Response from Third Way

Matt Bennett of Third Way sent me an email following our discussion with the following response to our blogging on the subject of their name and influence.  I'm gratified that Third Way would reach out and have this discussion, and hopefully we'll have more of these back-and-forth's. To briefly recap, Third Way is an insidery think tank that encourages Senate Democrats to push moderate policies with messaging, polling, and communications support.

Matt Stoller has reopened the examination of our name, finding our response to Chris Bowers' post"unsatisfying." We felt he raised some good questions, so we are grateful for the chance to take another crack at it.

We did not invent the term "Third Way" - we borrowed it, quite consciously - from Bill Clinton, whose philosophy of governance we share. We did so to avoid calling our organization something anodyne and anonymous. (Does Washington really need another Institute for the Study of Policy?)

But Clinton didn't invent the term either, and its meaning has evolved dramatically as it has moved through time and between countries:

  • In Italy, Benito Mussolini (whose philosophy of governance we do NOT share), used it to mean his brand of fascism.
  • In Britain, Tony Blair used the term to describe his own government, but it also describes a minor party that advocates Swiss-style direct democracy. And it's a magazine "for people who haven't lost faith in God or lost touch with the world."
  • In Canada, it referred to a 2006 health care plan.
  • In the Middle East, a small Palestinian party.
  • In the Netherlands and parts of Africa, it's used by a group working on human rights in Ghana.
  • In the US, we couldn't use the URL because it's owned by the Mennonites. (It apparently describes the Mennonite-Anabaptist theology.)

All of this is a bit confusing. But as Chris and Matt's posts show, the biggest difficulty we face with our name sprang from the addled brain of Dick Morris, who urged Clinton to "be more Republican than the Republicans." This led to the infamous "triangulation," which has, hopefully, ended up in history's dustbin.

We were left with a challenge. It cannot be denied that the salience of the term "third way" was damaged by Dick Morris. But as history and geography have proven, the term has had many meanings, and we believed it is still very relevant. So four years after Clinton's departure, we chose the name and undertook the task of continuing the evolution of the term.

That effort continued with our response to Chris. We call ourselves "Third Way" because our mission is to help bring progressive politics into the modern era: to move beyond the first way (Gilded Age reform and the beginnings of a post-colonial international system) and the 2nd way (the New Deal/Great Society safety net and America as a world leader), and toward a 3rd way (molding government to conform to the massive economic, security and cultural shifts facing us today). That is, we believe, what Clinton meant by his "bridge to the 21st century" - helping progressive ideas evolve to remain fresh and relevant.

But if we left any confusion with that explanation, let us be clear: we also chose the name because it sends a signal about where we are philosophically, and that is somewhere in that governing and political space known as moderation.

So label us what you will: "moderates,""centrists," whatever. But do not make the mistake of thinking such labels put us at the center point on an ideological continuum. None of our beliefs or work fall at some midpoint between Michael Moore and Ann Coulter on the wide spectrum of political thought. We are proud progressives, and we join with the entire progressive community in our revulsion at the damage done by six years of cravenness, incompetence and wrongheaded conservative governance.

What makes us moderates is the belief that while ideological movements have had some enormously positive and important impacts on America, we believe that there is also a critical role for what Arthur Schlesinger famously described as "the vital center" - a place that often seeks alternatives to more rigid ideological viewpoints and is grounded in a pragmatic spirit of problem-solving. Bill Clinton, one our most successful presidents, proved that to be true. And so did history's giants - from the Founders to Lincoln to FDR, America has moved forward by the combined efforts of passionate and boundary-stretching outside agitators and more practical inside advocates. And some of our nation's most significant policy gains have been made when our leaders have come together to find principled common ground.

Our current president, the worst in all of American history, has proven the converse by governing from the extreme.

What, then, is moderation? To us, it has at least three important meanings for our work:

First, moderation is often the art of the possible. For example, we support the Kennedy-Kyl compromise immigration bill, despite some flaws, because it is the best hope for this Congress to make some meaningful progress on this pressing national priority.

Second, moderation can mean a willingness to rethink old ideas in an effort to come to grips with the new governing problems this country faces in a post-industrial, globalized 21st century world. To that end, we have taken on some of the shibboleths in progressive politics. And we aim to do so not with rancor or name-calling, but with serious - sometimes heated - discussion and debate.

We believe that questioning progressive orthodoxy - whether it is focused on substance or messaging - absolutely does not mean abandoning progressive principles. Indeed, we believe that it is the only way, in the long run, to preserve and adapt those principles for a new era. A few examples:

  • We are pro-choice, but we also believe that progressives must acknowledge the moral complexity of abortion;
  • We are strong advocates of sensible gun safety laws and policies, but we also believe that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms (a right that, like all rights, come with restrictions and responsibilities);
  • We abhor the Bush tax cuts and economic policy, but we also believe that progressives must respond to middle class anxiety by offering not just an expanded safety net, but a ladder of opportunity for success;
  • We believe this country must forcefully combat global warming, but we also believe that nuclear energy must be an important part of that mix; and
  • We have always strongly opposed the Iraq War (from our founding in 2005 and, as individuals, from before the war began), but we also believe that progressives must have national security strategy that seeks to put us back on the offense against our nation's real enemies: al Qaeda and its allies.

We will fight to preserve those parts of the progressive legacy that remain effective and fix those that need updating. But we believe progressives must not confuse programs with principles - changing welfare "as we [knew] it" was a good idea in the early 1990s, and there are many other areas where programs designed for the world of the 1930s or 1960s no longer make sense in the 21st century. There is always more than one way to advance a progressive goal - broadening middle class opportunity in an age of fierce global competition, defeating our enemies while protecting our liberties, providing a floor beneath which no one can fall while demanding personal responsibility. We simply reject the proposition that if you're not for the most sweeping proposal - such as government-run single-payer health care - you're not a progressive.

Finally, we believe that moderation recognizes the new political realities of the 21st century and helps build a sustainable progressive majority coalition based on those realities. In many states, the largest block of voters is those who self-identify as Independents and/or moderate. Whatever one's view of the labels "liberal" and "conservative," it is folly to think that most of those self-styled moderates draw their political worldview mainly from traditional progressive politics. To advance a long-term agenda, it is critical to have a robust, ongoing argument inside the progressive movement about how best to connect with those voters. We believe that we ignore or whitewash those differences at our political peril. And we do not subscribe to the notion that we can simply write-off vast regions of the country, like the South.

In short, we are looking for ways of modernizing progressive policy and politics and expanding the reach of our ideas to the vast middle of the American electorate who wants its leaders to solve problems, not score ideological points. And we respectfully disagree with Matt that a moderate, Third Way philosophy of governance and politics is a "dead brand." Quite to the contrary, we are convinced that in 2006, progressive leaders tapped into both that pragmatic vein and anger from the base and leveraged the bungling, corruption, and stunning conceptual failures of the conservative regime to drive them from power in Congress.

But the job is not yet done. While the neo- and paleo-conservatism that has dominated much of US politics since 1980 has been widely discredited as a governing philosophy and political strategy (even Newt Gingrich recently denounced the Bush-Rove base-driven approach), we do not believe that 20th century progressivism has yet been sufficiently re-thought and re-fashioned to be substantively or politically ready to replace it in a way that ensures that our shared principles are dominant in the 21st. We look forward to a vigorous debate about how we all can work to make that happen.

Tags: Third Way (all tags)



Re: Response from Third Way

I'm telling you people, the progressive left needs to Bill Clinton off the train.

by Anthony de Jesus 2007-06-07 09:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way
Abortion is fraught with moral complexity...there, I acknowledged it. Can we move on now and repeal the ban on dilation and extraction abortions?
by pennquaker08 2007-06-07 09:17AM | 0 recs
The morality of abortion is not relevant.

It doesn't matter whether it is complex or simple or right or wrong. Morality should not be a factor in making law in a pluralist state with diverse views of morality.

Law should be based on the practical issues necessary for keeping society and business working smoothly and well. Murder is against the law not because some may view it as immoral, but because it's not practical to allow it. It engenders fear and is bad for business.

Abortion on the other hand does not engender fear nor is it bad for business. I would not be afraid to live next to a woman who chose to have an abortion nor next to a doctor who may have performed one.

by Jeff Wegerson 2007-06-07 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The morality of abortion is not relevant.

Slavery was great for business and abolishing it seriously disrupted society. So that should never have been abolished, right?

I'm not anti-choice but that notion that the law can be severed from morality is nonsense.

by js noble 2007-06-07 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: The morality of abortion is not relevant.

No, it isn't.  Slavery wasn't abolished on moral grounds, but on economic ones.  Notherners weren't full of warm fuzzies for blacks at the time; put simply, the Union couldn't have two powerful economic systems with completely divergent interests.  Two Americas, indeed.

by NicholasWalter 2007-06-07 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: The morality of abortion is not relevant.

Society does not function well if I must fear that I will become a slave. A society of separate classes is not healthy and there should be laws that disallow separate classes of citizens for practical reasons regardless of moral views.

by Jeff Wegerson 2007-06-09 10:00PM | 0 recs
Re: The morality of abortion is not relevant.
With all due respect, I must disagree...I do not think it is possible in practice to extricate notions of morality from the law. After all, the law itself, unlike the immutable principles of science, is made by human beings and is thus subject to the conscious or subconscious cognitive processes by which we perceive and respond to stimuli. In other words, even though we may fancy a law that is completely morally neutral, there is no real way that we as human beings can bring that into being practically speaking. I think the famous introduction to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s The Common Law says it best:
The object of this book is to present a general view of the Common Law. To accomplish the task, other tools are needed besides logic. It is something to show that the consistency of a system requires a particular result, but it is not all. The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience. The felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political theories, intuitions of public policy, avowed or unconscious, even the prejudices which judges share with their fellow-men, have had a good deal more to do than the syllogism in determining the rules by which men should be governed. The law embodies the story of a nation's development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics. In order to know what it is, we must know what it has been, and what it tends to become. We must alternately consult history and existing theories of legislation. But the most difficult labor will be to understand the combination of the two into new products at every stage. The substance of the law at any given time pretty nearly corresponds, so far as it goes, with what is then understood to be convenient; but its form and machinery, and the degree to which it is able to work out desired results, depend very much upon its past.
by pennquaker08 2007-06-07 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: The morality of abortion is not relevant.

Use whatever rationalizations you may need to defend your moral motivations. Then when two moralities clash, the one with the best rationalizations can prevail.

by Jeff Wegerson 2007-06-09 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: The morality of abortion is not relevant.
Anybody who thinks that, on some level, moral (or amoral, in the case of Republicans) considerations do not filter our more conscious thoughts needs to have an ego-ectomy. After all, whosoever thinks they are above human nature must be either crazy or supremely arrogant.
by pennquaker08 2007-06-11 05:51AM | 0 recs
Re: The morality of abortion is not relevant.
Sorry, I meant to say "immoral" rather than "amoral" above. By the way, do you feel gay people should be able to marry? If so, then why? If it has anything to do with the notion that all people should have equal rights and that people should not be discriminated against based on sexual orientation, then that is a moral stance. I do not think that everybody around these parts would say that gay marriage should be legal merely because it wouldn't disturb the tax structure too adversely. According to legal philosopher Philip Soper,
[T]he standard claim of authority within legal systems is inconsistent with the basic tenet of positivism. Legal officials claim what positivism denies-namely, that there is a necessary connection between law and morality. Thus, even if positivism is true, insiders in their capacity as legal officials will act as if positivism were false. Put another way, if positivism correctly completes its project of depicting the normative claims that officials make for law, then the model that emerges will be one in which the "essence" of positivism (the denial of a necessary connection between law and morality) is incompatible with the "essence" of law (a belief in just such a connection). --Soper, P. (1989) "Legal Theory and the Claim of Authority." Philosophy and Public Affairs. 18(3):209-237.
Thus, in essence, while we would very much like to believe in the utopian possibility of "slot machine" jurisprudence and mechanical lawmaking, wherein positivism liberates us from our otherwise all-too-human cognitive filters (e.g., morality and other forms of habitus), this is largely unattainable in reality. It is indeed important to separate reality from ideal. No matter how hard we try, we cannot break free of the necessary constraints that our nervous system in particular and phylogeny in general places on us. We are inherently subjective creatures, and unless our evolutionary future disencumbers us of this unfortunate reality, we are likely always to be. The products of human hands bears the stamp of the human mind.
by pennquaker08 2007-06-11 06:58AM | 0 recs
And who gets to weed through the thickets

of that complexity.  A pregnant woman, her doctor and those closest to her? Or the state?

by northcountry 2007-06-07 03:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

Slowly but surely, they're pronouncements on their ideology are getting clearer. Essentially, it comes down to progressives wanting to defeat conservatism, whereas groups like Third Way want to work with the less destructive elements of conservatism.

I'd also question:
a) Who amongst progressives refuses to acknowledge the moral complexity of abortion?
b) How you consider the entirety of the American population to be part of any militia, much less a "well-regulated" one (although I'd grant that this isn't an unusual viewpoint amongst either American progressives or conservatives)
c) Why fairer taxes and a strong social safety net aren't a ladder of opportunity, or why Third Way believes that progressives don't also believe in opportunity - witness the support amongst progressives for a new GI bill or something similar
d) Why Third Way believes progressives do not want a national security strategy (as opposed to a national security state) to combat Al Qaeda - it's a major progressive talking point that the occupation of Iraq actually harms the fight against Al Qaeda, whereas there's rather more support for operations in Afghanistan.

Sure, you aren't the enemy, but you're triangulating here by inventing these 'shibboleths' that are at their core misrepresentations of progressive positions. Not endorsing the positions of the left, or endorsing only part of them, is hardly a problem. Lying about said positions is a problem.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-07 09:22AM | 0 recs
global warming and nuclear power

We believe this country must forcefully combat global warming, but we also believe that nuclear energy must be an important part of that mix

If a comprehensive climate change policy is put forward that doesn't depend on new nuclear plants, would you oppose it? In other words, do you support the best solution to global warming, or the best solution to global warming that includes an expanded role for nuclear power? Maybe it's just a poorly-worded sentence, but it seems to imply that you're more concerned with promoting nuclear power than with combating global warming.

by arbitropia 2007-06-07 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: global warming and nuclear power

Agreed -  anything other than a reluctant acceptance of nuclear power is, in my mind, suspect. Why invest in nuclear power and its difficult to manage waste if other options are available? And safer? And don't produce waste? And could spur new industries? Etc, etc, etc.

by LandStander 2007-06-07 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: global warming and nuclear power

Because nuclear power is safe, produces next-to-no CO2 emissions, is cost-efficient, and the technology is present now.

It is a fraction of the cost of wind or solar, and is capable of addressing energy needs right now - wind and solar face other obstacles.

That's not to say that wind and solar are bad - on the contrary, they're far preferable to nuclear!  But to exclude nuclear power out of hand doesn't help.

If just half of our coal-fired plants could be replaced by nuclear, while investing in other technologies as well, we'd be in far better shape in a few years.

by NicholasWalter 2007-06-07 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: global warming and nuclear power

If you believe nuclear power is part of any solution to global climate change, you need to get better policy researchers and analysts.  Nuclear power includes a whole ton of carbon pollution for the lifecycle of generation.

by Peter from WI 2007-06-07 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: global warming and nuclear power

Meanwhile "a whole ton of carbon pollution" is generated by the average car in 6 weeks.

Nuclear power remains about half the cost of other alternative technologies with minimal emissions of any kind.  

by NicholasWalter 2007-06-07 02:06PM | 0 recs
Too revealing by half

"to move beyond the first way (Gilded Age reform and the beginnings of a post-colonial international system) and the 2nd way (the New Deal/Great Society safety net and America as a world leader), and toward a 3rd way (molding government to conform to the massive economic, security and cultural shifts facing us today)."

What kind of progressivism defines itself against the New Deal/Great Society while implicitly ignoring Reaganism/Friedmanism?

Sorry it all shrieks of Cato Institute in sheep's clothing.

by Bruce Webb 2007-06-07 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

I approached this with an open mind, but I got skeptical at "Michael Moore and Ann Coulter on the spectrum of political thought" and stopped reading at "alternatives to more rigid ideological viewpoints and is grounded in a pragmatic spirit of problem-solving."  That's just name-calling -- and cowardly name-calling at that; who does he consider rigidly ideological and ungrounded? -- and it's wholly unproductive to a progressive movement.

by greebsnarf 2007-06-07 09:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

Whoa.  A lot to digest here but there are assumptions that should be questioned immediately:

We are pro-choice, but we also believe that progressives must acknowledge the moral complexity of abortion;

Who said they didn't?  And I'm looking for examples of specific progressives who have not acknowledged the moral complexity.

We are strong advocates of sensible gun safety laws and policies, but we also believe that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms

The Second Amendment is perhaps one of the worst written sentences.  Ever.  But your interpretation of the Second Amendment overlooks that important conditional clause--being necessary to the security of a free State--and concludes that it prohibits gun control.  

progressives must respond to middle class anxiety by offering not just an expanded safety net, but a ladder of opportunity for success

The opportunity for success starts with a good education and a good job. It's the private sector that creates jobs and helps the economy to grow.  The government creates the environment that allows economic growth.  Manufacturing has lost millions jobs and we're in a serious trade deficit to the tune of $63.9 billion in March.  Where does the ladder of opportunity for success begin?

...combat global warming, but we also believe that nuclear energy must be an important part of that mix

After 30 years of production, the nation still has no place to put nuclear waste, many people fear nuclear energy, and the industry is unlikely to grow without more taxpayer aid.  How much taxpayer money should be appropriated? What do we do with the spent fuel? The Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada, under the most optimistic scenarios, will not open until 2017 to 2020.

I'm unconvinced of the merits of the Third Way.  Still sounds like triangulation to me.

by KimPossible 2007-06-07 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way


Great analysis, but I disagree on the gun control point - who said they assume that the 2nd Amendment prohibited gun control?  No one save a few NRA nuts believe that.  I know, I'm in the NRA.  The question comes to sensible regulation, and opinions differ - but I know of no politician who believes in completely unfettered access to bazookas on sale at Wal-Mart.  

by NicholasWalter 2007-06-07 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

Actually, I think Duncan Hunter's on record as supporting exactly that. And it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Ron Paul is too.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-07 04:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

Mennonites have web sites?

by Scott Shields 2007-06-07 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

They aren't all Amish. Back in the 16th and 17th centuries, they used to be seriously scary and the establishment was probably more scared of them than Joseph McCarthy was of communists.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-07 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

Of course, there not Amish.

There is a very brilliant Mennonite blogger in Virginia. Hans Mast.

by Alice Marshall 2007-06-07 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way
    I don't like your bullet points.  What does Al-Qaida have to do with the war in Iraq?  Why do you even mention them in the same sentence?  I feel like you're rebutting some non-existent argument from the left that we shouldn't work to destroy terrorism.  No one is saying that.  
   How do progressives "acknowledge the moral complexity of abortion?"  How does that help us accomplish anything?  There is no third way for abortion rights.  Either there are abortion rights, or there aren't.  Don't you agree?
   You say that progressivism has not yet been re-thought (?).  But what does that even mean?  What do you think needs to be changed?  If you want to make change, you should probably identify what you want to change.  I don't feel that your organization has a clear goal.  Is it your goal to water down ideas?  I really don't understand what your organization is tryng to do.
by cilerder86 2007-06-07 10:01AM | 0 recs
My Response to Third Way

I read your long response. I sincerely thank you for engaging with this community. I will take at face value that in doing so, you are also interested in our honest reactions...

The words sound so reasonable, but why do I feel sick to my stomach?

Maybe its that firm embrace of the terms "moderate" and "centrist". The original critiques (by Stoller and Bowers) remain solidly intact for me. In the current political climate an embrace of the labels moderate & centrist signal an attack on the progressive movement.

I proudly view myself as a pragmatic progressive. I have no idea what this straw man "progressive orthodoxy" is that you seek to question.

Have you read "Crashing the Gate"? Yes, there are some single interest groups that advocate dogmatic positions. Yet, as a movement, I see progressives as being quite willing to make pragmatic choices.

Of course we want middle class upward mobility. Of course we recognize that nuclear power isn't going away. Of course we know there are terrorists to fight--in fact, we've been the ones pushing for port security and chemical plant security, didn't you notice?

Your mischaracterization of progressive positions begins to sounds condescending. It's like, let the adults be in charge--we know how to really get things done, how to properly reach legislative compromises.

If you want to be anything other than insulting and off-putting to this progressive, drop the name Third Way, drop the labels centrist and moderate, and come up with something new.

On the other hand, maybe you should keep the name. At least you're being honest about your intentions. It's good to know who is and who isn't a friend of pragmatic progressives.

by WVaBlue 2007-06-07 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: My Response to Third Way


by NicholasWalter 2007-06-07 02:14PM | 0 recs
Third Way

I'm on board with the notion that abortion is fraught with moral complexity.

That's an excellent argument for keeping government the hell out of the equation.

by global yokel 2007-06-07 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

It is really grating to hear these guys call themselves 'progressives'.  In the past they self referred to themselves as liberals and, since I was a member of the progressive tradition, was quite content with that division.  However, they have  screwed up badly these past 20 years and allowed the term  'liberal' to be loaded with many negative connotations. It is interesting to see how they are abandoning some of the other images from their failed policies such as triangulation, neoliberalism, DLC and Dick Morris. Now they are stealing our brand.  Well I guess that is measure of our success in that they are now trying to co-opt our message.  
by syvanen 2007-06-07 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

This reads to me like a centrist interpretation of extreme right-wing frames resulting in a slippery ideology that always relates itself to how far the conservative pole becomes radicalized. The philosophy does not appear to be rooted in progressive ideas and/or tempered by a "politics of the possible." Instead, each bullet point is the statement of a Democratic position, followed by a conservative qualifier -- as if each qualifier is the only thing making the original position efficacious. As they move away from their abstract and shallow historical narrative to fleshing out more of their actual policy positions (as they start to do above), it will become clear that this is the same old triangulation trying to commandeer our legacy and vision of progressivism.

by LeftyTony 2007-06-07 11:17AM | 0 recs
Third Way

is a book by a Peruvian economist, whose name escapes me. He meant it as a third way between socialism (as understood by the Latin American left) and unbridled capitalism. He specifically meant legalizing the defacto property of poor people (such as squatters town) so they could enter the official economy.

by Alice Marshall 2007-06-07 11:25AM | 0 recs
moral complexity of abortion

in other words, women should be made to feel ashamed before they can get access to health care.

oh yeah, the moral value of bullying women.

by Alice Marshall 2007-06-07 11:28AM | 0 recs
Introducing the Fourth Way

I'd like to announce the formation of Fourth Way and would welcome any MyDD readers who wish to join.

Fourth Way is founded on core principles that take several paragraphs to explain yet still leave the reader utterly confused. In that sense Fourth Way is like Third Way. Likewise, we call ourselves "progressives," but we make absolutely sure there's at least one adjective in front of the word just to keep things fuzzy.

Yet Fourth Way advances several improvements over Third Way:

1. In addition to including nuclear power in our preferred strategy for reducing global warming, we also believe in breeder reactors.

2. Pregnant women in their first trimester should receive tax credits to help pay for target practice.

3. We think the Bankruptcy Bill needs reform. We would support legislation that caps credit card APRs at the 10 Year Treasury rate plus 30.

4. We support the expansion of enterprise zones to urban, suburban, exurban, rural, and desolate parts of the United States.

5. We think progressives need even more organizations trying to explain what progressives should think and say. Americans might be confused if progressives articulate clear, simple policy goals that majorities favor, such as universal healthcare or getting the hell out of Iraq, starting now. Clarity is not helpful.

6. We will not say anything whatsoever about the "War on Drugs," poverty in America, or indexing the minimum wage. Sensible progressives should not discuss these issues.

7. Social Security is controversial. Let's discuss.

8. Unlike most icky progressives, we have no problem keeping "In God We Trust" on American currency. We honor God by putting these words on money, and most Americans care deeply about this issue.

9. Net neutrality is a good idea, but there should be sensible compromise to accomplish this goal. We support legislation that would require telcos to provide network neutrality within at least 10% of the network bandwidth delivered to your home.

Please join us! We especially welcome neo-progressives who are not happy with Third Way and its direction, although you are certainly free to maintain membership in both organizations. Our Web site is:

by BBCWatcher 2007-06-07 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Introducing the Fourth Way


by WVaBlue 2007-06-07 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Introducing the Fourth Way

that's funny

by Matt Stoller 2007-06-07 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Introducing the Fourth Way

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-07 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way
I totally get what makes you moderates. What I'd like to know is what makes you PROGRESSIVES. My husband Dan raised this point quite well in his diary the other day: /87314 I would be curious to get your reaction to this. You throw around the word progressive a lot, but I see nothing in this post that makes me believe you are actually on board with these common principles, and a lot of what you pitch actually goes against them.
by Jenifer Fernandez Ancona 2007-06-07 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

That link got a little mangled, here it is again: /87314

In that post, I didn't get to the point of using the framework I proposed to evaluate whether a given group like Third Way is or isn't progressive. But that is (in part) what it's for, so I'll let you answer yourself - these are the summary bullet points again:+

» secure basic freedoms
» invest in people and the future
» democratize economic power
» build the green economy
» housebreak capitalism
» globalize this approach

I'd say that's very much a way of talking about expanding both security and opportunity for the middle class and the poor. What do you think?

Again, Matt B, thanks for engaging with this community.

by Dan Ancona 2007-06-07 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

I'd be interested in hearing more about how Third Way has evolved (or not) from the early 1990's when Clinton ran under that general banner.  I sort of oscellate between moderation and progressivism.  In the early 1990's I was right with you and also was a big supporter of Lead or Leave.  In the late 1990's I believe Democrats were hurt by Clinton's small issues & small politics.  I suppose it was the politics of survival.  Since the 2000 electiion I believe Democrats have needed to be bolder and to be more leaders, less poll followers.  My impression, perhaps incorrect, is that Third Way is championing what was a winning formula in the 1990's.  The problem is that times have changed.

by howardpark 2007-06-07 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

Progressives that support diversity and multiculturalism should be glad groups like the Third Way exist.  We need different approaches and different perspectives and there will always be those that will follow the more moderate message than the more extreme.

The key, though, it nail them each and every time they try to triangulate against the more progressive wing.  We need to work together, not counter our messages.

On the other hand, they should expect the same from us.  If they support the same basic principles we support and don't outright attack us, than we shouldn't attack them.

by Mark Matson 2007-06-07 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

The existence of these groups isn't the problem, per se. It's the tendency to work against the other groupings and with their enemies, the tendency to present themselves as the only adults in the room, and the near-stranglehold they hold on Democratic organisation and access to media.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-07 04:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

In Matt Bennett's post, he said:
"In many states, the largest block of voters is those who self-identify as Independents and/or moderate."

It may once have been useful to conflate independent and moderate, but it is not now so.  When one looks at independent positions on important issues of the day, in fact, they are very close to the position of Democrats, rather than being a truly independent bloc that is midway between Democrats and Republicans.  So while independents are often larger than both Democrats and Republicans in many states and Congressional districts, a candidate who frames progressive postions in an appealing way will having a winning platform.  

With that information in hand, the need for a "Third Way" falls apart.  

'Nuff said.

by chrisdarling 2007-06-07 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

by dkmich 2007-06-07 07:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Response from Third Way

Balogna by any other name is still balogna.  Run right and triangulate - not.  Bill Clinton is one of the worst things that ever happened to this Party.  God help us all if Hillary wins.

by dkmich 2007-06-07 07:45PM | 0 recs
by siteshow 2007-12-01 02:35AM | 0 recs


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