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Addendum — Red State Communique #1

October 28, 2008
Moved by both a recent visit to my home state of GA where I bunked at the house of a longtime (Republican) friend -and Senator Biden’s call to reach out to the right after Senator Obama is elected 44th president of the US, I started a web log here and at  http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/joycecagleharper/gGgDBr blog today .

My visit to Macon GA was overshadowed by a “N-Obama” (fearful) attitude that met me on my arrival. I spent the week I was there learning more about the fear that is being exorcised from humanity at this point in time. My hope is to meet it as the shadow it is and be of compassionate, helpful, real service.  To that end, I began emailing the Republicans I call friends.  

My friend J. is an attorney in private practice and makes < 250K  – he’s a Reagan Republican. L. is a mother and wife and her husband see that their taxes will go to 50% and there will be coming taxes at 50% for the middle class. That one is beyond my ability to address – for now. 

Thanks for reading. Namaste’ :

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Recent Communication to a Red State – Fear Not

October 28, 2008
Dear J. and L., 
Since driving home from my recent visit with you, I can only think of this election and
the fears/concerns that exist and need to be addressed as
We the People select the leader of the last Superpower. We have
an obligation beyond our borders as well as to future generations of Americans. 

The article I am sending you is an examination of our 2 US political parties in
their most extreme expression and where the middle exists.
Basic premise opening paragraph: there are 2
parties in the US  - 3 political tendencies. I send this to you for the purpose of
framing the discussion about taxation and welfare, things that came up in talking
with each of you during my visit. 

Written by conservative David Brooks with an eye on McCain, I offer the link and
the text for your review. If you can't read the whole thing skim down to the
Hamilton Project (which is an intitative of 3 high level Democrats and I think would
inform a Democratic Adminstration). More importantly, I think the project indicates
a wisdom that you might find reassuring.  The article ends with a lament which speaks
to your thought (lament) about our de facto 2 party system. Brooks find McCain a qualified
candidate hobbled by a party that can't seem to rebirth a T. Roosevelt approach
to "economics as if people mattered". 

It is my hope that our next president will be able to facilitate the evolution of
that type of economy/culture. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/opinion/26brooks.html?em

The link to the NYT shows a photo of Mr. Brooks - you might recognize the face if
not the name.

The article in its entirety: 

There are two major political parties in America, but there are at least three major
political tendencies. The first is orthodox liberalism, a belief in using government
to maximize equality. The second is free-market conservatism, the belief in limiting
government to maximize freedom.

But there is a third tendency, which floats between. It is for using limited but
energetic government to enhance social mobility. This tendency began with Alexander
Hamilton, who created a vibrant national economy so more people could rise and succeed.
It matured with Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War Republicans, who created the Land
Grant College Act and the Homestead Act to give people the tools to pursue their
ambitions. It continued with Theodore Roosevelt, who busted the trusts to give more
Americans a square deal. 

Members of this tradition have one foot in the conservatism of Edmund Burke. They
understand how little we know or can know and how much we should rely on tradition,
prudence and habit. They have an awareness of sin, of the importance of traditional
virtues and stable institutions. They understand that we are not free-floating individuals
but are embedded in thick social organisms.

But members of this tradition also have a foot in the landscape of America, and
share its optimism and its Lincolnian faith in personal transformation. Hamilton
didn’t seek wealth for its own sake, but as a way to enhance the country’s greatness
and serve the unique cause America represents in the world.

Members of this tradition are Americanized Burkeans, or to put it another way, (*****progressive
conservatives***** - can we meet here??).

This tendency thrived in American life for a century and a half, but it went into
hibernation during the 20th century because it sat crossways to that era’s great
debate — the one between socialism and its enemies. But many of us hoped this Hamilton-to-Bull
Moose tradition would be reborn in John McCain’s campaign.

McCain shares the progressive conservative instinct. He has shown his sympathy with
the striving immigrant and his disgust with the colluding corporatist. He has an
untiring reform impulse and a devotion to national service and American exceptionalism.

His campaign seemed the perfect vehicle to explain how this old approach applied
to a new century with new problems — a century with widening inequality, declining
human capital, a fraying social contract, rising entitlement debt, corporate authoritarian
regimes abroad and soft corporatist collusion at home. 

In modernizing this old tradition, some of us hoped McCain would take sides in the
debate now dividing the G.O.P. Some Republicans believe the G.O.P. went astray by
abandoning its tax-cutting, anti-government principles. They want a return to Reagan
(or at least the Reagan of their imaginations). But others want to modernize and
widen the party and adapt it to new challenges. Some of us hoped that by reforming
his party, which has grown so unpopular, McCain could prove that he could reform
the country.

But McCain never took sides in this debate and never articulated a governing philosophy,
Hamiltonian or any other. In Sunday’s issue of The Times Magazine, Robert Draper
describes the shifts in tactics that consumed the McCain campaign. The tactics varied
promiscuously, but they were all about how to present McCain, not about how to describe
the state of country or the needs of the voter. It was all biography, which was
necessary, but it did not clearly point to a new direction for the party or the
country. 

The Hamiltonian-Bull Moose tendency is the great, moderate strain in American politics.
In some sense this whole campaign was a contest to see which party could reach out
from its base and occupy that centrist ground. The Democratic Party did that. Senior
Democrats like Robert Rubin, Larry Summers and Jason Furman actually created something
called The Hamilton Project to lay out a Hamiltonian approach for our day. 

McCain and Republicans stayed within their lines. There was a lot of talk about
earmarks. There was a good health care plan that was never fully explained. And
there was Sarah Palin, who represents the old resentments and the narrow appeal
of conventional Republicanism.

As a result, Democrats now control the middle. Self-declared moderates now favor
Obama by 59 to 30, according to the New York Times/CBS News poll. Suburban voters
favor Obama 50 to 39. Voters over all give him a 21 point lead when it comes to
better handling the economy and a 14 point lead on tax policy, according to the
Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. 

McCain would be an outstanding president. In government, he has almost always had
an instinct for the right cause. He has become an experienced legislative craftsman.
He is stalwart against the country’s foes and cooperative with its friends. But
he never escaped the straitjacket of a party that is ailing and a conservatism that
is behind the times. And that’s what makes the final weeks of this campaign so unspeakably
sad.

End of article.

Perhaps it doesn't have to be sad for anyone on either side. That is my Hope. More to follow.

With Love,

Joy
So, Dear Reader, there it is my first attempt at talking to my friends who are afraid of
rampant government and taxes out of control.
Next- Obama's tax plan and McCain's Tax Plan as compared and contrasted on their respective websites.
Thank you to Helen and Margaret for inspiring me to blog.

Hello world!

October 28, 2008

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