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January 12, 2005
Like They Need A Hole In The Head

After a three-cycle losing streak for Democrats, one would think that the party might take a look at the more extreme elements of their platform in order to broaden their appeal. However, longtime Senator Ted Kennedy -- from that incubator of political moderation known as Massachusetts -- urged Democrats to go farther in their progressivism:

Democrats must do a better job speaking about the principles they believe in and that have guided the party, said Kennedy, D-Mass., in a speech to the National Press Club.

"We cannot move our party or our nation forward under pale colors and timid voices," said Kennedy, who has served 42 years in the Senate. "We cannot become Republican clones. If we do, we will lose again, and deserve to lose."

With his proteg John Kerry taking the opposite tack on abortion, Kennedy insisted that the path to winning elections lies not in regrouping towards the center but in taking traditional Democratic policy positions to their logical extremes. For instance, while most Democrats still remember the HillaryCare debacle of 1993-4 (those still in office, anyway), Kennedy prescribes the hair of the dog that bit them. He proposes that the Medicare system that already threatens to collapse under its own weight be expanded to cover all Americans, and that payroll taxes be increased to pay the freight. Nor is that Teddy's only giveaway. Kennedy also proposed that the federal government "guarantee" the full tuition for any student qualifying for college.

Never mind that the Democrats have spent the last eighteen months excoriating George Bush for bloating the deficit. Now they want the American taxpayer to not only nationalize the health-care system but higher education as well. Kennedy demonstrates his tone-deafness with this clarion call towards a level of socialism that even Europe might blanch at implementing. It also shows what a sham the deficit-hawk posturing was during the 2004 election. They don't want to exercise fiscal responsibility, as Kerry and Dean repeatedly told voters -- they just want to get their hands on the rest of our money.

His advice to Democrats should fall on deaf ears. However, the fact that Kennedy provides such a public voice for the Democrats -- and that after almost 40 years, the party still follows his leadership -- means that these will likely be the shadow goals of the Democrats should they return to power. Of course, it also will be the reason they don't.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 12, 2005 12:51 PM

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