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A Democratic Contract for America

On The Huffington Post, Cenk Uygur writes about the "do nothing Democrats":

The Do Nothing Democrats are led by their New York Senators. Chuck Schumer who is in charge of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2006 elections and Hillary Clinton who is supposedly the leading candidate for 2008 (I shudder at the thought). They have sent out the memo - do absolutely nothing until the 2006 election; we have a lead, let's sit on it. Bold, very, very bold.

Every sports fan knows what prevent defense does - it prevents victories. Action matters. It matters that we just added another $70 billion on top of our already grotesquely large deficit. It matters that the head of our CIA will be both incompetent and a wanton law-breaker. We cannot run out the clock to 2006, let alone 2008. These next two and half years matter.

Democrats have to fight back and win. If they don't, there is absolutely no point to their big leads in the polls. The American people aren't behind you because they won't you to do nothing. They're behind you because they want you to bring change.

There are less than five-and-a-half months until the general election, and I honestly can't think of one thing the Democrats have said they'll do when they're elected. Their entire platform seems to be:

  1. Republicans are unpopular.
  2. We're not Republicans.
  3. Vote for us!
This is not a winning strategy -- not in the long run, anyway.

What the Democrats need is the equivalent of the Republicans' 1994 Contract with America. Democrats derided it, but it helped the Republicans take control of the House of Representatives (and keep it for at least 10 years). Voters might have disagreed with one or more of its points, but they knew where the Republicans stood. They knew what their priorities were going to be -- at least if they kept their promises, which they did, at least as far as the contract went.

Yes, the Democrats need their own Contract with America. And the very first item in it should be the same as in the Republicans' version: a balanced budget amendment. What better way to say, "We're no longer the tax and spend party", and what better way to distinguish themselves from the current Congress, which has never met a spending program it didn't like?

More ideas for a Democratic contract? How about raising fuel economy standards? 93 percent of Americans think this is a good idea, but the Republicans won't do it. How about passing a line-item veto, making light of President Bush's failure to veto a single spending bill? How about ending the practice of earmarks -- no more bridges to nowhere? How about reviving the assault weapons ban? (I personally don't think it would have much effect, but it's the right side of the issue to be on.)

That's five ideas upon which Democrats should be able to agree. I've been working on this blog entry for 30 minutes. Surely with a few hours' thought, they can come up with five more.

Oh, and while they're at it, really tweak the Republicans by calling it the Contract for America.

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