Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Sunday, May 18, 2003  

Led mainly by newbie Bob Graham, the Democratic presidential candidates are trying to stake out some ground on the terrorism front. But what ground? Mainly criticism.

"We have let Al Qaeda off the hook," Mr. Graham said, as members of the municipal workers union here rose in applause. "We had them on the ropes close to dismantlement, and then we we moved resources out of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight the war in Iraq. We let them regenerate."

Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, called the war in Iraq a diversion that had not left the United States any safer. "We have a president who talks tough on homeland security but is strangling the city and the towns and not giving them the money that is necessary to protect them," Dr. Dean said.

Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri said, "We are vulnerable to future attacks because this administration has not done its job and has not increased our ability to have homeland security."

On the one hand, it's good someone's calling the President on his policies (as it seems the media won't). But really, without a serious plan, this is going to start to ring very hollow very soon. Terrorism is a serious issue, and I think everyone would be interested to hear solutions to it. If the Dems have any hope of winning the presidency (and I've said I don't think they do), they'll have to come up with more than just empty condemnation.

More promising it the fight brewing about how best to address health care. Gephardt's already proposed a plan, and now Dean has responded. Gephardt's plan would require employers to pick up the tab (and be reimbursed 60%), and Dean's would expand current systems and add incentives for employers. Gephardt's in particular seems unworkable and fairly lame--but neither gets at the heart of the issue, which is skyrocketing costs associated with health care. Their plans treat the symptoms, but the disease goes untouched.

Still, it's a step in the right direction. The proposals are positive and concrete, and give the candidates something real to talk about.

posted by Jeff | 7:05 PM |
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