Semantics Over Substance

One of the great traps that Democrats keep getting caught in is parsing and arguing over the meaning of specific words but letting the substantive issues behind those words get obscured in the process. In my youth, that was best exemplified by Michael Dukakis’ refusal and inability to defend liberalism during his 1988 campaign against Bush, a decision which allowed Republicans to pejoratively tar every Democrat with that label for years after.

Admittedly, “liberal” had become a dirty word in American politics after the disastrous McGovern campaign and the Carter presidency and Dukakis…