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We have all heard that the left didn't have a unified message. We need to run for something instead of against something. I think we need the equivalent of the Contract for America, let's call it The Democrats' Promise. Basically, we need to point out the differences between us and the Republicans, communicate it effectively, and come up with a set of concrete steps that we will either take or die trying. And we need to get out in front and frame the issues the way we want them.

So let's get to work and try to decide what they are.

I think that the heart and soul of the Democratic party is that we protect the weak. This show up as gay rights, women's rights, and civil rights, as well as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It also shows up in preventing the few from enriching themselves by destroying the environment. These are winning issues.

So how do we push them?

More after the fold...

I think there are some obvious steps that will be winners with the middle.

  1. We will guarantee that our soldiers make at least as much pay as outside contractors who do the same job.

  2. We will guarantee that everyone who has fought for America will receive adequate medical care.

Support the troops should be our issue. Let the Republicans have the generals. We need the privates. For some reason, these are unpopular with the established right, so let's push on it. Also, they bludgeon us with wanting to nationalize health care. Let's bludgeon them with not even wanting health care for troops injured in combat. We should be able to find gut wrenching examples.

3. We will buy less foreign oil.

Play on the xenophobes to get an environmental issue passed. Saudi Arabia and Iran fund terrorists, and they get their money from oil. So we need to choke off their money.

How do we do it? I'm not sure, but we need to make it an issue. We could lower the sales tax on fuel efficient automobiles. We could move funding away from roads and towards public transportation. Would you drive a smaller SUV to punish Iran?

4. We will give no federal funding to a school unless it teaches that evolution is the most likely way humans formed, and there are currently no credible alternatives.

I'm not sure, but I think this is a wedge issue that draws blood. The right has framed religious freedom as being about abortion. But the fundamentalists believe that Catholics are going to Hell because they worship saints, and Episcopalians are going to Hell because they haven't been born again. If we can split off the fundamentalists, we win.

I imagine bringing this to vote, having DeLay ram it through Republicans. Then our guys in the middle can hammer the moderates who voted against it.

They want to bring anti-gay marriage measures to the ballot? We'll bring anti-creationism measures and watch them squirm.

5. We will guarantee that every vote is counted and every vote can be verified.

Enough said.

6. We will guarantee that no child will starve to death in the United States.

Let's frame the entitlement debate around starving children. Let them justify voting against that.

7. We will eliminate tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas.

I think this one worked, but it wasn't enough.

8. We will prevent censoring of cable television.

We must be able to drive a wedge between the people who went nuts ove Janet Jackson's breast, and the middle. Let's make sure people see how extreme they are by making sure cable isn't subject to the same standards.

Who is with me, and who has better ideas?

We must be able to win on rural issues. The Republicans are destroying family farms by favoring factory farms. We don't like factory farms because of their treatment of animals and workers. How do we push on that?

Let's build a list of ideas and then start pushing this. If there is interest, I'll volunteer to collect everything, and periodically repost an updated diary.

Originally posted to Aguas de Marco on Thu Nov 04, 2004 at 06:04 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We are pro-choice (none)
    we are pro choice
    we are pro choice
    we are pro choice
    we are pro choice
    we are pro choice
    we are pro choice

    If I didn't read and think for myself, I could be a Republican

    by bonddad on Thu Nov 04, 2004 at 06:22:25 AM PST

    •  Why not swing it to the middle? (none)
      We are pro-choice, so the right says we are pro-abortion, which isn't true.

      Why not remain pro-choice, but take a stance against abortion? Abortions hit a 20 year low under Clinton, but increased under Bush. We need to spell this out. How do you stop abortions? Not by outlawing them, by making birth control available.

      I think we need to take on the right at their points of strength. Don't let them paint us as pro-abortion. We aren't. We are pro choice.

      You want a culture war? You've got one.

      by Aguas de Marco on Thu Nov 04, 2004 at 06:37:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Total Agreement (none)
        Just because you are pro-choice doesn't mean that you are pro-abortion.

        I myself am pro-choice, but I would prefer that there be zero abortions.  The "choice" doesn't have to be an abortion.  There are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of loving couples out there who would gladly adopt a child.  Teenagers should not be having irresponsible sex, and birth control should be safe and available to all.  Most people agree that abortion should not be the preferred method of birth control.  But that doesn't mean it should be pushed into the back alleys where tens of thousands of women and girls will die each year.

        By the way, don't fool yourself about this issue.   Bush will appoint justices who will reverse Roe v. Wade and then the radicals in Congress will push through a federal ban on abortion.  Forget about states' rights on this issue for the radical right.

  •  Join NDN (none)
    The New Democratic Network has been working on this for a while.

    I personally believe the NDN is a 1000% improvement over the DNC, in terms of defining and supporting Dem ideals and vision.

  •  Good idea, but... (none)
    We've also go to find a way to translate it into actions that will get results.  How will we guarantee health care for our vets, for example?
    •  Easy (none)
      Fund the VA hospitals, and reduce the number of restrictions on who can use them.

      Also give the same health insurance to the National Guard in Iraq that the regular army has.

      That this isn't done already in atrocious.

      You want a culture war? You've got one.

      by Aguas de Marco on Thu Nov 04, 2004 at 07:43:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Easy??? (none)
        If it were easy it would already be done.  Who is going to fund it?  Who is going to reduce the restrictions?  The present administration, and many of its predecessors, could have done this "easily", but they didn't.  Wonder why?
        •  That is the whole point (none)
          That is the whole point.

          We say this is our priority. If you support this vote for us. We promise to bring it to vote. Either we get the majority and pass it, or we make the right explain why they voted against it.

          We can't guarantee a win, but we can tell people what we'll fight for.

          I believe the reason other administrations haven't done it is that the conservatives consider it an entitlement, and the liberals were going after bigger fish.

          This is one small thing that we can try to do.

          You want a culture war? You've got one.

          by Aguas de Marco on Thu Nov 04, 2004 at 08:17:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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