My personal politics do not lend themselves to simple categorization, and I hold positions that range from the far right (fiscal conservatism) to the far left (support for slavery reparations). I could, however, be seen as a voter who will be more likely to vote Democratic than Republican this fall. Unfortunately, I see little cause for enthusiasm that the Democrats have developed much in the way of an agenda in the next session of Congress.
Howard Dean's Wall Street Journal op-ed column contains much of the same tired rhetoric found in many of the current leaders of the Democratic Party, and his column boils down to this statement: "We are not the Republicans."
Dean cheerfully tells me that the Democrats "will restore honesty in government," and that they will "dramatically expand support of energy independence." The Democrats, writes Dean, "will have a jobs agenda that includes good jobs that stay in America," and that they "will have a defense policy that is tough and smart."
Dr. Dean, I am underwhelmed by your lack of specifics, and your editorial is rife with lots of feel-good phrases such as "retirement with dignity" that say absolutely nothing about policy.
The early polls seem to indicate that the Democrats stand to gain big this November, and that they might also recapture both houses of Congress. Perhaps they have made a collective decision that by focusing on the failures of the Republicans, they do not need to deliver a more delineated agenda, akin to the 1994 Contract with America that the Republicans so successfully marketed.
The Democrats might very well win the election with a collective campaign that emphasizes Republican failures, but they certainly cannot effectively govern with such a strategy.
My suspicion is that the divisions within the party are simply being shelved in favor of the greater goal of recapturing Congress.
Dear Democratic Party: We, the citizens of the United States, demand more than just booting out the old GOP Congress. If you offer us a legislative agenda that is either Republican-light, or worse - bereft of substance - then you will find your victory to be of both a one-term and Pyrrhic nature.
And, be advised - we might just get motivated enough to throw our support behind a viable new third party in 2008.