New bullet points for America’s future

House Democrats yesterday announced their “New Partnership for America’s Future,” in the form of a ten-page document and a supporting web page, both of which lean heavily on the power of the bullet point to convey its message. The announcement comes on the ten-year anniversary of the rollout of the Republican “Contract with America” – and is presumably meant to contrast the Democrats’ vision with the actuality of the past ten years.

In actuality, it falls short – not on partisan lines, although Republicans would certainly say so – but on substance lines. The CWA was meaty, laden with specific proposals and actual bill text. The House Democrats, on the other hand, don’t seem to go very far beyond the bullet – and even some of those are pretty vague. A sampling:

· Expand home ownership and affordable housing opportunities

· Build stronger rural communities and sustain America’s rural economy

· Protect our borders

· Reduce dependence on foreign oil sources

Who isn’t in favor of these things happening, again? In defense of the NPFAF (even the acronym is lacking), there are some more specific bullet points contained within, including:

· Reform the tax code to reward companies for creating secure jobs in America, not for outsourcing jobs overseas

· Provide tax incentives to assist employers in offering affordable health insurance to all employees

· Protect the safety of our communities with strong law enforcement and community policing

Now, these are much more specific, but they’re Republican goals, too; some of them are even current bipartisan proposals. So where’s the liberal beef? How about:

· Support fair wages with good benefits so no one goes to work every day and comes home poor and dependent on public services

· Honor veterans and their families by keeping our commitments to those who have served and sacrificed for our country

· Eliminate racially and ethnically based health care disparities

· Assure a well paid, highly trained teacher in every classroom

· Protect God’s creations by preserving our great national parks, forests, fragile coastlines and wildlife

· Preserve our national commitment to the Constitutional rights of every American

There’s certainly some leaning-liberal proposals in the NPFAF, but these bullets underscore the reason why newspapers don’t offer headline-only subscriptions; people aren’t sure they’ve got what they’re paying for, and they need to know more. The House Democrats have created a well-vetted election-year outline for America’s future, but since they’re clearly looking for NPFAF to be a “ten years later” answer to the CWA, they might be coming up short.

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