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The progressive agenda
Posted by: McQ on Friday, June 13, 2008

Billed as a "centerist agenda", Chris Bowers of Open Left lists the "legislation that is certain to pass if Obama wins the White House, we pick up 20 more seats in the House, and 8 more seats in the Senate."
1. H.R. 1591, U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007. Withdrawing between 100,000 to 120,000 of the 160,000 American military troops in Iraq.

2. Webb amendment to HR 1585: To specify minimum periods between deployment of units and members of the Armed Forces for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

3. Employee Free Choice Act of 2007. Making it easier to join a union.

4. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Another worker's right's bill.

5. District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act : A bill to provide the District of Columbia a voting seat and the State of Utah an additional seat in the House of Representatives.

6. Rush Holt's verified voting bill. A verified paper trail for every vote cast in America.

7. Specter amendment to HR 1585: To restore habeas corpus for those detained by the United States.

8. H.R. 976, Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007. Expanding children's health care.

9. Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act : A bill to amend part D of title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for fair prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries.

10. Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007. Increasing stem cell research.

11. Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act. Increased investment in renewable energy.

12. Harkin amendment to the Farm Bill. Not sure what this is, but it probably will pass when we get six more votes in the Senate.

13. Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. A centrist global warming bill that doesn't do much to stop global warming, from what I have heard.
Bowers then describes this list and its supposed "centerist agenda" this way:
Overall, this is pretty much a wave of centrist legislation. We will give troops more time at home, and withdraw about 70-75% of them from Iraq, but not all of them. We will expand health care, but it won't be universal. We will restore some civil liberties, but not all of them. We will get some immigration reform, but not much. Something will be done about sustainability in energy, global warming and agriculture, but nowhere near enough. So, we are going to begin with a centrist template, but at least we will have to fight to make all of these bits of legislation better. Having even that opportunity will be a dramatic improvement. With Bush in office and only 50 Senators, right now progressive legislation is impossible.
The idea, obviously, is to sell this as a centerist agenda when in fact, it is an incremental liberal agenda.

Look at items 1 and 2. With Obama as president, he could do both of those things without any action by Congress. As commander-in-chief, he can draw down the troops to those levels and he can direct there be minimum periods between deployments. That gives you an idea of how much Congress has attempted to mess with the authority of the commander-in-chief. Imagine, if you will, the outcry if a Republican Congress was attempting to mandate an increase in troops and a shorter time between deployments. What do you suppose the Democratic argument would be if a Democrat were in the White House?

3 and 4 are boilerplate union pandering and more government intrusion and meddling in the affairs of business. Pure payback for union support during this election. The Employee Free Choice Act of 2007 is particularly insidious and you need to read up on it.

5 Washington DC is represented in Congress by the entire Congress. It is a federal district. Giving it a representative with a vote is tantamount to giving it the same rights as a state. It's not a state and thus shouldn't have a vote. If DC leaned to the right, this wouldn't be an issue.

6 I actually have no problem with that bill. I see nothing wrong with requiring a verifiable paper trail be provided when voting machines are used. There may be other things hidden in there with which I might object, but that particular idea is a good one.

7 is moot given the SCOTUS ruling yesterday.

8 is SCHIP all over again and an attempt to incrementally expand government health coverage. If you recall this was the attempt to put families earning up to 80k a year on the roles as well as "children" up to the age of 23. With a Democratic Congress and president, the possibility of its passage is greatly increased.

9 is simply price controls, and 10 is the liberal desire to dump your tax dollars into fetal stem cell research, an area that the market has mostly abandoned for progress on the adult stem cell research side.

11 is another scheme to spend money on whatever government decides is worthwhile in terms of "renewable energy" - that's worked out well with ethanol hasn't it?

You have to love 12. It is the porkapalooza of all legislation and while Bowers doesn't know what it is he's sure that if Harkin wants it, it must be something progressives want. Well yeah - more spending, more government, more waste.

As for 13, it may not do much of anything except make official the acceptance of the premise that "we have to do something about global warming through government". And that is its key point. When the acceptance of the premise is made official through passing this legislation, the flood-gates of spending, taxing and regulation are thrown wide-open and will be impossible to ever shut again.

And that's precisely the value of that bill to "progressives". In fact, that's the value of the entire agenda. Frog, pot, warming water.

Bowers concludes:
The most exciting bits are the positive, progressive feedback loops around increasing unionization (the employee free choice act) and election reform (D.C. voting rights, verified paper trails). These are laws that will make the country itself more progressive, thus building a progressive majority down the road. If we can get more of these, including sweeping media reform (about which we should be optimistic), real immigration reform, (about which I am not optimistic) and the progressive budget (which might just happen by 2011, if all goes well), then we will be on our way to a progressive majority in America that will last for an entire generation.
Is this what you want to see?

Fair warning.

(HT: NextRight)
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Two things noticeably absent are repeal of DADT and DOMA.

#3: I was not aware that destroying the presumption of a secret ballot in order to prop up the dying labor movement was a "centrist" position.

Ditto for #5: Since when is insolently defying the plain language of Article I a "centrist" position?
Written By: KipEsquire
3. Employee Free Choice Act of 2007. Making it easier to join a union.
That just kills me. How about making it possible to opt out of a union in over half the states of the union?

Progressive = idiot.

Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Is this what you want to see
Why not, because I’ll at least be able to laugh when the "progressive generation" gets what’s coming to them.

Written By: shark
URL: http://

Either get McCain in there who will sign the stuff into law in the name of bipartisianship or get Obama in there who will sign the stuff into law becuase he believes in it.

Which is worse.

The only reason McCain has somewhat of a chance is his statements on Supreme court justices. Mark my words if Obama wins then you will get at least 2 if not 4 or 5 retirements in the next 4 years so the dems can be sure to stack the courts for the next 20 years.

About the best thing McCain could do for the Republican party is to decide not to run due to health problems.
Written By: retired military
URL: http://

I keep telling myself "The country’s been through worse ..." but the mantra is growing thin.

On a lighter note, how soon do you figure it’ll be before celebrity Republicans begin vowing "If Barack Obama is elected president, I’m moving to Chile"? My guess is after the first debate.
Written By: Ronnie Gipper
5. District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act : A bill to provide ... the State of Utah an additional seat in the House of Representatives.
Can someone explain this? I didn’t know Utah had a missing seat.

Written By: Adrian
URL: http://
Abandoned stem cell research in favor of adult stem cell research... because they can’t get the same types of funding for stem cell research.

@ retired military above, as little as I like McCain he is possibly the only Republican that could get elected right now. Given that the next prez will likely appoint at least 1-2 justices, that’s enough of a reason to vote for him, cause Obama has already told us that in the really important 1 or 2 or 5 percent of cases he would appoint people who will follow their hearts... or some such crap. That’s why it’s the law. It’s supposed to be blind to such things.
Written By: rgaye
URL: http://
The so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" (number 3)is terrible piece of legislation and here’s why:

Currently, the National Labor Relations Board allows employees to use a secret, confidential ballot to determine whether they want union representation. This is to ensure the election is free of employer and union coercion.

In the end, majority rules, and no matter which side prevails, an individual employee’s vote is not disclosed to the employer or the union.

However, the misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act" (EFCA), would require union recognition based on a petition or “card check” system.

In a “card check” campaign, union officials gather authorization cards signed by workers. But these “card checks” are made public to the employer, the union organizers and coworkers. Imagine that your private choice would be made public. This provides a less accurate reflection of what employees actually want than does a secret ballot election.

Just think if you went to your local polling place this November to cast your vote in the general election and discovered that you have to make your private choice in public - in front of your friends, neighbors, precinct workers and government officials.

All workers, in every industry, deserve the fundamental American right to a federally supervised private ballot election. This right is guaranteed when you vote in political elections; there is no reason why you should surrender this right in the workplace.
Written By: wx insider
URL: http://

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