Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Democratic Agenda

Last week, the Senate Democrats unveiled their agenda for the 2014 Elections. No one really cared. Even the media pushed it aside and kept pounding them with questions about Obamcare. That's a really bad sign for them. Even worse, right after they disclosed this, projections started coming out about them losing the Senate, so their agenda vanished into oblivion. In any event, I have a couple thoughts on their agenda. Let’s discuss.

The Agenda: Here is the agenda they are pimping:
● Minimum wage hike to $10.10 “to fight income inequality.”
● Equal pay for men and women.
● Protecting Medicare benefits.
● Raising the Earned Income Tax Credit.
● Lowering interest rates on student loans.
● Boost infrastructure spending.
● Worker training.
● Raise taxes on millionaires.
● End tax breaks for companies that ship overseas.
● Drug sentencing reform.
● Energy efficiency.
All Phony: My first thought is that this agenda is totally phony. Most of these things are show votes only. Things like the equal pay bill are things the Democrats only trot out when they know the Republicans can stop them. Things like “energy efficiency” are simply catch-all phrases that promise nothing in particular and end up as graft-laden giveaways. The only concrete proposal is the minimum wage issue and notice that they are way below the $15 the progressives want. Oh, and anyone who thinks a couple dollar increase in the minimum wage will affect “income inequality” is a moron.

Played Out: This agenda tell us that the Democrats are played out. This is the same garbage they’ve been peddling since the 1970’s. Pathetic. In fact, observe...

A Better America?: If you look at this agenda from an economic perspective and you ask what the Democrats want from America, the answer is obvious... nothing really. There is no plan here to make the country better. There is no plan to create jobs, cause innovation, improve the quality of life in America, or makes people’s lives better or more secure. This is an agenda for people who think the goal of America should be maintaining what we have rather than improving it while trying to get everyone in the country another $22.37 a year off the backs of the rich.

A Pretty Good “Political” Agenda: Despite all the above, this is actually a decent political agenda. Why? Because it will attract all their normal interest groups. Look at the agenda again:
● Minimum wage: poor, young, minorities, unions.
● Equal pay for men and women: women.
● Protecting Medicare benefits: seniors.
● Raising the Earned Income Tax Credit: poor.
● Lowering interest rates on student loans: students, young professionals.
● Boost infrastructure spending: unions, Hispanics, low-class white males.
● Worker training: low-class white males
● Raise taxes on millionaires: leftists.
● End tax breaks for companies that ship overseas: populists.
● Drug sentencing reform: blacks.
● Energy efficiency: environmentalists.
Even though this platform is entirely false, it will sell well with their various groups because it LOOKS like each is being offered something they want. It also sets the Republicans up because any objection can be framed as being anti-poor/woman/etc.

Even more interestingly, notice that the public at large will find this to be an acceptable agenda because (1) there are no details to scare them, e.g. “Oh, infrastructure spending, that sounds good,” as compared to, “They want to spend a trillion dollars to build gay bathhouses in Montana? WTF?” and (2) they don’t mention any of the flash point issues: abortion, gays, immigration. You know their position on these things, but they don’t mention them, so they don’t come across like obsessed whackos. Compare that to the GOP whose platform stops and starts at abortion, gays and Mexicans.

Interesting, isn’t it?


EricP said...

Dammit, you're right. So tempting to mock what's so glaringly a joker's hollow agenda. However, I am no Admiral Ackbar, and I will not fall for their trap.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, What is really shocking is when you start thinking about what all of this says they want for America and the answer is that they don't really have any plans to make anything better. That's truly pathetic. They are the non-aspirational party.

EricP said...

Yup. Only thing worse are the schmucks who fall for the lacks of bait or the switch. Up till reading this, I used to think the Democrat party had turned JFK's admirable mantra 180 degrees, but now I can plainly see they just want to ask not what our country can do for them but offer meaningless promises. Sigh ...

Anthony said...

The Democrats will probably energize their base more by painting Republicans as both the party of the rich (have seen a lot of articles about the Koch Brothers and the Sheldon Adelson primary) and out of touch reactionaries than focusing on their agenda (such as it is).

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - You are right. They are setting the stage for "See all of the wonderful things that Democrats want to do for YOU; And see how the Republicans are stopping us from doing them because [fill-in-the-blank*].

The reason that social issues like abortion, gay marriage, and immigration reform are not on the list, is to "fool" the Republicans into thinking they won't use it as a cudgel...which we know they will. But really it's because those are not popular issues with the Democrat base because they don't much like abortion, gays, and Mexicans either. And I include abortion because most of the recent legislation has been to insure the safety of women by requiring a hospital standard to facilities and medical personal. That's very hard argue and when the topic of late term abortion rights makes them very uncomfortable...well, they lose on that one too. Most people are pro-choice, but most are opposed to unrestricted late-term abortions.

*Best answer to date - "The Koch brothers and their evil, dark, secret, nefarious doings that no one can actually pin on them so it must be true" scenario. See: Senator Harry Reid constant assault on them on the Senate floor in his official capacity as Majority Leader. Why, one would think he was Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the '50's...

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, It always amazes me how many people fall for style over substance in all things. It also amazes me that our side hasn't learned to exploit this.

Another funny angle on this is that the progressives took over the Democrats in the 1990s and yet their agenda is the same as it's always been... if you can call smoke and mirrors and the minimum wage an agenda.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, In all honesty, that's all either side does now -- demonize the other side. Neither side is offering any actual ideas to attract voters. That's why our turn out percentages are so pathetic.

When your choices are between: "we're not them" and "we're not them", and the best either side can do is whine about things that can't be fixed or can't be put into law, what's the real attraction for most people?

The result is a vicious spiral where the voting electorate becomes increasingly more fringe, which drives the parties to pander to them, which turns off more and more regular voters.

tryanmax said...

The good news is that in American politics, real ideas still trump phony ideas at the ballot box. I get the strong sense that the GOP is crafting some real ideas (and not just from reading this site). Time will tell what they unveil, but anything is more inspiring than the Democrats' tired list--save the fringe's steadfast refusal to generate ideas. But I'm not so worried about the fringe anymore.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I think the Democrats avoid mentioning the social issues in their own platform because the public doesn't like their stance. So what they do is they don't talk about them as part of their affirmative agenda (though they mention them whenever they speak with those groups directly), and instead, they play off the GOP's constant mention to make the GOP sound crazy and to let people know that their own stance is "kind of, sort of the opposite in a good way but without anything crazy... see, we don't even like to talk about it! Heck, we didn't even bring this issue up, even though we did."

Basically, they make it sound like the GOP is only ones talking about social issues, that the GOP wants to change the way things are, and that they are just defenders of the status quo... even as they aren't. That way, they never need to defend their own positions because they act like they don't have any position.

Reid and McCarthy... nice connection.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I'm not either. The fringe is finished as a political force. They can yell and scream all they like, but the game is over.

Agreed about the ideas. I'm suddenly seeing a lot of ideas out there on all kinds of issues -- everything from taxes to education to sentencing reform.

tryanmax said...

Yeah, actually sentencing reform is the one that jumped out at me on the Dems' list b/c I've been hearing that myself from conservatives. Though I know just how the knee-jerkers will react, b/c we have a big anti-prison reform guy on the local radio. They'll go all "tough on crime" 1970s throwback while accusing their opponents of releasing violent criminals--abusers, rapists, murderers--into the streets to save a few bucks.

AndrewPrice said...

Sentencing reform is one of those things that should be done because the current system is causing a lot more problems than it solves. It also plays very well with blacks and libertarians. Unfortunately, it's also easily demonized. It will take Ann Coulter five minutes to find some rapist with an Hispanic name who had a suspended sentence for pot possession and she'll go a week long tirade about your attempt to free illegal alien rapists into the community... you... dirty... America-hating... rapist-loving... wuss!

So yeah, that one's hard and will need to be done behind the scenes, but it's still interesting to see it discussed rather prominently. That tells me that there are conservatives thinking about all kinds of issues.

BevfromNYC said...

Hey, so Obama made a statement in the Rose Garden that the Obamacare debate is now over and they have signed up 7.1million people (Friday it as at 4.5 and yesterday it was 9.5, but that doesn't matter) so we can all just shut up about it. And I think he stuck his tongue out too and ended his speech with "Nyah, nyah, nyah, neener, neener, neener"...

What I find miraculous is that they hit that target of "at least 7 million" even though last week the WH was arguing that the target was just a soft target and didn't mean anything and Sebelius said that they didn't know why they had that target anyway...Obama is sooooo amazing.

tryanmax said...

I think all politicians should get in the practice of declaring every debate over at every turn. I think it's really hilarious, as the debate always continues.

Conversely, Republicans could respond to Obama's declaration that the Obamacare debate is over by agreeing and then announcing the beginning of the debate over whether to reopen the debate over Obamacare.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, The thing is, I don't think they care. All they want is to let the sycophants put out uncritical headlines touting the stunning success today. By the time the retractions come, it will be page 100 and we'll be in the middle of the next crisis. I really think they made a conscious decision just to lie here.

Tennessee Jed said...

I think the fact B.O. chose today, April 1 to make his announcement is telling. I guess we get the govt. we deserve, but I sure feel like the president simply forgot to stick out his hand and say "pull my finger." Seriously, nobody listens or trusts politicians so sound-bites are as good a way to go as any. In a society where there is zero objective media coverage rules, this kind of vacuous garbage is actually encourage. Beware the war om women!!

AndrewPrice said...

Here should be our response: "With the level of deceit and incompetence this administration has shown, I'm calling on the CBO to determine exactly how many real people signed up for private insurance through the exchanges, how many of those have paid, how many policies have been issued, how many were actually uninsured before this, and why the administration can't seem to figure these numbers out.

And until we have that information, I think you need to dismiss any claims from this administration out of hand."

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Today is the perfect day for this announcement.

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