As impeachment noise reaches ever-louder crescendos among Democrats, with the real danger they will overplay their hand and end up investigating and subpoenaing themselves into defeat in 2020, there now emerges another threat: a little-noticed Democrat running for President who is reminding his party of the saner policies some of their most prominent leaders embraced not that long ago.
Democratic luminaries like Bobby Kennedy, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, John F. Kennedy, and Henry “Scoop” Jackson – all of whom in their time represented dark blue states.
Ami Horowitz, a noted documentary filmmaker, announced his candidacy this month and expressed sentiments with which all four of those giants of the party’s history would agree. “The Democratic Party has become the party of socialism, open borders, and late-term abortions,” he said. “They’ve become so radicalized over the past several years that I feel compelled to try to bring some sanity into the discussion.”
Horowitz got thousands of donations within days of announcing, but needs many times that to get a place on the stage for the first two rounds of debates.
“The Democratic Party has been inexorably and decisively moving to the left,” he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. He charged that the party now holds a position in favor of open borders that “90 percent of the country doesn’t believe in.” The same 90 percent opposition is the case on late-term abortion, he asserted.
“They’re running away from the word capitalism, which has brought more wealth to more people and lifted more people out of poverty than anything man has ever created – but they’re running away from it. So I want to go on the debate stage, I want to throw an intellectual hand grenade there, and make that debate stage a very unsafe space, intellectually speaking, for those people.”
‘To Save The Party, Not To Hurt Them’
Far from meaning the Democrats any harm, registered Democrat Horowitz emphasizes that “they’re destroying themselves. I’m looking to save the party, not to hurt them … I want to move them back to the center, where they belong. I’m a Patrick Moynihan-Scoop Jackson-JFK type of Democrat. Those are the things that I believe in. I want to bring that back to the party, things they don’t believe in anymore.”
Horowitz went on to issue an implicit challenge. “The head of the DNC, Tom Perez, said he wants to make this the most open intellectually, open to diverse candidates that they’ve ever had, because they were so hurt and stunned by the criticism they got when they essentially almost took it away from Bernie, and gave it to Hillary with the super-delegates. They don’t want that stigma anymore and they’re trying to make it open.”
What better way to prove that commitment than to welcome Horowitz to the discussion?
The filmmaker is no hype-mongering provocateur. Three years ago he exposed vicious antisemitism among students at Portland State University. Before getting behind the camera he spent 16 years as an investment banker, including at Lehman Brothers. And lest he be accused of faking being a Democrat, after graduating USC he managed a Democratic state comptroller statewide campaign in the decidedly blue state of Maryland.
His campaign website mission statement says a lot of the things some of the less extreme, ordinary Democrats on the street outside of the bluest-of-blue areas might be expected to say.
“I am a supporter of a woman’s right to choose within the boundaries of Roe V. Wade,” he says – a statement that would place a GOP presidential candidate at risk of banishment within that party today. “I believe that restrictions on gun ownership are vital, but am an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment. I believe that legal immigration is the backbone of America’s foundation, but want to shut down the border to illegal immigration.”
Instead of Obamacare or Medicare for All, Horowitz says, “I believe that every American should have health care while preserving the free market system that has allowed the United States to have the most innovative and unsurpassed medical care in the world.”
And Horowitz also believes something that these days you could easily imagine House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), or even Speaker Nancy Pelosi herself, lamenting behind closed doors in regard to upstarts like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.): that “extreme views are marginalizing the party from the majority of the country’s population and many of the current nominees hold views that are in direct conflict with the perspective of the vast majority of the country.”
The Ghosts Of Moynihan, RFK, Scoop Jackson & JFK
None of Horowitz’s statements is as out of place in today’s Democratic Party as some of New York Sen. Pat Moynihan’s quips, like his noting that “somehow liberals have been unable to acquire from life what conservatives seem to be endowed with at birth, namely a healthy skepticism of the powers of government agencies to do good.” Or that “the single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare.”
They’re far less controversial than RFK’s candid remarks to Merv Griffin in 1967 regarding FDR’s New Deal that “I think we have to face the fact that what we’ve been doing for the last 30 years hasn’t been right. … It’s not just a question of putting more money in. That is not enough. That is not the answer.”
Or of the minority urban poor being hurt by welfare because according to Bobby Kennedy “they have no father because their mothers cannot get assistance from the government unless the father has left the home” and “there’s a premium on the father not living with the family, and there’s a premium on not working. If you work, you lose your money, so nobody goes to work. There’s no jobs there, people live on welfare, and the welfare rolls spread, and the rest of the population of the city get tired of paying taxes, so they move into the suburbs.”
As for solutions, Kennedy told Griffin the year before he ran for President, “I don’t think, you see, that the federal government can do it … I think we have to, therefore, bring the private sector in, the businessman … make it attractive for them to invest in the ghetto, make it attractive for them to build housing in the ghetto … through tax credits and … through tax write-offs.”
Would Horowitz and his stated beliefs really be more unwelcome than a Democrat running for President who said, “to those who say we must take risks for peace by cutting the meat from our military muscle, I say you are unwittingly risking war,” as Scoop Jackson said in his 1972 presidential campaign materials? Or as unwelcome as John F. Kennedy’s across-the-board, supply-side tax cuts?
This most unusual of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates seeks 65,000 donors, even if they give just one dollar, to debate and possibly shame his better-known rivals. Beyond that, the Democratic National Committee this week doubled the requirements for the third round to 130,000 unique donors, with a breakdown of 400 in each of at least 20 states.
If Horowitz does stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most radical politicians ever considered for the highest office in the land, it will be like a ghost of Democrats from the past haunting what has become a very different party. And a dose of truth that could show up some of the newest Democrat stars.
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