Carolyn McCarthy on Principles & Values
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As New Democrats, we believe in a Third Way that rejects the old left-right debate and affirms America’s basic bargain: opportunity for all, responsibility from all, and community of all.
America and the world have changed dramatically in the closing decades of the 20th century. The industrial order of the 20th century is rapidly yielding to the networked “New Economy” of the 21st century. Our political and governing systems, however, have lagged behind the rest of society in adapting to these seismic shifts. They remain stuck in the left-right debates and the top-down bureaucracies of the industrial past.
The Democratic Leadership Council, and its affiliated think tank the Progressive Policy Institute, have been catalysts for modernizing politics and government. The core principles and ideas of this “Third Way” movement [began with] Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign in 1992, Tony Blair’s Labour Party in Britain in 1997, and Gerhard Shroeder’s Social Democrats in Germany in 1998.
On April 19, 1977, 15 Congresswomen held the first meeting of the Congresswomen’s Caucus. In 1981, the Congresswomen invited their male colleagues to join the Caucus and changed the organization’s name to the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. 24 newly elected Congresswomen arrived on Capitol Hill in 1993, nearly doubling the number of women in the Caucus in what became the “Year of the Woman.” In 1995, the House of Representatives voted to eliminate funding for offices and staff of caucus organizations on Capitol Hill. The Congresswomen reorganized themselves into a Members’ organization by the same name. As a result, male Members no longer belong to the Caucus.
Bipartisanship is the key to the Caucus’ strength and success. The legacy of its first 20 years is one of Democratic and Republican Congresswomen committed to improving the lives of women and families, and willing to put their partisan differences aside to do it. Twenty-four years after the Caucus’ founding, its membership has grown from 15 to 62. The 107th Congress also marks the first time that all women Members of the House have joined the Caucus.
Since its inception, the DLC has championed policies from spurring private sector economic growth, fiscal discipline and community policing to work based welfare reform, expanded international trade, and national service. Throughout the 90’s, innovative, New Democrat policies implemented by former DLC Chairman President Bill Clinton have helped produce the longest period of sustained economic growth in our history, the lowest unemployment in a generation, 22 million new jobs, cut the welfare rolls in half, reduced the crime rate for seven straight years, balanced the budget and streamlined the federal bureaucracy to its smallest size since the Kennedy administration.
Now, the DLC is promoting new ideas -- such as a second generation of environmental protection and new economy and technology development strategies -- that is distinctly different from traditional liberalism and conservatism to build the next generation of America’s leaders.
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