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  • Is Harry Reid Really On The Right Side of History?

    This past weekend a brouhaha developed across the nation over remarks Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made in 2008 about then-candidate Barack Obama, as reported in the book “Game Change” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Putting aside whether his vocabulary was appropriate for a senator, in private or public, there is an interesting case being made in his defense. It essentially goes like this: Harry Reid’s rhetoric is excusable because of his voting record. As Harold Ford said on the Today program on Monday: “If his voting record raised concerns, I think there would be issues.” President Obama said Reid is always on the “right side of history.”

    Here’s the paradigm that we’re living in: Liberals are portrayed as social justice champions of poor and minority Americans. Conservatives are pictured as indifferent or even opposed to measures that would improve the welfare of the poor and minorities. The return of this line of reasoning is the most disturbing consequence of this week’s political dust-up. There’s no better time to ask whether any of this is even true.

    The first question is whether liberals have a right to that high ground. Specifically, have liberal policies of the past four decades put minority groups on a path to social justice? The second question is whether conservatives have a track record of indifference. The answer simply is no to both. At the very least, one can say of the two camps that their intent to uplift the downtrodden are the same. So let’s all use this week’s events to start over on a level playing field and evaluate the policy merits of each.

    Liberal social justice policy has largely come down to money. By endlessly voting to widen the welfare state and redistribute income from the top, liberals claim to be defenders of the poor. By contrast, conservatives see flaws in the liberal approach and have consistently yearned for policies lead to less dependency, and empower those in need with opportunities for economic and personal growth.

    So which side has a better record of overcoming poverty and social breakdown?

    Today, seven out of ten black children in the United States are born into a single parent family. Single parents are often the most heroic caregivers we know, but that should drive us to ask what leads to the disintegration of the American family in the first place. The growth in unwed childbearing in recent decades stems in part from liberal welfare policies that pushed fathers out of the picture. The conservative answer is to support policies that affirm, rather than undermine the family–the best welfare department. Government policies should promote marriage, not penalize it.

    That was part of the logic behind the dramatic success of welfare reform, advanced by conservatives because liberals’ welfare programs were hurting the very people they were intended to help. The 1996 policy reform created incentives to work and discouraged unwed childbearing. Millions of Americans escaped welfare and achieved independence as a result. Welfare rolls were cut in half. Black child poverty fell to its lowest level in United States history.

    Take education as a second example. Just this past year, the liberally dominated Congress voted to end school-choice opportunity scholarships for hundreds of Washington, DC youth. Why? Because liberal teachers unions oppose anything that threatens their stream of government income and job security. Instead of these kids being able to compete academically with peers across the nation, they are forced into dangerous schools that offer them little chance of a quality and equitable education. This is the civil rights issue of our time, and liberals are mostly silent on it. By contrast, conservatives want to expand opportunity for children to learn in new environments so they can rise up, become educated, and compete in schools and on the job market.

    Like liberals, conservatives want disadvantaged children to succeed, but their policy solutions are different. They also have a much different track record.

    We have had entire cities devoted as laboratories to the liberal experiment for decades. Detroit is certainly one. Driving down the streets of Detroit, you’ll find public housing that is only a decade or two old, and yet it’s been abandoned and destroyed. In Detroit, you’ll find incredibly high crime rates, poor schools, below-average civic infrastructure, a collapsed economy, seedy corruption and few jobs. And it’s a story of liberal policy failures that is repeated across the country.

    None of this is to say that Republicans and conservatives are not also partially to blame for this narrative. When challenged, they back down. They cede the ground and allow liberals to dictate the parameters of debate. Conservatives cannot expect to earn the trust of citizens of all colors, races, and creeds if we’re not willing to discuss the issues and to identify the failures of the liberal agenda.

    Conservatives have a better argument: Policies that recognize human dignity and are built on sound, effective principles will benefit Americans of all backgrounds, races and religions. Conservative ideals will build that America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish. It is high time that conservatives began reclaiming the ground of social justice.

    While towing the liberal line in Congress may earn you a stellar voting record with leftist special interest groups, it does not put you on a more favorable side of history.  And it certainly doesn’t entitle you to a double standard on racially insensitive language.

    For more ideas and discussion on social justice in America, visit The Heritage Foundation’s website www.RestoringSocialJustice.com

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Is Harry Reid Really On The Right Side of History?

    1. jill.hetherington@ma says:

      Insuring the continual oppression of people, insuring they have the worst schools, insuring that they have to depend on the government for income, food and health care IS NOT SOCIAL JUSTICE. The only thing insured is that they continue to vote for the people who say they are helping but are only hurting.

      Harry Reed's comments about Obama are basically saying that Obama is palatable to him because he is more white than black. When you consider that Reed said the American tourists visiting the capitol smelled then you have to realise he thinks he is better and above everyone else and judging by his comment of Obama he thinks he's above him too. I don't know how he gets away with that.

    2. susan neal, Irving t says:

      I could not agree more with your summary; I still find it so hard to understand why the democrat party continues to get 90% of the black vote yet its liberal policies have helped destroy the black family and have kept so many of them in poverty and have blamed conservatives for not caring when in reality, it has been the so called "do gooder" liberals whose well-intended policies have had such devastatingly horrendous results and consequences that they never even considered; the liberals always have good intentions, but look at their track record; it speaks for itself; if liberal policies worked, why are they extended forever and needed for generations and never ended? It's because LIBERAL POLICIES NEVER WORK; THEY NEVER SOLVE PROBLEMS; THEY JUST CREATE NEW ONES! fOR EXAMPLE: THE DEMOCRATS THINK THAT BY EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS THEY HAVE DONE THEIR PART WHEN A CONSERVATIVE IDEA LIKE CUTTING TAXES AND LIMITING GOV'T INTERFERENCE WHICH WOULD ACTUALLY CREAT REAL JOBS, IS NEVER CONSIDERED; THE DEMOCRATS TODAY WITH THEIR INSANE SPENDING ARE MAKING US ALL POORER AND PUNISHING THE JOB CREATORS YET THEY CLAIM TO HAVE SAVED OR CREATED SO MANY JOBS BUT THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS STILL AT 10% or even much higher in states like Michigan; I just don't understand how such BRILLIANT PEOPLE can not do the math; they must have been educated in our state public schools, too or else they are left-wing idealogues who are incapable of rational thought or reality!

    3. WHICH WAY says:

      HOW YOU EDUCATE THOSE ONE PARENT CHILDREN AND THEIR MOTHERS IS A QUESTION TO BE DECIDED.TEACH THE IMPORTANCE OF TWO PARENTS,THE FAMILY,AMERICAN HISTORY,PRIVATE PROPERTY,WORK ETHIC,ETC….MOST OF WHICH IS OPPOSED TO THEIR CURRENT BELIEFS AND WOULD BE AGAINEST THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE EDUCATION POWER STRUCTURE TODAY.THAT IS A TOUGH SALES JOB.

    4. Tricia, Arizona says:

      The man is on the LEFT side of history.

    5. Ozzy6900 says:

      Wasn't it Harry Reid who said that the War in Iraq was lost and the surge would never work? I guess he wasn't on the right side then either!

    6. Drew Page, IL says:

      I believe that the best thing that can be done to reduce poverty and dependence on government is to create enough jobs so that anyone who wants to work and is able to work can do so. There is a dignity in work and making your own way that cannot be found in welfare.

      Despite being a conservative, I feel that there need to be certain social safety nets in place. I believe in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security pensions, Unemployment Compensation and Workers Compensation. I believe in public funding for education and aid to Dependent Children. I believe that there should be Departments of social services for house the homeless and feed the starving. And I don't mind paying taxes to support these things.

      That being said, I destest those who feel they are owed a living, and a good one at that, starting with politicians. Let's take a look at how many millionaires there are in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Let's take a look at their salaries, benefits and pensions. Let's look at how recklessly they spend money and how they use it to bribe each other for their votes. Let's take a look at how they use private jets to chauffer their butts around the country and the globe. Why, for example, is it not published about how many government employees (and their families and friends) went to Copenhagen recently to attend 'global warming summit' , many flying in on government jets, staying at five star hotels, taking limozines wherever they went.and how much all this cost the taxpayers?

      Can you blame taxpaying Americans for being angry when their politicians tell them that Medicare is going broke? Social Security and Medicare funding was supposed to be sacrosanct; it was to be put in a 'lock box' and used to pay for only for Social Security and Medicare benefits. How many times have our politicians looted these funds for pay for other things without the consent of the taxpayers, leaving worthless IOUs? Why aren't these depredations reported? whose has been doing this and what have they done with the money? And now, after these funds have been depleted, we have more politicians telling us about how we must pay more taxes to replace the stolen money.

      The taxpayers have spent untold trillions of dollars over the years fighting poverty, crime, unemployment and government dependency and we still have it. More tax dollars going for the same thing isn't going to make anything better. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

      Aside from the liberals who can't help but feel sorry for everyone, there is another classs of politicians who pander to the poor, not out of any genuine feeling of compassion, but out of a cynical scheme to increase their political support base. And then there is that special class of politician that is truly inimical, those who wish to control the masses under socialism, where everyone surrenders individual freedom to the state for the 'protection' the state will provide.

      To the compassionate liberals who want to eliminate poverty, homelessness, hunger, depression and god knows what else, I say be my guest. Sell off everything you own and give it to the poor. Become one of them if you like. I'll salute you for doing so. but do not for one minute assume that you have the right to make everyone else pay for your feelings of sympathy. To those who pander to the poor to increase their support base i say, "we are on to you". To those who would turn this country into a socialist utopia I would say, " go to hell".

    7. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      I cannot for the life of me know why someone would want to be a single parent. My mother was widowed when I was 20 mos. old, during the depression.(no ss baxk then) Her father took us to live with him and she went back to shool and got a Gov't. job, it was not easy. go forward 42 yrs and I was widowed, my children were all in school or grown, still it was hard. I went backto school in afternoons and worked nights, again it was not easy, but we made it. Giving money to people because they have kids is wrong, it encourages this behavior, I know this first hand as I have had many that were on the dole say they kept having babies for the checks. This behavior is repeated now for several generations. The saying about give a man a fish and he has a meal, teach him to fish and he doesn't get hungry is very true. If single mothers are on Welfare they should get trained for some sort of employment instead of being taught to milk the system.

    8. philip hilliker says:

      Liberials like Harry Reid and Nancy Polosi with presdent Obama are on the wrong side of history. tThey beleave that goverment give aways will help under privlaged this has ben proven false govermement social programs induced into our education systems have totaly distroyed puplic schools that our children attend they are not taught acdemics needed to compeat in the job market . The goverment should be run by the people .The republicans need to lissen to the people, and stand up for their conservatvies values, and have better argument and recognize human dignity that are built on sound effective principles that will benefit americans of all backgrounds. They must not back down to liberial policy. Conservative ideals will build america where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and a civle society, reclaiming ground of social justice and staying on the right side of history

    9. BillF says:

      I just don't understand all of the negative hubbub over Reid's comment. I think that America should be celebrating the fact that we have finally attained the racial nirvana we have so long sought; we are now a post racial nation. How could we call it anything but that when the President is not offended by being called a Negro, especially a Negro who can turn it on and off situationally. Nor are any of the other racial activists, or the black community in general, offended. I think this means that the last bastion of racism in America, racism against blacks, has gone by the way of racism and hatred agains Irish, Italians, Jews, Japanese, and all others. The people on the right are wrong for calling for Reid's ouster; they should be instead praising him for being the man who finally brought us to the recognition that race is no longer an issue in America.

    10. Carol, AZ says:

      What ever happen to the restructuring of the welfare program under the Clintons?

      I thought that single moms were given two years of support and after that they must show re-training for work and finish H.S..

      Blind an disable person naturally was not kicked off the support welfare rolls.

      All able body person(s) on welfare were given a time-line to find work…….was that a dream I had?

    11. William T says:

      How can one be percieved to be on "the right side of history" if one is standing of the far left of politics?

    12. foxnews.com says:

      Sadly, this empy suit, who stands a chance of railroading his own son in Nevada, gets away with insulting ALL blacks in this country, not Obama. When I look into his eyes, I feel like I'm looking at a shark. Cold, lifeless eyes that are nearly inhuman; a kind of living corpse. He will go forward boldly, immune to reality, disregarding criticism as only one without a conscience could do. Perhaps reality will strike like a blinding flash of the obvious, when the citizens of Nevada, vote this scoundrel out of office.

    13. Pingback: Is a Pet Franchise Right for Me? | Birds Cats Dogs blog

    14. John Power (Carville says:

      Right on!

    15. Spiritof76, NH says:

      Fellow socialists can never be accused of anything, from racism to corruption.

    16. The City On a Shinin says:

      Let's remember that Charles Darwin, in his writings, said that there is a difference in intelligence among the different races in the world. Some are smarter, and some are not as smart.

      It is this flawed thinking that politicians, educators, scientists and others use to marginalize certain ethnic groups, and favor some over others. In America, the African American, is somehow "disadvantaged", and eligible for all types of favorable treatment, including welfare payments and other benefits, even job quotas. But other minority groups do not get this favorable treatment. But African Americans are not necessarily considered not smart. Some of the greatest scientists included Dr. George Washington Carver, who, as a son of slaves in the south, overcame terrible discrimination and hatred of his race and mistreatment to go on to college, and earn a PhD in organic chemistry. He pioneered use of the peanut in Georgia, and created products in the lab that are used throughout the world in things we use today, including women's cosmetics.

      Other African American scientists and college professors and presidents, and a few CEO's are doing a great contribution to our society. Yet, they are never mentioned as role models for African American teens who are increasingly likely to pursue a life of crime, and drop out of school.

      It is true, that our president, himself of that race, went on to college, became a lawyer, and is now in the top U.S. office. It can be done. He is in favor of charter schools, and giving parents, including Hispanic and other minorities in our inner cities, a choice to send their children to schools that can bring up academic standards, and give them a chance at life. H e wants to tie federal tax dollars sent to public schools on how well they do academically. He favors pay for performance for public school teachers.

      But the public school teacher's unions are opposed, and so our Democratic majority governments keep school choice from happening. New Orleans and Chicago are two cities now successfully seeing academic standards rise among minorities for the first time from charters that set a high bar for academic achievement.

      America can become great again. But it won't, unless governmental policies stop favoring certain ethnic groups over others, and allow more choices for parents, such as in the schools.

      It was Abraham Lincoln, himself a poor man most of his life, but, in America, where everyone has equal opportunity to better one's self, gave a great speech,

      that in America, everyone is created equal, and has the right to pursue liberty, and happiness, given certain inalienable rights. And it does not matter the color of one's skin!

    17. KLIMAX Baltimore, Ma says:

      Reid and Pelosi are nothing more than Obama's puppets, he speaks and they jump up and ask when may I come down Sir ??!! It was a sad day in America when the Puppets pushed Obamacare through telling one lie after another at the Masters request !! I can only hope that the old concept of voting the party line instead of what is best for the American Citizens will die and only then will "We the People" have a chance of things in Washington will go OUR way !!

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