Wednesday, August 20, 2003

I am starting to get the feeling that the Left has turned a corner of some kind. I see more and more people who are openly questioning the direction this country is headed under the Bushies, and that includes a number of my very Conservative clients. I read quotes from Joe Conason's Big Lies and can't help but feel things might change:
The most basic liberal values are political equality and economic opportunity. Liberals uphold democracy as the only form of government that derives legitimacy from the consent of the governed, and they regard the freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights as essential to the expression of popular consent. Their commitment to an expanding democracy is what drives liberal advocacy on behalf of women, minorities, gays, immigrants, and other traditionally disenfranchised groups.

Liberals value the dynamism and creativity of democratic capitalism, but they also believe in strong, active government to protect the interests of society. They understand that markets function best when properly regulated, and they also know that unchecked concentrations of private power encourage environmental pollution, financial fraud, and labor exploitation. Liberals see a broad social interest in ensuring real opportunities and decent standards of living for everyone, while requiring basic responsibility from everyone.

Those who regard such ideals as naive today should remember that America in the 20th century was built on liberal policy, from the Progressive Era through the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the GI Bill, and the Great Society. The modern economy -- a private enterprise system that relies on government safeguards against depression and extreme poverty -- is the legacy of liberal leadership, from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson. (And more recently Bill Clinton, who erased Republican deficits that were sending the economy into a spiral of recession and began to pay down the national debt.) Liberal policies made America the freest, wealthiest, most successful and most powerful nation in human history. Conservatism in power always threatens to undo that national progress, and is almost always frustrated by the innate decency and democratic instincts of the American people.

Those are great words and as we wake up from our National Nap those words and ideas are going to resonate like nobody's business. The Left is pissed and we are starting to hear the rumble:
There was a party on the second day for Clinton at the Aspen version of Nobu, and then, later that evening, a discussion between Clinton and President Kagame, hosted by the William Morris Agency, at Whiskey Rocks Bar in the St. Regis Hotel (Michael Eisner, the Disney CEO, while not a conference attendee, slipped into the room).

This turned out to be the pivotal moment of the conference—even the primal one. When Clinton took questions, a young man from a technology company who identified himself as chairman of Bush-Cheney 2004 in California said he was offended by Clinton’s partisanship. To which Clinton, without hesitation, and with some kind of predatory gleam in his eye, said, “Good!” From there, Clinton went on, with emotion and anger, at a level seemingly foreign to most everyone here, to rip to shreds the motives, values, and legitimacy of the Republicans.

It was all anyone could talk about the next day. People seemed genuinely taken aback (some people kept offering that since it was late at night, in a bar, it didn’t quite count) that one of their own might have violated the accepted codes of lofty liberal behavior. There was a little current of fear at the sudden recognition that testosterone could fuel politics. It was a shock, apparently, that we might be this close to real feelings. That politics could actually be personal.