certainly are more of a social conservative than a social liberal, and thus would not be a liberatarian or classical liberal. Further, your support of some welfare system (as quoted in my last post in the gay cure thread) is in contradiction with most classical liberal principles.

    Liberals, as a whole, ideologically disagree on economic policy, classical liberals wanting an entirely free market with no social programs while modern liberals want a mostly free market with some social programs, but unite on one front. This is, of course, social liberalism - the admonition of a secular society where laws exist to protect rights and liberty, and in which "moral legislation" has no place.
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    What are we using for our definition of liberal in this thread? If we look at Wikipedia's definition we get this:
    Liberalism is an ideology, philosophical view, and political tradition which holds that liberty is the primary political value.[1] Traditionally, what was meant by "liberty" was the freedom of each individual to do as they pleased, provided they did not infringe on the liberty of others. This is often called classical liberalism. Another form of liberalism, often called social liberalism, holds that freedom requires what is sometimes called a "level playing field", that for people to be free they must be free from the unequal power of those born to wealth and high social status. Attempts to level the playing field include anti-discrimination laws, civil service examinations, universal education, affirmative action, and progressive taxation. A third form of liberalism, now almost universal in liberal democracies, holds that the government should provide for the general welfare. This sometimes includes a dole for the poor, housing for the homeless, and medical care for the sick, all supported by taxes. Classical liberals often strongly object to this kind of liberalism, asserting that the freedom of private property takes precedence over the personal freedom that depends on health, education, and a place to live; they claim that private charity does the job as well, or even better.
    This alone should tell you that "liberalism" is a vague term when used without context or modification. Of course, there is also the view that liberal = conforming with the Democratic Party (America). So I guess the main question here is what do you mean by liberal?
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    What do you mean by "liberal"?

    I can't remember which Lefty it was (starcreator, manise, wannaextreme, they all kinda blend together), but they refused to acknowledge any other definition of "liberal" than what most people consider "classic liberal" (e.g., "liberals" such as Alexander Hamilton and F.A. Hayek)--those who consider liberty to be pre-eminent. Under such a definition, I consider myself "liberal".

    I prefer less-intrusive government, though, so I guess that makes me not a liberal. That includes moral legislation, such as outlawing same-sex marriage (which I consider unwise but Constitutional) or smoking in bars, and economic intervention, such as farming subsidies and welfare.
    Well, I use the term liberal in both ways, but I tend to qualify with a term like "neoliberal" to describe your position. But, in order to avoid confusion between the two liberalisms, I generally prefer the term "progressive" to describe my kind of liberalism. I use the term "liberal" as it is generally used in popular American political discourse. But in economics "liberalism" and "neoliberalism" are ideologies of what Cornel West called "free market fundamentalism" --- the exact philosophy of "conservatives". For the purpose of this poll I meant the former --- progressives.

    I see the Democratic Party as nearly as pro-corporate as the Republican Party. I see the Democratic Party as nearly pro-neoliberalism as the Republican Party. Most Dems aren't even willing to say that they outright oppose the death penalty --- even John Kerry had to qualify: except for wouldbe suicide bombers (because obviously if you threaten to kill wouldbe suicide bombers they won't be suicide bombers). Even though most people who identify themselves as Democrats in polls and roughly 45 percent of independents support Gay marriage, only a minority of national Democrats support Gay marriage. Support for affirmative action is waning among Democrats even though most progressives (liberals) still strongly support it. I could go on. I noted distinctions between Bill Clinton and liberals earlier. But the point is both me and many liberals believe that the Democratic Party (at least in its leadership) is anything but a liberal party (but there are liberals in it).
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by francis
    Most Dems aren't even willing to say that they outright oppose the death penalty --- even John Kerry had to qualify: except for wouldbe suicide bombers (because obviously if you threaten to kill wouldbe suicide bombers they won't be suicide bombers). Even though most people who identify themselves as Democrats in polls and roughly 45 percent of independents support Gay marriage, only a minority of national Democrats support Gay marriage. Support for affirmative action is waning among Democrats even though most progressives (liberals) still strongly support it. I could go on. I noted distinctions between Bill Clinton and liberals earlier. But the point is both me and many liberals believe that the Democratic Party (at least in its leadership) is anything but a liberal party (but there are liberals in it).
    I think you're using a poor standard. Opposing the death penalty isn't a "progressive" standpoint; opposing it for progressive reasons, on the other hand, is. Lots of people oppose the death penalty who aren't liberal. Same goes for supporting gay marriage and affirmative action (and while this may not be the time or place to discuss affirmative action policies, suffice it to say that racial bias is racial bias, regardless of good-hearted intent).
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    suffice it to say that racial bias is racial bias, regardless of good-hearted intent.
    There you conservatives go again... presuming that the liberal position is primarily about good-heartedness and not a matter of pragmatism. If you knew how ineffectual color blind policies were, you may still disagree with color conscious policies like affirmative action, but you would see that it is a matter of pragmatism that liberals support affirmative action. In fact, that it goes against a general liberal saw of equality before the law, tends to speak that it is more than a general good-hearted gesticulation. It must primarily be pragmatics, not romantics, upon which it is based.
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by RfrancisR View Post
    If we describe liberals as generally dovish (which liberals are) and conservatives as generally hawkish, then we can. But as with some civil libertarian issues there is some tendency for some cross over. The problem is, that if we view liberal and conservative through international policy, you can no longer claim that the Democratic Party is run, by and large, by liberals.

    If you understand the link between international policy and domestic policy then you stop seeing the Democratic party as particularly liberal. Their policies are a softer form of imperialism, in fact, Chalmers Johnson, basing his thinking in Sun Tzu's Art of War calls Clinton a better imperialist than George W. Bush. Imperialism is most certainly opposed by "liberals". Although, as Johnson points out Clinton's was more of an economic imperialism and Bush's is more militaristic. But as both Chomsky and Johnson point out, Clinton was quite militaristic. None of these things would be associated with "liberals".

    Clinton was far more a neoliberal (again relying on Johnson here, also called the "Washington consensus" in policy circles, "neoclassical economics" in academic circles and "globalism" in public ideology) than an American political liberal. He repeatedly supported neoliberal policies throughout the world imposing such policies on third world countries through the IMF and World Bank, and pretty much supporting the same in the US, with only tepid or moderate policies to contradict it in the US. He proposed capital gains tax cuts in '93 and another round of capital gains cuts in '95. He barely enforced anti-trust laws in the US. He did more than his fair share of union busting.

    He supported some "liberal" views --- abortion, gay rights, and affirmative action. But on abortion he signed a budget tying payment of UN dues to anti-abortion language. On gay rights he codified the military's ban on gays and signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). What's "liberal" about that? What's "liberal" about school uniforms? He supported that as well. He sent a bill to Congress that largely resembled the Patriot Act, which as we know, is a huge violation of civil liberties --- that's not a liberal position --- not 40 years ago, not today. Even his national healthcare plan relied heavily on the private sector --- and he did little to actually fight for it (again, tepid support).

    In international affairs, up until it became politically unacceptable to do so anymore, he supported the right wing Suharto regime in Indonesia. He refused to back the democratically elected Aristide in Haiti until Aristide agreed to back a whole host of neoliberal "reforms". He backed China's MFN status despite its human rights record. A "liberal" would've supported no such thing.

    He supported WTO, GATT and NAFTA --- three giant neoliberal organizations opposed by "liberals".

    Again. What's liberal about him?

    What? He wasn't as far right as Bush? He wasn't a conservative? Not being a conservative doesn't make one a liberal --- except to conservatives.
    Clinton was a moderate Liberal. This he admited.

    Once again, you are talking in terms of black and white. I'm not saying every move they make is liberal --it could be populist or simply a valence issue. However the majority of Democratic moves are pure liberal in nature.

    Half of the political manuevers you were just complaining about were valence issues. Something that needed to be done because the populace felt they needed to be protected or the high majority felt simaraly on the issue. Welfare reform you mentioned; this was because a huge majority of the people wanted one. So Bill gave 'em one.

    For an example of something you didn't mention -- the drug prohibition. According the pure liberal philosophy, drugs are fine to take because it is a personal choice --notice how no one could stand up, say this, and then get re-elected? That's becuase you can't walk into the Senate and say that "I believe in no welfare." like the extreme Libertarian party would like, and then have any hope to get elected.

    Most politicians are like this --liberals not excluded-- where they make deals with the devil to keep (Also known as 'pandering to your base') elected.


    Once again, basic poly sci here, francis. If you don't understand how parties keep in control, then you're going to think --like any normal person-- that when the Dems concede to the Moderates it makes them 'not liberal'. We live in America. It is a federalist, representative democracy. We require 'big tent' parties; ergo, no extremist can get into office until the majority becomes extremist. Therefore no party can be wholly liberal, but it can be mostly.

    Also, as I said before, you are cherry-picking the non-liberal actions out of a sea of liberalism. This is politics; one rotten apple doesn't spoil the dozen.

    Quote Originally Posted by RfrancisR View Post
    I think you ought to do the same. Because you most certainly aren't well-read in the political science books that I read. I fully understand your view. Anything left of conservative is liberal. I understand it fully. I simply think it is wrong.
    ... Can you quit making strawmen about my alleged 'position'?

    I'm not giving ridiculous crap and telling you to obey it --this is basic knowledge from 101 Polical Science and government course.


    EDIT: Sorry for taking so long, but I've just read the article on Neoliberalism. It's synonym for extremely moderate classical liberalism/very moderate pure liberalism, near as I can tell. I think it is also the basics of the New Class political group, but I'd have to read more up on them. I guess it is like a 'Liberal Centrist' to be perfectly honest.

    I see what you mean, however. But you are splitting hairs here. Neoliberalism or not, Bill Clinton was very moderate. I think you could classify him as neoliberal on the border of pure liberal --either way you slice it, he's still liberal.

    You keep on telling me he's not liberal. What is he? Populist, no; libertarian, no; pure conservative, hell no. Neoliberal is still liberal in my book. It's just the most moderate form.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

  19. #19
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by francis
    There you conservatives go again... presuming that the liberal position is primarily about good-heartedness and not a matter of pragmatism. If you knew how ineffectual color blind policies were, you may still disagree with color conscious policies like affirmative action, but you would see that it is a matter of pragmatism that liberals support affirmative action. In fact, that it goes against a general liberal saw of equality before the law, tends to speak that it is more than a general good-hearted gesticulation. It must primarily be pragmatics, not romantics, upon which it is based.
    It is pragmatism that allows you to think that allowing less-than-qualified applicants in because of their skin tone will lead to more success on their part?
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  20. #20
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    Re: Liberals Only Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    It is pragmatism that allows you to think that allowing less-than-qualified applicants in because of their skin tone will lead to more success on their part?
    I disagree that affirmative action allows in "less than qualified applicants." But I suppose that depends on your definition of "qualified" if you mean able to do the job, then it doesn't, if you mean arbitrary cut offs and arbtrary "standards" then it may in some cases. But ability to do the work and succeed most certainly is met by all affirmative action recipients. Look at Colin Powell and Condeleeza Rice, two examples of affirmative action recipients. Qualified or not?
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