A liberalism of national greatness

That’s what Obama offered tonight: an unabashedly flag-waving liberalism. Good move.

When Wesley Clark was runnign for President, my colleague and sometime co-blogger Andy Sabl read his book and offered what I thought was the best bumper-sticker version of Clark’s platform: “a liberalism of national greatness.” This was of course a play on the “conservatism of national greatness” Bill Kristol tried to invent for John McCain.

The idea was to package (some) liberal ideas as stemming from, and contributing to, a patriotic commitment to keeping the United States powerful, wealthy, and admired. If we don’t do what needs to be done on health care and education, we’ll fall behind China.

Clark turned out not to be the successful bearer of that idea, but we heard it loud and clear tonight: an unabashedly flag-waving liberalism. I still think it’s a political winner.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com