Think of Nixon's economic policies, which were a continuation of Johnson's "Great Society"; Clinton's welfare reform and support of capital punishment; and Obama's pragmatic centrism, reflected in his embrace, albeit very recent, of entitlements reform". The Third Way has been heavily criticized by many social democrats as well as anarchists , communists , socialists and democratic socialists in particular as a betrayal of left-wing values.
- Tea for Three.
- PANDORA, An American In Prague.
- Additional information.
- Further Reading.
- UNCLE CHUB.
The Democratic Leadership Council shut down in Commenting on the Democratic Leadership Council's waning influence, Politico characterized it as "the iconic centrist organization of the Clinton years" that "had long been fading from its mid-'90s political relevance, tarred by the left as a symbol of 'triangulation' at a moment when there's little appetite for intra-party warfare on the center-right".
Republican and staunch conservative George W. Bush won the president election in a tightly contested race that included multiple recounts in the state of Florida. Gore case on December 9,  the Supreme Court reversed a Florida Supreme Court decision ordering a third recount, essentially ending the dispute and resulting in Bush winning the presidency by electoral vote, although he lost the popular vote to Democrat and incumbent Vice President Al Gore. Bush's policies were deeply unpopular amongst American liberals, particularly his launching of the Iraq War which led to the return of massive protest politics in the form of opposition to the War in Iraq.
Bush received heavy criticism for his handling of the Iraq War, his response to Hurricane Katrina and to the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse , NSA warrantless surveillance , the Plame affair and Guantanamo Bay detention camp controversies. When the financial system verged on total collapse during the financial crisis , Bush pushed through large-scale rescue packages for banks and auto companies that some conservatives in Congress did not support and led some conservative commentators to criticize Bush for enacting legislation they saw as not conservative and more reminiscent of New Deal liberal ideology.
In part due to backlash against the Bush administration, Barack Obama , seen by some as a liberal and progressive,  was elected to the presidency in , the first African-American to hold the office. In reaction to ongoing financial crisis that began in , protest politics continued into the Obama administration, most notably in the form of Occupy Wall Street.
Although some of these were cited by liberal activists and Democrats, this information did not fully become a center of national attention until it was used as one of the ideas behind the movement itself. During a news conference on October 6, , President Obama said: "I think it expresses the frustrations the American people feel, that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country [ Obama was re-elected President in November , defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney and sworn in for a second term on January 20, During his second term, Obama has promoted domestic policies related to gun control in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and has called for full equality for LGBT Americans while his administration has filed briefs which urged the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act of and California's Proposition 8 as unconstitutional.
The shooting of Michael Brown and death of Eric Garner led to widespread protests particularly in Ferguson , where Brown was shot against perceived police militarization more generally and alleged police brutality against African-Americans more specifically. Murdock wrote that "the notion that America's cops simply are gunning down innocent black people is one of today's biggest and deadliest lies".
Since the s, there has been a concerted effort from both the left and right to color the word liberal with negative connotations. As those efforts succeeded more and more, progressives and their opponents took advantage of the negative meaning to great effect. In the presidential campaign, Republican George H. Bush joked about his opponent's refusal to own up to the "L-word label".
Conservative activists since the s have employed liberal as an epithet, giving it an ominous or sinister connotation while invoking phrases like "free enterprise", "individual rights", "patriotic" and "the American way" to describe opponents of liberalism. Bush , confident that many Americans regarded liberal as a pejorative term, used it to label his political opponents during campaign speeches while his opponents subsequently avoided identifying themselves as liberal.
She was a vocal supporter and leader in the women's movement and Ford was also noted for bringing breast cancer awareness to national attention following her mastectomy. Her outspoken liberal views led to ridicule and opposition from the conservative wing of the Republican Party and by conservative activists who referred to Ford as "No Lady" and thought her actions were unbecoming of a First Lady in an increasingly conservative Republican Party.
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Ronald Reagan 's ridicule of liberalism is credited with transforming the word liberal into a derogatory epithet that any politician seeking national office would avoid. Watt said: "I never use the words Republicans and Democrats.
It's liberals and Americans". Reagan warned the United States of modern secularists who condoned abortion, excused teenage sexuality, opposed school prayer and attenuated traditional American values. His conviction that there existed a single proper personal behavior, religious worldview, economic system and proper attitude toward nations and peoples not supporting American interests worldwide is credited by comparative literature scholar Betty Jean Craige with polarizing the United States.
Reagan persuaded a large portion of the public to dismiss any sincere analyses of his administration's policies as politically motivated criticisms put forth by what he labeled a liberal media. When George H. Bush employed the word liberal as a derogatory epithet during his presidential campaign,  he described himself as a patriot and described his liberal opponents as unpatriotic.
Bush referred to liberalism as "the L-word" and sought to demonize opposing presidential candidate Michael Dukakis by labeling Dukakis "the liberal governor" and by pigeonholing him as part of what Bush called "the L-crowd". Bush recognized that motivating voters to fear Dukakis as a risky, non-mainstream candidate generated political support for his own campaign. Bush's campaign also used issues of prayer to arouse suspicions that Dukakis was less devout in his religious convictions.
Bush's running mate, vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle , said to Christians at the Republican National Convention : "It's always good to be with people who are real Americans". Liberal Republicans have voiced disappointment over conservative attacks on liberalism. Andersen , who commented that it is "unfortunate today that 'liberal' is used as a derogatory term".
Historian Kevin Boyle explains: "There was a time when liberalism was, in Arthur Schlesinger's words 'a fighting faith'. Now even the most ardent reformers run from the label, fearing the damage it will inflict". Finkelstein was recognized by Democratic political consultants for having employed a formula of branding someone as a liberal and engaging in name-calling by using the word liberal in negative television commercials as frequently as possible such as in a ad against Representative Jack Reed : "That's liberal.
That's Jack Reed. That's wrong. Call liberal Jack Reed and tell him his record on welfare is just too liberal for you". Democratic candidates and political liberals have hidden from the word liberal, in some cases identifying instead with terms such as progressive or moderate. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney accused their opponents of liberal elitism, softness and pro-terrorism. When liberals shifted to the word progressive to describe their beliefs, conservative radio host Glenn Beck used progressive as an abusive label.
Nothing is too bad for conservative bloggers and columnists—let alone radio hosts—to say about liberals.
Conservative politicians and publicists, by dint of associating liberals with all manner of absurdity so that many sensible people hesitated to risk being tagged with the label of liberalism, succeeded in persuading the country that it was more conservative than it actually was". Alterman points out that resistance to the label liberal is not surprising due to billions of dollars worth of investment poured into the denigration of the term. Alterman acknowledges political scientist Drew Westen 's observation that for most Americans the word liberal now carries meanings such as "elite", "tax and spend" and "out of touch".
American liberals describe themselves as open to change and receptive to new ideas. Liberals tend to oppose the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling in that a corporation's First Amendment right to free speech encompasses freedom to make unlimited independent expenditures for any political party, politician or lobbyist as they see fit. President Obama called it "a major victory for big oil , Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans".
In general, liberalism opposes socialism when it is understood to mean an alternative to capitalism based on state ownership of the means of production. American liberals doubt that bases for political opposition and freedom can survive when all power is vested in the state as it was under state-socialist regimes. In line with the general pragmatic, empirical basis of liberalism, American liberal philosophy embraces the idea that if substantial abundance and equality of opportunity can be achieved through a system of mixed ownership , then there is no need for a rigid and oppressive bureaucracy.
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Economist Paul Krugman argued that in hitherto-state-dominated functions such as nation-scale energy distribution and telecommunications marketizations can improve efficiency dramatically. These distortions are of a kind that war-time and postwar Keynesian economists had accepted as an inevitable byproduct of fiscal policies that selectively reduced certain consumer taxes and directed spending toward government-managed stimulus projects, even where these economists theorized at a contentious distance from some of Keynes's own, more hands-off, positions which tended to emphasize stimulating of business investment.
There is a fundamental split among liberals as to the role of the state. Historian H. Brands notes that "the growth of the state is, by perhaps the most common definition, the essence of modern American liberalism". According to cognitive linguist George Lakoff , liberal philosophy is based on five basic categories of morality.
The first, the promotion of fairness, is generally described as an emphasis on empathy as a desirable trait. With this social contract based on the Golden Rule comes the rationale for many liberal positions. The second category is assistance to those who cannot assist themselves.
A nurturing, philanthropic spirit is one that is considered good in liberal philosophy. This leads to the third category, namely the desire to protect those who cannot defend themselves. The fourth category is the importance of fulfilling one's life, allowing a person to experience all that they can.
The fifth and final category is the importance of caring for oneself since only thus can one act to help others. Liberalism increasingly shaped American intellectual life in the s and s, thanks in large part to two major two-volume studies that were widely read by academics, advanced students, intellectuals and the general public, namely Charles A.
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Parrington 's Main Currents in American Thought 2 vol. The Beards exposed the material forces that shaped American history while Parrington focused on the material forces that shaped American literature. According to the Beards, virtually all political history involved the bitter conflict between the agrarians, farmers and workers led by the Jeffersonians and the capitalists led by the Hamiltonians. The Civil War marked a great triumph of the capitalists and comprised the Second American Revolution. Younger historians welcome the realistic approach that emphasized hardcore economic interest as a powerful force and downplayed the role of ideas.
According to historian Ralph Gabriel:. Main Currents attempted to trace the history of liberalism in the American scene for citizens who were caught in a desperate predicament. It was an age in which American liberalism set the United States, through the New Deal, on a Democratic middle-of-the-road course between the contemporary extremisms of Europe, that of Communism on one hand, and of Fascism on the other.
He saw the democratic dreams of the romantic first half of the 19th century as the climax of an epic story toward which early Americans moved and from which later Americans fell away. Liberal readers immediately realized where they stood in the battle between Jeffersonian democracy and Hamiltonian privilege.