Should the Democrats’ prevail in next month’s elections and capture a majority in one or both Houses of Congress, you can be sure the MSM will tout this as a victory of liberalism and a defeat of conservatism. Either verdict would be disingenuous, given that, outside of certain urban areas, the Democrats are hardly putting forward a liberal platform and that the GOP has all but abandoned the conservative ideas which helped them regain the congressional majority in 1994.
I read two pieces today which show how this is clearly not 1994 for the Democrats. For unlike the GOP that year, they aren’t running on much of a platform. As writers Margaret Talev and Kevin hall observe (via Lorie Byrd at Wizbang):
When Republicans took over the House of Representatives in 1994, ending four decades of Democratic dominance there, they followed marching orders they’d laid out in their Contract with America.
But if Democrats pull off the biggest shakeup of Congress since then by regaining control of the House and Senate in the Nov. 7 election, they will have no comparable document to guide them and thus may have a smaller claim to a mandate from the voters.
The 1994 Contract with America included draft legislation for budget, tax, military and social policies. It was a roadmap for what the new majority would do starting Day One through their first 100 days.
The Democrats’ version this year – “A New Direction for America/Six for `06” – is one page long. It lists six fairly general goals – and raises as many questions as answers.
The Democrats don’t have such a roadmap as comprehensive — and specific — as 1994 Contract with America, at least not one they’re making public. As the Wall Street Journal put it today: “What Democrats are campaigning on this year is a Non-Contract with America–mostly generalities about ‘helping the middle class’ and ‘ending the corruption in Washington.’”
While they’re campaigning on banalities and bromides, the Democrats are keeping their real agenda hidden from voters. For, if they make that public, they’d make it clear to voters that they haven’t changed since the American people voted them out of power in 1994. As the Journal puts it: “A Democratic triumph would produce a major shift in the national policy debate, and we can understand why Ms. Pelosi isn’t plastering most of this agenda on billboards around the country.”
To see the type of agenda we’d expect from a Democratic Congress, read the Journal’s piece. And you’ll understand why the Democrats have been keeping their focus on the GOP — and neglecting to campaign on their own agenda.
Clearly today’s Democrats are not the party of new ideas and the new direction in which they would like to take us is not much different from that in which Left has been trying to take us for the past forty-odd years.