The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Dan Carol highlights the lights at the end of this tunnel

Catch this great post from Dan Carol at the Huffington Post:

The Blog | Dan Carol: Eureka -- It's A Message! | The Huffington Post

I have written for some time that the search for one single, intelligent and coherent message from this thing people used to call "The Democratic Party" is an exercise in futility. But hey, I'm not above admitting when I am wrong.

Check out the new report from the folks over at The Democracy Corps which serves up a mighty simple roadmap for Democratic message. Here's the relevant portions which suggest four ways to go and a poo-poo for any notion of a blame game, backward-looking Katrina Commission. From a list of more than a dozen proposals from across the political spectrum for moving forward after Katrina, four specific ideas emerged and together form a compelling argument for Democratic leadership:

1. Designate a strong leader with unquestioned integrity to oversee the rebuilding process and the huge sums of taxpayer money going to it. It is most important that this individual have a proven record of efficient, effective management experience and a proven independence from the corporate ties of the Bush administration.

2. Reduce funding and troop levels in Iraq so we can focus more resources on defending and rebuilding our own country. As highlighted earlier, Katrina has fundamentally altered the debate on Iraq and created more support than ever before for this message. But the message framework for this is not about failure in Iraq, it is about taking care of your own home first. There is a growing belief that we are rotting from the inside, ignoring the growing number of poor, homeless, and uninsured in our country while trying to save the rest of the world, and images of people standing on rooftops or bodies floating in flood waters only reinforce this. Given the huge price tag for post-Katrina rebuilding and recovery, everyone but the Republican leadership recognize that hard choices will need to be made, and this is where Americans believe a large share of the funds should come from.

3. Equip first responders across the country with compatible equipment that operates on the same wavelength and allows them to communicate with one another in emergency situations. This relatively modest step is symbolic of the inexcusable failure to make needed changes after 9/11 and;
4. An Apollo project-level commitment to using American know-how to develop and produce alternative energy sources to achieve energy independence within ten years. The panic over gas prices, which we expect will only grow stronger as the weather turns colder, has clearly increased already-strong support on this issue. This is the kind of bold step that Democrats must take if they want to really separate themselves. This issue is very difficult for Republicans, who must either sign on or very publicly carry water for their very unpopular special interests allies.

One last possibility that we must address is the Democratic proposal for an independent commission based on the 9/11 Commission. Voters are not interested in anymore fingerpointing, but they definitively do want to know why government at all levels failed and what we must do to ensure this type of failure never happens again. Broad support for this type of commission is tempered by concern that there was not sufficient oversight and follow through to make sure the changes recommended by the 9/11 Commission were carried out. Americans need reassurance that any investigation include measures for oversight and accountability that will ensure needed changes are indeed made. After all, it is now four years later, and first responders in New York still cannot even communicate with one another in case of another emergency.

Read the full report here.


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