Democrats & Liberals Archives

Democrats and the Big Picture

Republicans like to complain that Democrats have no ideas. The Democrats are running on a negative agenda, criticizing Republicans and Bush bashing, without offering positive alternatives. The Democrats are silent on the issues. The Democrats will never win elections if the voters don’t know where they stand on the issues. But are the Democrats really silent on the issues? The House Democrats actually offer the Big Picture, the Innovation Agenda, and Issues in Focus. So for everyone who believes that the Democrats have no ideas, here you go, pick your topic and see where the Democrats stand on the issues.

The Innovation Agenda

New Partnership for America’s Future

Issues in Focus

National Security
National Security, Rail and Transit Security, 9/11 Commission, America's Ports, Armed Forces, Homeland Security, First Responders, Borders & Infrastructure, Strengthening Intelligence, FEMA Funding

Jobs and the Economy
Agriculture, Budget, Economic Growth, Family and Medical Leave Act, Interest Rates and the Deficit, Job Training, Manufacturing, National Service, Outsourcing, Overtime Pay & Comp Time, Revitalizing Our Rural Communities, Small Business, Trade, Unemployment

Retirement
Drug Discount Cards, Prescription Drugs Under Medicare, Problems in Privatizing Social Security, Protecting Medicare, Retirement Savings & 401(k) Plans, Survivor Benefits Penalty, Veterans' Earned Benefits, Protecting Social Security and Notch Relief

Health Care
Health Insurance Reform, Patients' Bill of Rights, Minority Health Care, Fighting Bioterrorism, Cost of Health Care, Insurance for Americans Aged 55-65, Mental Health Services, Medical Privacy, Medicine & Disease, Veterans' Health Care, Drug Discount Cards, Medicare, Prescription Drugs Under Medicare, Protecting Medicare, Democrats Support Stem Cell Research

Education
Head Start, Funding Public Education, Education, Rebuilding Public Schools, School Choice, Cost of Higher Education, Special Education

The Environment
Balanced Energy, Clean Air and Water, Making Polluters Pay, Parks and Open Spaces, Innovation of clean, secure energy sources

Democrats are silent on the issues? Hardly.

Posted by JayJay Snow at December 30, 2005 12:49 AM
Comments
Comment #109157

You seriously don’t think anyone is going to read those linked sites, do you?

Posted by: Aldous at December 30, 2005 6:34 AM
Comment #109161

Thanks for the links. With all but one (Social Security) coming from the House Democrats, it makes me wonder, do the Senate Democrats agree to these positions? There also appears to be a common thread: lack of details.

Under “Protecting Social Security and Notch Relief” link, Congressman Wexler stated “that Social Security will be solvent and able to provide full benefits until the year 2041; however, the program must be reformed to absorb the retirement of the huge baby boom population and generations to come.” Aside from adamantly opposing any privatization efforts, he does not address how to keep the fund solvent, just some plan for a second personal fund. It will still go bankrupt in 2041, then what?

Under “Armed Forces”, there’s alot of rah-rah “We support the troops” and reference to a bill that expired in 2003. Again, no specifics on force level, military pay, etc.

It’s nice to see the Democrats have talking points on the issues, but they better add some details if they’re going to gain seats in 2006 and the White House in 2008.

Posted by: mac6115cd at December 30, 2005 7:57 AM
Comment #109165

Read a couple links…
Who will pay for all this?

Posted by: Cliff at December 30, 2005 9:13 AM
Comment #109166

Nicholas Kristof wrote a good editorial against Federal farm subsidies (subsidies favored by democrats). He convinced me.

That’s about the only issue above that I can give the nod to the Republicans on.

Posted by: Schwamp at December 30, 2005 9:14 AM
Comment #109167

mac-
What is it precisely that leads you to believe that the Senate Democrats don’t believe the same basic things as the House Democrats? It’s an all too easy quibble that likely will not amount to much real difference.

As for privatizing efforts, I seem to recall Bush admitting that they would do nothing to boost solvency. As for the 2041 bankruptcy, Bush used worse case scenarios to push the notion that Social Security would go bankrupt that soon, using economic forecasts which are so far out in the future as to be almost meaningless.

As for the Armed forces, it seems that We have had plenty of specifics over time. We were talking about the Armor situation even before it blew up in Rumsfeld’s face. Barbara Boxer suggested the use of jammers to impede radio detonation of IEDs. Even Murtha’s bill, bowlderized by the Republicans presented details, including an over the horizon force and diplomatic efforts.

You are right in suggesting, though, that more detailed plans would be a plus. If any Democrat strategists are reading this, I would say this: it is easier to persuade people with details that paint a picture for people than to just right out say something. We need to give people an open ended sense of where we’re going, rather than rely on static talking points which trap us in rigid policy stances.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 30, 2005 9:16 AM
Comment #109173

I know this means nothing to you all but I think its an awful lot of votes to just throw away.

From Housedemocrats.gov\issues
“Your search for 2nd amendment yielded 0 results.”

“Democrats are silent on the issues? Hardly.”

No, obviously.

Posted by: kctim at December 30, 2005 10:01 AM
Comment #109175
Aside from adamantly opposing any [Social Security] privatization efforts, he does not address how to keep the fund solvent, just some plan for a second personal fund. It will still go bankrupt in 2041, then what?

The 2041 date is based on conservative economic projections — always assuming the economy won’t grow as well as it does. When Bush was travelling around the country espousing the virtues of private accounts, he always compared his plan — based on optimistic economic assumptions — with the SS actuaries’ figures — based on the conservative assumptions. In short, it’s a comparison of apples to oranges.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that every year the forecast shortfall date for Social Security moves a year or two into the future.

As for funding its shortfall (NOT “bankruptcy” as you use—that word is inappropriate in this context), simple repeal the Bush tax cuts for the weathly. That will more than pay for it.

Posted by: Steve K at December 30, 2005 10:03 AM
Comment #109176
It’s nice to see the Democrats have talking points on the issues, but they better add some details if they’re going to gain seats in 2006 and the White House in 2008.

Curious comment, since the Bush administration has been sorely lacking details to it’s talking points on Iraq Policy, Katrina relief, health care … and Bush is the one in the White House.


Posted by: Steve K at December 30, 2005 10:07 AM
Comment #109177
Who will pay for all this?

Your question insinuates that the Democratic agendas are expensive and fiscally irresponsible in general, but over the last two decades it has been the Democrats that have balanced the budget and been the responsible ones, and the Republicans that have made this nation pay through the nose for all kinds of pork barrel projects. I used to believe the Republicans owned the platform of fiscal responsibility, but that hasn’t been the case for a long time.

Posted by: Max at December 30, 2005 10:12 AM
Comment #109183

By my count you included 59 separate links to issues. Those are position papers and talking points, many with dozens of bullet points.

Simplicity, that is what made Contract with America successful. 10 points that average Americans could understand and agree with. If Democrats are interested in winning in 2006, they have to stop acting like they want to be viewed as the smartest person in the room, and actually connect and talk to people.

The Democrats cannot explain any ten of these issues in terms that the average American can understand, nor can they agree on what are the priorities. If you are in control of Congress you have to have an agenda, and agenda that says, these 10 issues are our priorities and we are going to work on them first.

Right now Democratic leaders cannot agree on a top ten, how do you expect average Americans to be able to understand what the Democratic priorities are?

Posted by: Matt Johnston at December 30, 2005 10:38 AM
Comment #109186

Is it only possible for a Democrat or Republican to have a good idea and/or a constructive plan to prioritize and address issues.

Are all/any others to be cast aside because they don’t fit the traditional “main party” mold?

Posted by: steve smith at December 30, 2005 11:06 AM
Comment #109188

Stephen,

You are right in suggesting, though, that more detailed plans would be a plus. If any Democrat strategists are reading this, I would say this: it is easier to persuade people with details that paint a picture for people than to just right out say something. We need to give people an open ended sense of where we’re going, rather than rely on static talking points which trap us in rigid policy stances.

Amen.

Good post.

Posted by: Jim T at December 30, 2005 11:20 AM
Comment #109194

Matt,
Great point about the Contract for America and its simplicity.

Personally, I see no reason for Democrats to present ideas right now. It’s too early. A better strategy would be to wait as long as possible, say, late summer, before presenting a simple, coherent Contract.

Present too much too early, and it becomes a target, or becomes material to be co-opted by the competition. Worse, a major Contract issue could become irrelevant due to unforeseen circumstances.

As aggravating as the ‘Democrats have no ideas’ mantra may be, it’s better to wait, and keep the powder dry.

Republicans are standing in front of an oncoming train, and really, there is very little they can do about it now. The yield curve is inverting, a reliable sign of impending recession. By the fall elections the slumping economy will be the issue.

Think ahead. Be patient. The hook is set, the fish is running in a panic. Give it some play, let it exhaust itself.

2006 will be a landslide. Let’s make sure it is, for all of our sakes.

Posted by: phx8 at December 30, 2005 11:47 AM
Comment #109198

“Is it only possible for a Democrat or Republican to have a good idea and/or a constructive plan to prioritize and address issues.”

Anyone can have a good idea. Your question, however, needs to be rephrased to deal with reality. It would be better to ask “Is it possible for someone who is not affiliated with one of the two major parties to implement a constructive, beneficial plan in Congress?” The answer is both yes and no.

It is certainly possible for a non-major party canidate to be elected to the house or the senate and, with skillful coalition building, get at least part of their agenda addressed. The case of Bernie Sanders comes immediately to mind.

Representative (and soon to be Senator) Sanders is both a special case and not a special case at all. He’s a special case because, as it stands, he is the only canidate for the Senate in 2006 who is neither a democrat nor a republican who has a real opportunity to become a senator. He is not a special case becase anyone can do this if they are willing to learn to walk before they try to run.

Let’s examine the case of Ralph Nader. Though many of his ideas are excellent, his presidential campaigns have shown him to be more about his ego rather than his politics. You can tell because he chose to run a campaign in which he didn’t have even the slightest chance of winning. The greens in 2000 claimed that it was all about getting the necessary percentage of votes to receive certain kinds of funding and so on, but that concept is nonsense in a very fundamental way.

If Nader had been serious about more than his ego he would have run for Representative or Senator in 2000. He may well have succeeded in that effort, and paved the way for other greens to win both federal and local races. If their constiuents appreciated their work, the trend could have continued, and after a few election cycles the greens could have run a canidate with the potential to win a major chunk of the vote and become a real force in federal politics.

Instead, Nader ran for president and as far as the vast majority of voters were concerned, his campaign was about Ralph Nader Running For President. That was only exacerbated in his 2004 bid, at which point the greens wouldn’t even have him.

His bid crippled the green party. They may be able to recover in time, but I doubt it.

I want to come back to Bernie Sanders because every progressive out there needs to learn from him. He’s a socialist, for pete’s sake. But he wins elections. Big elections. He did it by getting into local office, doing a hell of a great job, knocking on every door he could find and proving himself. It’s not hard, it’s just a lot of work and it takes lots of time. Had Sanders run for President, or even Senator way back when…he’d probably be flipping burger right now.

-susan

Posted by: Susan Holmes at December 30, 2005 12:18 PM
Comment #109199

“If Democrats are interested in winning in 2006, they have to stop acting like they want to be viewed as the smartest person in the room, and actually connect and talk to people.”

Maybe they act like the smartest person in the room because it reflects their constituencies, which tend to be more highly educated than red state, red district constituencies. Just a thought…

Posted by: ant at December 30, 2005 12:21 PM
Comment #109203

The point of this post was to show that the Democrats are not without ideas or a position on issues as the Republicans like to claim. But of course as expected that is not enough. Now it’s too much, not enough, too smart, not enough, too much.

The House Democrats have gone to lengths to address many issues. This was never meant to be like the “Contract with America”. That will come as we get closer to November. As Matt Johnston pointed out in his post Democrats in 2006—Probably Not:

The Democrats have called their plan, Campaign for Change. A great marketing play, but there is no substance. Alledgedly, the House Democrats will come up with a plan during their winter retreat in January

Keep in mind that The Contract with America was introduced just six weeks before the 1994 Congressional election. The Dems have plenty of time to refine their campaign agenda.

it makes me wonder, do the Senate Democrats agree to these positions?

America Can Do Better

Aside from adamantly opposing any privatization efforts, he does not address how to keep the fund solvent, just some plan for a second personal fund. It will still go bankrupt in 2041, then what?

Social Security Forever Act of 2005

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 30, 2005 12:41 PM
Comment #109238

As of this year I have abandoned the democratic party to some extent and summarily/ subsequently Would never consider the right-wing b.s. line at all as an alternative.

The problem as I see it is that they pander to the lowest common denominators (both sides of the aisle) and their fights are becoming more and more transparent as to whom they do pander. The left does have alot MORE to say with more substance often times than the right OBVIOUSLY TO ANYONE WHO HAS GOOGLED THE WORD “BUSH” but I am more embracing of capitalism as an answer than my semi-socialistic democratic counterparts although not governmental laissez faire whore-ism as prominent within the right as a cover-all answer.

The truth is they are both wrong to some extent and the answer is in the middle somewhere, the preverbial Buddhist path of moderation (though not Buddhist). Democrats are not going to reach my vote with bald daft hoakey jingoisms nor the right with their illogical bile.

the problem of the left and right is their undying belief is that their constituencies are stupid, that’s what I abhor. The dems think that I owe them something and so do the right.

Posted by: Novenge at December 30, 2005 4:30 PM
Comment #109248

Ant,

You said, “Maybe they act like the smartest person in the room because it reflects their constituencies, which tend to be more highly educated than red state, red district constituencies. Just a thought…”

Isn’t the whole point of the post to expand their constituencies into those places that are now “red state, red destrict” now. Guarding the base is why the charge, “no ideas” gets leveled.

Their pendantic “smart guy speak” may make them points with their current base, but not to those who have already rejected them for one reason or another (in many cases because of the “smart guy speak”). To get to new voters, Democrats are going to have to realize that their base of die-hard liberals will not vote elsewhere in real numbers if they abandon some of the party platform planks and tactics that don’t play in the red states.

They can look to their recent history to see how to do it. Clinton was a master at it. He connected with a people in a meaningful way. He took issues and figured out how to communicate something that is very complicated, very simply. He listened before he responded. He apologized when he was wrong. He stood his ground when he was right, but in doing so seemed less concerned about being right than about doing the right thing.

To be sure, you can never woo voters with, “if you were smart enough, you would understand that I’m right,” or “listen to me I know what’s best.”

I honestly hope that they can get it together becuase the Republicans have been doing enough base appeasing of their own that I’m not sure that I have a place there anymore. If the Democrats could put some candidates up in my neck of the woods that were willing to place budget responsibilty at the top of their priority list instead of leaving in a distant third behind protecting and extending social programs, and republican bashing, I might be able to convice myself to pull the lever on the other side of the ballot.

Posted by: Rob at December 30, 2005 5:23 PM
Comment #109249

I don’t know if the Democrats “talk down” to the people. Honestly I don’t. I believe that politics can be about inspiring people… I believe that it requires answers AND the knowldge that no one person or party knows it all. Even in a Democratic Congree and Senate and White House I would still want significant input from the Republicans.

To those wishing for more details… wasn’t Gore accused of being too technical? I am not wanting to discuss silly things like did he “invent” the internet. Just the level of his explanations. I believe he was a real nuts-and-bolts type person.

As an educator, I believe that talking down to someone is just as degnigrating as talking above them. However, if I have to, when in class I will talk a bit above because research shows that to be the best. Then I will depend on them to ask if they do not understand something.

Kinda like a study about 10 years ago. Children from single father households (of which my children and I are) had a larger vocabulary than children from single mother households. Because the fathers used the bigger words in their relationship with their children.

From my perspective, it is the fringe elements that have taken control from both parties.

As with Susan’s example though I see it as the fringe giving the middle just enough votes to get them into power (Reps or Dems). As in most parlimentary governments, you now have the tail wagging the dog and small minorities who have power way out of proportion to their numbers.

These are the people that feel they are “owed” something. All the rest of the people understand compromise, respect of other’s opinions and lives.

Posted by: Darren7160 at December 30, 2005 5:24 PM
Comment #109274

Darren7160
Hard to believe a true, loving, super intelligent liberal like yourself would say fathers are smarter than mothers. You may have some explaining to do about “talking down” to mothers.

Posted by: David at December 30, 2005 8:39 PM
Comment #109286
Simplicity, that is what made Contract with America successful. 10 points that average Americans could understand and agree with. If Democrats are interested in winning in 2006, they have to stop acting like they want to be viewed as the smartest person in the room, and actually connect and talk to people.

OK Matt,

How about this, New Partnership for America’s Future? Six core values; prosperity, national security, fairness, opportunity, community and accountability.

I suppose this is too simplistic? Well how about the State by State Partnership for America’s Future? Too much?

So now you are saying that the Democrats are too smart? I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say that Howard Dean was the smartest guy in the room, but the right doesn’t like him either. Oh well, I don’t think the Democrats should be taking advice form the Repubs anyway. Democrats need a fresh perspective, not a xerox copy of the Breached Contract with America.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 30, 2005 9:49 PM
Comment #109287

“If the Democrats could put some candidates up in my neck of the woods that were willing to place budget responsibilty at the top of their priority list instead of leaving in a distant third behind protecting and extending social programs, and republican bashing, I might be able to convice myself to pull the lever on the other side of the ballot.”

Could someone please tell Rob what the surplus was before the Bush admin. took over… Pleease.

P.S. It was gone, BEFORE sep. 11th, 2001

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at December 30, 2005 9:49 PM
Comment #109298
“Pay-Go” (pay-as-you-go) is a system that Democrats want to put in place in order to return to fiscal responsibility and keep American priorities in place. Pay-Go means that spending increases, as well as tax cuts, need to be offset by cuts in other areas; like fewer corporate tax breaks. It is the same approach millions of Americans take when they figure out their own personal budgets.

The Pay-Go system is a Democratic system that was used successfully during the 1990’s to balance the federal budget for the first time in a generation, turning budget deficits into budget surpluses. But Republicans now in control of Congress have refused to reinstate Pay-Go rules. Democrats believe Pay-Go rules that apply to both spending and tax cuts would be a first step toward truly reigning in budget deficits.

Isn’t there a debt limit?

Yes, the statutory debt limit was put in place to keep the nation’s annual deficits in check. But the irresponsible policies and fiscal mismanagement of the President and his allies in Congress have continually forced the statutory debt limit higher and higher. On November 18, 2004, for the third time in three years, Republicans increased the debt limit by $800 billion from the previous limit of $7.384 trillion. In 2003, they enacted the largest debt limit increase in history: $984 billion. In 2002, they raised the debt limit by $450 billion. These three increases over three years total over $2.2 trillion. The federal debt limit now stands at $8.184 trillion, and will likely have to be raised again before February of next year.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 30, 2005 11:18 PM
Comment #109317
Could someone please tell Rob what the surplus was before the Bush admin. took over… Pleease.

Rob,

According to Treasury Secretary John Snow the budget surplus reached a peak of $237 billion in 2000. This made it the largest surplus in U.S. history and toppled 1999’s record surplus of $122.7 billion.


United States National Debt (1938 to Present)

Since 1938 the Democrats have held the White house for 35 years, the Republicans for 33. Over that time the national debt has increased at an average annual rate of 8.7%. The Democratic yearly average (that is the years Democrats were in the White House) was an increase of 8.3%. The years while the Republicans ran the White House, during this same period; the debt increased an average 9.3% per year. Those averages are pretty close.

If you look at the debt starting with Truman’s term (and remove Roosevelt’s WWII debt) the difference between the two parties contributions to our national debt level change considerably. Since 1946 the Democratic Presidents increased the national debt an average of only 3.7% per year when they were in office. The Republican Presidents stay at an average increase of 9.3% per year. Over the last 59 years Republican Presidents have out borrowed Democratic Presidents by almost a three to one ratio. That is, for every dollar a Democratic President has raised the national debt in the past 59 years Republican Presidents have raised the debt by $2.87.
Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 31, 2005 1:34 AM
Comment #109318

BTW: Clinton proposed using the budget surplus to fix Bush’s Social Security bankruptcy emergancy.

“We should take advantage of this historic opportunity to use the benefits of debt reduction to extend the life of Social Security and Medicare and pay off the entire national debt by 2013 for the first time since Andrew Jackson was president,” Clinton said.

Clinton has asked Congress to dedicate the interest savings from paying down the national debt to the Social Security Trust Fund, which will add 54 years to its life, according to White House estimates.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 31, 2005 1:39 AM
Comment #109410

THANKS,

You are awesome.

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at December 31, 2005 6:39 AM
Comment #109412

Susan Holmes, Nader said he had no desire to be President. Ergo, the whole point of running was to raise the issues that the Democratic nor Republican candidates would raise, like what a mistake Iraq was and will continue to be regardless of what we do.

Like the fact that behind every scandal of ill-gotten money by a politician, there are many dozens more on the take who don’t get caught with enough evidence to prosecute.

Like the legalized bribery of votes on legislation that occurs every day of the year under the banner of campaign financing and lobbyist perks.

But, the greatest lesson Nader has taught us, is that to run as a non-rich person, or well connected to rich people, is an experience like hell on earth. Nader is to this day, still scraping his supporters for enough money to pay off his campaign debts. The age of lay common folk being elected to national office on priniciple and character is long gone. One gets there by being well connected to the wealthy, and the wealthy didn’t get wealthy by giving their money away for nothing.

Even those politicians who are regarded as principled like John McCain, and Russ Feingold, are well connected to money interests and believe they have to represent those interests if they wish to be a successful incumbent.

The only way to break this cycle is by small but growing numbers of voters showing up to vote for anyone but an incumbent. Every incumbent who is reelected has no choice but to believe their reelection was a result of their wealthy campaign donors and lobbyist group special interests, who paid for the PR firms which wrote and disseminated the campaign message their voting constituents wanted to hear.

And once reelected, politicians can count on the vast majority of that voting constituency to go back to sleep until the next election. How else does one explain Bush’s reelection despite his growing the size of government, deficits, debt, immigration, and divisiveness in government and among the American people themselves? They have to be asleep between elections, or else they would have held him accountable for the promises in 2000 which he did not even try to fulfill.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 31, 2005 6:49 AM
Comment #109428

“The age of lay common folk being elected to national office on priniciple and character is long gone.”


It would so refreshing to see a person of character, who’s rally was based on principle. To represent the American people. Who would be a good steward over the counrty, it’s people and the Constitution.
There is enough money, even if all who agreed threw a dollar in the hat, so to speak.
Call me a dreamer, It could happen…

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at December 31, 2005 7:47 AM
Comment #109433

Democrats and the big picture?

Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Posted by: Patrick T. McGuire at December 31, 2005 9:04 AM
Comment #109451

You seriously don’t think anyone is going to read those linked sites, do you?

Posted by: Aldous at December 30, 2005 06:34

If you are unwilling to read the answer don’t ask the question. It seems a little self serving, not to mention disingenuous, to assert the Dems have no ideas of their own then ignore the ideas they do offer. But that is nothing new.

Not to worry JAyjay I have read them and it seems others seem to have as well since they commented on them. Then agian some of us are interested in real ideas and are willing to educate ourselves instead of dwelling in ignorance repeating spoon fed talking points.

Most of the links are things I have seen in the past. When it comes to paying for them the real problem may be how do we pay for everything the repubs carelessly didn’t pay for? It will take tax increases no doubt. Since the tax breaks to the wealthy has not paid for themselves by the deluded idea the weathly would reinvest it in the economy maybe it is time to put that idea to rest and tax them. All that would do is force them to do what the repubs falsely thought they would volunteer to do on their own, invest in the economy.

Posted by: zakquiet at December 31, 2005 12:27 PM
Comment #109474

Gypsyirish and Jay,

You missed my point, I was applauding the Democrats managing of the budget, I’m unwilling to pull the lever in their favor because of the other two priorities come first.

Posted by: Rob at December 31, 2005 1:52 PM
Comment #109481

So what if it came second over the budget, It got handled didn’t it.

If you “ask your father for a piece of bread would he offer you a rock”

There are people in this counrty, old and young, that need assistance.

Clinton was able to do both ! Right now, what is being done ?

Neither.


Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at December 31, 2005 2:12 PM
Comment #109495
at the top of their priority list instead of leaving in a distant third behind protecting and extending social programs, and republican bashing, I might be able to convice myself to pull the lever on the other side of the ballot.

Rob,

I can respect your position. First, what do you consider Republican bashing? If the Republicans have instituted poor policies, then by all means, I think as the opposition party, the Democrats should point those shortcomings out. The same is true of Republicans pointing out the shortcomings of Democrats. If we didn’t have that, then the government would operate in seceret and we wouldn’t know what anybody was doing, and “we the people” would not be debating these issues or holding anyone accountable. Bashing from either party can have a positive effect on change.

As for social programs, why can’t we protect social programs and have budget responsibilty? The bill that the Senate just approved, and sent back to the House to approve changes, does neither. Especially when you consider that the $40 billion saved by passing the costs onto the poor will not offset the new tax cuts to the rich set to take effect January 1st.

The social program cuts in this bill are not cuts at all. They are tax increases on the poor. How? Because most of the savings do not come from actual cuts, they come from increasing and fixing the interest rates on student loans, increasing Medicaid co-payments and premiums (some will go from a $3 co-pay now to $20-$100 or more under this plan), shifting cost to the states through expensive and unfunded new requirements, delaying payment of SSI for 1 year to the disabled, and restricting eligibility for Medicaid long-term care services.

The cuts made by this bill could have been accomplished by increasing drug manufacturer rebates, elimination of the Medicare stabilization fund, and curbing overpayments to managed care plans. All of these provisions were dropped from the bill to protect special interest groups. The burden of paying for the Republican tax cuts falls squarly in the lap of the poor.

53.5% of those tax cuts will go to households with annual incomes over $1,000,000, 43.2% will go to households with annual incomes between $200,000 -$1,000,000, 3.3% will go to households with $100,000-$200,000 annual incomes.

CBPP

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 31, 2005 3:22 PM
Comment #109508

My Observations on Democrats and the Big Picture…

Most of them are ‘for’ free trade, open borders, corporate appeasement, (as in less for labor, more for the wealthy) the Iraqi invasion and a lot of other things that are on the republican agenda. They try to make a face by voting NO, but they know that they’ll lose anyways…

The whole Agenda is pretty much pre-determined.

The Contract on America under Clinton opened the gates of corruption for corporations like Enron. The good thing is that Clinton vetoed it. Then there are a few bad Dems, I’d like to refer to Lieberman as a bad dem, got enough Colleagues together to override his veto.

The Democrat or Republican who wants to run for office can’t really ride the major issues that Average Americans don’t want or like, so Republicans ride the Moral Values issue, trying to make it look like Democrats are all the ‘Opposition’ to Moral Values, meanwhile the machine keeps churning up new ideas on how to destroy the middle class and make the wealthy wealthier…

Kerry couldn’t say that he opposed the war, because he didn’t. He couldn’t say that he wants to get us out, because he didn’t. He could say that he could do it better. He can watch the ‘insurgents’ attack and kill or Soldiers better? He can spend More? or Less?

So, what’s the big picture, if both sides are pursuing the same agenda?

Things didn’t happen just because GW took the throne, and Republicans took over a slight majority. There’s more to it all then just being Republican or Democrat.

They can all team up and slaughter the middle class, but can’t get ANWAR drilling approved?

Both are bad, both are wrong, where are their hearts with people broke and freezing? I don’t see many fighting against the ‘Outrage’ that has been going on over the past 5+ years. A few comments here and there?

Dean? He shot himself in the foot.

How can any of them win elections? That’s what gets me the most.

Posted by: Steve at December 31, 2005 4:47 PM
Comment #109535

Steve,

You’re doing what the whole point of this post was about. You complain that both parties are for the same things, but don’t offer an alternative. If you have some ideas on how to remedy your concerns, please offer them.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 31, 2005 8:26 PM
Comment #109739

Excellent post Jay Jay. I’m glad you included the Democrat’s top five:

  • Real Security
  • Energy Independence 2020
  • It’s time to clean up Washington
  • Strong economy
  • Health care

From Housedemocrats.gov\issues “Your search for 2nd amendment yielded 0 results.”

LOL! kctim, I thought you wanted Dem’s to shut up about gun control! :)

The fact is, the Democrats have given up gun control as an issue. You can relax now.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 2, 2006 7:23 AM
Comment #109796

That was my point. When it gets down to the Nitty Gritty, there are no alternatives.

In the end an election is only a personality contest. The Dems need to come up with another Clinton type whose style appealed to most sides, a middle of the road character without Heinz Ketchup in his back pocket…

Hillary Rodham was, and never will be, a William Jefferson.


Posted by: Steve at January 2, 2006 4:21 PM
Comment #109963

My belief is that the Democrats try to accomodate people with divergent beliefs and priorties instead of demanind conformance with a particular party line.

Some may aruge this is not the case and point out how people are shot down for saying non-politically correct things said by others… But, I would argue that those are expressions or statments of derogatory nature against a person or group.

What was evident in the Gingrich “Contract With America” and the upswing in Republican opposition to the President after the DeLay removal from his position is that short term conformity to agendas can be controlled from the top-down… but not for long.

This is why so many of the Christian Conservatives such as Falwell moved their emphasis to a “grass-roots” program of city councils, school boards and the such. They have not gone away, just changed their attention to a form of development instead of coersion from those at the top wagging their fingers at them.

I always choose to highlight a “weakness” and make it a strength… some perceive the weakness of the Democrats not having a unified agenda and spokesperson…

Instead, it is the part of inclusion. All are welcome. Agree, disagree, just participate! We can work together towards a common goal (compromise) within our party or lose people to the other.

One last comment. I do believe that the Democrats, because they wish to respect the opinion of others, weaken their standing because they will step back, recheck their facts, their logic, their motives, search for the vailidity of the claims of the other and then form their opinion/response(Not all, there are red knuckled brawlers on both sides that will not give an inch.)… this does not work well in a radio talk show world.

Listen to them sometimes. They state a fact, draw a conclusion, slam the other side and then move on before you can analyze what was said. No time for contemplation and you might end up there nodding your head… to either side of the political spectrum.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 3, 2006 5:12 PM
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