Goals for the Democrats in the 2006 elections

A group of  5 major Democratic donors spent 45 minutes at breakfast on 3/9/06 coming up with this set of goal ideas for the party. 

If Democrats want to control Congress in 2006, we believe that they must develop a simple agenda of no more than a dozen or so specific visionary goals. These goals must be expressible in easy to grasp sound bites such as "Achieve energy independence by 2016." Like the "Contract with America," this agenda should be signed off by every Democrat at least a month before the election.

The party should pick 2 or 3 "signature goals" that are talked about all the time by Democrats. These goals should not be chosen to get the most votes, but because they are the most important goals for the country.

In our view, the top 3 areas are:

  • Iraq: tell us how and when we're getting out
  • Global warming: if the goal isn't "world-wide reduction of CO2 by 50% by 2016," then what's the goal that will stabilize the climate? we need credible plan for avoiding disaster, not just that we're going to invest in R&D. What mandates or big investments or incentives or policy changes are we going to put in place now? Do our leading scientists validate that this plan will achieve the goal.
  • Energy: tell us how we are going to break the oil addiction. Using political will, Brazil did it in just 3 years. We have equivalent resources to emulate that success if the proper government policies are in place. Are we going to emulate Brazil? If not, then what's our better plan?

Signature goals such as these motivate people to get involved and donate dollars and time in raising money because it is for a cause that people are passionate about and is critical that we achieve.

The Democratic Party's Six-point plan for 2006 is a start, but why is it a plan for 2006? We have problems that will take several years to solve. For example, how are we weaning ourselves off of oil? It talks about higher CAFE standards. Brazil achieved energy independence because they had a real clear measurable GOAL had a real STRATEGY for achieving the goal. They completely changed what they were doing. We need real measurable aggressive goals and real plans that will achieve the goals. It's as simple as that.

However, the Democrats "The innovation agenda" is much better. There is a measurable goal for energy (energy independence in 10 years) and flex fuel, plug-in hybrids and cellulosic ethanol are specifically mentioned. That is good. Translate that into legislation with teeth and you have a winner.

In fact, wouldn't it be great if the Democrats ran TV ads saying the Democratic party thinks the country is heading in the wrong direction and that the Democrats are committed to changing this. For example, these 5 bills have been rejected by Republicans. The Democrats need your vote to make these bills a reality: Elect us and we will end the Republican corruption that has led to higher energy prices, more costly prescription drugs, an increased peril for our troops in Iraq.

  • Iraq: We'd withdraw from Iraq and use some of the money we save to fund security for Americans instead of funding security for Iraqis
  • Global warming: Our goal is a 50% reduction in CO2 within 10 years. Not only do we have to implement well understood solutions at home, but we must provide global incentives for other countries to reduce their emissions.
  • Energy: We'd implement the successful policies of Brazil in America to totally eliminate our dependence on foreign oil within 5 years.
  • Health care: We'd implement the successful policies of ______ which has lead to a high level of healthcare for all citizens at a reasonable cost.
  • Education: Instead of business as usual, we want to adopt worldwide best practices. We'd adopt the highly successful policies of ______ which has the best educated children in the world.

Here are a few ideas of what the set of 12 visionary goals might contain:

National security

  1. Get us out of Iraq starting with withdrawls in 2006. The longer we stay in Iraq, the more we fuel terrorism.
  2. 80% troop reduction in Iraq in 2007
  3. Invest more money in homeland security inside the US than we are spending abroad (e.g., in Iraq)
  4. Implement real immigration reform, not stop-gap measures (like Frist's approach). [Note: the Senate seems to be doing this now]
  5. Implement all the recommendations of the 9-11 committee
  6. Our foreign policy should be revamped so that we start making more friends than enemies.


  1. Achieve energy independence within 10 years, e.g., adopt the recommendations of Amory Lovins or someone else who has credibility and knows how to get there.
  2. Cheaper energy (both to fuel our cars and power our homes),  e.g., adopt the recommendations of Amory Lovins or someone else who has credibility and knows how to get there.
  3. Increase funding for energy research, e.g., top universities complain that the funding for energy research hasn't increased at all.


  1. Bring US education up to foreign standards (i.e., achieve educational "parity" with foreign schools) within 10 years

Accountability and financial responsibility

  1. Fiscal responsibility by not spending more than we earn. Require a supermajority for new spending or tax cuts proposed without offsetting savings.
  2. Hold the President accountable if he breaks the law, even if he is in your own party
  3. Zero tolerance for ethical violations
  4. Reduce our debt every year
  5. End corruption in Washington by taking the money out of politics: public financing of elections (e.g., in Maine, 90% of the candidates have opted for public financing and there are currently bills in the House and Senate to do this: HR 4694, HR 2753, HR 3099, and a Durbin-Dodd bill in the Senate.
  6. Update our voting system to be at least as good as India
  7. Allow our scientists to speak the truth without editing from the White House (e.g., global warming where Clinton asked them to overstate the problem and Bush forced them to understate the problem)


  1. Reduce worldwide CO2 emissions by 50% within 10 years (stabilize then reverse). Merely getting a 25% reduction in US contribution by 2020 (e.g. something along the lines of AB 32 bill in California), is not enough. We are at a very serious "tipping point" and we need to take drastic action now because the longer we wait to take action, the more expensive the solution becomes. Surprisingly, one low-tech but highly effective solution we can do right now is planting billions of dollars worth of trees. Some scientists believe that in order for our Earth’s climate to stabilize we would need to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by at least 70% by 2050.
  2. End all subsidizes for non-renewable energy sources that contribute to global warming. We can't continue to talk out of both sides of our mouth. For example, the government offers $25,000 tax credit for heavy gas guzzling SUV, but only modest tax credits for more fuel efficient hybrids.
  3. Cleaner air and water


  1. Provide for universal healthcare coverage; at a minimum, all children under 18 should be insured
  2. Secure the future viability of Social Security and Medicare
  3. Protect the ability for our scientists to do research to save lives (such as encouraging stem cell research rather than banning it)


  1. Invest more money in American infrastructure rebuilding (such as our schools, power grid, and roads) than in Iraqi infrastructure rebuilding
  2. Create 2 million new jobs in America over the next 5 years

Civil rights

  1. Protect our basic civil liberties including a woman's right to choose

And the 2 key party goals are:

  • Unify the party around these goals
  • Enforce party discipline

People to talk to about this who could make a difference:

  • Rahm Emmanuel
  • George Miller
  • Jan Schakowsky
  • Dick Durbin
  • Charles Schumer
  • Russ Feingold

Too many Democrats aren't willing to challenge the status-quo in Washington in order to be in the majority.  When faced with a choice of supporting Reid's ethics bill or keeping the junkets, they chose the latter. Why aren't Members all rallying behind Murtha on Iraq? Behind Feingold on censure of Bush (half of Americans support this including a third of Republicans)? This is  unacceptable.

Here's some refreshing talk from someone running for Senate: Ned Lamont for Senate


Republicans as a group have done an abysmal job managing on the "war on terrorism." We're projected to spend over a trillion dollars in Iraq and terrorism in Iraq has gone from virtually non-existent to the worst in the world. Isn't it time for a change?

Most Republicans believe in the opposite agenda, e.g.,,

  • Stay the course in Iraq. Invest $200 billion a year for the foreseeable future. Democracy in Iraq is more important than any policy at home which is why we are spending more in Iraq than any domestic program.
  • Cut spending on education
  • Remove all environmental controls
  • Gut the endangered species acts
  • Eliminate a women’s right to choose
  • Limit government funding of embryonic stem cell research
  • Ban therapeutic cloning, which has the potential to save lives
  • Cut taxes and increase our debt. Even when running huge deficits, cut taxes! Future generations will have to pay down the debt, not us. Worry about paying it later.
  • Cut health benefits
  • Allow industry to exploit our resources; allow oil drilling in ANWR, offshore drilling for oil, allow lumber companies to cut down our forests
  • If the President is a Republican, he should not be held accountable if he breaks laws.
  • If a few countries won't help reduce global warming, we should refuse to cooperate as well, even if the rest of the civilized world is participating
  • Look for weapons of mass destruction in other countries so we can repeat the Iraq "success"

See also A bold new vision for America