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September 3, 2003

does the Left care about Alabama?

Alabama Governor Bob Riley is a very conservative Republican who is now fighting tooth-and-nail to rise taxes, increase school spending, and make the tax system more progressive. Currently, the effective tax rate on Alabama's poorest citizens is about 10 percent of income; on the richest, it is less than 4 percent. Gov. Riley has decided that this is not What Jesus Would Do.

I think there are three crucial reasons why people on the left of center (the Civil Rights organizations, liberal Democrats, MoveOn, and others) should be rushing to Alabama and making a hero out of Gov. Riley:

So why aren't the liberal national organizations running ads in Alabama? My hunch is: they don't want a Republican to get a "win," and they're not paying attention to a Southern state because they live on the East and West Coasts and wrote off Dixie long ago. If I'm right, shame on them.

[Discussing this topic with colleagues today, I learned that Peter Beinart makes a very similar argument in an article entitled "Eyes on the Prize" in the New Republic (08/29/03). His article is very good, although it only chastises the civil rights organizations. I would think that other liberal groups are equally remiss.]

September 3, 2003 12:23 PM | category: revitalizing the left | Comments


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