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Gore moves left of Lieberman.

by Jonathan Wilson
December 9, 2003

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True Colors_Jonathan Wilson-Gore Moves Left of Lieberman Howard Dean is emerging as the front-running Democrat, having obtained the endorsement of former Clinton vice-president and 2000 candidate Al Gore. It is an endorsement that leaves Gore's 2000 running mate, Senator Joe Lieberman, scratching his head.

Lierberman's reaction is noted in the AP on-line article by Ron Fournier. According to Lieberman, Dean and Gore hold opposite views on several issues, and Gore's endorsement signals a departure from the Clinton legacy which brought the Democratic party back into a centrist position.

My visceral reaction to Howard Dean is that he can't win. I am speaking as neither a liberal nor a ne-con, neither a socialist nor an anarchist, and as someone who senses that if the Republicans do not field a challenger to Bush, I probably won't vote for President this year.

As for Howard Dean, he represents an interesting mix. The governor of the state that brought us same-sex "civil unions," he is, as Fournier states, "embraced" by the NRA. He is also anti-War in Iraq. He has locked up his records as governor to protect them from the scrutiny of the press and opposing candidates. As with all candidates, much about Dean appeals to my core values, and much I disagree with very strongly.

His appeal, Fournier writes, is to "largely white, upscale voters," an appeal which Gore's endorsement is intended to broaden to include other base constituencies such as African Americans and labor unions. I am a white voter, but not "upscale." This is where my visceral reaction is strongest. This is where Al Gore may have shown his "true colors" in by-passing Lieberman on his sharp left-turn.

"White, upscale voters" have traditionally looked down on the infantry-class, those people who fight our wars because they can only afford college on the GI bill. Let's not forget that thirty years ago it was essentially rich people hurling the epithet "baby-killers!" to poor people as they stepped off the troop transports after their year of tour.

"White, upscale voters" live in "bedroom communities" with security systems, so they can understand the insecurity, even paranoia, of a candidate who wants to keep the public affairs of the state he governed his own personal secrets. "White, upscale voters" hate the down-home appeal of Bush, because Green Acres is the place to be, and everyone knows that hillbillies don't belong in Beverly Hills. "White, upscale voters" impose their consciences on the rest of us because a)they feel that it is their duty and birthright, and b)they feel they are more qualified than everyone else to make decisions for everyone else's families.

I know about "White, upscale voters." I went to school with them. I paid my way with the Guaranteed Student loans and work, because my parents could not afford to help. "White, upscale voters" are the folks who didn't wake up to the truth that America has poor people until their sophomore year in college. These are the folks that have been on a crusade to "do something" about it ever since. To "do something" means to leverage their money and power to elect candidates that will "do something," like the New Deal and the Great Society and Housing and Urban Development and Guaranteed Student Loans and a department of agriculture with more bureaucrats than farmers.

If my experience with Trailer Park White Folk is any indication, they want less government, not more, in their lives. As one Wisconsin citizen put it to me, "I just earn the minimum, and to hell with the rest, because the government just takes it anyway." This was years after the Reagan tax-cut. Social programs and the taxes required to support them create a double-whammy of disincentives: those who receive the benefits are punished if they try to get off the dole, and those who are just above the line are cynical about the government getting into everything.

I can say that the Guaranteed Student Loan helped me through college. However, why is it that college costs and medical costs rise faster than inflation? Is it because the government programs have "guaranteed" money for these services? What is HUD's impact on the housing market? Has that been studied?

Welcome to my world, "upscale White voters." No one wants to live free like a person living just above poverty. That is the person who knows that their life is best managed by themselves, not by the government. That is the person with the shot-gun on the rack and the Coors in the fridge and the Chiefs on the tube. You might think these folks are provincial and plebian. Apparently, that is what Gore thought about the voters in his own state; he couldn't be bothered to carry Tennessee in 2000.

I am now living in a dense urban environment which is economically and ethnically diverse. Take this to the bank: I'm not just speaking for "downscale?" white folk. People want to live free, and believe they can, and they really don't want the good intentions of "upscale White voters" to deprive them of their choices.

So, Dean is on his way, and those of you who wish Ted Kennedy had run again are now hoping that this campaign turns out differently from the McGovern, Mondale, and Dukakis disasters. Good luck.

I hate the Iraq war, I hate what Homeland Security does to our constitution, and the Prescription Drugs plan represents an entitlements compromise that restricts the free market. Still, if I were a betting man, my money would be on the candidate with the drawl. He might be richer than all of you upscale White voters put together, but dang it, he sounds like the rest of us.

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