As Bulworth has tirelessly flagged for the last three months or so now, liberalism has a bad rep and it needs to be rescusitated if the Democratic Party is going to have a future. I might also add, the redeeming of liberalism is essential for the good of us all, for us to be free and all that. Think I'm exaggerating?
In the last century progressive politics has fought for and given us Social Security, health care for the elderly and the poor, the right of workers to unionize, civil rights, voting protections for minorities, expansion of civil liberties, formal institutions and laws designed to protect workers and consumers from the power of corporations, greater freedom of religion, opened the doors of college education to just about anyone who wants to go through the GI Bill, Pell Grants, and student loans, and general economic prosperity.
Here is what conservatism has given us:
Opposition to all of the above. Conservatives are on record as having opposed the assistance and greater rights provided by all of these initiatives. Legislatively they've given us the Patriot Act, rising budget deficits, and a promise to take out Social Security.
On the literary front conservatism has given us books with titles such as these:
Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism
The Enemy Within: Saving America from the Liberal Assault on Our Schools, Faith and Military
In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in WWII and the War on Terror
Why the Left Hates America: Exposing the Lies that have Obscured Our Nation's Greatness
(The Enemy Within; Treason. Who thinks like this?)
The practitioners and purveyors of conservatism have also in recent months said:
We should bring back McCarthism
Physically intimidate liberals (by killing the likes of John Walker Lindh)
The Democratic Party is against America and President Carter is "on the other side"
Opponents of the Iraq War should "Shut Up"
Our freedom of speech may very well become our bondage
Our freedom of speech may very well become the defeat of our soldiers
Accused the ACLU of "not helping" in the war on terror
Yes, conservatives will claim that liberalism has also "kicked God out of the schools" and given us abortion. On the former case, all that was declared unconstitutional was the practice of enforcing school children to worship (that's what corporate prayer is) a god of that teacher or school's understanding. Individual, private prayer is still a very real presence in schools, and will remain so as long as there are tests in schools. On the latter case, ask yourself if conservatives have actually done anything to reduce abortions. Many conservatives oppose birth control which would reduce the need for abortions in most cases. And as we know, the rate of abortions has actually gone up under Republican presidencies. Moreover, many of the so called family values issues and indicators cited by conservatives as a call to arms are worse in conservative states (i.e. higher rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, etc) than in liberal ones.
And Liberalism has the bad name around here. How did that happen?