Saturday, October 02, 2010

A Progressive Heritage - not Constitutionally Based

This is the next in a series about Matt Mead’s political heritage. [found at]

We’re going to digress for just a bit from our focus on Mead to lay some groundwork for what will follow. Most of us think we know what a ‘liberal’ is and understand that Liberals and Progressives are somehow linked. For instance, there was Obama addressing a gathering of our elected officials as his “Republican and Progressive friends”.

Democrats were in the room, just not addressed as ‘Democrats’. And Hillary Clinton told us not long ago that she strongly identifies with the best of the century-old American Progressivism movement. But for the most part that link is fuzzy, as we’ve only recently begun to hear our politicians publicly identify themselves as Progressives. So let’s clear up a bit of confusion.

In a previous article we explored the basic nature of Conservatives. A simple explanation of the difference between a Progressive and a Conservative in the United States is:

A Conservative wants to conserve or maintain traditional institutions, including the U.S. Constitution, and believes that some laws transcend time and place.

A Progressive wants to progress, or move beyond…everything, anything, traditional Americans stand for. For them, change must be constant. And most importantly, they insist we must progress beyond the U.S. Constitution, which they say is outdated and no longer applicable to our laws or our lives.

There are many variations on the Progressive theme, and there have been three major Progressive Party advances in the course of our nation’s life, so it’s difficult to follow and understand the movement. But every day we’re getting better acquainted with their ideas through their policies, laws, and regulations. How influential are they? Members of the U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) have drafted, developed or sponsored most of bills advancing modern Progressive goals over the course of its 20-year life. The Caucus’s 80-plus members include many House Representatives and three Senators.

Mind you, there are other Congressional Member Organizations that our national elected officials have formed. These exclusive clubs are built around an ideology, philosophy or race identity, and behind their closed doors members hammer out positions, plans and projects. But CPC’s members are particularly powerful.

There’s Barney Frank and Maxine Waters who, along with enablers and enforcers, put in place the rules and laws that delivered the sub-prime lending fiasco directly leading to our latest economic crash. There’s Henry Waxman, who has a bill before Congress right now intended to put controls on our internet free speech and access. Waxman and his good friend Ed Markey are sponsors of the cap and trade bill. Then there’s Alcee Hastings, a current Florida Representative who was a federal judge until he was impeached for “corrupt conspiracy”. This is the guy who when asked in March “how can Congress use the reconciliation rule to pass the health care bill?” replied, basically, that rules were for dummies and furthermore “we make them up as we go along“.

Other notable members of the CPC include Alan Grayson, Jesse Jackson, Jr, John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, and New Mexico Senator Tom Udall. Nancy Pelosi, current Speaker of the House, was a member until she became House leader. The late Senator Ted Kennedy, who was so effective at shoving Progressive health care goals forward issue by issue, regulation by regulation, bill by bill for years, was also a member.

The fire burning in the bellies of Conservatives is a direct result of these Progressives. Now here’s the second half of the story. Progressives aren’t found only in the Democrat’s ranks. These ideals cross party lines. And there you have the source of much of the political frustration and anger this country’s people feel toward their government. No wonder nothing in our political world makes sense anymore.

Making your head hurt more

Do start in on some reading of your own. To find out what Progressives are thinking straight from them, take a look at, or or, or

Then for another perspective from outside their movement, read Ronald Pestritto’s American Progressivism: A Reader, or Peter Berkowitz’s Varieties of Progressivism in America.

That’ll keep you busy, and awake at night, for quite a while.

1 Accessed Sep 29, 2010

2 Accessed Sep 29, 2010

3 Accessed Sep 29, 2010

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