Real Talk Q&A: Are Our Democratic Leaders Progressive Enough?
1 year ago
We explore just how Liberal Dems must be in 2012 to beat back Conservative Republicans.
With a 25-seat deficit, House Democrats have a major task ahead of them this fall, as they battle to regain the majority in Congress. But can a party that lost 63 seats in the midterm election (the most since 1938) adapt enough to provide a solid counterpoint to Conservative Tea Party folks on the other side of the aisle? And will President Obama be able to maintain enough of his base to be reelected? In 2008, a Gallup poll showed that the more liberal a Dem was, the more likely they were to support President Obama, and more Dems describe themselves as “Liberal” this year, as compared to ’08. Will that trend continue in 2012? Does the president need to take a more progressive stance to retain his position as the leader of the free world? We turned to Jamal Simmons, Principal at The Raben Group and political analyst, for his take on what Dems need to do to win big during this election cycle.
Loop21: I know you worked with President Clinton, who is famously known as a New (Moderate) Democrat. Would it be accurate to say that you are a Moderate Democrat?
Jamal Simmons: I call myself a pragmatic Democrat. Like most people, I’m not uniformly Liberal or Conservative. On some issues, I believe we need the government to do more, like ensuring that people have equal access to all of the benefits America has to offer. Other times, I think we need individuals to do more, like when it comes to raising children with strong values of work and responsibility. I also think we need a strong military to defend United States’ interests and citizens abroad, but we also need strong, enforced regulations that set the rules of the road for business. We need to be more creative when it comes to education policy to make sure that parents have good choices to pick from for the kids’ educations. When it comes to privacy, I am particularly suspicious of big government monitoring citizens’ behavior, and I’m suspicious of big business, too. I don’t know if that is Progressive or Conservative, but I bet most people think it makes sense.
Loop21: How would you define a “Progressive Democrat”?
Simmons: I think a Progressive Democrat is someone who tends to see government as the first option in solving a problem, more than the private sector or non-profits when it comes to domestic policy, and they may be suspicious of our reliance on the US military when it comes to foreign policy.
Loop21: How would you define a “Moderate Democrat”?
Simmons: Moderate Democrats are people who have a blended approach on the role of government and the private sector.
Loop21: How would you define a “Conservative Democrat”?