There’s been a little tussle in the preogressive blogosphere today about the Democratic Party platform for the ’06 mid-terms which seems to be coming to a boil now with Howard Dean’s OP/ED in the WSJ. The tussle began with a Roll Call article that claimed that Democrats are planning to make the economy the central issue this fall. Arianna said, “It’s Not the Economy, Stupid!” and Ezra Klein shot back, INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN INEPT and now Kevin Drum is up in arms over Howard Dean’s OP/ED and he’s gone as far as quoting conservative Tom Bevan to prove his point.
So which is it? The economy or National Security? As Howard Dean explains in his OP/ED, it seems to be a dual edge sword:
The president’s failures in Iraq are also hurting our economy, our country and our ability to fight the war on terror. We are spending $8 billion a month in Iraq — that’s $267 million a day. Consider that for what we spend in three weeks in Iraq, we could make needed improvements to secure our public transportation system; for what we spend in five days we could double the COPS program, and put more police on the streets to keep our neighborhoods safe, or we could put radiation detectors at all our ports.
For some folks in the country it is STILL the economy, stupid. In plenty of places around the country people are actually worried about mundane things like jobs, lower incomes, healthcare and retirement coverage. Dean lays out some rather “bleak statistics” that actually “explain why the overwhelming majority of Americans know our country is moving in the wrong direction — despite the economic cheerleading of the Republicans.”
Granted, we can’t the Republicans continue to paint us a weak on National Security and it doesn’t appear that’s anyone’s intention. Dean explains…
Democrats offer America a new direction in fiscal policy, for the middle class, and in the war in Iraq. We believe that America should work for everyone:
We will restore honesty in government, starting with the pay-as-you-go discipline in Congress that served Mr. Clinton so well. Balancing the Federal budget will be a high priority with concurrent limitation of spending. We will ease the burdens on middle class Americans and reverse Republican cuts in college tuition aid and health care. We will ensure that a retirement with dignity is the right and expectation of every single American, including pension reform, and preventing the privatization of social security.
We will dramatically expand support of energy independence in order to generate large numbers of new American jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We will have a jobs agenda that includes good jobs that stay in America, a higher minimum wage and trade policies that benefit the global labor force, not just multinational corporations.
We will have a defense policy that is tough and smart, starting with phased redeployment of our troops in Iraq, and shore up our efforts to attack al Qaeda and fight the war on terror. We also will close the gaps in our security here at home by implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
We are ready to lead with a thoughtful, fiscally responsible long-term vision. We will reach out to all Americans who value hope over fear and begin moving the country forward again.
Meanwhile, as Ezra Klein points out, the Dems have no intention of dropping the ball, per The Hill:
Congressional Democrats plan to hold Iraq war hearings on Capitol Hill and around the country, turning an election spotlight on an issue much as the GOP did with immigration during the summer recess.
The Democrats’ will highlight the fact that they intend to go toe-to-toe with Republicans on the issue of national security, believing that this election cycle it can play to their advantage rather than to their detriment as it has in elections past.
There’s a lot at stake this fall and Democrats don’t have time to be asleep at the switch on any of the issues. From the looks of things on Harry Reid’s Senate leadership page National Security or to be more precise ‘Real Security’ is on the top of the list:
Just a couple of weeks ago, John Kerry set the stage for the “Real Security Act of 2006′ when he gave a speech at Boston’s Faneuil Hall on that subject: ‘Real Security For America.’
The bottomline in my book, is there are a lot of people in this country who really “value hope over fear,” as Howard Dean points out in his OP/ED.
Isn’t it enough that right-wing falsely demonizes the Democratic Party? Do we need to add fuel to the fire? We can do with out the tussles over what the #1 issue is and get to work rolling up our sleeves instead. This country needs to move forward again. Howard Dean is right on that, John Kerry has been saying essentially the same things, so have other Dems.
Arianna insults the people who are concerned about the economy, with her “It’s Not the Economy, Stupid,” line. To the people who don’t have jobs, have taken lower paying job and don’t have healthcare, it damn straight is the economy. And maybe, just maybe if we let them know we’re fighting for them they might come out and vote instead of sitting on the sidelines, because they think that the politico’s don’t care. America needs a New Direction, and Democrats have a lot to offer this fall. Let’s listen to the whole plan and not let the Republicans set the agenda.