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Friday, 20 October 2006 10:06

Don't let Karl Rove's Attack become a Self-Fulfilling Prophesy: Democrats Have an Agenda, and It's a Good One

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For years, people on both sides of the political spectrum have griped that Democrats don't have any issues or a real agenda. The fact that Republicans have controlled Washington for the better part of this century certainly shows that Democrats have not successfully maximized their advantages and opportunities.

However, this criticism - that Democrats are somehow incapable of developing any real strategy - has become a self-fulfilling prophecy leading people to continue to blindly accept it as fact. But the truth is that Democrats do have ideas these days; they just can't execute them because of Republican obstruction. After all, the Republicans controlling this Do-Nothing Congress have not even passed their own legislation, other than the torture bill and defense appropriations.

The staple of the DNC's agenda is the "Six for '06" platform. It may not be as catchy as the "Contract with America," but it's a heck of a lot better for this nation's interests. Here are the categories:

1. Real Security - At Home and Overseas
2. Prosperity - Better American Jobs, Better Pay
3. Opportunity - College Access for All
4. Energy Independence - Lower Gas Prices
5. Affordable Health Care - Life-Saving Science
6. Retirement Security and Dignity

Nancy Pelosi, the top prospect for Speaker of the House next term, has additionally released a 31-page outline of objectives Democrats hope to achieve, and how they plan to do it. It's called "A New Direction for America."

Democrats have also proposed a wide variety of specific legislation on important issues. Here are a few:

Whether you think the Democrats' agenda is good or not is entirely up to you. But it is unfair, inaccurate, and counterproductive to say Democrats have no agenda at all. Even their campaign strategy has been highly effective this year: Republicans are shrinking and consolidating their target elections while Democrats are expanding across the nation. The DNC and both Democratic election committees have all outraised their Republican counterparts, and the voters are responding.

If a new Democratic House and/or Senate is unsuccessful in implementing these reforms over the coming years, it will likely only be because Republicans will continue protect their own special interests by obstructing the peoples' agenda. As long as the Republicans maintain the veto and filibuster power, even solid Democratic majorities would be unlikely to achieve a higher minimum wage, an exit strategy for Iraq, accountability in Washington, and increased energy independence, among other things. But stalemating the downward spiral created by Bush and his cronies over the last six years would be good enough.

Everyone might not like the Democrats' platform, but people should at least acknowledge that they have one and are not a mere opposition party. Considering the fact that they lack the White House and a clear policy leader, the platform is actually a remarkably coherent. Once voters are able to get over this misconception, the Democratic Party will be far more successful.