I used to be a liberal

There have been several fault lines in this election: young vs old, black vs white, conservative vs liberal, conservative vs progressive, men vs women.  But amongst all those, one fault line is crucial to Republican hopes in the fall: conservative vs. liberal This is a fault line that favors the Republicans ~ always has, and always will.  This is a fault line that Democrats do not "get" ~ why does it favor the Republicans when we are clearly the good guys ? .

I used to be a liberal, and I am not anymore so I believe I am qualified to answer this question.

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CT-04: Chris Shays' Liberal Makeover

As I'm based at my parents' house here in CT for a couple of weeks, I thought I ought to go check out their congressman Chris Shays -- aka New England's last remaining Republican House member -- in person at a townhall he held nearby. To his credit, Shays holds a series of these events on weekends to speak to constituents -- he held 4 yesterday and 2 today. Each event runs an hour and a half and is framed as "a conversation." But it quickly became clear to me that this series of townhalls is essentially his "see, really, I'm a liberal, I swear" tour and it was actually sort of sad.

Shays started this "conversation" by running through some sweet graphs he had made up that demonstrate just how independent he is from his party and from Bush. This is a D+5 district after all, he knows the party and the president are at the depths of popularity, but he also knows that this presidential year there is going to be unprecedented turnout among Democrats. He also knows his challenger, Jim Himes, is formidable and is collecting a daunting warchest of his own. So to survive, Shays must paint himself as a liberal, in other words, blur the distinctions between him and Himes as he and Lieberman did successfully on the issue of the war in 2006.

First up was a chart tracking his position on the liberal/conservative continuum. According to National Journal, Shays voted 52% conservative and 48% liberal for 2007. Ahh, yes, right in the center, to the right of Lieberman (57% liberal/43% conservative) and to the left of Chuck Hagel (61% conservative/39% liberal.) Next was how often he voted with Bush. After a peak of 82% in 2002, it dropped to 33% with the Democratic majority in 2007 as compared with 93% of John Boehner. Then he showed us his Republican party unity score: 67% vs. 99% for Boehner and 90% for John McCain.

The fact that he began in such a defensive crouch said a lot, of course, about how vulnerable he believes he is this year, but as he spun his answers to constituent questions, it became even clearer just what a liberal makeover he is attempting.

On the environment and alternative fuels, he bashed Bush for not acting. "The next president needs to do what this president didn't..."

On Iraq, suddenly he regrets his vote. He actually used the words "I wouldn't have voted for it if I'd known how badly Rumsfeld would have managed it." To the best of my knowledge, this is new language. Also, when I confronted him with the fact that in 2006 he advocated a timeline for withdrawal yet every time he was given an opportunity to vote for a timeline he voted against it, he made a point of boasting of his support for another bill that would have had the troops out by end of 08. What he conveniently leaves out was that that bill was not up for a vote. I asked him what a withdrawal bill right now would have to look like to get him to support it. He didn't answer.

And on the topic of what victory in Iraq looks like, to his credit he actually answered the question and it involves a troop presence of 40-60k through end of 2009, which he made a point of saying "is fewer than the 80k Barack Obama's advisor said would be there." The downside to off-message advisors: giving political cover to down-ticket Republicans.

Oh and this was rich: suddenly Shays has a healthcare plan and sounded downright Clintonian and Obamanian on the subject: "Americans should have the same healthcare choices I have as a federal employee."

You know this is going to be the strategy of many of the so-called moderate Republicans running for their lives this year -- a blurring of their entire records with their Democratic opponents, just as they did on Iraq in 06. The blurring has begun, it's up to us to call them on it. It's also really important to promote and support the embarrassment of riches that is our Democratic challengers this year and so please support Jim Himes's campaign if you can.

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What is a liberal/democrat

Once in a while I hear people ask the question 'What are you a liberal?'.  I am never sure how to answer them, not because I am afraid of the Liberal label, but because I am never sure what that actually means.  So I just went to Wikipedia and looked it up.  Here is what they have...

<Liberalism refers to a broad array of related ideas and theories of government that consider individual liberty to be the most important political goal.[1] Liberalism has its roots in the Middle Ages and Age of Enlightenment.</p>

Broadly speaking, liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity. Different forms of liberalism may propose very different policies, but they are generally united by their support for a number of principles, including extensive freedom of thought and speech, limitations on the power of governments, the rule of law, the free exchange of ideas, a market or mixed economy, and a transparent system of government.[2] All liberals -- as well as some adherents of other political ideologies -- support some variant of the form of government known as liberal democracy, with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law.>

Of course there is more, and I am sure it is all just as complicated.  

Anyway, this is my first diary, so I can't guarantee that I am doing it correctly; in fact, I can see my use of <> is not block quoting as I had hoped it would.  But more than a diary, this is really a question.  Are you a liberal?  I fit most of what is posited above, but not all.  For example, I believe in the limitation of government, especially when it comes to my personal privacy, but conversely, I support Universal Health coverage.  In some respects limited government and universal health are at odds with eachother.  

The other question I want to ask is this?  Are all liberals democrats?  Of course, in my area in upstate NY, Greens are strong and capture many liberals.  And are all democrats liberals?  I am sure that the answer to both questions will be a resounding NO, but I wanted to ask anyway in the hopes that all of you will respond to the questions.  Mostly, I am curious; I am sure people believe things differently than I do.  I am curious to know what those things are.  

Recently, I went to dinner with my mom and her husband.  He is a registered republican and has in recent history (beginning with W) voted all democrat.  He told me that he would vote for Hillary but would not vote for Barack Obama.  He would vote for McCain first.  Ok, yes he is registered republican, so can't be trusted to be loyal to the democratic party.  Today, I had a conversation with my sister and we were discussing my uncle, who is a NYC liberal, and lifelong (76 years) democrat, and I was shocked when she said that he would vote McCain before Obama.  Of course I told her that we would just have to work harder to convince people otherwise.    

This just illustrated for me how differently people view things and how no 2 people are alike.  Hence the purpose of this diary is to find out how other people view the issues.  What is important for you, what is the deal breaker.  For Obama supporters, perhaps it's his efficient and winning 50 state strategy, for Hillary supporters perhaps it's her adherence to Uniersal healthcare.  

I am leaving the house in an hour and will not have access to the computer until tomorrow morning.  I look forward to any and all answers.  So please help yourself.

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Barack Obama, The Most Liberal Senator?

So I keep hearing it again and.  "Barack Obama has been rated as the most liberal senator by the National Review." Let's forget about the conservatism of the National Review, let's forget that ethics-reform was considered a liberal idea.

I heard someone say recently that Obama is too far left for them, so they'll be going for Clinton.  That is sort of funny.

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Heres what Joe Wilson thinks!

This man knows his shit!

courtesy of taylormarsh.com

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