Freedom, Fairness, Security, Competence

Many progressives have had concerns that the recently unveiled Democratic agenda for 2006, the New Direction for America, lacks a strong narrative that can resonate with the electorate and motivate them to support Democratic candidates in the Fall. This reflects the bigger issue that Progressives have yet to find a distillation of their core beliefs that can be clearly and succinctly expressed as an answer to the question, "What Do Progressives Stand For?". Something similar to the "Smaller Government, Lower Taxes, Individual Empowerment" narrative that the Republicans have touted successfully (if somewhat disingenuously) for almost three decades.

I heard Rachel Maddowtalking about ideas she had for rewriting the New Direction and I woke up with Freedom, Fairness, Security, Competence ringing in my head. I include policy examples (many derived from the New Direction) that make clear distinctions with Current Direction. I'm putting this out there to continue what will, hopefully, be an ongoing dialogue that leads us to something we can use to take back our country for its people.

Freedom: Freedom is one of the core values that has made America great. Progressives stand for...

  • Freedom to advance in life with an affordable college education by making college tuition deductible from taxes, expanding Pell grants and slashing student loan costs
  • Freedom to have a dignified retirement by preventing the privatization of Social Security, expanding savings incentives, ensuring pension fairness and fixing a prescription drug program to put the needs of people ahead of the profit targets of drug companies and HMOs
  • Freedom from steeper energy price increases by cracking down on price gouging, eliminating subsidies for oil and gas companies and using the savings to develop renewable domestic energy alternatives
  • Freedom from unlivable wages and unnecessary job insecurity by raising the minimum wage, repealing tax giveaways that encourage companies to move jobs overseas and promoting fair labor relations
  • Freedom for scientists to pursue potential life-saving and life-enhancing advances from stem-cell research
  • Freedom from dependence on employers for health care through the adoption of a single-payer health care system
  • Freedom from Internet censorship by enshrining reasonable levels of Internet neutrality in legislation
  • Freedom from premature death in dangerous occupations by fully enforcing existing laws in businesses like mining and agriculture.
  • Freedom from federal intrusion in difficult end-of-life decisions
  • Freedom from medical policy decisions dictated by a single faith tradition

Fairness: Freedom can only be defended by a government that is Fair...

  • Fair budgets that return to the discipline of the 1990s, promote economic growth and do not burden future generations with debt to pay for our current needs
  • Fair tax policy that favors people who work hard and play by the rules, rather than a wealthy, well-connected elite who seek to accrue or maintain massive multi-generational fortunes
  • Fair trade policy that ensures American standards of living are supported, not undercut by foreign employers who exploit their workers with subsistence wages
  • Fair system of free enterprise ensured by a reasonable set of public policies
  • Fair campaigns that are publicly-funded and where all qualified candidates have the chance to compete, not just candidates who have large personal fortunes or the connections to raise huge sums of money
  • Fair elections where every eligible voter can vote and every vote is counted accurately

Security: Freedom and Fairness are only possible in a neighborhoods, cities and countries that have Security...

  • Security at seaports, airports and cities through investment that is directed at points of vulnerability, not doled out as pork to curry political favor
  • Security at borders where immigration laws are enforced and employers who motivate the flow of undocumented workers are penalized
  • Security in Iraq by internationalizing the occupation force, reducing our presence as a source of instability, and making a clear commitment that we will not be a permanent occupying power
  • Security in times of natural disaster by bringing our National Guard home from Iraq
  • Security in the military by making purchasing decisions based on legitimate military needs rather than on cronyism
  • Security from jihadists by reducing our energy dependence on despotic regimes who provide funding or motivation for fundamentalists striving to commit violent acts against Americans at home and abroad
  • Security in streets and neighborhoods through investment in community policing programs and educational programs that give young people an viable alternative to a life of crime

Competence: Freedom, Fairness and Security can only be defended by a government that is run by...

  • Competent legislators who independently represent the wishes and interests of their constituents and do not simply rubber-stamp legislation submitted by the executive branch or written by corporate lobbyists
  • Competent administrators with experience in the areas they are administering, not political operatives with limited experience who are installed through political patronage simply to execute radical pre-defined objectives or promote specific financial interests
  • Competent judges that are respected, experienced jurists who hold moderate views and respect the constitution and the advances of the 20th Century
  • Competent diplomats who treat other countries with respect, not bullies who see American power as the only concern in foreign relations
  • Competent civilian defense leaders that adhere to established international conventions rather than leaders who promote torture and indefinite detention and subject our soldiers to an elevated risk of suffering when captured or kidnapped
  • Competent, experienced military planners who design and execute plans based on achievable military objectives consistent with American values and not dictated by purely political motivations or delusions of American exceptionalism

Tags: 2006 elections, Democrats, Ideology, policy, Slogans (all tags)

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