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Friday, November 07, 2008

"The role of government is to improve people's lives"

Great stuff over at Hullabaloo - this is pretty much my whole philosophy in a nutshell.

It's a funny thing, the public wants you to improve their lives a bit and keep your campaign promises to do so, and they don't really seem that concerned about whether you're moving too far to "the left" or "the right."

In fact, the entire notion of "what kind of a country is America" becomes quickly tautological. This is a centrist country in the sense that the center would be the median ideology of everyone in it. The question becomes where is that center. And it's completely clear that the public agrees with Obama's agenda, which includes investments in public health, education, energy and infrastructure, an end to the war in Iraq, increased diplomacy, reproductive choice, and a more progressive tax code.

If you want to call that a progressive majority, it would be hard to argue with you. But more than anything, it's a recognition on the part of the vast majority of the public that they would rather have a government that improves people's lives instead of one that actively harms it. So while looking at self-described ideology shows that the electorate is in pretty much the same place as it has been, that's a false indicator. People want to stop being screwed, and they intuitively understand that a conservative agenda was doing that repeatedly. They don't want to be ruled by monsters anymore. The best way to show them that you're not a monster is to marginally improve their lives, fulfilling your role as a public servant to the greater good.
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The role of government is to improve people's lives. Through initiating projects through collective action that the individual cannot do themselves, like building roads and bridges and police and fire departments. Through equalizing opportunity for success through education programs. Through making sure the least of us doesn't slip into grinding poverty with a social safety net, rather than just socialism for the rich and connected. Through making sure that we have a health care system that provides access and treatment as a basic human right. Through defending the nation with diplomacy and international engagement instead of sending in the military at the slightest provocation. Through adhering to a Constitution that has been ignored and mocked the last eight years.

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