Dick Gephardt on Principles & Values

Democratic Representative (MO-3); Former Democratic Candidate for President

Keep "under God" in Pledge of Allegiance

Q: What is your stance on the Pledge of allegiance phrase, "One nation under God?"

A: I favor the retention of the words "under God." In the House of Representatives we have the words over the Speakers desk "In God We Trust." I think that is an appropriate reference in our Pledge of Allegiance.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 3, 2003

Dems need to beat Bush in Midwestern states

Q: I'm sure you agree that whatever happens in the upcoming primaries, the main goal is to get Bush out of the White House. That being said, why do you think you could beat Bush?

A: I think I have the best chance to defeat George W Bush. I believe that because to win the electoral vote you have to beat Bush in the Midwestern states. I think I have the best chance at beating Bush in the Midwestern states.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 3, 2003

Favorite song: Bruce Springsteen, "Born In The USA."

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

We're all tied together to make America a better place

My philosophy of life is different than George Bush's. I think we're all tied together. If somebody doesn't have health insurance they still get sick, they go to the emergency room. Then that bill gets put on your bill if you have insurance, whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not.

Somebody's child doesn't get educated, winds up in prison, we all pay the bills every day, and the bills are mounting by the day.

If somebody doesn't get their civil rights and their equal rights and can't succeed, then everybody pays the bills.

My own life is the best example. I started poor. My dad was a Teamster. I had church help, government help, community help, I got a great education. I'm here tonight because of all that help. I haven't done it on my own.

I will be a president who tries to figure out how every person in this country fulfills their God-given potential, nobody left out, nobody left behind. We can make America a better place than it's ever, ever been.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

We're all tied together in a single garment of destiny

My parents were hard-working people. A lot of people like my parents tonight have lost faith in our politics, in our politicians and they've lost faith in our country. Cynicism abounds. People don't vote. We've got to have a president who restores faith and hope in people.

We can restore hope in America if we understand we're all tied together in a single garment of destiny. What affects one directly affects all of us indirectly. That's the kind of president I will be every day in that Oval Office.

Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003

Not a fresh face, but experienced voice for workers

Q: People fear that your campaign is [like] Bob Dole, a creature of Congress, who has been around the national track one too many times.

GEPHARDT: If you're looking for the fresh face, I'm probably not your candidate. If you're looking for somebody that has real experience over 27 years in the House, 13 years as Democratic leader, on every domestic and foreign issue this country has faced, well, I may be your candidate.

I'll say one other thing. The fight for working families is in my bones. My dad was a Teamster and a milk truck driver in St. Louis. He didn't get through high school. My mother, who is now 95, was a secretary. She didn't get through high school either. But they fought hard to give me every opportunity a person could have. I feel like I'm the example of the American dream.

So when I'm in that Oval Office, I'm going to try to do things for people like my parents, who are the people that have made this country great. I think it's time we had a president like that again.

Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003

Build a bipartisan coalition of the center

Gephardt was elected by his colleagues to serve as Democratic Leader in the House of Representatives in 1994. In 1996 and 1998, Gephardt successfully led Democrats in their crusade to elect “a new Congress that reflects the hopes and dreams of the American people.”

For nearly two decades, he has been an outspoken advocate for issues of economic fairness and opportunity for every American family. He firmly believes that anything good or important that ever happened in Washington must have the support of both parties. In the House, Gephardt continues to fight for the Democratic agenda for America’s families, trying to build a “bipartisan coalition of the center” with moderate Republicans to cut through partisan gridlock and get things done.

Source: Gephardt’s House of Representatives web site Jan 1, 2001

Truth about votes will come out, no matter what

[Speaking to Gore:] If these votes aren’t counted, under the Freedom of Information Act, somebody can come here, a professor, some other academic, and count these votes in the days ahead. So if we don’t find out who won and who had the most votes, we’re going to find out later. You already had the national popular vote by 300,000 votes in the country. How terrible would it be to find out that you also had the most votes in Florida and should have won this election?
Source: Conference call with Lieberman, Daschle, Gephardt, & Gore Nov 27, 2000

No more demands for perfect morality

Our founding fathers created a system of government of men, not of angels. No one standing in this House today can pass a puritanical test of purity that some are demanding. If we demand that mere mortals live up to this standard, we will see our seats of government lay empty, and we will see the best, most able people unfairly cast out of public service.

We need to stop destroying imperfect people at the altar of an unattainable morality. We need to start living up to the standards which the public, in its wisdom, understands that imperfect people must strive for, though too often we fall short. We need to start healing. We need to end this downward spiral which will culminate in the death of representative democracy.

We are on the brink of the abyss. The only way we stop this insanity is through the force of our own will-for all of us to simply say “enough.” Let’s step back from the abyss. And let’s begin a new politics of respect and decency and fairness which rises above what has come before

Source: An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p. 9-10 Jul 2, 1999

Politics is a substitute for violence

[Dec.’98 speech regarding Clinton’s impeachment & the Speaker’s resignation]:

Politics is a substitute for violence. We’ve learned to talk through our differences, to submit to judgement by laws and juries, to make decisions collectively, [and hence] reduced our reliance on force as a means of resolving disagreements. In this sense, politics is not only a noble calling, but also perhaps our only real alternative to chaos.

It’s easy for us to fall back from civil society into violence. The lust to retaliate with lethal force is understandable, but the cycle of violence and political destruction thus begun has no natural ending. When our political life is caught up in such a cycle, we gradually destroy our belief in our democracy. We cause citizens to hate their leaders and their government, to become cynical, apathetic, and indifferent, In time, they drop out and begin treating politics as just another form of gladiatorial entertainment; they start electing professional wrestlers as governors.

Source: An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p. 10-11 Jul 2, 1999

Foundation of liberalism is community activism

The passive role of spectator-consumer is no longer enough. The current mess in Washington shows what can happen when average Americans stop voting, stop participating, and let politicians treat government as their own private power game. It’s our government, it our country, and it’s time we took them both back. Source: An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p. 16 Jul 2, 1999

Citizen participation will get us to “an even better place”

We need to reinvigorate our sense of citizenship by encouraging all Americans to participate more actively in promoting changes. This is a book about how all citizens can play their part-through greater awareness and involvement in the political process, yes, but also by working to build more responsive and effective school systems, to make our workplaces more productive, democratic, and fair, and to ensure that every family has access to basic health care and a social safety net in times of need.

I’ve written this book to try to explain why reclaiming this sense of ownership is crucial to our future. I believe that if enough of us respond, American in the 21st century, reformed and enriched by the unique contributions of every citizens, can become for all of us an even better place.

Source: An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p. 20 Jul 2, 1999

Religious affiliation: Baptist.

Gephardt : religious affiliation:

The Adherents.com website is an independent project and is not supported by or affiliated with any organization (academic, religious, or otherwise).

What’s an adherent?

The most common definition used in broad compilations of statistical data is somebody who claims to belong to or worship in a religion. This is the self-identification method of determining who is an adherent of what religion, and it is the method used in most national surveys and polls.

Such factors as religious service attendance, belief, practice, familiarity with doctrine, belief in certain creeds, etc., may be important to sociologists, religious leaders, and others. But these are measures of religiosity and are usually not used academically to define a person’s membership in a particular religion. It is important to recognize there are various levels of adherence, or membership within religious traditions or religious bodies. There’s no single definition, and sources of adherent statistics do not always make it clear what definition they are using.

Source: Adherents.com web site 00-ADH1 on Nov 7, 2000

Member of Democratic Leadership Council.

Gephardt is the chair of the Democratic Leadership Council:


The DLC’s mission is to promote public debate within the Democratic Party and the public at large about national and international policy and political issues. Specifically, as the founding organization of the New Democrat movement, the DLC’s goal is to modernize the progressive tradition in American politics for the 21st Century by advancing a set of innovative ideas for governing through a national network of elected officials and community leaders.

Who We Are

The Democratic Leadership Council is an idea center, catalyst, and national voice for a reform movement that is reshaping American politics by moving it beyond the old left-right debate. The DLC seeks to define and galvanize popular support for a new public philosophy built on progressive ideals, mainstream values, and innovative, non bureaucratic, market-based solutions. At its heart are three principles: promoting opportunity for all; demanding responsibility from everyone; and fostering a new sense of community.

Since its inception, the DLC has championed policies from spurring private sector economic growth, fiscal discipline and community policing to work based welfare reform, expanded international trade, and national service. Throughout the 90’s, innovative, New Democrat policies implemented by former DLC Chairman President Bill Clinton have helped produce the longest period of sustained economic growth in our history, the lowest unemployment in a generation, 22 million new jobs, cut the welfare rolls in half, reduced the crime rate for seven straight years, balanced the budget and streamlined the federal bureaucracy to its smallest size since the Kennedy administration.

Now, the DLC is promoting new ideas -- such as a second generation of environmental protection and new economy and technology development strategies -- that is distinctly different from traditional liberalism and conservatism to build the next generation of America’s leaders.

Source: Democratic Leadership Council web site 01-DLC0 on Nov 7, 2000

New Democrat: "Third Way" instead of left-right debate.

Gephardt adopted Third Way principles of the Democratic Leadership Council:

America and the world have changed dramatically in the closing decades of the 20th century. The industrial order of the 20th century is rapidly yielding to the networked “New Economy” of the 21st century. Our political and governing systems, however, have lagged behind the rest of society in adapting to these seismic shifts. They remain stuck in the left-right debates and the top-down bureaucracies of the industrial past.

The Democratic Leadership Council, and its affiliated think tank the Progressive Policy Institute, have been catalysts for modernizing politics and government. The core principles and ideas of this “Third Way” movement [began with] Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign in 1992, Tony Blair’s Labour Party in Britain in 1997, and Gerhard Shroeder’s Social Democrats in Germany in 1998.

    The Third Way philosophy seeks to adapt enduring progressive values to the new challenges of he information age. It rests on three cornerstones:
  1. the idea that government should promote equal opportunity for all while granting special privilege for none;
  2. an ethic of mutual responsibility that equally rejects the politics of entitlement and the politics of social abandonment;
  3. and, a new approach to governing that empowers citizens to act for themselves.
The Third Way approach to economic opportunity and security stresses technological innovation, competitive enterprise, and education rather than top- down redistribution or laissez faire. On questions of values, it embraces “tolerant traditionalism,” honoring traditional moral and family values while resisting attempts to impose them on others. It favors an enabling rather than a bureaucratic government, expanding choices for citizens, using market means to achieve public ends and encouraging civic and community institutions to play a larger role in public life. The Third Way works to build inclusive, multiethnic societies based on common allegiance to democratic values.
Source: Democratic Leadership Council web site 01-DLC1 on Nov 7, 2000

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Dick Gephardt on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts