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Mike Rayburn

The Liberal Tap-Dance...

Well, I have to agree with you about Hilary. [I look forward to moments when we can agree since politically speaking (and only politically speaking) there have been relatively few].

If I may summarize, one consistent theme in your comments, and one I believe most Americans share, is a desire for political, personal and moral conviction... someone who stands for something and keeps standing for it. Hurray! We're on the same page.

But if you do desire conviction and consistency, my new Senator, Jim Webb notwithstanding, it makes me question your choice of political party. While there are exceptions on both sides, conservatives have almost always been far more willing to "be who they are" than liberals, at least in the national political arena.

Quickly here, BJ Clinton was elected as a centrist. Then when he got into office he made a hard left turn with tax increases, expanded entitlements, gays in the military, etc. And as a thank you Americans booted his party out of congress for 12 years. How did he (Dick Morris, really) turn it around? He tap-danced to the right. It is funny to me to hear so many Democrats worship at the Clintonian altar with praises for ... get this... NAFTA, balancing the budget, ending welfare as we know it, just to name a few. My question is, where did any one of those issues appear on the Democratic platform? They didn't. They were mostly part of the republican "Contract With America." Tap, tap, tap. Clinton's real political brilliance is that he took (and largely got) credit for it.

John Kerry, rated the forth most liberal Senator, wanting to be elected president made countless moves to the right. (It's getting late so I won't list them all but I know you know this).

And of course, for the last 8 months we've watched Hilary do the same thing.

Even on a macro level, in the 2006 Democratic sweep look who they put up as candidates in most states: moderate or conservative democrats. Why? I believe that down inside and behind closed doors they think Karl Rove is right. Let me explain.

There are two questions to ponder here: Why do liberal democrats seeking national office (mostly the presidency) feel the need to tap-dance to the right in order to get elected? And then why don't the rare liberals who do stand on their convictions get elected or even become the nominee? Maybe that's it. Perhaps, as I believe, what Karl Rove said after the 2004 election is right:

America is center-right. Period. Always has been. Whoever gets elected needs to be somehow close to that.

So, here's my idea. Let's have a test. I want us all to watch Barack Obama. Though his relatively short political career doesn't leave a long voting trail (which is a whole other issue) when he has voted he's been solidly liberal. Right now he says nice things about "focusing on the areas where we all agree," blah, blah, blah; but sooner or later he'll have to take some stands. So, let's see how he dances. Will he stand on his liberal convictions? Or will he tap-dance to the right?

And, not to exclude this microscope from republicans, let's watch them, too, but specifically Rudy Giuliani. He's the republican front-runner but he's socially too far to the left for the more conservative side of the party. While I believe he could easily win the presidency, his tap-dance would have to start earlier in the election cycle to win the nomination.

It will be interesting.

Finally, it would be nice to see Barack get the nomination and run for the presidency on his liberal convictions. And, regardless of the outcome, Giuliani stands right behind his past beliefs and runs solidly on those for the nomination.

Though I'm not backing Giuliani or anyone else just yet, I relish the idea of a presidential election between two people with political courage than the over-processed, tap-dancers we usually get (and those mostly from the Democrats).

Honestly, Paul - and I think this is another place we agree - I would sooner vote for someone with solid convictions and a basic goodness of spirit, even if I disagreed with many of his or her positions, than someone who dances well.

It's fun to be back.

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