Sunday, January 25, 2004

The Unelectable Candidate

Let's say we're at the Democratic Party convention. After a raucus primary and caucus season, the nominee is chosen. He gets up to give his acceptance speech. He shocks the nation with a bold and aggressive speech demanding action on multiple fronts:

--National health insurance
--A national low rent housing construction program
--Raise the minimum wage
--Increase direct Federal funding of schools
--Expand Civil Rights
--Reduce the national debt by taxing the rich
--Gear any tax relief to benefit those with lower incomes
--Fund pubicly owned energy sources.

On foreign affairs our candidate endorsed a huge foreign aid program and the United Nations, saying "we must see that the United Nations continues a strong and growing body, so we can have everlasting peace in the world."

Summing up his campaign, he brands the Republican Party as favoring "the privileged few and not the common everyday man." He says of his campaign is "attacking the citadel of special privilege and greed."

Surely Karl Rove is licking his chops by now at the strident radical left wing rhetoric of this candidate. Surely the Democrats have shot themselves in the foot playing the "class warfare" card and backing unpopular spending programs. Who is this hapless candidate that every pundit said was unelectable? Dennis Kucinich? Al Sharpton?

No, that was Harry S Truman. The year was 1948. The liberals of his day walked out on him because he wasn't progressive enough. 56 years of red baiting right wing control of the terms of debate has sent us so far to the right that Harry Truman appears to be a leftist radical. Only he wasn't. And those ideas weren't. They were, and are, mainstream American values.

Here's his whole speech. The Democrats should be proud of what they stand for. It won in 1948 when no one thought they would. 56 years later, we can do it again.

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