So folks are talking about the 2006 election, how can liberals/progressives/Democrats win? Mention has been made of an alternative Contract with America that would highlight the differences between the Republican vision and the Democratic vision.
The positives of such a move are many: it shows the Left as having a positive vision (instead of just putting down conservative ideas); it shows what that vision is in clear and simple terms; and it shows that the Left is working to make that vision a reality.
Here' s a proposal, not that it's perfect. I'm sure I've missed important constituencies and policies, and this is a list of mostly generalities (concrete proposals would need to be promoted as well), but I think the following is useful and that something like it is not only useful but necessary for Democratic success at the polls and in the government.
1. The Working Family Income Act - raise the minimum wage, increase employment benefits and worker protections, stimulate domestic job growth
2. The Fiscal Responsibility Act - promise and implement balanced budgets, pay down the national debt, make earmarks proportionate to a state's proportionate contribution to the national budget
3. The Energy Independence Act - increase research into and adoption of alternative energy forms
4. The Healthy America Act - fund stem cell research and more medical research generally, adopt a good prescription drugs plan, increase access to healthcare
5. The Career Opportunity for All Act - ensure access to affordable student loans, increase science research, rework education from a k-12 model to a k-graduate degree model, ensure the teaching of evolution and other commonly accepted scientific theories, increase funding for community colleges and particularly their ability to serve as career enhancement centers for those who need more education to meet the needs of a changing economy
6. The Accountable Government Act - institute lobbying reform, ensure open & honest government, and governmental integrity
7. The National Security Act - refocus our national security strategy from iraq to our nation's borders, increase port security, work with allied nations in a meaningful manner to counter terrorism and protect America
8. The Family Restoration Act - raise the thresholds for application of the alternative minimum tax and estate tax, enact other family-friendly and entreprenurial tax reforms, ensure access to family planning methods and abortion, fund fetal, infant and child care, ensure equal treatment of minorities across the spectrum
9. The Livable Communities Act - incentivize land use planning, fund more public transportation, promote environmental restoration
10. The Small Business Enhancement Act - reform corporate governance to ensure accountability to shareholders and reduce CEO corruption and misincentives, help small businesss with red tape, reform corporate taxation