Thursday, October 14, 2004

Ed Koch: Democrat Turncoat

From his article in Jewish World Review:

My decision to vote for the reelection of President George W. Bush, despite the fact that I am a life-long Democrat, has caused some to call me a turncoat. But am I really? Or am I moving in a direction the Democratic Party itself should be going?

As mayor of New York City, I described myself as "a liberal with sanity." It troubled me that over the years, the Democratic Party had drifted toward the radical left. The vast majority of registered Democrats, and those who identify with that party, were and are moderates. As mayor and in the years since I left public office, I made it my mission to strengthen the Democratic Party by moving it closer to the center.

I supported and admired President Bill Clinton, who followed the same course on the national level. For the same reasons, I applauded the success of Prime Minister Tony Blair, who recreated the Labor Party in Great Britain, calling it the "New" Labor Party and getting rid of some of its obsolete socialist programs so that it now appealed to moderates. As a result, its majorities became enormous.

As a former Democrat, myself, and someone who still has strong populist inclinations, I sympathize with Mayor Koch. However, as a convinced capitalist and zealot of the Religious Right, I am perversely glad to see the leftist meltdown in the Democratic party. I have told several friends that the Republicans are the new Liberal party and George Bush is essentially a Kennedy Democrat: strong on the military and tax cuts, but weak on fiscal restraint. The problem, of course, is that leaves real conservatives with nowhere to go.

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