Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Harold Ford Jr Op-ed

The guy I consider the most visionary of American politicians. Op-ed here. It's more visionary and less detailed on how to get these things done. But he wants to start a conversation and I like where he is headed.

He calls for an idea primary and has started a website to that effect. Website here. Democrat version of what Gingrich has called for on the right.

Ford is now head of the DLC and is the standard-bearer for New Democrats. Notice the Dems he cites in the piece: Andrew Jackson, FDR, Truman, JFK, Clinton. No George McGovern, Daily Kos.

He is a Democrat so it leans leftward of course. The tag line of the thinking is "equal opportunity". But I think it can work with a local conservative-based thinking.

Ford writes:
The core values of the New Democrat movement are the same as in 1992 when Clinton was elected president. We believe in equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. We believe in responsibilities as well as rights, and in every citizen's duty to give their country something back. We believe America must stand strong in a dangerous world, and America cannot be strong abroad unless opportunity and responsibility are strong at home.
Policies I'll highlight:
1)Rebuilding American Army. Understanding the Long War. Not just being as he says the "anti-Bush" party.

2)To beat Salafi extremism we need to offer better ideas. Smashes Bush correctly on this point.
Ford writes:
Our strategy should draw on all of America's might -- a dynamic economy, smart diplomacy, and the moral example of a thriving, multi-ethnic democracy. America should lead the way in launching a Greater Middle East prosperity plan to spur investment and growth in the world's most dangerous region, and bring it into the world trading system. We need to tap the talents of Muslim-Americans to tell our country's story and challenge fanatics who murder innocents in the name of Islam. And we need a patient, peaceful plan to support Muslim aspirations for greater individual liberty and democracy -- even if that puts us at odds with friendly autocrats.
3)Re-build international institutions:
Every crisis shouldn't come down to a choice between unilateral U.S. action and a United Nations that doesn't have the strength or coherence to intervene. If an expanded and reformed Security Council can't or won't do the job, we'll have to look for another forum, such as a worldwide Democracy Coalition.
4)Good stuff on universal education.

5)Break up Dept. of Homeland Security (Amen).

6)An interesting one: call for American to be the most pro-family nation on America.

7)One I've been for for a long time: universal civilian service by age 25. Do not read army in that though.

tags technorati :
tags technorati :


At 5:08 PM, Blogger Cole said...

Compulsory civil service, other than just a bad idea, falls outside of the Constitutional powers of Congress and violates the Fifth Ammendment; compulsory military service on the other hand does fall within the enumerated rights of Congress. Thanks for pointing to the Ford Op-Ed, I wrote a little on it here.

At 6:35 PM, Blogger CJ Smith said...


Thanks for the post.

What does the Fifth Amendment have to do with this?

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

I'd also respectfully disagree with your colorization of the plans as (only) green. For example you mention that one of the proposals which does not create a privileged class and achieves results within the enumerated powers include:

--raising emission standards
--raising hydrocarbon tax.

Hard to argue that that doesn't create a privileged class. Or isn't the choosing of a technology.

It is a constraint on the market. But then again as you correctly point out, so do the current loopholes.

The question for me isn't whether there is going to be intervention in the market--because no matter what there will be one one way or the other--but whether it is done as lightly and wisely as is possible.

This is all I take to be the reference to giving as equal an opportunity as can be given in the right-hand quadrants and then letting humans make their own way through their own interior processes. The responsibility avenue.

Moreover, the assumption of the market as the prime decider of such issues, as you know, is itself already the de facto promotion by the fed of a value system. And a flatland one at that.

I don't see the piece as primarily about attacking orange. Certainly the foreign policy aspects are not.

No doubt it is not a libertarian model. But I just don't see that avenue as practical. I say this because every Republican since Nixon has increased the deficit and expanded the size of government wildly. There is no party that stands for libertarian principles.

Given that situation, small government philosophy with large government running=incompetence and buy-outs to cronies.

If you are going to be behind the wheel of this behemoth, I'd rather somebody at least have some idea of doing the best that can be done with it.



At 8:49 PM, Blogger Cole said...

"...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
Compulsory civil service deprives one of life, liberty and property without due process or just compensation. It seems pretty explicit to me. I admit that in the case histories no one has brought a challenge based on 5th ammendment in this type of issue. Instead, the objections to compulsory civil service successfully appealed to the 13th ammendment: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." So even if passing a law requiring civil service met the "due process" requirement of the 5th ammendment and somehow overcame the "just compensation" part, "involuntary servitude" works as a catch-all.

I do not think my examples do favor a particular technology. They simply set a universal requirement and allow the market to determine the best technology. By specifying technology, like hybrid vehicles, any competitor loses a level playing field. Hydrocarbon taxes and emission limits present an equal opportunity playing field; as long as one can compete by the rules, they have a chance. Reducing carbon emissions and our dependence on hydrocarbons falls within the province of the government, mandating a hybrid economy does not. I do not oppose regulation, just creating monopoly.

I did neglect Mr. Ford's recommendations about American security. Honestly, I did not think that they were as concrete as most of his other commentary. Also, except for increasing the size of the military (really? we already spend more on war than the rest of the world combined...) his planks look pretty Green to me.

I would again like to emphasize that I like Green very much when its not helping Blue erode the foundations of our republic. I just do not think that America can rally behind Green values at this time, while they can rally behind Orange due to its intimate connection with the founding of our nation. Emphasizing the Enlightenment basis of our country's principles can do alot to limit Blue's power; if they couldn't then we wouldn't have the secular system that we do. Whether we can put government back in its place without an internal revolt or not, I think it completely dishonest complaining that the federal government only funds abstinence based sex-ed courses and funds faith based charities when you opened the doors for that yourself and funded programs more than half of the country disagreed with. Neither of the major political parties represents small government anyway; they both represent first-tier value systems that know exactly how everyone should live, they just disagree on the details.


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