Seriously, read this guy. He’s a leading thinker from the old Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the moderate/conservative, Clintonian wing of the Democratic party. His prescriptions strike me as GOP-Light (cut Social Security, attract independents through same old ways, etc.). But, still. The two money quotes:
“For too long, liberals have been flummoxed by conservatives’ success in posing as defenders of liberty against government encroachment. This stance has given the conservative cause a simple, reductive logic and ideological coherence that liberals lack – and often envy. It has enabled the right to tap the deep strain of anti-statism that really does make American politics exceptional.”
[Having as a first principle] ‘affirming a positive role for government’…reflects confusion of means with ends … No rebranding exercise is going to change the way most Americans understand freedom. Limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise are encoded in our political DNA. Instead of trying to splice genes into unfamiliar combinations, Democrats should pay due deference to these bedrock principles, while at the same time counterposing to them other political values – equal opportunity, moral reciprocity, civic duty – that Americans also care deeply about.”
He also notes that, while most liberals are Democrats (rest independents), most Democrats are “moderates” as that term is typically defined. The Republicans are much more ideologically homogenous these days.