Preface

Our national motto is “E pluribus unum” (“Out of Many, One”), but should it instead now be “Sinere putrere” (“To allow to fester or rot”)?

People make fun of me when I say I am a “Liberal Republican.” “There is no such thing” they say. Or they say “You are the lone Liberal Republican.”[1]

This book argues that while Americans today do not self-identify as Liberal Republicans, a large number adhere to what are basically Liberal Republican beliefs.[2] For this reason and others, Liberal Republican policies can help narrow the ludicrous political divide that exists today. Bridging this divide is important because our government’s inability to deal with a variety of pressing national issues is significantly contributing to the destruction of the American Dream–the belief that with hard work anyone in America can succeed and provide an even better life for his or her children.[3] None of us, regardless of our politics, wants this core American value to fade away on our watch. “One of the least greatest generation” is no one’s idea of what they want on their tombstone.

I have described myself as a Liberal Republican for decades. It’s fun. You upset almost everyone using such a label, more than half with the word “liberal” and about half with the word “Republican.” Yet there have been plenty of Liberal Republicans in the last fifty years, many of whom are discussed below.[4] One doesn’t have to harken back to Abraham Lincoln’s and Teddy Roosevelt’s days to find a rich heritage of lawmakers who bridged gaps to help enact some of America’s most important post-World War II legislative accomplishments, including the civil rights laws, major national infrastructure improvements and a vigorous, internationalist foreign policy.

[1] In 2008 four percent of Republicans identified themselves as liberal republicans (and sixteen percent as moderate Republicans).  See American National Election Studies cited in Thomas B. Edsall, “Anger Can Be Power”, New York Times, October 8, 2013.  (Edsall, Thomas B. “Anger Can Be Power.” The New York Times. Accessed August 31, 2015. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/08/anger-can-be-power/.)

[2] The Edsall article cited in footnote 1 attributes findings to Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, who is conducting an ongoing study called “The Republican Party Project” for a liberal nonprofit organization, that 25 percent of Republicans are moderates.  According to Greenberg, this 25 percent of Republicans are very conscious of being illegitimate in their own party. The organization Third Way estimates that moderates make up 37 percent of the entire electorate, compared to 21 percent who are liberals and 42 percent who are conservatives. The State of the Center finds that 21 percent of Republicans are self-described moderates. In contrast, 40 percent of Democrats identify themselves as moderates, as do 39 percent of Independents. (See “The State of the Center,” Third Way, May 15, 2014 at www.StateoftheCenter.org. See also Ball, Molly “Moderates: Who are They and What do They Want” (The Atlantic, May 15, 2014. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/05/moderates-who-are-they-and-what-do-they-want/370904/)

[3] Wikipedia defines the American Dream as “a national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers.”  (The Wikipedia entry for “American Dream” is comprehensive and excellent.)  But see Pinsler, Joe, “Teenagers Are Losing Confidence in the American Dream,” The Atlantic, June 15, 2015.

[4] See Chapter 2, “Republican.”