Daily Archives: January 28, 2010

What is a Progressive? (and why they should scare you) Part 1

Restore the Republic, Reject the Agenda of the Progressive Left! 

If you are a regular reader of my blog you are familiar with my closing tag line above or a variation of it, which I close most blogs with. 

So what is a “progressive” and what is my beef with them? For the answer you must look at American history beginning in the early 1900’s. 

“Progressivism” is a reform movement that began in the 1890’s and has remained active to this day. At times it has had a lower profile but it has been an active force in American politics for over 100 years.

The American “progressive movement” was originally led by “intellectuals and social reformers” (aka the elite) seeking to address the economic, political, and cultural issues which had resulted from the rapid growth/industrialization of the country as well as the growth of modern capitalism. The Progressives believed then as they do today, that this rapidly changing society required the establishment of a “new order”.  Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Croly, John Dewey and Charles Merriam were early political leaders of the movement.

Progressives don’t always agree on how to solve problems but generally they agree government must be actively involved at every level of society to drive reform. They also agree the existing constitutional system is antiquated. They believe it must become a dynamic, evolving instrument of social change, aided by scientific knowledge and the development of administrative bureaucracy.

Some of the first changes the early progressives made were; the direct elections of Senators, the open primary, the initiative and referendum. To drive the desired societal change through the government there was a need for more revenue which resulted in the 16th Amendment and individual progressive income tax.

Progressives are elitists – their vision was to use the Presidency to provide the direction and the vision to drive the evolution of a progressive government. 

“All that progressives ask or desire is permission–in an era when development, evolution, is a scientific word–to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine.” – Woodrow Wilson 

The Progressive Party led by Senator Robert M. La Follette of Wisconsin was very successful in the years following WWI. After the war there was an up swing in left leaning politics in the United States. Political parties such as the Workers’ Party (the Communists), the Socialist Party and the Farmer-Labor Party, all increased their membership in the early 1920’s.

In 1922, the Conference for Progressive Political Action (C.P.P.A.), another left wing progressive movement partnered with railway unions to create a political force at the state and local levels, successfully backing several liberal candidates for Congress.

In 1924, the C.P.P.A. convinced Senator La Follette to be their candidate for president, giving him full control over the party platform and his choice of a running mate. The platform he laid out is as follows:

  • Government Ownership. Claiming mismanagement by private enterprise, the Progressives called for government ownership of the nation’s railroads, timber forests, coal, ore and oil fields, and power-generating water resources.
  • Tax Reform. Saying the lower and middle classes paid a disproportionate amount of income tax, the Progressives called for lower of tax rates for those groups and promised sharp increases on the wealthy.
  • Agricultural Reform. The Progressives were proponents of farm subsides and other government programs to support farmers. These included price supports and relief from the costs of over production.
  • Judicial Reform. The Progressives wanted limitations on both judicial reviews and injunctions. They argued that judges were overturning too much legislation based on constitutional grounds. They said that this was blocking the implementation of programs and legislation that was designed to “benefit” the lower and middle classes. 

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Compare the above to the Progressive Promise found on the website of the Progressive Congressional Caucus: http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?SectionID=5&ParentID=0&SectionTypeID=2&SectionTree=5

Beginning in 1924, Norman Thomas became a leading figure in the American Progressive/Socialist movement running for president six times between 1928 & 1948 as the candidate of the Socialist Party of America. 

“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.” – Norman Thomas

This statement is the key to understanding the Progressives. They are radicals who understand that the way to take over America is through an evolutionary process not a revolutionary one. The radicals of the 60’s, using unrest over the war, the momentum of the civil right’s movement and LBJ’s Great Society  tried to move their agenda forward with a more openly revolutionary approach but this was quickly rejected by mainstream America. 

Since then the Progressive Movement has operated quietly inside the Democratic Party slowly moving their agenda forward and waiting for their opportunity. Their patience paid off in 2008 after G.W. Bush’s unpopular second term. 

So who are today’s Progressives and how do they operate within the Democratic Party? 

Within the House of Representatives the Democrats have a group called the Progressive Caucus.

“The Progressive Caucus is an organization of Members of Congress founded in 1991 by newly-elected House Representative Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont), who is a self-described socialist.”

The following is a list of all current Representatives in the Congressional Progressive Caucus: 

    Nancy Pelosi (CA) – Speaker of the House

    Steny Hoyer (MD) – House Majority Leader

    Jim Clyburn (SC) – Majority Whip

    John B. Larson (CT) –Democratic Caucus Chair 

Co-Chairs
Hon. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07)
Hon. Lynn Woolsey (CA-06)

Vice Chairs
Hon. Diane Watson (CA-33)             Hon. Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Hon. Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18)    Hon. Mazie Hirono (HI-02)
Hon. Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)         Hon. Donna F. Edwards (MD-04)
Hon. Alan Grayson (FL-08)

Senate Members
Hon. Bernie Sanders (VT)

House Members
Hon. Neil Abercrombie (HI-01)  Hon. Tammy Baldwin (WI-02)  Hon. Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
Hon. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)  Hon. Robert Brady (PA-01)  Hon. Corrine Brown (FL-03)
Hon. Michael Capuano (MA-08)  Hon. André Carson (IN-07)  Hon. Donna Christensen (VI-AL)
Hon. Judy Chu (CA-32)  Hon. Yvette Clarke (NY-11)  Hon. William “Lacy” Clay (MO-01)

Hon. Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)  Hon. Steve Cohen (TN-09)  Hon. John Conyers (MI-14)
Hon. Elijah Cummings (MD-07)  Hon. Danny Davis (IL-07)  Hon. Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
Hon. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)  Hon. Sam Farr (CA-17)  Hon. Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Hon. Bob Filner (CA-51)  Hon. Barney Frank (MA-04)  Hon. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11)
Hon. Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)  Hon. John Hall (NY-19)  Hon. Phil Hare (IL-17)
Hon. Alcee Hastings (FL-23)  Hon. Maurice Hinchey (NY-22)  Hon. Michael Honda (CA-15)
Hon. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-02)  Hon. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)  Hon. Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Hon. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)  Hon. Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI-13)  Hon. Barbara Lee (CA-09)
Hon. John Lewis (GA-05)  Hon. David Loebsack (IA-02)  Hon. Ben R. Lujan (NM-3)
Hon. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14)  Hon. Ed Markey (MA-07)  Hon. Eric Massa (NY-29)
Hon. Jim McDermott (WA-07)  Hon. James McGovern (MA-03)  Hon. George Miller (CA-07)
Hon. Gwen Moore (WI-04)  Hon. Jim Moran (VA-08)  Hon. Jerrold Nadler (NY-08)
Hon. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (DC-AL)  Hon. John Olver (MA-01)  Hon. Frank Pallone (NJ-06)
Hon. Ed Pastor (AZ-04)  Hon. Donald Payne (NJ-10)  Hon. Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
Hon. Jared Polis (CO-02)  Hon. Charles Rangel (NY-15)  Hon. Laura Richardson (CA-37)
Hon. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)  Hon. Bobby Rush (IL-01)  Hon. Linda Sánchez (CA-39)
Hon. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)  Hon. José Serrano (NY-16)  Hon. Louise Slaughter (NY-28)
Hon. Pete Stark (CA-13)  Hon. Bennie Thompson (MS-02)  Hon. John Tierney (MA-06)
Hon. Nydia Velazquez (NY-12)  Hon. Maxine Waters (CA-35)  Hon. Mel Watt (NC-12)
Hon. Henry Waxman (CA-30)  Hon. Peter Welch (VT-AL)  Hon. Robert Wexler (FL-19) 

The names on this list should surprise no one as they are some of the most liberal members of Congress. Here is a link to their website: 

http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?ContentID=166&ParentID=0&SectionID=4&SectionTree=4&lnk=b&ItemID=164 

Until 1999 the Progressive Caucus worked in open partnership with Democratic Socialists of America. After the press reported on this link, the connections suddenly vanished from both organizations’ websites.

Excerpts from the website of the Democratic Socialists of America: 

“The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. DSA’s members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly socialist presence in American communities and politics. 

We are socialists because we reject an international economic order sustained by private profit, alienated labor, race and gender discrimination, environmental destruction, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.

 We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane international social order based both on democratic planning and market mechanisms to achieve equitable distribution of resources, meaningful work, a healthy environment, sustainable growth, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships”.

DSA website has a youth section, Young Democratic Socialists (YDS). Made up of students from colleges and high schools and young people in the work force, the Youth Section works on economic justice and democracy and prison justice projects. It is a member of the International Union of Socialist Youth, an affiliate of the Socialist International. The Youth Section meets several times during the year. More information is available from YDS staff. 

Also on their site you will find a variety of resources in the form of PDFs. Most of these are in support of all the administrations major agenda items; Health Care Reform, Green Jobs, Climate Change Regulations and Card Check to name a few. However there is one that really stands out called “How a President Creates Change” by Joseph Schwartz.

Below is the opening of this article:

“The impressive depth and breadth of your electoral victory, combined with Democratic gains in both the House and the Senate, provides the possibility of reversing three decades of growing inequality that is the primary cause of an impending depression. To put it simply, the world now produces more than it can consume; we now are paying the price for using excessive debt to make up for the declining purchasing power of the global working class. But to do avoid a global depression you will have to act boldly and quickly. As a constitutional law scholar, you realize that the system of checks and balances and separation of powers established by our founders consciously aimed to forestall rapid change. Thus, almost all the reforms we identify with the twentieth-century Democratic Party—Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Civil Rights Acts, and Medicare—occurred in the periods 1935-1938 and 1964-1966, the only times when the Democrats controlled the presidency and had strong majorities in both chambers of Congress. 

 If upon taking office you lead with boldness, your administration could pass major legislation in regard to universal health care, massive investment in green technology, and labor law reform that would transform United States social relations for generations to come. But as a former community organizer you know that such reforms did not come from the top down; they arose because moderate elites made concessions to the movements of the unemployed and the CIO in the 1930s and to the Civil Rights, anti-war, women’s, and welfare rights movements of the 1960s. While your office cannot conjure up mass social movements, you can call your supporters to ongoing grassroots activism”. 

Throughout history, Progressives have been enamored with the wrong people. This included people such as Stalin and Mussolini. Early Progressives were supporters of eugenics and remained interested until Hitler made it into a bad word. At a minimum Progressives are statists, who favor a dominant central government that tightly controls its’ citizens, at their worst they can morph into power mad social engineers who believe they can reshape society through science and government. 

Today, the progressive movement is the lunatic fringe of the left. The Progressives in the administration and Congress openly express their admiration for Mao, Chavez, Che Guevara and Castro. Mark Lloyd, Anita Dunn, Cass Sunstein, John Holdren, Ron Bloom, Maxine Waters and Carol Browner are just a handful of these radicals who have taken up residence in our government. It should not go without notice that President has made references in his speeches to his “progressive friends”. 

During his Sept 2009 Healthcare address to joint session of Congress, he said:

“To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage available for those without it”.

If you have any doubts that there is a Progressive movement hard at work inside this administration, think again! Go to the website of Progressives for Obama and read this article:  http://progressivesforobama.blogspot.com/2010/01/organization-you-get-nothing-without-it.html  or check out these sites: http://blog.pdamerica.org/ or http://www.democrats.com/ 

The Progressive Movement goes against everything America stands for: it created progressive income tax, prohibition, the Federal Reserve, the U.N., every single government agency – from the Department of the Interior to the FDA – these were all progressive ideas. Progressives believe in the philosophy that life is just too complex for the common people to understand or deal with so they should back off and let the government solve the problems. Kind of reminds you of the town hall meetings on Healthcare Reform, doesn’t it! 

Here is the real problem – the more power and control the government gets, the more power and control it wants. The founding fathers recognized this, which is why there is a separation of powers built into our Constitution. It was intentionally designed this way to provide checks and balances to control the speed of change. 

Progressives believe in social re-engineering. They believe that they can improve the world by changing the structure of society and the roles of the people in it. Unfortunately, what usually starts with good intentions eventually goes awry. The governments of Chavez and Castro have not created a better life for all. What they did create was equality – in poverty for the masses and wealth for the elite! I defy you to find a “regular person” in a truly “progressive/socialist” society who is happy with their individual freedom, their quality of life and their ability to pursue their dreams. Americans are spoiled – we take these things for granted. There is no free lunch, all entitlements come at a cost. What are you willing to give up, to have your “security” provided by the federal government. I want more from my life than …work, eat, sleep…die! 

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”   – Winston Churchill 

“The assumption that spending more of the taxpayer’s money will make things better has survived all kinds of evidence that it has made things worse.” – Thomas Sowell

Open your eyes America, the Constitution and the American way of life are under attack! You must fight back, the threat is real. There are “progressives” in our government who want to “fundamentally transform America”.  This transformation is underway. Will you help stop it?

“Most people who read “The Communist Manifesto” probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of “the workers”.” – Thomas Sowell 

Restore the Republic, Reject the Agenda of the Progressive Left! 

Coming: Part 2 – Scary Progressives/Socialists – In Their Own Words