I spent some time last night talking to one of the readers of this blog who is a very reasonable Democrat. Last night he described himself as a Libertarian Democrat.
One of the things that drives me crazy about BOTH Dems and Reps (AND Libertarians too) is their lack of a current platform.
Yes, I know, the Dems have a very touchy feely National Platform that has no substance to it. It is NOT a platform, it is a talking point that does NOT tell us what they want to do...
That is unfortunate.
The Reps have no platform today either. All they say is "you don't want Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker do you?" That is not a platform either...
My friend emailed be the beginnings of the platform he would like to see The Democrats run on. It is awesome. It is great. If they were to run on this platform they would gain a lot of seats.
His proposed platform follows. He just typed it up in a few minutes. There are a lot more items he would add...
My comments are in red.
Reader's Proposed Democratic Platform
1. Public Financing of Federal Elections - end the legalized bribery system and allow politicians to govern instead of constantly campaigning. This will SAVE the taxpayers money through the elimination of specialized legislation, corporate handouts, and ridiculous earmarks
Interesting, I would have to look at this closer to decide if I think it is a good idea. This much I can say, our current system is not working.
2. Reduce the Cost of Health Care - allow small businesses to pool together, govt negotiation of drug prices, importation of drugs, tort reform and POSSIBLY price controls (I'm not a big fan of this method but I'm not convinced it's always evil either)
I am for all of these except price controls. I think the first four items in this plank are a must and would be a great plank in a platform.
3. Move towards Energy independence - investment in cost effective energy solutions like wind and nuclear technology. Increase CAFE standards for auto manufacturers by 2% per year every year for the next 10 years. The US fuel economy peaked in 1988 and has decreased every year since. Remove the "Hummer tax break" and double the tax break for hybrid vehicles - phasing it out over the next 5 years.
This is not exactly what I would do, but, overall I would be for many items on this plank.
4. End the Iraq Nation Building - Immediately announce that the US has no plans for a permanent military presence in Iraq. Announce a complete withdrawal of all American troops 1 year from now. The Iraqis are leaning on their big brother - it's time we send them a message that they have to stand on their own to solve their problems.
I would not agree with this plank. I do agree that we need to start a phased withdrawal of troops. I think one year is too short. I WOULD agree that we should start a phased withdrawal of troops this year, maybe 20% a year with us being out entirely within five years... I am not sure exactly what should be done; but, we do need to get out in a controlled fashion. We also need to take a bunch of oil from Iraq to help pay our costs...
5. Suspend any domestic spying or data mining programs until FISA can be updated - Personal privacy should be protected by the government and not circumvented. Everyone wants to fight terrorists - let's just do it in a way that has oversight as well as checks and balances for abuse and corruption.
Darn right. I could not agree more.
6. Repeal the No Child Left Behind Act - it has not helped, forces teachers into regimented curriculum that only focuses on test-taking and has never been fully funded.
Darn right. I could not agree more. I would go further and dissolve the entire Federal Department of Education. Let the States and locals pay for education. Stop pouring Federal money into education. It is not working and just increases the cost.
7. Balance the Budget - Deficits should only be necessary in poor economies. If the economy is truly strong then the fiscally prudent thing to do would be to balance the budget. Mortaging our children's future for unnecessary tax cuts and spending is immoral. Cut the current deficit in half over the next 4 years; completely eliminate it in 6 years
I agree, I would go even farther. I think we must balance the budget now and only be able to deficit spend with a super majority vote and only during a declared war against a specific country.
8. Enact Fair Trade Policies - the rest of the world requires our purchasing power. We have the opportunity to force countries that want our business to enact fair trade policies that would improve their citizens' standard of living while improving our own competitiveness.
I believe in free trade. That being said, we do not have it now. I would have to hear more about this. We have a huge problem in our trade policy.
9. Enact a carbon tax - CO2 emissions are destroying the planet. There is no debate within the scientific community. There are no papers from refereed journals with conclusions contrary to global warming being caused by humans. Earmark this revenue to be used in breakthrough technologies that improve energy efficiency and reduce pollution. A carbon commodity trading system should also be enacted.
OK, this one would irritate me as a voter; but, you cannot like them all.
This is a platform people. I do not agree with all of it; but, it is a platform. It tells you what he wants to do. It is specific.
To be honest with you, if I had to vote in a race with just two people running, one Dem and one Rep, and they were very similar; I likely would vote for the Dem if they ran on the above platform...
What do you think?