Tuesday, October 11, 2005

''Dem's Contract With America'' (UPDATED)

"Roll Call (subscription) reports that the Dems are about to roll out their modern-day counterpoint to the GOP's Contract on America:

Key Democratic sources say Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other House leaders are putting the finishing touches on what arguably will be Democrats most detailed "positive" election-year agenda since the party lost power more than a decade ago...
Among the proposals are: "real security" for America through stronger investments in U.S. armed forces and benchmarks for determining when to bring troops home from Iraq; affordable health insurance for all Americans; energy independence in 10 years; an economic package that includes an increase in the minimum wage and budget restrictions to end deficit spending; and universal college education through scholarships and grants as well as funding for the No Child Left Behind act.

Democrats will also promise to return ethical standards to Washington through bipartisan ethics oversight and tighter lobbying restrictions, increase assistance to Katrina disaster victims through Medicaid and housing vouchers, save Social Security from privatization and tighten pension laws.

It is a good idea to create a positive agenda for Democrats to campaign on, but it is a little depressing to realize that we are already half drowned in Grover's bathtub. But, we can't exactly campaign on massive new spending programs, while deploring the deficit spending of the GOP. Or can we? We could if we had no shame and always stayed on message. Alas, we are Democrats and that won't happen.

When we talk about stronger investments in our armed forces, I hope that translates into more support for our troops' training, pay, benefits, and equipment, and not to more massive spending on unneeded aircraft, anti-missile programs, and foreign expeditions.

I am particularly fond of the decision to focus on energy independence within ten years. I think Americans can understand that goal and get behind it. And I think it is probably the single best thing we can do to improve both our security and the global climate.

Universal college is an interesting concept. I suppose we will need to continue to be extremely lax in our immigration policy to fill all the jobs a nation of college grads refuses to do. And I expect immigration to be a tricky issue in the upcoming elections (for both parties).

In any case, I'm glad the Dems are putting forth a positive agenda, and that they have coalesced around a timetable (with benchmarks) for withdrawal from Iraq. Maybe the party won't split in half after all. Maybe."-from Booman Tribune. Update: David Sirota has a few comments in "Dems New Agenda: The Good, The OK, and the Ugly."

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