More on Our Ten Words

So, last night I stayed up way too late posting a diary at Dailykos out of sheer frustration concerning what I see as a disturbing trend of inaction among the netroots. I am not going to repost that here, because I think I have already harangued you guys enough for one week. However, Scott's Our Ten Words post from one week ago has been on my mind lately, and toward the end of the piece I posted my attempt at a ten-word elevator pitch:Broad prosperity, practical government, free expression, common good, better future I think the "broad prosperity" and "better future" bits are pretty obvious. "Better future" is the two-word pitch for progressivism. Conservatives are always longing for, and finding their Golden Ages, in the past, while progressives always find their ideals and Golden Ages in a time yet to come. Further, the hallmark of Democratic governance since 1932 has clearly been "broad prosperity." On their own, those four words do an excellent job of summing up quite a bit of the liberal / progressive philosophy for over a century now.

But I guess we are supposed to have ten words, not four, and the next six words are a little more contentious. Even though they are very similar phrases, I went with "practical government" instead of "effective government" because I think "practical" is a better gut-level expression of so-called techno-liberalism than "effective," which is a little too corporate-speak for my tastes. Progressives believe that the goal in government should be to find out what works, rather than to govern based on theory and faith. A belief in science, a willingness to admit mistakes, and the reality-based community are all summarized by this phrase.

I also debated for a while between "common good" and "mutual responsibility." I think any accurate elevator pitch about progressivism needs something to express the simple sentiment that we are all in it together, rather than out fending for ourselves. In the end, I went with "common good" to elevate the tone a little bit. I like the slightly less preachy, yet somehow still more values-speak, tone of "common good." It also has none of the multi-syllabic awkwardness of "mutual responsibility." I think it sounds right to me because it rings of the preamble to the Constitution.

For the final two words, I went with "free expression." This was a tricky one, but this is a phrase that has really stuck in my head over the past year. I think we need an aspect of the pitch that explains how people should be allowed to be whatever they want to be, and do whatever they want with themselves. At the beating heart of progressivism / liberalism is the belief in a pluralistic society, and the rejection of the so-called "culture war." When I want to describe this belief from my gut, the term "free expression" is what consistently comes to mind.

So, what do you think? I'd like to know. I would also like to hear your ten-word elevator pitch. The only way we are going to figure this out is to keep talking about it, and to eventually settle on language that, from deep in our hearts, minds and guts, just really makes sense to us.

Tags: Democrats, Ideas, Message, Slogans (all tags)

Comments

59 Comments

I only have 5 words

A better life for all

Could be defined however we want to define it (environmentally, economically, pluralistically, educationally, etc.).

But I like a lot of the other ideas too.

You wrote "broad propriety" but then talked about "broad prosperity". I assume you mean the latter but please clarify.

Also I think it's best to avoid latin-derived words. One of the reasons that Lincoln was such an effective orator was that he used Anglo-Saxon words which tend to be shorter and more "gut" words.

by adamterando 2006-04-21 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: I only have 5 words
"porpriety" was a typo. I make a lot of those.
by Chris Bowers 2006-04-21 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: I only have 5 words

How 'bout:

Shared Security, Shared Responsibility, Shared Accountability.

Or

Common Security, Mutual Responsibility and Accountability.

Or

Security, Responsibility & Accountability for America.

Or

Security and Responsibility for America.

Or

Economic Security, Social Responsibility, Shared Accountability.

Or

Economic Security and Social Responsibility.

Or

Security, Responsibility and Accountability for the Commonwealth.

Or

Security, Responsibility and Accountability for All.

Or

Security, Responsibility and Accountability at Home.

Or

A twist on something that was used on a previous post: Freedom, Opportunity, and Security at Home.

----------------------------------

Clearly there's a theme here.  I used HOME on a couple of tags because I think that Americans, for better or for worse, are ready to focus inward -- in the short-term, I think that this impulse is something that must be used and not ignored by Democrats.

by bedobe 2006-04-21 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: I only have 5 words

Here's another take...

Economic Security,
Social Responsibility,
Individual Freedom,
Government Accountability,
Shared Progress.

by bedobe 2006-04-21 06:32PM | 0 recs
Latin vs. Anglo-Saxon

A good point.

How about "broad benefits" instead of "broad prosperity"? We advocate for policies that are beneficial to a maximum number of individuals, rather than policies that benefit only a select few.

by Chris Andersen 2006-04-21 02:51PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Social and economic responsibility.

(I have a short attention span)

There's the other 6. j/k

by chocolatemoose 2006-04-21 09:04AM | 0 recs
Here's what I have so far

I'm not quite satisfied with it, but it expresses the feelings I want to.  The weakest link, I think, is security.  I'd like to communicate the point that progressives look out for the country, whether it's protecting the nation against foreign threats or protecting your pension.  Essentially, I'd like to broaden the understanding of security.  

Equal Opportunity, Personal Freedom, National Security, a Better Tomorrow.

I also want there to be an indidual/community link (i.e., we give people the freedom to think for themselves, express themselves, but we look after each other through defense, social security, consumer protection, etc.).  I think that's a ley component of our world view.  

Have at it.

by danielj 2006-04-21 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what I have so far

I agree "personal freedom" beats "free expression," but I have the same problem with "a better tomorrow" as with "better future."  It feels empty to me.

by antidoto 2006-04-21 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

I think "better future" is kind of vague, to be honest, and part of the point has to be to pick things that clearly differentiate us from Republicans.  Anyone could sign on to "better future."  If it were my ten words I'd drop "better future," replace "broad prosperity" with "prosperity for all" (differentiating us from Republicans, who promote prosperity only for some) and wedge in the word "privacy."

by antidoto 2006-04-21 09:10AM | 0 recs
Propriety or Prosperity?

I'm sure you mean the latter, but several times you typed the former, making it sound like a GOP message.

Opportunity for all, fair and competent government, promoting broad prosperity and the common good.

Ok, so it is longer, but why make a fetish out of numbers?  The message has to be coherent.  It's under 15 words.

I like the reversion to the common good, but think we need to get fairness back in there so that no group thinks it will be told to stand aside for the common good (excpet those who have benefitted excessively over the past 10 years).

by Mimikatz 2006-04-21 09:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Propriety or Prosperity?
I meant properity all the wya through. I am the typo king.
by Chris Bowers 2006-04-21 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: 4 words
Prosperity (defined however the listener chooses)
Accountability
Practicality
Diplomacy (paints a nice contrast with the Bushies)
by phillydem 2006-04-21 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

I agree with Lucas O'Connor's take above. Solid effort, but too many syllables, not enough self-defining terms.  I'm liking what I heard Ted Kennedy is pushing: something like "fairness, progress and prosperity"?  Captures all of the core Democratic values (except national defense darn it) in easy to remember words.  O.K. so how about "fairness, progress, prosperity and security"?

by Jimbob Kinnikin 2006-04-21 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

I still don't like lists. It sounds too much like I'm reading a thesaurus. I like a slogan that portrays action in it. Like "solidarity" or something like that.

by adamterando 2006-04-21 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Read my post above, too, but I'm starting to be persuaded that brevity is good.

How about something like:

Freedom, Opportunity, and Security For All

by danielj 2006-04-21 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Of course we could alway invent a word that says it all, like freedoportunity!  : )  Hey, we did it with  "swiftboat."

by Jimbob Kinnikin 2006-04-21 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

always.  freedopportunity.

by Jimbob Kinnikin 2006-04-21 09:32AM | 0 recs
Why 10 new words, when 5 old ones will do?

"Liberty and justice for all."

It's catchy, patriotic, and everyone already knows it, making it an easy sell.  It perfectly encapsulates the Democratic/progressive vision in five brief words.  And as the core of a governing platform, it sure beats "In God We Trust."

by slb36cornell 2006-04-21 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Ok. Seven words.  

"Common sense solutions for the common good."

That's the bumper sticker.

Then the specifics:

-Fair and competent government.
-Opportunity for all.
-Repair the safety net.
-Protect individual provacy.
-Sustainable energy and environmental policies.
-Rebuild our military and America's prestige abroad.

by Mimikatz 2006-04-21 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

i've been watching this our ten words thing for a little while, and while i think it's well-intentioned, i think it's just the wrong focus at this time.

george lakoff came up with ten words in don't think of an elephant, and they're about as good as any ten words i've yet seen.  but he admitted that those words won't mean much to anyone who reads them because the underlying ideas haven't been defined.  i think that footnote has been largely forgotten in the whole our ten words campaign.

let's consider the conservative ten words - strong defense, low taxes, family values, small government, and proto-fascism - each of those words sounds like a concrete position to us because they've been defined a certain way.  but it's not hard to imagine a world where they are actually pretty vague phrases:

strong defense could mean stupid star wards projects, or it could mean kick-ass alliances and cleverly designed aid packages;

low could mean taxes means corporate theivery, or it could mean lower property taxes or lower sales taxes or lower taxes on poor folks;

family values could mean mean feudal era social policies, or it could mean supporting all families with good health care and education;

small government could mean one-hand-washes-the-other collusion between government and corporations, or it could mean freedom of, and encouragement of, expression and participation in government...

and so on.  the conservatives have ten words, and they sound pretty crisp and specific, but in point of fact each of those words could mean something very, very liberal, if it had been the liberal movement that defined those words in the past few decades years, not the conservative movement.

see what i mean?  the liberals can come up with hundreds of ten word phrases - actually we already have - but they won't mean anything until we give everyone a clear picture of what broad prosperity, practical government, and all that jazz means.

and that means getting a large majority of our poltiicians and our blogs to use those terms to describe their policies.  if every time a Democrat talked about single-payer universal health care he or she said "broad prosperity", then that phrase would take on some meaning in a hurry.  the problem is, that not enough Democratic politicians are with us on that issue.

same goes for Iraq.  there is a crystal clear and fairly popular liberal position on Iraq - withdrawal of all American troops.  we could use some 2-word phrase to describe that idea ("smart defense", "global leadership", whatever), but the fact is we won't make much progress until nearly every blog in the 'sphere, and every politician in the part, a) advocates for that position and b) starts using those words in tandem ("America is a global leader, and that means getting our troops out of harm's way", or whatever).

anyway, this isn't a gloom and doom comment.  in five to ten years, we'll have our nifty little slogan, and some cool policy ideas, and bright and shiny egghead books and all that stuff to back it up.  but it takes time, and we shouldn't put the cart before the horse.

if you want to get started on ten words, i suggest you start by building a local think tank.

by Shai Sachs 2006-04-21 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Here's what I like based on what Lakoff started:

Strong Government
Healthy Communities
Economic Security
Open Courts
Secure Nation

by fafnir 2006-04-21 10:25AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Agreed.  Things like ten word taglines are only as powerful as the "cognitive models" or "schemata" they evoke (in other words, the whole cluster of associations that come to mind when you hear the phrase).  Those models get built up over a period of time - not overnight with a pithy phrase.  And, to add to your example, you want it to work both ways - people hear "broader prosperity" and think health care; and people hear Dems talking about health care and think "ah, yes, broader prosperity."

This doesn't mean that it's worthless to come up with good succinct ways to describe progressive principles, because that can provide a kind of goal for us to all work toward.  Then we go back and forth between identifying discrete characteristics we'd like to be identified with and fleshing them out in the public imagination (through well-publicized actions).  Sometimes you can piggy-back on well-established models and claim ownership of them - like "good government," which already brings to mind a lot of associations that the Democrats can fairly easily hitch their wagon to without much modification.

But this kind of stuff is definitely not an end to itself.

by arenwin 2006-04-21 10:28AM | 0 recs
'Good government'?

Isn't this phrase forever blighted by the image of turn-of-the-20th-century middle-class harridans and their whipped spouses getting elected to local government and forcing the closure of saloons and whorehouses for the betterment of the unwashed?

(See Mr Dooley passim.)

Surely, in those days, it was the Democratic machines who stood against these killjoys on the side of the ordinary guys who wanted to keep their saloons and whorehouses - not to mention taking their cut from the organized crime bosses who oversaw the running of such worthwhile enterprises!

by skeptic06 2006-04-21 11:24AM | 0 recs
Re: 'Good government'?

Good question.  I don't know.  Sounds like a focus group question... when you think of good government, do you think of corruption or whorehouses?  ;)

by arenwin 2006-04-21 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

I think "broad prosperity" was in fact one of Lakoff's phrases. So we're in good company with that one.  I believe he also said "effective government", which I think I prefer to "practical".

According to Lakoff, our ten words should be designed to frame the liberal "nurturing parent" model of government (which Republicans denounce as "the mommy party") and contrast it with the Republican model, which Lakoff calls "the strict father model" and I call "the abusive, asshole husband model".  in other words, we see government's greatest function as "taking care of the people, expecting the best from them, and giving them the means to get there".  The Republicans see government's greatest function as "seeking out no-good-shits and dumping on them".

Yes, making the American Dream available to everybody, not just the privileged few, should be the backbone of any Democrat's message.

by admiralnaismith 2006-04-21 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Thus my current favorite,

"A Better Life For All"

which was stolen from the Labour Party in the UK.

It doesn't work well as a shouting slogan, but I think it works well as a written banner slogan. It's less militant than "Solidarity" which someone else mentioned which I also like.

by adamterando 2006-04-21 10:28AM | 0 recs
Ten words - too many or too few!

I think Chris was onto something when he started with four words - and then added six because we are supposed to have ten words.

If what we're after is unconnected phrases, two phrases of two words each is fine. (Like the GOP smaller government, lower taxes. (Scansion/prosody is important, too.))

If we're putting more stuff in, I think it has to be structured as a sentence.

Take a squint at this list of ad slogans: so far as I can see, none are in the form of the proposed 'ten words' (ie, five unconnected phrases of two words each).

Takeaway: it's fun trying stuff out. But, when it's for real, devising words that work as a slogan for the Dems is better left to advertising copywriter pros.

by skeptic06 2006-04-21 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Real Security, Honest Government, Individual Rights and the Common Good.

by js noble 2006-04-21 10:12AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

I think our ten words should actually be seven:

"Economic security and prosperity for all Americans."

That's what it's all about, isn't it?  What distinguishes us from Republicans is that we believe that we're all in this together and we don't succeed as a society if all of us aren't economically secure and prosperous.  All of the Democratic Party's interest groups and themes fit into those seven words.  How can you be economically secure and prosperous if you have to worry about losing your health insurance?  How can you be secure and prosperous if you don't have a job that pays well?  How can you be secure and prosperous if you're discriminated against?  How can you be secure and prosperous if you can't determine when and how many children to have?  How can you be secure and prosperous if you get sick from environmental contamination?  The list goes on and on.

Even better, these seven words remind voters who is on their side.  It also reminds the interest groups why they exist, and keeps our focus on the economic well-being of all of our fellow citizens.

by econlibVA 2006-04-21 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

My point exactly. Your 7 words sound a lot like my 5 words.

by adamterando 2006-04-21 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

How about "New Gilded Age?" As in, "Thanks to the Bush tax cuts, we now live in a New Gilded Age where the wealthy are fleecing the poor, wages are stagnant, and more and more people are falling into debt each day."

It's not the unified field theory of elevator speeches (of which I question the value), but it's something we should be saying a heck of a lot more often.

by Jeff 2006-04-21 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

You might want to start by considering 10 words that would describe ideal interactions between people, and them expanding them to describe America's relationship with it's citizens, and then relationship with the rest of the world.

respect
cooperation
regard
intelligence
humor
attentiveness
compromise
inclusion
dignity
humility.

by vachon 2006-04-21 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Accountability and transparency in government, freedom and opportunity for all.

by Benstrader 2006-04-21 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

I like this. I would change it slightly:

Government accountability. Environmental responsibility. Freedom and opportunity for all.

by gwerak 2006-04-21 03:11PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Fear is for Republicans!

Together the people make America strong.

by liberal elite 2006-04-21 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

"Practical government" and "better future" could be used by Reppublicans as well as Democrats.

If you want 10 words a phrase or a sentence makes more sense. PlantingLiberalism's sentence seems good to me.

On my blog I use this expression:

"The New Liberalism: Cooperation, Community and Concord"

by PaulSiegel 2006-04-21 12:09PM | 0 recs
Being Cynical

I saw a Democratic strategist on Olbermann a couple of days ago state emphatically that the Democratic party will not develop a broad unifying theme for the Nov elections, nor will take a stance on the Iraq war.  I didnt note details, but if true, the party will seriously disappoint me.  I was hopeful when Murtha started talking about getting out.

With this in mind, here is a nice, politically safe ten word theme: "Like Republicans, we want to stay the course in Iraq."

by Winston Smith 2006-04-21 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Gonna cheat -- 11 words, all borrowed from my betters.

Promote general welfare
Establish justice
Ensure tranquility
Everybody in, nobody out.

The source of the last one is from various universal health care campaigns.

Assume folks recognize the first three.

by janinsanfran 2006-04-21 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

How about we cut the number of words in half?:

"Liberty and justice for all"

It's patriotic, and these words pretty much succintly sum up all of the progressive package.

by Joseph Reed 2006-04-21 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

A good choice if yer restricted to 10 which is what you chose to do in this exercise. Such exercises are good for thinking about what we want to say and how to say it.

Important stuff.

by Pericles 2006-04-21 01:34PM | 0 recs
If you have kids, vote Democratic

by msnook 2006-04-21 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Talk is cheap.  Walk the talk.  I'll believe it when the so-called progressive netroot blogs stop supporting homophobic militarists for office.  There are plenty of other candidates to support.  

Markos and Jerome can make all the claims they want about gay rights, but they haven't made the case.  And they won't, and none of us will believe it until this bull crap hypocrisy comes to an end.

by NorCalJim 2006-04-21 02:27PM | 0 recs
Our Fourteen Words

* smart growth

  • fair trade
  • common-sense security
  • government of, by, and for the people

Hat tip to Paul Rosenberg.

by tgeraghty 2006-04-21 02:35PM | 0 recs
The Five Values

Tolerance, Freedom, Democracy, Opportunity, Mobility,

(All with an implied "more" before each one).

(1) Tolerance. I prefer this word to the more common "Diversity" because the latter implies a program of active promotion of diversity (i.e., "forcing" people to interact with people they don't normally interact with), whereas "Tolerance" simply means that we encourage people to be open to diverse opinions and ways of living while not making them feel guilty for having the desire to just hang out with people more like themselves.

(2) Freedom. A rather broad value, but essentially the idea that, where it doesn't overwhelm the other four values, people should be encouraged in the expression of their individual Freedom. This is the more positive form of the "just leave me the f*ck alone" attitude.

(3) Democracy. Specifically, Liberal Democracy, which is founded on the idea that the people are the sovereign in our society and, as such, all governing philosophies should defer to the will of the people.

(4) Opportunity. The people's opportunity to fulfill their dreams and aspirations (again, within the limits of the other four values). Call this the "Pursuit of Happiness" value.

(5) Mobility. Related to Opportunity, but this deals more with increasing the opportunities people have to make their lives better. The opportunities people have to raise their status in life.

I could write pages and pages on these. Just consider this a rough outline for now.

by Chris Andersen 2006-04-21 03:02PM | 0 recs
Working Together for a Strong American Family n/t

by Vermonter 2006-04-21 03:30PM | 0 recs
Grrrrr

I find the ten word explorations interesting but unproductive. We all have our words and, damn it, we're not going to use anyone else's. Or so it seems.

My words are integrity, competency and common good. I've been using and saying them without a break for six months now and they are proving nearly perfect.

They're all yours.

by Anglico 2006-04-21 06:16PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

I'm with SIB36CORNELL, JANISINSANFRAN, JOSEPH REED, and perhaps others I missed:  Liberty and justice for all says it all.  Any list that doesn't include justice doesn't hit the high spots for me; I'm amazed at its absence in so many lists.  Justice means no Guantanamo, no ninguenados, no torture, no rendition, no repeal of habeas corpus, no jail for people here unlawfully while their employers go free.  It means that all presidents who lie are impeached, not just the Dems.  It also means a legal system that allows the little guy an equal shot at a fair deal, which the legal system we have now doesn't.

by Malcolm 2006-04-21 06:46PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

In 1994 the Republicans provided much more than a ten word elevator pitch. It helped them to retain the power they've wielded in American politics since the end of World War II. They went beyond dealing (a religious negotiation really) to offering a contract (a corporate mechanism used not only to propose but to enforce). It had bones with meat on them:

===

REPUBLICAN CONTRACT WITH AMERICA

....

On the first day of the 104th Congress, the new Republican majority will immediately pass the following major reforms, aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the American people in their government:

FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress;
SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs;
FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public;
SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.
Thereafter, within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress, we shall bring to the House Floor the following bills, each to be given full and open debate, each to be given a clear and fair vote and each to be immediately available this day for public inspection and scrutiny.

1. THE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: A balanced budget/tax limitation amendment and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out- of-control Congress, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses. (Bill Text) (Description)

2. THE TAKING BACK OUR STREETS ACT: An anti-crime package including stronger truth-in- sentencing, "good faith" exclusionary rule exemptions, effective death penalty provisions, and cuts in social spending from this summer's "crime" bill to fund prison construction and additional law enforcement to keep people secure in their neighborhoods and kids safe in their schools. (Bill Text) (Description)

3. THE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: Discourage illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to minor mothers and denying increased AFDC for additional children while on welfare, cut spending for welfare programs, and enact a tough two-years-and-out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility. (Bill Text) (Description)

4. THE FAMILY REINFORCEMENT ACT: Child support enforcement, tax incentives for adoption, strengthening rights of parents in their children's education, stronger child pornography laws, and an elderly dependent care tax credit to reinforce the central role of families in American society. (Bill Text) (Description)

5. THE AMERICAN DREAM RESTORATION ACT: A S500 per child tax credit, begin repeal of the marriage tax penalty, and creation of American Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle class tax relief. (Bill Text) (Description)

6. THE NATIONAL SECURITY RESTORATION ACT: No U.S. troops under U.N. command and restoration of the essential parts of our national security funding to strengthen our national defense and maintain our credibility around the world. (Bill Text) (Description)

7. THE SENIOR CITIZENS FAIRNESS ACT: Raise the Social Security earnings limit which currently forces seniors out of the work force, repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security benefits and provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let Older Americans keep more of what they have earned over the years. (Bill Text) (Description)

8. THE JOB CREATION AND WAGE ENHANCEMENT ACT: Small business incentives, capital gains cut and indexation, neutral cost recovery, risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis, strengthening the Regulatory Flexibility Act and unfunded mandate reform to create jobs and raise worker wages. (Bill Text) (Description)

9. THE COMMON SENSE LEGAL REFORM ACT: "Loser pays" laws, reasonable limits on punitive damages and reform of product liability laws to stem the endless tide of litigation. (Bill Text) (Description)

10. THE CITIZEN LEGISLATURE ACT: A first-ever vote on term limits to replace career politicians with citizen legislators. (Description)

Further, we will instruct the House Budget Committee to report to the floor and we will work to enact additional budget savings, beyond the budget cuts specifically included in the legislation described above, to ensure that the Federal budget deficit will be less than it would have been without the enactment of these bills.

Respecting the judgment of our fellow citizens as we seek their mandate for reform, we hereby pledge our names to this Contract with America.

===

The Republicans of course have delivered on precisely none-of-the-above. But, America believes they did. At this late date, Democrats need more than a ten word elevator pitch to compete.

by nbrenard 2006-04-21 07:08PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

My suggestion:

We're all in this together.

by Ed Fitzgerald 2006-04-21 09:14PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Can I steal from elsewhere, and amend that to:

Fairness, progress and prosperity, because we're all in this together.

by Ed Fitzgerald 2006-04-21 09:19PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

The Democrat Party:

Principled, competent leadership from people who actually care about their children's future.

by forethought 2006-04-21 09:22PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Er, Democratic, and a slight correction:

Principled, competent leadership from people who actually care about our children's future.

by forethought 2006-04-21 09:24PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Meta: I don't think this elevator pitch laundry-list of what we stand for needs to be a "timeless" list of values, it is being done for political use the next one or two election cycles, and I'm sure we'll be doing this again in two years.  Also, this list is not to be the end-all of our message, just useful in certain situations (like when someone critically asks you, "what do you stand for?")

My thoughts, rating phrases from 1-10:

* Broad prosperity - 10 - drives home the difference between parties

* practical government - 5 - both sides say this.  I think saying something about integrity makes sense, the culture of corruption around Bush is going to last in people's memories for several years.  Perhaps "integrity in government"?  I don't like that much, either.

* free expression - 4 - I like "Individual Freedom" better, which includes democrat's pro-choice stance (which free expression does not seem to do)

* common good - 7 - timeless oldie but goodie

* better future - 2 - I think everyone says they want this, no differentiation there (even though we mean it, and they're referring to their post-rapture lives, we can't both be using the same words.)

As a replacement for "better future", how about "real security"?  It dovetails nicely with the democrats recent branding of the phrase.

by aip 2006-04-21 10:03PM | 0 recs
They asked me what I thought of the atomic bomb...

(Gertrude Stein 1946)

....I said I had not been able to take any interest in it.

I like to read detective and mystery stories. I never get enough of them but whenever one of them is or was about death rays and atomic bombs I never could read them. What is the use, if they are really as destructive as all that there is nothing left and if there is nothing there nobody to be interested and nothing to be interested about. If they are not as destructive as all that then they are just a little more or less destructive than other things and that means that in spite of all destruction there are always lots left on this earth to be interested or to be willing and the thing that destroys is just one of the things that concerns the people inventing it or the people starting it off, but really nobody else can do anything about it so you have to just live along like always, so you see the atomic [bomb] is not at all interesting, not any more interesting than any other machine, and machines are only interesting in being invented or in what they do, so why be interested. I never could take any interest in the atomic bomb, I just couldn't any more than in everybody's secret weapon. That it has to be secret makes it dull and meaningless. Sure it will destroy a lot and kill a lot, but it's the living that are interesting not the way of killing them, because if there were not a lot left living how could there be any interest in destruction. Alright, that is the way I feel about it. They think they are interested about the atomic bomb but they really are not not any more than I am. Really not. They may be a little scared, I am not so scared, there is so much to be scared of so what is the use of bothering to be scared, and if you are not scared the atomic bomb is not interesting. Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. They listen so much that they forget to be natural. This is a nice story.


by nbrenard 2006-04-21 11:09PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

I appreciate all this site has done, but these 10 words do not have any emotional juice and are too generic.  Compare to smaller government, less taxes, strong military, personal responsibility, and moral values.

The number one thing that Democrats should be known for is "growing the middle class".  This is what unites the party by uplifting the poor and stopping people from sliding into poverty.

Other suggestions:
fiscal responsibility,
improved health care and education,
homeland security (domestically and foreign policy),
environmental protection, and
individual freedoms.

by edonyoung 2006-04-22 02:36AM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

how about

"PERSONAL PRIVACY" ??

by jfrankesq 2006-04-22 06:04AM | 0 recs
Who needs ten?--Five are enough

A Better Future for All.

by msrpotus 2006-04-22 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

Just a thought: what's wanted is something more than a mere slogan, which can feel too much like an avertising tagline, and less than a laundry list (even an abbreviated one) of policies.

by Ed Fitzgerald 2006-04-22 10:59PM | 0 recs
Re: More on Our Ten Words

That's got a nice rhythm, but how about a few more concepts that people can relate to:

We're Working for Everyone:  A Program for Progress and Prosperity

Plus, it's got ten words.  And I think I get 4 points on the W's and 3 on the P's.

by tonyctvt 2006-04-23 02:27PM | 0 recs

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