Where are Democrats at now in time of need?

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 11, 2005

The Bush administration is certainly under fire right now. The poll numbers indicate that this presidency is in serious trouble in many areas.

Whether or not the executive branch rebounds during the remaining three years of its term is uncertain.

What is certain is that without a stronger political support base the administration will be unable to advance its second-term agenda.

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Which raises the question, where is an alternative agenda? Or, more directly, what is the plan for leading the nation advanced by the opposition party?

Perhaps the Democrats believe that this president is so wounded by self-inflicted damage that they need only to point and criticize. I think the poll numbers, which all indicate that the Democrats are not benefiting from the presidents falling numbers, suggest that this would be a foolish strategy.

The party needs an agenda that the public can identify with, one that clearly will identify the differences in the two parties. Additionally, the Democratic Party strategy must be able to be conveyed in simple, direct and easy to understand terms, not in the language of complexity used during the Kerry campaign.

So, as I have offered to help President Bush in the past, I offer now the same support to the Democratic Party.

Here is the plan you should consider:

1. Iraq. On the political side, dig deep until those who made claims they knew to be false are exposed. The public believes we went to war for false reasons, that they were lied to in the process.

Expose the lies. The Republican Party will never seek the truth here. On the pragmatic side, you must fight to stop any permanent base building in Iraq; these bases would make the U.S. long-term occupiers.

You must advocate the need to re-energize the reconstruction of the country; the current administration can't get the power on or the streets safe. You must advocate letting the Iraqi people benefit from the sale of the country's oil. Finally, you must insist that the Americans responsible for the terrible treatment of Iraqi prisoners, the generals and policy-makers, not the grunts, be charged and punished.

2. On foreign policy, fight for the creation of an international alliance to defeat terrorism, one that goes beyond borders and unifies all nations against those who would destroy civilization.

Advocate an international standard of workers' rights, leveling the playing field to allow American workers to fairly complete and foreign workers to fairly earn a living wage.

Demand international protection for copyrights and patents. Advocate the creation of a medical peace corps, to ensure the world shares in the health innovations that can help everywhere.

3. Domestic policy. This country needs a health care policy at the federal level for all Americans and an energy policy that moves us beyond oil. Champion these visions. Protect Social Security no matter what.

Insist that the regulatory powers of government be enforced; industry without responsibility gives us oil profits that hurt many Americans.

Fix the Patriot Act. Advocate an educational policy that moves towards free college educations for Americans.

Our place in the world economy can only be secured with education. Fix the tax code; this administration has made the rich richer and the poor poorer. Fight for the re-instatement of the Freedom of Information Act. This administration has operated with closed doors that violate public trust.

Finally, don't you think it's time to get mad as hell and not take it anymore?

For a U.S. administration to actually fight to maintain the right to torture is beyond the pale. Civility aside, enough is enough.

Show some passion and, for struggling Americans, some compassion. Good luck.

Dr. Jim Crawford is an administrator at Ohio University Southern. He can be reached at drjim893@msn.com.