Democrats: Promises & Expectations

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The Democrats appear, according to a new poll, to be making a lot of the right promises to appeal to the moderate, centrist, and independent voters who elected them, save one. Democrat's illegal immigration solutions don't appear to be currying favor.

First, the right promises (with a small 'r' ). Not to be confused with Right promises, which were mostly never carried out. At least not yet. That's the Left's promises - Not Yet, they just got power. Not the Right's, - Not Yet, they had their chance and a lot of years and opportunities to bring about the 3 P's, peace, prosperity, and personal liberty. Sorry, I have been watching the 3 stooges in Wash. D.C. for so long, I am starting to babble like them. Back to business.

- Democrats promise to deliver high speed internet access to all Americans in five years.

- They promise scholarships aimed at producing 100,000 new scientists, mathematicians and engineers in the next four years. (According to House Speaker Elect, Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. will graduate 70,000 engineers this year, while India and China will graduate more than 1 million.

- Democrats promise to reinstate PayGo, or Pay As You Go legislation. This means, before a new spending program can pass, Congress will have to deliver its funding through equal spending cuts elsewhere, or tax increases, or combination of both, to pay for the new program. While not promising to end deficit spending, the PayGo rules for Congress will presumably slow the rate of growth in the national debt.

- Democrats promise to reduce our dependency on foreign oil imports.

- They promise oversight hearings and tighter controls over wasteful spending.

- Howard Dean has promised to sever ties to lobbyists. This is an odd one for a politician. Are Democrats going to insist lobbyists contribute to Republican's campaigns instead? Not very damn likely. But, one of the promises is to end lobbyist spending for meals and trips of Congresspersons. That's a beginning, I suppose, but pales in comparison to the billions of dollars of other ways lobbyists bribe politicians for votes on legislation.

Still, this is one of the big issues for voters since, exit polls from the election showed 3/4 of voters said corruption and scandals were very, or extremely, important to them.

- Democrats promise to increase to two years the time a Congress person must wait from leaving office to becoming a hired gun for lobbyists. Five would be more appropriate and far more effective, but, two is a 100% increase in waiting time. Politicians love those dramatic statistics. Wahoo!! 100% !!!

- They promise a change in course in Iraq. Well, that's a 'no brainer'. Even Bush was prepared to consider other courses after receiving the Baker - Hamilton Iraq Study Group's report next month.

While there are limits to what Democrats can accomplish in the 110th and 111th Congress' before elections come again, voters will be looking for signs of progress on their 4 most important agenda items:

- Iraq. Americans want both an honorable exit from Iraq and for it to occur without far greater losses. This will be one of the voter's expectations most difficult for Congress to fulfill, since the course of the Iraq War still lies largely in the hands of the White House, not the Congress.

- Progress in the War on Terrorism, at least to the point of insuring greater security for America from them, which has to include far greater improvements in border security and import checking.

- Economic improvement for the middle class and their children's future. The Democrats have many plans for short term improvements to wages, like raising the minimum wage and breaks on the cost of college education which is the straightest path to higher income for future workers. But, I suspect this also means saving Social Security and significantly reducing the cost of health care in America, which increasing numbers of voters are concerned about.

- Corruption and ethics in government. This will certainly be the one of the toughest voter demands on the new Democrat controlled Congress. Oversight hearings can be effective in reducing corruption, but, if successful, these measures will be prophylactic, and therefore, won't make big stumping material for Democrat's reelection bids. What voters have in mind is something grander, I suspect.

Namely, campaign finance reform which, removes money as incentive for the way legislators vote on any particular bill on the Congressional floor. It is thus far, difficult to pin down Democrats on a promise to fight for the kind of radical campaign finance reform that will actually accomplish this goal. In the end, I suspect, this will be the voter's issue left largely unmet by Democrats over the next two years. How it will play however, will depend in part on Pres. Bush, and whether or not he threatens to veto such efforts, giving Democrats a pass on this issue until after 2008. The courts will no doubt find a role in such attempts to clean up our government as well, free speech equals rights to bribery of politicians, and all that jazz.

The Elephant in the living room between voter and Democrat harmony however, will be immigration. Congressional Republicans are on the right side of voters on this issue. And Democrats are on the Ass end of this issue. If Democrats want insurance for their results in 2008, they had better compromise on their Amnesty for illegal immigrants and force border security to the top priority position of their homeland security and illegal immigration agenda. This, I believe is going to be Democrat's albatross to wear in 2008.

So, while there is some disconnect between voter's expectations and Democrat's promises, there is at least hope on both their parts that the status quo of the last 6 years will end, and progress will be made on voter's issues. With Republicans facing significantly more seats up for reelection in 2008 than Democrats, Democrats need only make demonstrated progress on the voter's agenda listed above, to potentially get a free ride to more seats in Congress in 2008.

That however, will create a voter's dilemma in 2008. If Democrats are poised to take more Congressional seats in 2008, will the moderate, centrist, and independent voters be willing to create another one party dominated government again like the Republicans enjoyed for these last 4 years. I would hope that voters have learned their lesson on this one. But, voters can be a fickle lot, and one party government with its inherent danger of breeding corruption to keep power, has not yet risen to the level of eliciting the kind of negative responses a vampire in our midst might create, like a run on garlic, or sales of crucifixes and stakes.

One thing I think Democrats can count on. The growing numbers of independent voters feel incredibly empowered by the 2006 election results, and they will not carry their anti-incumbent vote quietly into the night in 2008 should Democrats fail to produce solid results on both their promises and the voter's agenda of the big 4 issues: Iraq, corruption, economy, and security against terrorism.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on November 13, 2006 1:53 AM.

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