Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Ivins platform

A liberal friend said I must read Molly Ivins' latest column in which she argues that the Democratic Party leadership must take firm stands:
Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone.
She argues that the center of the country is further left than Hillary Clinton and the Democrats realize, and that the leadership should, essentially, lead the country by following public opinion polls. Or, presumably to do so as long as those polls are pointing left.

What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

It would seem Ms. Ivins wants major parts of the Democratic platform to be, in roughly the order listed above:
  • To get out of Iraq, regardless of progress towards victory;
  • To implement Candian-style healthcare along with associated taxes;
  • To raise the minimum wage, regardless of the likelihood of reducing US jobs;
  • To raise taxes;
  • To maintain or increase domestic spending while cutting defense spending or raising taxes more;
  • To do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment, regardless of economic consequences; and
  • To raise taxes some more.
If the Democratic leadership adopts Ms Ivins' presumed positions--and I do not mean to suggest that they will--I can foresee a few plausible scenarios.

Most likely would be that the Republicans hold the presidency and Congress, since I suspect Ms. Ivins sense of the "center" may not be entirely accurate.

If however the Democrats do adopt Ms. Ivins' positions and somehow manage to win the presidency and Congress and pass the Ivins Platform into law, the outlook would be far from brilliant:
  1. An emboldened al Qaeda and an uncontrolled Iraq;
  2. Fewer jobs for Americans, especially those Americans working in low-wage jobs;
  3. Decreased competitiveness of US companies--leading to company closures and yet fewer jobs;
  4. Longer lines and less innovation in healthcare;
  5. A shrinking economy; and
  6. A greener environment.