February 2004
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Day February 24, 2004

Rep. Dingell Challenges Mankiw on Fast-Food “Manufacturing” jobs

Again, thanks to Atrios for the pointer.  Rep. John Dingell, of Michigan, wrote a letter to CEA Chairman Mankiw this week, not only challenging the absurd classification of fast-food workers as “manufacturing jobs” but doing so with such humor that I rolled on the floor laughing – a rare thing when reviewing the Administration’s hijinks these days.   Here are some fun quotes, but I recommend reading the whole thing:

I am sure the 163,000 factory workers who have lost their jobs in Michigan will find it heartening to know that a world of opportunity awaits them in high growth manufacturing careers like spatula operation, napkin restocking, and lunch tray removal.  

Dingell goes on to ask key questions about this new trend in job creation, however:

Will federal student loans and Trade Adjustment Assistance grants be applied to tuition costs at Burger College?

Will special sauce now be counted as a durable good?

It’s nice to see that we have elected officials who can fight back at the Administration, and do it in a positive way.  This made my whole day. 

Just brilliant….fidelity pledges for FMA supporters

Thanks to Atrios for linking this one:  The Rocky Mountain Progressive Network has decided that since supporters of the Federal Marriage Amendment are believers in the sanctity of marriage, they ought to be willing to sign a pledge that they practice fidelity themselves.  After all, Focus on the Family cites a 2002 study by the University of Oklahoma showing that infidelity as a major threat to the institution of marriage.  The pledge was given to each Colorado state and federal lawmaker who publicly supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.  You can see the pledge and track which lawmakers sign and return it.  This ought to be fun to watch…

It’s official…Bush calls for an amendment

It was a matter of time, of course.  Today, Bush publicly announced his call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.  The announcement itself is really not very interesting, and I’m not really very motivated to pick apart Bush’s language or comments. Others, including Kevin Drum are commenting on other aspects of this issue, and the transcript is available for those who are interested.  I find it somewhat interesting that the only statistics on the “overwhelming consensus” for “protecting” traditional notions of marriage were the voting numbers on the Defense of Marriage Act (House: 342-67, Sen: 85-14).  Naturally, these numbers are chosen because they’re much less equivocal than public polling numbers.  And naturally, public polling numbers don’t demonstrate anywhere near this degree of “overwhelming consensus.”    

American Footprint on Democrats and the New Deal

American Footprint posted a terrific piece on the New Deal and its relationship to centrist Democratic politics.  His argument is that the legacy of the New Deal isn’t really specific programs but the notion (carried on by the DLC and Clinton) that government should be involved in “bold, persistent experimentation” to solve problems.  This is a must read for Democrats this year because the traditional agendas are – in part – what leads to the notion of a polarized, divided America.  

While it’s reasonable to say that there is still a “culture war” happening in this country, that doesn’t automatically mean that the two major parties must be different along the exact lines of the culture war.  Indeed, there’s a strong argument to be made that shifting the agenda just slightly could retain existing committed Dems while creating broader appeal to those moderate Republicans.  These are folks who voted Republican during the last decade because they believe in a strong national security stance, are against waste in government operations, but aren’t necessarily attracted by the current Republican alliance with socially conservative and religious agendas.  This isn’t news – the Democratic Leadership Council was founded with this strategy in mind, and Clinton was the first of the DLC Democrats to gain the White House.  But the DLC mission has not, in my experience, successfully replaced the older Johnsonian “Great Society” image that the Democrats have in the minds of many Americans.

American Footprint does us a great service by urging everyone to reconsider FDR’s legacy at a more fundamental level – not at the level of specific policies and programs, but at a philosophical and strategic level.