In fairness, and because I need to be informed, I finished reading the Democratic Platform. First off it was hard to recognize. On the website, it is listed as a platform, but reads as a political ad and attack, with Romney and Ryan specifically mentioned numerous times, starting in the preamble. It also spends a significant amount of ink and white space on justifying much of what Obama did (or didn’t do)in the last four years.
It’s light on details of what will change, which is what I expected and had hoped I would be wrong. Justification for what didn’t happen in the last four years, and supporting language of what would be different and what would happen in the next four years might be expected, from the party putting forward a candidate that stated unequivocally “if I can’t get this done in three years, it will be a one term presidency.” However, they don’t go so far as to say what will change specifically. So we are left to question, If he didn’t know how difficult it would be when he started, if the judgement was flawed, then what is to lead us to believe his judgement has improved. The party falls on their own sword with this defense, unfortunately and they miss the opportunity to clarify or amend this flaw.
I was also surprised how divisive it is, compared to the Republican Platform. No, really, I was surprised. The tone of the platform is little, disenfranchised people fighting…who else…business. But again, beyond the rhetoric of phrases like this “For too long, we’ve had a financial system that stacked the deck against ordinary Americans.” (Words without substance to support that claim) there is little in detail on how the democratic platform will change the outcomes.
Then there are the flights of fancy, the breaks with reality, the delusions and attempts to re-write history…such as this doozy “Without strong enough regulations, families were enticed, and sometimes tricked, into buying homes they couldn’t afford.”, which is comical in that it indicts the very people writing this platform. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd were leading Fanny Mae, the govt entity charged with governmental homeownership regulations, mandates and progress. This tone and framework continues throughout the document. The formula seems to be thus: Grand, rhetorical and inflammatory mistrust statement, followed by why it is evil, followed by statement of justification on what Obama did, followed by scary futuristic claim of Republican demonic vision, followed by a Vote Obama he’ll protect you feel good utopian picture. Missing? Substance, details and outcomes.
It also masters the art of straw man arguments. It inserts as record of fact, fallacies born out of fear tactics developed by the party, stating throughout things like “We reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients.” The implication in these straw man arguments is that, these things we reject are all what Republicans want for you! Any blue bleeding democrat would love to believe this, were it true. But sadly it isn’t and so the platform wastes precious space and readers time swirling fantasy and horrorgasmic scenarios of brutal Republican regime, rather than putting forth and defending their intentions and tactics.
It holds a hard line on social issues, starting with abortion, addressed in the third section, just before foreign policy, which is given as a kind of after thought as the last section of the platform. Their line on abortion is unequivocal. Abortion at any time, for any purpose, for anyone, without any regulations. I may be pro choice, pray for pro life, but have a clear moral compass and line when it comes to late term abortions. I cannot allow anyone to birth a 37 week old child and stab it in the neck to kill it. The Democratic platform has no problem with that.
It’s not all shallow and depressing though. Under the section “21st Century Government”, they promise to continue to allow for transparency and accountability in government. They point to the website Data.gov as evidence of this transparency. The goal of Data.gov is to improve access to Federal data and expand creative use of those data beyond the walls of government by encouraging innovative ideas (e.g., web applications). Data.gov strives to make government more transparent and is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. The openness derived from Data.gov will strengthen our Nation’s democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government. Finally something I can agree with, getting the details out of government into the public and private sector to help lead innovative solutions.
The most revealing difference comes in the very beginning of the document. It highlights for me the platforms wide discrepancy vision of what government is intended to be and do, and what America’s future will be for our society. I give you below excerpts from the Democratic and the Republican preamble, and let you decide:
“We Democrats offer America the opportunity to move our country forward by creating an economy built to last and built from the middle out. Mitt Romney and the Republican Party have a drastically different vision. They still believe the best way to grow the economy is from the top down—the same approach that benefited the wealthy few but crashed the economy and crushed the middle class.”
“This platform affirms that America has always been a place of grand dreams and even grander realities; and so it will be again, if we return government to its proper role, making it smaller and smarter. If we restructure government’s most important domestic programs to avoid their fiscal collapse. If we keep taxation, litigation, and regulation to a minimum. If we celebrate success, entrepreneurship, and innovation. If we lift up the middle class. If we hand over to the next generation a legacy of growth and prosperity, rather than entitlements and indebtedness.”