The Democrats' new direction for America

So here it is, in all its glory--The Democrats' Call for a New Direction for America:


Make Health Care More Affordable: Fix the prescription drug program by putting people ahead of drug companies and HMO's, eliminating wasteful subsidies, negotiating lower drug prices and ensuring the program works for all seniors; invest in stem cell and other medical research.
Lower Gas Prices and Achieve Energy Independence: Crack down on price gouging; eliminate billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop American alternatives, including biofuels; promote energy efficient technology.
Help Working Families: Raise the minimum wage; repeal tax giveaways that encourage companies to move jobs overseas.
Cut College Costs: Make college tuition deductible from taxes; expand Pell grants and slash student loan costs.
Ensure Dignified Retirement: Prevent the privatization of Social Security; expand savings incentives; and ensure pension fairness.
Require Fiscal Responsibility: Restore the budget discipline of the 1990s that helped eliminate deficits and spur record economic growth.
Ezra, who gets the hat tip, says: "That's a--whaddayacallit?--an agenda right there. And it's a good one. The Medicare proposals are obvious and important, the college portions are worthwhile (though there's some revenue loss that'll needs to be offset), the fiscal responsibility stuff implies PAYGO without promising it, and you've of course got a minimum wage increase. I'm surprised that there's nothing about corruption, and apparently nobody could decide on an Iraq plank, but this is better than I expected."

Oy. File that under the soft bigotry of low expectations. Which is, by the way, not a criticism of Ezra's response--with which I largely agree--but of the content we were given to consider.

In addition to the omission of corruption and Iraq, there are a couple other things given a pass that irk me, but I'll focus on the biggest: Privacy. Hillary Clinton has called for a privacy bill, which would focus on protecting personal data, but the loss of privacy--and, more importantly, the loss of respect for citizens' privacy--is bigger than simply personal data. Lots of issues of concern to progressives could be folded into a privacy plank, most notably gay marriage, reproductive choice, and church-state separation--all of which fall under the my rights end where yours begin definition of privacy, i.e. private choice. Call it the "Mind Your Own Bloody Business" plank, which could, of course, also cover government encroachment of civil rights.

It's rather disappointing to see the Dems miss yet another opportunity to address a primary concern not only of progressives, but of a large swath of the populace irrespective of political affiliation. Disappointing, but sadly not surprising.

(Ezra Klein)

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