Liberal Netroots Policy Platform
In response to the repeated lament of Kevin Drum that the lefty blogosphere is more anti-Bush an advocate for an alternative policy platfrom, Duncan “Atrios” Black offers a list that he believes most liberal bloggers and blog readers would agree on.
Leaving aside obvious jokes, let’s take a look at them in terms of their likely appeal to the American voter.
Undo the bankruptcy bill enacted by this administration
An odd one to lead with, since it is currently generating zero buzz. Otherwise, way too early to say how this one would play out. Most Americans simultaneously hate the idea of people getting away with irresponsible spending and hate the credit card companies.
Repeal the estate tax repeal
Bush campaigned on this one pretty heavily to wide acclaim. The fact that small businesses and farms were included in the old system was decisive.
Increase the minimum wage and index it to the CPI
Theoretically appealing but not really. The fact of the matter is that swing voters are making substantially more than the minimum wage and have at least a vague understanding of simple economics.
Universal health care (obviously the devil is in the details on this one)
If sold properly, this could be the key to a Democratic realignment. More likely, though, both sides will agree on this within a decade. With companies like Wal-Mart and General Motors arguing that they can’t compete while simultaneously funding health care and pensions, people will start listening soon.
Increase CAFE standards. Some other environment-related regulation
At the level of vague generality, this is a winner. As with health care, though, the devil is in the details. Once told that higher fuel standards means a trade-off in safety and/or comfort and/or performance, people get less excited. Ditto cleaner air vice jobs. Further, the great environmental battles have already been fought and won.
Pro-reproductive rights, getting rid of abstinence-only education, improving education about and access to contraception including the morning after pill, and supporting choice. On the last one there’s probably some disagreement around the edges (parental notification, for example), but otherwise.
This is a complicated set of issues that Republicans have generally been winning politically and losing practically since Roe. I can’t imagine a groundswell for federalizing sex education. Abstinence-only is the preferred curriculum at the local school board level in most of the country.
Simplify and increase the progressivity of the tax code
Kill faith-based funding. Certainly kill federal funding of anything that engages in religious discrimination.
Most Americans are religious and think organizations like the Salvation Army and the Boy Scouts are among our finest institutions. This is a loser.
Reduce corporate giveaways
A big winner in the abstract. The problem is that corporate subsidies also indirectly subsidize the employees.
Have Medicare run the Medicare drug plan
I’m not really up on this debate. As a general rule, though, people like states in charge.
Force companies to stop underfunding their pensions. Change corporate bankruptcy law to put workers and retirees at the head of the line with respect to their pensions.
This is a 1950s issue. Corporate pensions have been giving away to IRAs, 401(k)s, and other private investment vehicles for a generation. They’re not coming back because few people spend their careers in one industry, let alone one company.
Leave the states alone on issues like medical marijuana. Generally move towards “more decriminalization” of drugs, though the details complicated there too.
I’m in agreement on this one but that’s not where the country is.
My preference as well, although hardly an issue likely to generate a groundswell. Plus, the 2000 Florida fiasco showed that paper is not infallible.
Improve access to daycare and other pro-family policies. Obiously details matter.
Yes, they do.
Raise the cap on wages covered by FICA taxes.
Force us to put more money into a failing system that none of us have confidence in?
Marriage rights for all, which includes “gay marriage” and quicker transition to citizenship for the foreign spouses of citizens.
State legislatures are falling all over themselves putting anti-gay marriage referenda up for vote, even amending state constitutions to that end. They’re passing every time out. Not sure there’s a big problem with married non-citizens getting processed; surely, there’s not a groundswell on this issue.
Update: Interestingly, Drum saw the Atrios list, dismissed preciously the same non-serious proposals as I did, and finds it quite mainstream: “[I]f there’s any radicalism here, or even a tendency to drift in that direction, I sure don’t see it.”
While much of this is meanstream Democratic policy circa 1968, I’m not sure it’s in touch with the current party’s center, much less the former Yellow Dogs. And gay marriage and drug legalization are still radical ideas, methinks, to most voters.
Update: Dan Drezner takes his turn at the list and discovers that, his opposition to the Bush administration notwithstanding, he is not a liberal.