Bill Nelson on Principles & Values
Democratic Sr Senator (FL)
"In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law--it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress's intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand."
As New Democrats, we believe in a Third Way that rejects the old left-right debate and affirms America’s basic bargain: opportunity for all, responsibility from all, and community of all.
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 Senate New Democrat Coalition (SNDC) [is analogous to] the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) in the House. Members of both groups are moderate Democrats who advocate a new centrist, progressive approach to governing and who often reach across party lines to get things done.
Established in 1997, the House New Democrat Coalition (NDC) grew to 64 members between 1998 and 2000, making it the largest caucus in the House. With the success of NDN’s top House candidates on Election Day, the NDC has grown to 72 members in the 107th Congress. The Senate New Democrat Coalition (SNDC), established in 2000, is already 20 members.
In announcing the establishment of the SNDC in February 2000, Sen. Landrieu stated, “The American people are tired of the same old proposals and are demanding that we work together in a more creative way on the many problems facing our nation. Too often here in Washington, the loudest voices are the ones on the far left and far right. That is why this group was formed, to give voice to those in the sensible center.” The SNDC has already made its voice heard on critical issues ranging from education to trade to health care and, with the Senate evenly divided, the Senate New Dems are increasingly determining the balance of power.
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.
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