- The Washington Times - Friday, June 16, 2000

In his last State of the Union address, President Clinton outlined his vision of the future. The president said that "never before has our nation enjoyed, at once, so much prosperity and social progress with so little internal crisis and so few external threats. Never before have we had such a blessed opportunity and, therefore, such a profound obligation to build the more perfect union of our founders' dreams."
We share Mr. Clinton's vision, and recognize that with prosperity comes responsibility. As New Democrats, we are dedicated to helping ensure not only that the economic prosperity that we are enjoying lasts well into the 21st century, but also that Americans adapt to and benefit from our rapidly changing society.
The goal of the New Democrat movement is to modernize and reform the Democratic Party by embracing innovative approaches to new challenges, by looking forward instead of backward, by fighting for the future rather than fighting over the past.
We are dedicated to broadening the base of the Democratic Party across the country, and helping cultivate a new generation of Democratic leaders capable of tackling the challenges of the "new economy." We are committed to doing so while simultaneously ensuring that those who do not directly benefit from the technologically driven new economy are not left behind.
The values of New Democrats are the same as the values of the traditional Democratic Party throughout its history. We are the party that was big enough to create Social Security and Medicare. We must now be the party that is strong enough to ensure these programs are there for future generations of Americans.
We believe government can and must make a difference in the lives of all its citizens, regardless of their race, ethnicity or economic class. New Democrats have not altered the fundamental values of our party, but have expanded them to broaden our base in traditional swing and Republican districts. New Democrats do not reject the core values of our party. Instead, we promote new ideas that represent those constituencies who previously did not have a home in our party.
There are some critics who believe the future of the Democratic Party lies in its past that old ways are the only ways that the current prosperity happened by accident. Such a view is unfortunate. It underestimates the changing nature of our economy, our society, our party and the concrete results that we have achieved by promoting new ideas. It was bold ideas that propelled Mr. Clinton and Al Gore into office in 1992, and it is bold ideas that will invigorate the Democratic Party for years to come. It was certainly bold ideas that have helped create the unprecedented prosperity that we enjoy today.
That prosperity has been built on the notion of investing in long-term solutions to the deeply rooted problems of all Americans, in particular those who have been left behind in the past. Training and education, parental leave, welfare to work, affordable health care, freedom from the fear of crime these are some of the basic building blocks of our communities and families. Opportunity, responsibility and community are the hallmarks of our New Democrat philosophy.
As New Democrats, we welcome debate and scrutiny, for they are the cornerstones of innovation and progress. For example, many New Democrats have sought to find new approaches to trade so we can improve the economy through expanded market access abroad and also address the valid concerns that our citizens have about globalization. By pursuing expanded trade, we are not trying to divide the Democratic Party, rather we are firm in our commitment to make a positive difference even if that means challenging old assumptions and the status quo.
One thing we do know is that we cannot turn back the clock and hunker down. For better or for worse, we are married to the proposition that our world is changing and we must be relentless in our pursuit to prepare America for a new time. That new time is already here, and we must rise to its challenges.
Mr. Gore will win the presidency in November not because he appeals to one narrow political constituency over another. He will be successful because he continues to bridge the divides within our society. That is also the mission of the New Democrats and we are committed to working as a united Democratic Party to help President Gore achieve that goal.


Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana and Rep. Cal Dooley of California are members of the Democratic Leadership Council.

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