Dems Agree on Platform For Convention

The Democratic Party Platform Committee agreed on a platform for the Convention. It comes closer to Hillary Clinton's view of health insurance than Sen. Barack Obama's but it does not mandate insurance coverage at government expense. The final version reads:

All Americans should have coverage they can afford; employers should have incentives to provide coverage to their workers; insurers and providers should ensure high quality affordable care; and the government should ensure that health insurance is affordable and provides meaningful coverage. As affordable coverage is made available, individuals should purchase health insurance and take steps to lead healthy lives.

On criminal justice, it's a bit disappointing. While it stresses prevention and drug treatment, including more drug courts, there's a lot of emphasis on more cops and nothing criticizing mandatory minimum sentences. See pages 48 and 49 (pdf).


At least I didn't see anything about the death penalty in it, which I assume means that the removal of the provision supporting it that John Kerry insisted on in 2004 has stayed out.

The immigration provision doesn't sound too welcoming to me. What's an undocumented immigrant in good standing?

We support a system that requires undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, pay taxes, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens. They are our neighbors, and we can help them become full tax paying, law-abiding, productive members of society. At the same time, we cannot continue to allow people to enter the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked. The American people are a welcoming and generous people, but those who enter our country's borders illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of the law.

I'm not surpised it's weak on immigrant rights considering AZ governor Janet Napolitano was chair or the Platform Committee.

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    Without the mandates, it isn't close enough to (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Teresa on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:00:55 PM EST
    Hillary's. I did read the abortion part, and according to the article I read, it is better than in past years. It states we will not support any weakening of abortion provisions and leaves out the safe and rare part.

    Heh (5.00 / 9) (#5)
    by Steve M on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:07:22 PM EST
    All Americans should have coverage they can afford

    Such delightful, lawyerly, noncommittal language!

    Does it mean universal coverage that is also affordable?  Does it mean universal access to coverage, but not universal coverage?  It's deliciously vague.  I admire the people who came up with such meaningless words to make all sides happy.


    It's Republican language. (5.00 / 6) (#8)
    by MarkL on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:17:52 PM EST
    What reform? This is meaningless (5.00 / 6) (#19)
    by MarkL on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:38:26 PM EST

    Shrug (5.00 / 10) (#20)
    by Steve M on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:38:26 PM EST
    One Magical Affordability Pony is as good as another, in my book.

    Unless we're prepared to guarantee universal coverage, we're promising the exact same thing as the Republicans - a bunch of reforms that will supposedly make existing insurance plans more affordable.

    I've never seen anything to suggest that the affordability reforms proposed by either party will have any significant impact.  It's a way of saying you'll do something without actually doing it.


    Yes ... It means absolutely nothing. (5.00 / 6) (#10)
    by bridget on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:24:10 PM EST
    The language makes one want to gag ...

    Nothing will change for the 40 Mill US citizens without health care coverage. Nothing.


    The only evidence, scant as it is, (5.00 / 6) (#21)
    by MarkL on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:39:05 PM EST
    suggests that Obama was in the pocket of the insurance industry in IL.
    You need to do your homework.

    What is his "detailed" plan? Where (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by Grace on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 03:44:21 AM EST
    is it?  Show us it in detail.

    We are all eyes.    


    Grace, upthread we were pointed to... (5.00 / 4) (#51)
    by Anne on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:46:38 AM EST
    the website.  Yes, indeed, another Obama supporter who thinks tht the website tells the tale.

    I'd bet my morning cup of tea that Obama would have to read his own website to know what his health care plan is.


    I can't figure out what is better than what Obama (none / 0) (#6)
    by Teresa on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:13:44 PM EST
    wanted. Can you? It sounds like his plan to me.

    Yes. Some of it sounds like HIllary (none / 0) (#14)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:32:10 PM EST
    see my post above.

    Where? In this thread? (none / 0) (#30)
    by Teresa on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:59:58 PM EST
    sorry ...my post below (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 10:30:01 PM EST
    reproductive health, equal pay, sexism: pages: 8 through 12

    A short paragraph on sexism on 12.  I didn't read the pages fully, just read fast but it seems Hillary Clinton's voice is there.

    If you read the entire thing, there are also other segments about Domestic Violence, Women, Families and Children, Medical Leave...

    I am not sure if it is better or they are reaffirming something that they have always advocated.  Never read one of these before.


    Ugh. I once had to read all Dem and GOP (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 11:09:05 PM EST
    platforms for a research project -- for a Prof who just happened to be former LBJ press secretary George Reedy.  That was a hoot of a semester.

    Anyway, it was excrutiating but memorable.  I'll never forget finding out that the GOP endorsed the ERA first -- in 1940.  

    And 68 years later. . . .


    Since I am an indy now (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by txpolitico67 on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 11:20:25 PM EST
    i look at both parties with suspicion.  i would think that the GOP endorsed the ERA first because it makes good business sense.  why should a competent, intelligent woman be precluded from ANY opportunity that would benefit the economic climate of a company or organization??!?



    Interestingly, the GOP endorsed the ERA (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Cream City on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:12:20 AM EST
    because from 1920 on, the two parties structured women voters' participation quite differently.  The Dems put women in an auxiliary, meaning under men's control.  The GOP women won their own, separate organization and so were (and are, actually) more powerful in their party.

    There 'tis.  As you say, see the result.


    I have always thought (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by samanthasmom on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 11:49:20 AM EST
    that the first woman president will have an (R) after her name. I met with Pat Schroeder in the early 90's, and she said as much herself.

    Sorry but the sexism language is not (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 11:38:11 AM EST

    Half of it is the DNC defending itself by touting how ab fab they allegedly are on women's issues.  It's a counter-ad, not a platform proposal.  And, there's no language about what action the Democratic Party proposes to do about it.

    The sexism para. reads quite differently from the rest of the platform, it sticks out like a sore thumb.


    On Faith (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:23:34 PM EST
    We honor the central place of faith in our lives. Like our Founders, we believe that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires. We believe that change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up, and that few are closer to the people than our churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques. To face today's challenges-from saving our planet to ending poverty--we need all hands on deck. Faith-based groups are not a replacement for government or secular non-profit programs, rather, they are yet another sector working to meet challenges of the 21st century. We will empower grassroots faith- based and community groups to help meet challenges like poverty, ex-offender reentry, and illiteracy. At the same time, we can ensure that these partnerships do not endanger First Amendment protections and that public funds are not used to proselytize or discriminate. We will also ensure that taxpayer dollars are only used on programs that actually work.

    A lot of what I've read so far sounds like the Obama Platform - I note that in the section on families, we again have reference to turning off the TV.

    Have party platforms always read like this one?  I keep reading "Barack Obama will..."

    Reproductive health, equal pay, sexism (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:30:49 PM EST
    pages: 8 through 12

    A short paragraph on sexism on 12.  I didn't read the pages fully, just read fast but it seems Hillary Clinton's voice is there.

    Reclaiming our Constitution and (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:32:49 PM EST
    our Liberties:

    As we combat terrorism, we must not sacrifice the American values we are fighting to protect. In recent years, we've seen an Administration put forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. The Democratic Party rejects this dichotomy. We will restore our constitutional traditions, and recover our nation's founding commitment to liberty under law.

    We support constitutional protections and judicial oversight on any surveillance program
    involving Americans. We will review the current Administration's warrantless wiretapping program. We reject illegal wire-tapping of American citizens.

    We reject the use of national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. We reject the tracking of citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. We reject torture. We reject sweeping claims of "inherent" presidential power. We will revisit the Patriot Act and overturn unconstitutional executive decisions issued during the past eight years. We will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine duly enacted law. And we will ensure that law-abiding Americans of any origin, including Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, do not become the scapegoats of 16
    national security fears.

    We believe that our Constitution, our courts, our institutions, and our traditions work.

    In its operations overseas, while claiming to spread freedom throughout the world, the current Administration has tragically helped give rise to a new generation of potential adversaries who threaten to make America less secure. We will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools to hunt down and take out terrorists without undermining our Constitution, our freedom, and our privacy.

    To build a freer and safer world, we will lead in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people. We will not ship away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, or detain without trial or charge prisoners who can and should be brought to justice for their crimes, or maintain a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law. We will respect the time-honored principle of habeas corpus, the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention that was recently reaffirmed by our Supreme Court. We will close the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, the location of so many of the worst constitutional abuses in recent years. With these necessary changes, the attention of the world will be directed where it belongs: on what terrorists have done to us, not on how we treat

    We recognize what leaders on the front lines of the struggle against terrorism have long known: to win this fight, we must maintain the moral high ground. When millions around the world see America living up to its highest ideals, we win friends and allies in this struggle for our safety and our lives, and our enemies lose ground.

    For our Judiciary, we will select and confirm judges who are men and women of unquestionable talent and character, who firmly respect the rule of law, and who listen to and are respectful of different points of view and who represent the diversity of America.

    We support the appointment of judges who respect our system of checks and balances and the separation of power among the Executive Branch, Congress, and the Judiciary- and who understand that the Constitution protects not only the powerful, but also the disadvantaged and the powerless.

    Our Constitution is not a nuisance. It is the foundation of our democracy. It makes freedom and self-governance possible, and helps to protect our security. The Democratic Party will restore our Constitution to its proper place in our government and return our Nation to our best traditions-including our commitment to government by law, and not by men.

    I bolded the sections that I thought interesting.  How does Obama square this platform with his FISA vote?

    Your first and second paragraphs (5.00 / 5) (#23)
    by MarkL on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:41:11 PM EST
    don't gibe at ALL.

    Wrong (5.00 / 12) (#24)
    by Steve M on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:42:46 PM EST
    Flatly false.

    Please refrain from spreading false information here.  Do you seriously expect anyone to believe that the 28 Democrats who voted against the bill wanted the Bush Administration to be "completely free to do whatever they wanted with no judicial restraint"?  You insult our intelligence.


    Funny how the Obama supporter (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by MarkL on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:46:15 PM EST
    using Republican talking points to sell his votes on here.

    You miss the point (5.00 / 4) (#52)
    by Iris on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 11:17:43 AM EST
    Obama didn't have to be President to prevent giving the President new sweeping surveillance powers.  As the 'leader' of the party he could have chosen to lead and stopped the bill in the Senate.  Now if McCain gets elected, he will have those powers.  Thanks, Obama!

    Also, if Obama gets elected, then what about a possible Republican president after him?  Unless Obama plans to overturn this awful law, the surveillance powers will be lying around waiting to be used by them as well.  I'd love to hear him explain that he voted for the FISA rewrite before he planned to vote against it.

    Lastly, it's foolish to trust Obama with the power to decide what his power will be, and to trust him not to abuse the power that this legislation grants him if he is President.


    The new FISA law doesnot (5.00 / 8) (#27)
    by gabbyone on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:47:06 PM EST
    put evesdropping under the FISA court, that was pure White House spin.  Thursday on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, former constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald, who blogs at Salon.com, debunked the White House's claim that the new FISA law requires "court approval" prior to spying on an "individual located in the United States." In fact, as Greenwald explained, the law now allows the government to "listen to our conversations, read our e-mails, with no connection to terrorism, with no proof that anyone has ever done anything wrong" -- without judicial oversight.

    False. (5.00 / 9) (#28)
    by tree on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:50:07 PM EST
    This is demonstrably false. The original FISA act was not expiring and the Amendment that Obama voted for did nothing more to ensure that government eavesdropping was under FISA court oversight than the original FISA Act did. It actually loosened some of that oversight. I can't believe that anyone would so brazenly lie about this on this site.

    he can't and more's the pity. (none / 0) (#59)
    by hellothere on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 01:15:10 PM EST
    When the platform session (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by gabbyone on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:39:27 PM EST
    opened on C Span today, I was bothered by the
    comment that every word in that platform had to
    be what the candidate for President could support.
    He would be held accountable by the other side for every statement.  I think it was very telling as to what would be in that platform.  It is once again a move to the center on issues right down to and including the statement on faith. The word Universal is left out of healthcare, helping faith based programs is left in, nothing is said to ruffle the feathers of the anti-immigration people like the word amnesty.  All safe, all pretty and tied up with a wishy washy bow.  

    So it is the Obama Platform (5.00 / 5) (#26)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:46:43 PM EST
    and not so much the Democratic Party platform.


    Is the platform normally molded in the nominee's image, or does the party, in coming up with a platform, attempt to steer the nominee in its direction?

    To me, the platform reads like an anthology of Obama speeches.


    The platform is customarily hammered ... (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by RonK Seattle on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 10:16:48 PM EST
    ... to accommodate the nominee.

    Not always hammered beyond all recognition, but hammered just the same.

    I'll go this far in Obama's direction: I'm turning off the teevee.


    RonK!! (none / 0) (#34)
    by katiebird on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 10:38:10 PM EST
    Where have you been?

    I turned off the teevee ... (none / 0) (#35)
    by RonK Seattle on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 10:50:02 PM EST
    ... and a few other appliances. (Also, my laptop decided to take a hiatus of its own accord, and had me scrambling to keep up with regular business, which included some unexpected priority tasks).

    We've missed you (none / 0) (#36)
    by katiebird on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 10:51:03 PM EST
    I hope things get better soon.

    The entire platform formation process (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 11:29:01 AM EST
    was run by Obama's campaign, not the DNC, so it's not surprising it sounds like they wrote it.

    I guess that explains a comment on Corrente (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by pukemoana on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:56:28 PM EST
    that the language of supporting lgbt families has disappeared, along with issues of relevance to our families.  I knew there was a reason I took the job in Canada instead of the USA . . .

    The softening of the GLBT language (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by americanincanada on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 10:32:29 PM EST
    is not promising and gives me one more reason to be weary of 'The One'.

    Whatever... (5.00 / 5) (#37)
    by OrangeFur on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 10:53:32 PM EST
    Even if the Democratic platform actually said something bold, I wouldn't believe it.

    After the last two years, FISA, Obama's opposition to universal health care and other lurches towards the right, my cynicism is at a startling high.

    It'd be nice if... (5.00 / 4) (#49)
    by wasabi on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 08:26:59 AM EST
    I'd be nice if people could get it through their heads that there is a difference between having insurance and being insured.  I have insurance, but my insurance company refuses to pay for treatment my doctor says I need.

    So by all means, let's make insurance more affordable so that even more people can be rejected for life-saving treatment.

    The "plans" on Obama's site (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by Iris on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 11:25:00 AM EST
    are pretty meaningless to me considering what is on there one day could be scrubbed the next.  And what assurance do we have that he wouldn't 'compromise' that plan, ostensibly so that we can 'get something done'?

    Just because the Democrats didn't use (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 11:32:24 AM EST
    the exact same language as the Republicans doesn't mean the language is not equally mushy.  Same song, different verse.

    If you think Mark's comments are kneejerk anti-Obama, then defend the language and lay off the ad hominems.

    Repetition does not equal truth.

    I'd like to know what it contains (none / 0) (#1)
    by MarkL on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 08:53:36 PM EST
    on energy policy.

    click the link I gave above (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 08:57:21 PM EST
    where I mentioned page 48 and 49 -- the whole platform draft is there -- although it doesn't include today's changes.

    criminal justice (none / 0) (#4)
    by call me Ishmael on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:03:15 PM EST
    How does it compare to previous platforms aside from the death penalty issue.  Are they usually more detailed.  This didn't seem to say much (although the tone on communities and not throwing out rehabilitation was good).  But is that unusual?

    Without a mandate you can forget (5.00 / 6) (#7)
    by bridget on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:15:17 PM EST
    Universal Health Insurance in the US

    the paragraph re Health Insurance was meaningless - sounded nice to those who don't care and understand how UHI works ... but totally meaningless

    so those 40 Mill US citizens without health insurance the candidates talked about nonstop during the debates will remain without health insurance again just like always

    it will not happen in the next adminstration - Dem or Rep

    mark my words


    If Lieberman is McCain's choice (5.00 / 0) (#43)
    by weltec2 on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 02:18:48 AM EST
    and Bayh is Obama's choice there will be little if anything done to help the uninsured.

    My point was (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by weltec2 on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 02:43:22 AM EST
    that it would not matter who was elected, the results would be the same with regard to health care. See here and here.

    joe won't be the veep candidate. (none / 0) (#60)
    by hellothere on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 01:19:03 PM EST
    The immigration section you quote (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:30:53 PM EST
    is embarrassingly weak.

    Don't be afraid, TL (none / 0) (#58)
    by LonewackoDotCom on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 01:14:53 PM EST
    The Democrats are plenty "welcoming" to illegal aliens, the "tough" language TL points out is just a scam to try to fool people. The healthcare part also contains a similar lie to one that BHO told. More on both here.