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Your Opinion: Focus on philosophies, not partisanship

Your Opinion: Focus on philosophies, not partisanship

July 31st, 2013 by Robert Haslag, Centertown in News

Dear Editor:

Critics have responded with a howl without recognizing that none of my submissions addressing the distinctive differences resulting from progressive and conservative government is by definition partisan i.e. Democrat vs. Republican. These two philosophies differ essentially as to the role of government.

Progressives believe government can be a beneficial agent for the citizenry at large when wisely applied in the political process while conservatives fundamentally doubt governmental efficacy. On the inherently valuable metrics of education, wages, income, poverty, life expectancy, child and teen death rates, statistical incidence of obesity, availability of primary care physicians, infant mortality, senior health and availability of health insurance, I have repeatedly and verifiably demonstrated that progressive governance has produced superior results when contrasted to conservative governance.

Most Republicans selectively deny their proud progressive heritage. Sen. Robert LaFollette, R-Wisc., Vice-President/President Theodore Roosevelt, Sen./Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller, R-N.Y., Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., R-Mass., and Gov. William Scranton, R-Pa., were progressive Republicans incapable of surviving a current Republican primary. But, then, Republicans wanted all those white voters in Dixie.

Critics assume Democrats have always been progressive and Republicans always conservative. Rather, none of the states cited as performing well or performing poorly can be viewed as achieving their results instantaneously. Mississippi did not become an example of extremely poor performance overnight. Nor did Massachusetts become a success in the metrics overnight. Mississippi under Democrats was governed very conservatively. Massachusetts under Republicans was governed more progressively. The point of the Mississippi-Massachusetts comparison is that these states have been consistently one or the other.

The degree to which a state applies one or the other philosophy frequently dictates results. For example, Alaska which no one considers a liberal bastion ranks first in successful infant survival rates. The All Alaska Pediatric Partnership, a government/private partnership begun in 1995 improved Alaska from last to first. Alaska's government demonstrated that progressive governance works. Similarly, North Dakota performs among the top five in health insurance availability. Again, a conservative state violated the conservative premise that government is ineffective by creating CHAND. Its health care system targeted citizens otherwise unable to receive coverage, assessed insurers doing $100,000 of premium business in North Dakota, applied for federal grants and completed the funding through premiums charged those in the program. Of course, Massachusetts with its 98 percent coverage rate among its citizens created the system that is the basis for "Obamacare". Meanwhile Mississippi considers eliminating coverage for 700,000.