Saturday, February 17, 2007

But first you've got to have the boots

You've probably heard that comedian, author and radio host Al Franken is seeking the Democratic Senate nomination in his home state of Minnesota. I've read a number of his books over the years and I think that he has a really good take on the issues, and would make a great Senator.

As seems to be all the rage for political candidates in the U.S. these days he has posted a video online outlining why he's running. I wanted to pull out this portion though where Al talks about what being a progressive means to him, because I think it really resonates and rings true for Canadian progressives as well.

In an era where the role of government is under attack by the political right on both sides of the border, I think this is a message progressives need to be putting front and centre.

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Anonymous said...

In an era where the role of government is under attack by the political right on both sides of the border

The role of government is under attack? Jesus, Jeff, when did you become such a radical? I mean, I know you don't like Stephen Harper, but what's with the hysterical rhetoric?

A BCer in Toronto said...

Radical? Hysterical? Not hardly anon. Last I checked, the conservative movement, particularly in the U.S., has made no secret of its belief that big government is bad, that it's power should be neutered through massive tax cuts, and that the (small l) liberal vision of government as a force for good, for helping the disadvantaged, is outdated. It's not a hidden agenda, it's the opposite.

ottlib said...

Big government is bad, unless of course it is being used to further the agenda of the conservatives or denying the rights of people they find "funny".

Anonymous said...

The role of neo-cons like Harper and Bush is to channel government money on unproductive military spending while slashing social programs as much as possible. Bush isn't content to steal from his own generation, he's robbing future generations through deficit spending. Given the chance, Harper will do the same. If he ever gets a majority we'll be back in deficit as the tanks, helicopters, and planes roll out. Al Franken is right on.

Gazetteer said...

Thanks Jeff.

To take what Mr. Franken said one step further....

It's also important to reaize that those of us who were lucky enough to have been given boots because we were lucky enough to have come of age a generation ago would be churlish, or worse, if we were to deny those that need boots now.


Anonymous said...

Interesting that the group of neo-conservatives - Reagan, Thatcher and Mulroney left their countries with huge, huge debts.

So why would people say they are the ones who are the true "fiscally responsible" people.

They haven't succeeded yet have they.

Now the Liberals left a surplus and Clinton left a surplus.

It takes money to spend money. The Conservatives don't leave any money to spend - ONLY ON INTEREST on debts.

Anonymous said...


Surely, you see the difference between wanting to shrink the size of the government bureaucracy and reduce government spending on one hand, and 'attacking the role of government' on the other, don't you?

Indeed, some would argue that the Liberal's reduction in the size of the bureaucracy and government spending was necessary in slaying the deficit. There's a HUGE, huge difference between shrinking the size of government and attacking its very role.

Furthermore, both GWB and Stephen Harper have increased government spending, and therefore are not "attacking the state" by reducing government spending by any objective measure.

I'd suggest you tone down the rhetoric, is all - perhaps you've been hanging out with Canada's favourite Cynic too often.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Perhaps my language could have been more precise anon, by the role of government I meant the welfare state/social safety net/social programs. And the role of a Strong Federal government. I know Harper is no socon, it's his devolutionary and decentralizing philosophies that concern me more, and make me concerned what he'd do with a majority. I see the seeds in his talk around the fiscal imbalance.