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O 0 .0 Upopulism. We’ve got to go to the people of this country with a combination of old-time Democratic principle, with common sense, problem-solving solutions, and with hard-core political passion. Principle is first, and it is always foremost. And here we as a Democratic Party go with our strength. From Jefferson, Jackson, Roosevelt and Truman, Kennedy and Johnson, ours has been the party not of the Rockefellers but of the little fellers, of egalitarianism. We’ve got the principle working for us. Now, unfortunately, we’re hearing today voices inside as well as outside of the Democratic party, urging us to forsake all of that for a trendier tone in our politics. They say that the Republicans have swept the heart of the country away, winning with a more modern, upbeat, and, most importantly, upscaled message and that we as Democrats should be following suit with that. They say that we should give up all this tacky talk about farmers going broke, about unemployment, about the decline in our poverty statistics, about the need for equal rights in this country and around the world. They say just surrender to the trend that is going throughout the country the Republican trend. They urge us to get happy, get with it, and, in fact, get Republican, I guess is what they’re really talking about. Well, I tell you, if the meek ever inherit the Earth, these timid voices are going to be land barons, it seems to me. Where is the grit in this? The oldtime Democratic grit. And more important than that, where is there a Democratic future in that? We are not going to build a Democratic majority by offering more cuisinarts and L.L. Bean gift certificates to the people of this country. The yuppies are not a base for any political party in my view, and certainly not the Democratic Party. If you lined up every yuppie that there is in America today, they would stretch from here to the nearest gourmet stand. The well-off already have a party working for them and doing very nicely for them. Even as we sit here partaking of this good meal, these folks are out there at the clubs right now enjoying a mid-day repast of cold melon melange and asparagus and goat cheese and a delightfully fruity and frisky California white wine. But most of America doesn’t live there. The majority of Americans are down at the 7-11 picking up a Budweiser and a Slim Jim and wondering is there anybody in America who’s going to stand up on their side. That is the populist constituency that’s down there at the 7-11. And those are the people that the Democrats must begin to speak to. Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower Now, no one is advocating, least of all me, some sort of mule-stubborn dedication to the old, stale, tired policies and programs of the Democratic past, but neither can we abandon our base: the people who are the true Democratic party, including the blacks and Mexican Americans in our culture, including the women, including the small business people and the entrepreneurs and the farmers, the mass of people who are in the middle-class, the lower middle-class, and the lower economic classes in our society. That’s the vast majority. We cannot abandon that base, and we have a proud agenda of being able to seek a broad sharing of economic prosperity in this society that appeals to that base. It is an unfinished agenda. An agenda that needs new attention, fresh approaches, renewed dedication. American voters support this goal. They might not care to join hands and march off across the horizon together humming folk songs, but they are a whole lot more community-minded, a whole lot less selfish than the prevailing yuppie Republican approach of “I’ve got mine. You get yours,” “caveat emptor,” “never give a sucker an even break,” “adios, chump.” People are a little bit better than that if we reach out to them and appeal to them with a sensible program that puts substance to our old-time principles a program that’s got pocket-book appeal and that can deliver what it promises. At the center of this must be a consistent theme that the Democrats must begin to advocate again, of grassroots economic growth. Democrats have got to develop programs that make ours the party of genuine economic opportunity again, of upward mobility for all the people, not trickle-down mobility., but percolate up from the grassroots; an investment of our nation’s economic future in the truly productive people of our society, by which I do mean those family farmers and the worker cooperatives and small and medium-sized businesses that are out there entrepreneurs, minority businesses, the wildcatters, and the up-andcomers. Those are the people that create genuine wealth at the grassroots. That is a natural constituency for the Democratic party. That is a constituency that no one is basically talking to right now, and it’s a constituency that we can build a majority base on for our party well into the future. . . . I don’t have to tell most of you, there’s a world of hurt in agriculture right now. People are going broke at a historic rate. Well, what do you do about this crisis? The classical liberal solution, of course, is well, let’s give them some subsidy money in there. Well, we’ve been doing that and that hasn’t been producing very happy results for us. We’ve put in massive subsidies. We’ve had massive bankruptcies. The whole program’s been a massive failure. Instead, it seems to me, we’ve got to find ways to give farmers a fair price structure in the market place, number one. And, secondly, give them an opportunity to sell their products at a better price. The first of those, the fair price structure, pretty much has to be done at a national level. Now, the Congress has an opportunity before it to do exactly that. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives has chosen just recently not to do it, to reject a populist solution in favor of a liberal solution. THE populist solution that we proposed was the Farm Policy Reform Act introduced by Sena tor Harkin of Iowa and Representative Alexander of Arkansas a program that was written by farmers themselves. We went to the countryside and said to farmers, “What if you were to write a farm policy, what would be in it?” This is the program that they came up with. The guts of it, without taxing your patience too long with arcane farm policy matters, is simply giving them a good business tool that other businesses enjoy. And that is the tool of supply-management. McDonald’s is not making more hamburgers today than they think they’re going to sell. If they do, they adjust production tomorrow. .. Only farmers in our society are in THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9