What is a Democrat?

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think that business and the Democratic party are necessarily on opposite sides of the fence, but… don’t basic Democratic party ideals value the interests of working folk above the interests of business owners? Isn’t that the reason the Democratic party has historically been the party of organized labor? Isn’t that the reason the Democrats have been (not always to their benefit) traditionally protectionist? Weren’t the Democrats the ones who were responsible for the Civil Rights reformsand Voting Rights legislation? I mean: there have to be some basic values which define the party, don’t there?

Well, then why did Harris Miller step down from his role as president of the Information Technology Association of America in order to run for the US Senate from Virginia as a Democrat? Does this sound like a guy who is on the side of the working stiff:

As recently as October, Miller chastised the feds for making it too cumbersome for ITAA members to hire foreigners. “The current H-1B visa cap makes it increasingly difficult for U.S. companies to compete in global markets,” he said. As for outsourcing, another bogeyman that trade unions, some legislators, and Lou Dobbs say will have all of us flipping burgers at McDonald’s, Miller thinks it’s a good thing. “Global sourcing continues to be a net positive for American workers and the U.S. economy,” he said in an October release.

Now that we’ve already shipped all our high-paying manufacturing jobs off shore, he believes we should follow by sending our high-tech jobs in the same direction. Who does this benefit other than the same people who’ve benefited from Bush’s tax cuts for the top income brackets? Doesn’t sound like a Dem to me. Neither does this:

“We oppose the idea of a voter-verified paper trail,” says Harris Miller, president of the trade group Information Technology Association of America. Introducing paper into the mix, he says, defeats the improved efficiency and reliability e-voting promises. “There was never a golden age when paper ballots were accurately counted,” Miller says.

Makes sense when you realize that Miller has been a paid lobbyist for Diebold. But it doesn’t make sense for a Democrat. And these aren’t the only troubling positions: there’s his attitude toward data mining (gung-ho!) and personal privacy (overrated). Greg Priddy has a much deeper discussion of his positions over at TPM Cafe.

And then, there’s the problem of ethics. As Howard Dean showed Wolf Blitzer on Saturday, the recent lobbying scandals are not a Democratic party problem. And, we’ve gotta stay above reproach on this. Going from government to being a lobbyist has some serious potential for ethical violations, but nothing compared to the dirtiness involved in going from being a paid shill for an industry to being an actual legislator.

If this guy wants to run for Senate, let him. It’s still (sort of) a free country where any kid (with the surname ‘Bush’) can grow up to be a Governor or a Senator or a President. But he shouldn’t be doing under the banner of a party whose basic tenets he opposes. Otherwise, we’ve put the final nail into the coffin of the two-party system.


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