Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

7/27/2006

Newer Retread Dem Effort

Filed under: Politics — Dangerous Dan @ 10:11 pm

Does it ever seem like the Democrats try too hard? Responding to the accusations that they lack any kind of significant vision and are just anti-Republicans, they've come up with the "Six for '06" campaign agenda. Get it, there are six planks and it's '06 – clever, eh?

Here are the six planks, taken straight from campaign promotional material:


Honest Leadership and Open Government

We will end the Republican culture of corruption and restore a
government as good at (sic) the people it serves.

Real Security
We will protect Americans at home at home and lead the world by
telling the truth to our troops, our citizens and our allies.

Energy Independence
We will create a cleaner and stronger America by reducing our
dependence on foreign oil.

Economic Prosperity & Educational Excellence

We will create jobs that will stay in America by restoring opportunity
and driving innovation.

A healthcare system that works for everyone

We will join 36 other industrialized nations by making sure everyone
has access to affordable health care.

Retirement Security

We will ensure that retirement with dignity is the right and expectation
of every single American.

Yes, six mighty planks. And if you try scouring the Democratic website, you can't find a single detail on any one of them; at least I couldn't. If you can find some, please share them with me. The problem, of course, is that it's extraordinarily easy to promise grand visions, but it's very difficult to fulfill those promises when one has to provide details and admit to the costs. John Kerry was positively brimming over with multitudinous and nebulous plans in the 2004 election on which he never elaborated. It doesn't appear that the Dems have learned anything.

It seems that this is supposed to be some kind 2006 Democratic Contract with America. The difference, though, is that the 1994 incarnation had specific goals and legislation to introduce. It had content and wasn't so full of fluff as this is.

The House Democrats site has slightly more verbiage for each plank but no real additional substance; it's more like vague subpoints for vague headings. Nevertheless, let's look at each one in turn.

REAL SECURITY AT HOME AND OVERSEAS
Reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed Bush Administration policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world. Require the Iraqis to take responsibility for their country and begin the phased redeployment of US forces from Iraq in 2006. Double the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda. Rebuild a state-of-the-art military capable of projecting power wherever necessary. Implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America’s borders and ports and screen 100% of containers. Fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders. Honor our commitments to our veterans.

What's the tough, smart plan (this reminds of daytime commercials for the "TOUGH, SMART LAWYER")? Aren't we already requiring Iraqis to take responsibility and aren't they doing it? What if they aren't entirely ready by the time we start pulling out? Will we sell them out and cut off aid like we did to the South Vietnamese in 1974?

Build the military and project power – when since Kennedy have Democrats done either? Do they know how anymore? Do they have the will to use military power?

BETTER AMERICAN JOBS – BETTER PAY
Prohibit the Congressional pay raise until the nation’s minimum wage is raised. End tax giveaways that reward companies for moving American jobs overseas.

The first part looks like a gimmick. The second part is isolationist. Funny how that used to be the Republicans’ bag.

COLLEGE ACCESS FOR ALL
Make college tuition deductible from taxes, permanently. Cut student loan interest rates. Expand Pell Grants.

How much will all this cost in lost tax and new outlays? And doesn't this mainly reward wealthier people who are able to pay for college tuition out of pocket instead of needing to use grants, scholarships, and loans?


ENERGY INDEPENDENCE – LOWER GAS PRICES

Free America from dependence on foreign oil and create a cleaner environment with initiatives for energy-efficient technologies and domestic alternatives such as biofuels. End tax giveaways to Big Oil companies and enact tough laws to stop price gouging.

Isn't Bush already throwing money at alternative energy? When has government spending advanced any technology outside of the military sphere? Won't the market fill a need and choose the best technology better than the government can?


AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE – LIFE-SAVING SCIENCE

Fix the Medicare prescription drug program, putting seniors first by negotiating lower drug prices and ending wasteful giveaways to drug companies and HMOs. Promote stem cell research that offers real hope to millions of American families who suffer from devastating diseases.

It's never a good idea to disrupt the market through artificial pricing. That sort of activity in the medical sphere is a significant factor in driving up prices. In this case, it will also lower research spending and activity by drug companies. As for stem cell research, this is misleading. Embryonic stem cell research does not receive federal funding. Adult stem cell research, which has shown much more promise thus far, is federally funded. Additionally, states and private entities may fund the embryonic variety.

RETIREMENT SECURITY AND DIGNITY
Stop any plan to privatize Social Security, in whole or in part. Enact real pension reform to protect employees’ financial security from CEO corruption and mismanagement, including abuse of the bankruptcy laws. Expand personal savings incentives.

Ah, social security, the sacred cow. Everybody admits it'll go bankrupt someday and be a massive burden on the treasury, but let's just ignore that. Perhaps while they're laying a new regulatory layer to businesses, they can do something about the corrupt congresses borrowing money from social security for pet programs. They can also explain how they encourage individuals to save their money and then don't allow them to do so with their social security.

So, again, how are the Dems supposed to achieve these things? What are the costs?

And how is this a new direction? This is just a repackaging of the same Democratic talking points from the previous 2-6 years. So far they haven't done much for the Dems so why are they supposed to work now? If you put a dress on a pig and call it a child, it's still a pig. Consolidating, restating, and providing a new moniker to initiatives that have gained no traction in the past is not a winning strategy. It also doesn't represent vision or new thinking. It represents stubborn persistence in a failed strategy. They accuse Bush of this all the time as concerns Iraq. They just do the same in the war of American politics.

15 Comments »

  1. I wrote about the contract with america and argued your main points a while ago here.

    It is all about specifics and a concrete vision. I have had frustrations with organizations I have worked with before because they did the same thing the Democrats are doing here: saying platitudes that could apply to anyone and not having the courage or vision to say why they are unique and why they should exist. You also have follow that up with specific plans and goals that will make the vision happen and include the likely obstacles that will arrise in trying to get these things accomplished. As much as I disagree with compassionate conservatism, at least Bush has a concrete vision and plan and the same is true for his foreign policy, which I agree with much more.

    I think the college tax breaks are a funny idea since I deducted all of my grad school and all of my wife’s post college school and I have never even itemized before. If you go to most state schools you can already write education expenses off so this will mainly help people rich enough to afford private school.

    I forgot who said it first, but what liberals need most right now is a William F. Buckley.

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