Platforms – where issues meet politics


Some progressives are quite happy with the Democratic platform – like Steve Clemons, HuffPo contributor and writer of The Washington Note.

He provides a link to a draft of the platform here.

So lets take a look.  First, according to Clemons:

Some of the key zingers are a focus on technology and taking back the government and getting more democracy per se via technology. There is a focus on service, on faith-based efforts — a focus on citizen stakeholding.

And what I love most about the platform is that it started with a focus on what we need to do in America as Americans — and not necessarily on the wars and conflicts in which war are embroiled abroad.

The document is 55 pages long and organized around the theme of “renewal.”  The four main sections are “Renewing the American Dream,” “Renewing American Leadership,” “Renewing the American Community,” and “Renewing American Democracy.”

Do we get the picture?  We apparently need a big ole, nationwide restart.  Put our collective finger on the power button and re-boot America.

In the Preamble of the platform, an emphasis is made on the need for all Americans to come together to solve the problems facing the country.  The specific example used to emphasize this point is particularly telling:

Today, America must unite again –to help our most vulnerable residents get back on their feet and to restore the vitality of both urban centers and family farms –because the success of each depends on the success of the other.

So just 3 pages into the text of the document, we see the geo-social spectrum – the urban and the rural – tied together in a way that infers the ills brought on by the corporatization of food production and the abandonment of cities in favor of developing green space in the suburbs.  I think I’m going to like the rest of this document.

I do want to offer one suggestion on this point:

To lower the price of gasoline, we will crack down on speculators who are driving up prices beyond the natural market rate. We will direct the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to vigorously investigate and prosecute market manipulation in oil futures. And we will help those who are hit hardest by high energy prices by increasing funding for low-income heating assistance and weatherization programs and providing energy assistance to help middle-class families make ends meet in this time of inflated energy prices.

Remember the quote of the day from a few days back, to paraphrase, that the hard truth is that we shouldn’t lower gasoline prices.  If you really want to help the working poor through middle income and encourage energy conversation and clean the environment, try making gas more expensive with gas taxes and then refunding a set amount of money from the revenue and give it right back to folks under a certain income level.  They get the same amount back whether they drive a lot or not.  I guarantee, they’ll figure out how to drive less while getting more than enough back to take care of their families.

Suggestion number 2. As a former teacher, please move the following paragraph to the top of the education section:

We know that there is no program and no policy that can substitute for parents who are involved in their children’s education from day one–who make sure their children are in school on time, helps them with their homework, and attends those parent-teacher conferences; who are willing to turn off the TV once in awhile, put away the video games, and read to their children. Responsibility for our children’s education has to start at home. We have to set high standards for them, and spend time with them, and love them. We have to hold ourselves accountable.

There’s never going to be a way for the government to ensure that only people who are fit to be parents get that opportunity.  But at least we can to offer parents all the help we can to educate their children.

The rest of the platform is worth a read so that you can be prepared to compare it to the Republican party platform when it comes out shortly before the RNC.


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One Response to “Platforms – where issues meet politics”

  1. Nothing is the matter with Kansas « Y-Decide 2008 Says:

    […] I wrote when I started reading through a draft of the Democratic Party platform, it appears that the Dems are moving towards the model that makes some concession to their socially […]

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