Forward to What, Democrats?
"Forward" is a perfectly appropriate slogan for progressives.
Progress suggests forward or upward motion. That's why revolutionaries and radicals as well as liberal incrementalists have always embraced some derivation of the forward trope. So ingrained are these directional concepts in our political language, we often forget they are mere geographic metaphors applied -- and often misapplied -- to policy disputes.
For instance, some on the left might see enrolling more people on food stamps as a step in the right direction, moving us "forward" to a more generous and all-encompassing welfare state. But other self-described progressives might see a swelling of the food stamp rolls to be a step backward, either in strict accounting terms (we are, after all, broke) or even in cultural terms. Some Democrats have even been known to brag when they've gotten people off the food stamp rolls.
In other words, even for progressives, what counts as moving forward depends entirely on where you want to go -- and where you think you've been.
And that's where the
"Back to what?" you might ask. The answers to that question are usually no less vague for being passionately stated. Perhaps the ugliest answer, an insinuation really, came from Rep.
A more common answer came from Obama. "After all that we've been through, I don't believe that rolling back regulations on
This is an appeal to the mythology of the Bush years as some kind of anarcho-capitalist dystopia in which "market fundamentalism" reigned and Republicans tried to shrink government to the point where "we can drown it in the bathtub" (to quote anti-tax activist
This was always a bizarre liberal hallucination. Government grew massively under
This, according to Democrats, amounts to telling Americans "you're on your own."
But even now, the Bush-Cheney years are being rehabilitated by comparison to the dark fantasies of what a Romney-Ryan administration might deliver.
The idea that Romney is a cut-government-to-the-bone minarchist is based on a mix of unsubstantiated assertion, wild fantasy and guilt by association; you see, even if there's no evidence that Romney's a libertarian, he's been captured by the heartless
It is a sign of what an unmitigated mess we are in as a country when Ryan is considered a heartless right-winger who wants to set old people adrift.
The famously heartless Ryan plan (moot now that he's hitched his wagon to Romney's) that supposedly slashes the budget doesn't reach a projected balance until the year 2040 and increases spending over the next decade.
Ironically, it was
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