Thursday, June 28, 2007

Webb's Populism

Interesting article on Sen. Jim Webb in today's Washington Post. The article really highlights Webb's populist efforts to reshape the Party. However, I'm not sure that Webb is pitch perfect, as the below quote indicates.

Webb articulates what may be the wild-card issue of the 2008 campaign. There is a deep anger these days among middle-class Americans who feel abandoned by the elites in both parties. That anger surfaces on pocketbook issues that affect working people -- immigration, outsourcing of jobs, and the trade and tax boondoggles that broadcaster Lou Dobbs rages against each night on CNN.

"The average American worker sits there feeling the impact of globalization and immigration. They need people sticking up for them," says Webb. Though he doesn't criticize any politicians by name, he scolds what he calls "the Rubin wing" of the party, which supports the pro-investment policies advocated by Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

I think he is dead on in that the Middle Class feels abandoned by both parties. But I think he's wrong to dismiss pro-investment policies. As a parent, I think one of the best government policies in recent years has been the 529 accounts, designed to help families save money for college. I have no doubt that middle class families and Robert Rubin approve.

I've long felt that the American Dream is getting harder and harder to achieve for the middle class. Housing prices, insurance rates, tuition increases, child care costs, et. al. are making it more difficult to have the life your parents did. The Democrats have to speak to those middle class families getting squeezed.

That's not to say that raising the minimum wage and covering the uninsured, among other things, are not important goals. But we need to speak to a wider audience. I think it's too simplistic to say there are the "haves" and "have nots." I think there are also plenty of "have some, but not enough." Jim Webb wants the Democrats to speak to these people. I agree. We just disagree slightly on what needs to be said, but we seem to be going in the same direction.


At 12:13 PM, Blogger GottaLaff said...

The diminishing middle class is one of the most important issues out there.

I'm so glad you're posting about this, BC.


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