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February 11, 2005

Values and the Democrats

How can a President cut aid to poor mothers and their children by 9.6%, drop 740,000 of them from the program, and call himself a compassionate conservative? That Democrats have trouble evoking "moral values" as an issue for them reflects their failure to pound hard on issues like this.

Out of fear of appearing soft on welfare, many leading Democrats traded off their old identification as caring for the poor and vulnerable. They thought this might win over swing voters on policy grounds, but they lost the moral authority that leaders like Tip O'Neill once had when he defied Ronald Reagan over his budget attacks on the poor. For everyone worried about "values"-- here's a clue. Democrats can take on the rightwing over abortion and values, but only if they emphasize their compassion for children after they are born.

Posted by Nathan at February 11, 2005 07:40 AM