Monday, January 30, 2006

The Values that Unite Us

As you will soon notice, James, Gerald and I have much to disagree about. Though we're all Democrats, we span the gauntlet, from Stark to Kerry to Lieberman. (For those quick to forget the political gossip of 2003, Fortney Stark is this man, the Congressman who called House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas a "fruit cake" and a "cocksucker." Rumor has it his wife is hot.) And though from time to time I entertain forbidden thoughts of crossing the aisle or starting the American chapter of Kadima, I have never seriously considered changing my registration.

So in the interest of moving Party debate forward, instead of left or right, I will regularly blog about the underlying Democratic values that keep Lieberman and Kucinich smiling.

I begin with an interesting debate on the Hill last week sponsored by the Truman National Security Project, a great organization you will hear a lot more about in the future. The event, put on for Congressional staffers, brought together Peter Beinart, editor of The New Republic and Michael Tomasky, editor of The American Prospect, for a discussion on a Democratic approach to national security. Though the two magazines occupy different points of the Party's ideological spectrum - The New Republic tends to promote a "Third Way"-style, moderate Democratic approach, while The American Prospect is basically mainstream Democrat - Tomasky and Beinart found few points of disagreement. Instead, both editors would regularly begin their answer to a question with "Yeah, I agree with _____ (insert "Pete-dawg" or "Mikey"), but let me add this..."

I will post more on their interesting discussion later, but let me close on a theme that you will also find popping up regularly in my posts: the values that unite liberal (as opposed to realist) approaches to foreign policies - in other words, the connection between liberal internationalists and neoconservatives. One very impressive foreign policy/defense legislative assistant for a distinguished, red-state Democratic senator asked the speakers if they could find anything positive about the Bush Administration's foreign policy. Though it's not surprising that Beinart would answer affirmatively, it was more of a shock that Mr. Tomasky affirmed Beinart's praise of Bush and then raised him one (Beinart would later agree to the second issue as well - UN reform). "I think the President deserves praise for putting democracy promotion at the center of his foreign policy agenda," Tomasky responded.

Harry S Truman Fellow wholeheartedly agrees.


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