Accuracy in Media

Although “compassionate conservative” George W. Bush presides over an economy that boasts a lower unemployment rate than that of his predecessor, who was a self-described “progressive,” progressives argue that their philosophy has been proven to be sound.

“Conservatism has failed, Americans seek new direction,  Progressives must step up,” was the resounding call to arms at the Take Back America conference last week. Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future,  enlightened and stirred the Opening Plenary attendees with an outline of conservative failures, beginning with a spread of Republican leader portraits, methodically X’ed out with red graphics.

“The right got it wrong, in Katrina, in Iraq, with Terri Schiavo, and the assault on social security.” The host communicated the problem of public disapproval of the current state and direction that the country is headed on issues of national importance:

• 59% of Americans oppose Bush on Iraq;

• 71% want to pursue energy alternatives; and

• 76% want access to health care, which is more important than tax cuts.

Though neither source nor polling information was given for these results, it was apparent that a concurring sentiment was shared heartily among the conference attendees.

In response to the extensive difficulties of the current administration, Borosage proposed his solution or “Bold Agenda” to his liberal following, including:

1. Real Security Strategy

2. Shared Prosperity Agenda

3. Revive the American Dream

Andrea Batista Schlesinger of the Drum Major Institute discussed the “Nature vs. Nurture” argument as it related to American economics. “Choice,” not nature, will bring about financial fairness to all Americans. “Social engineering is the point of government,” through which our nation’s poor will be redeemed, she mused. Schlesinger feels that it is unacceptable that “65% of Americans feel that no one is looking out for their financial future.”

Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison reflected on the path that conservatives had traveled, drawing philosophies from their movement that would benefit the progressive cause. “In 1964, the conservative movement hit rock bottom with Goldwater, but it projected the vision. They were patient, and understood that it would take a lot of work,” he observed. Though progressives are often motivated by sharp protest, “Conservatives produced think tanks that are working over the long term,” Ellison remarked.

Nonetheless, “Conservatism will always fail,” author and journalist Rick Perlstein declared.  “People who profess their contempt for government cannot be trusted in government,” he mused. “Why is it that when Nixon wanted to break the law and manipulate his administration, he went to someone with a background in conservative reform?”

Connie Rice of Advancement Project LA said of the conservative development, “any movement that must trick people into following them will not stand. Conservatives really are a wrecking crew, so they had to disguise it, and it worked really well for a while.”

Rice moved on to deliver her plan to activate the progressive base,  beginning with “We (liberals) have to be honest with our failures and communicate to the American people that we are not ‘stuck on stupid.’  However, with “If this country keeps going the way it’s going, I’m going with the Governator and lobbying for secession,” she concluded.

Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect spoke on conservative shortcomings in the economic arena. “Had the government called for social security privatization in the 1970’s, when Americans had a secure retirement policy, it would have made sense. In 2007, it is reckless,” Meyerson observed. He promoted the idea of further international collaboration, offering the insight that “a global FDA makes a great deal of sense.”

The fourth ideological pillar of conservatism, religion and values, is faltering, declared Melody Barnes of the Center for American Progress.  “The religious right is still very powerful, but failing,” she mused.  “This was seen in the 2006 use of the gay marriage ban to get conservatives out to the polls. Conservatives have used religion and values as a political tool.”

Barnes also expressed her concern about conservative media bias in the religious realm. “The media don’t cover the whole of values systems in the U.S. Right-wing religious leaders are quoted much more than the left,” she discerned.

Liberals seem to have an optimistic approach to their conversion of conservatives, but are sure to differentiate the ones that are simply lost. “We won’t get the Phyllis Schlafly’s, but we’ll get the thinking conservatives,” affirms Connie Rice.

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