The Democrats revive liberalism

Posted: Aug 06, 2007 12:00 AM
The Democrats revive liberalism

I believe that reasonable people look at facts and draw rational conclusions.

It's why I am mystified at the open and passionate embrace today by the Democratic Party of plain old unadulterated liberalism.

Being labeled a liberal fifteen years ago was the kiss of political death. Today's Democratic presidential candidates seem to wear it like a badge of honor.

Or perhaps I should qualify this to say that the programs and ideas they're selling are pure garden-variety liberalism. Maybe they are less enthusiastic about the liberal label.

A popular term of left wing spin-meisters these days is "progressive."

Liberalism did not fall from favor like an out of vogue restaurant or some fad. It lost its glow because facts show it doesn't work.

I am talking about the liberal idea that government is the answer to our problems. Tax here and spend there, take from this one and redistribute to that one, and you can solve any social or economic problem.

Ironically, globally, as China, India, and Africa see the light of day by shedding government controls and planning, this is where our Democrats want to take us.

There has been ink about the Democratic candidates snubbing the annual meeting of the Democratic Leadership Council, which represents the moderate wing of the Party, while they plan to attend a bloggers convention sponsored by the ultra-left Web site Daily Kos.

You can argue as several have that in the general election the Democratic nominee will scurry back toward the center. But today every Democratic candidate is entrenched unapologetically in the far left.

The DLC was the base for the "new Democrat" that defined Bill Clinton.

And Bill Clinton, as we must recall, signed into law in 1996, the first and enormously successful retreat from the failed welfare state, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, aka welfare reform.

The act ended welfare as an unqualified entitlement, and introduced time limits and work requirements.

The result? Welfare rolls decreased almost 60 percent. And, as USA Today reported last year, the tenth anniversary of welfare reform, "Nearly 70 percent of all single women are working, compared to 66 percent of married women, a reversal of the past. Single women's incomes have risen ... Child poverty rates have dropped, particularly among blacks and Hispanics. Teen pregnancies are down. Child support collections are up."

Is every problem solved? Of course not. But the achievement has been historic.

Welfare was a horrible and destructive disaster. Blacks continue to pay the price today in the broken families and communities that are its legacy.

We must understand why welfare reform worked. It trashed the great lie that government planning and programs can solve human problems. And it brought clearly to light the truth that when personal responsibility is restored, and life's realities are brought back into focus, people, all people, know what to do and become productive and creative.

Liberals could not imagine that the lives of the poor could improve by getting rid of government and they couldn't have been more wrong.

Someone recently e-mailed me the following wonderful quote from Rabbi Daniel Lapin, head of an organization called Toward Tradition:

"Politics is nothing more than the practical application of our most deeply held beliefs."

The deeply held belief of the left, that government can solve the problems of the poor, destroyed black families and black communities.

The deeply held beliefs of conservatives -- faith, traditional values, work, and personal responsibility -- is restoring these families and communities.

The left may talk today about courting values voters. But big government values voters is an oxymoron.

The country now is at a real crossroads and we're going to have to wake up if we care about our children. The failures of the welfare state and social engineering go beyond poor black women.

Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post wrote this past week about the unsustainable entitlement burdens of Social Security and Medicare.

Taxes will have to go up, according to Samuelson, anywhere from 30-50 percent to meet the outstanding obligations of these entitlements. The chunk of the federal budget that they will consume will increase from 40 percent, to 75 percent in 2030.

Yet every Democrat today is talking about new government poverty programs, new entitlements, and socialized medicine.

Can voters next year possibly buy into this denial of reality and delusional retreat into the failures of the past?

If you are a values voter, I hope you'll join me in prayer that it doesn't happen.

The future of a great country is at stake.