Platform to Nowhere


Unlike the Republican platform, the Democratic platform firmly supports a woman’s right to choose abortion. After that, the Dems offer just a trifle more than the GOP. Instead of an explicit commitment to universal health care, the platform promises “affordable” opportunities for insuring children, widening the scope of Medicare coverage to include prescription drugs, and opening up Medicaid to help people kicked off welfare. Elsewhere, hewing to the Democratic Leadership Council’s fetish for technical detail, the platform proceeds in tiny increments.

Major points:

  • Pro free trade.

    Pro new tax incentives to assist individuals in setting up private IRA-type retirement funds to supplement Social Security, a move that would be a bonanza for Wall Street but have no real effect on the working poor–who have been losing income during the Clinton boom.

  • Weak gun proposals.

    Instead of uniform gun registration, the platform calls for kid locks on new handguns and background checks, but says nothing about existing guns. And nothing about assault weapons, whose import from China was okayed by Clinton and Gore.

  • After all the gush about children, supports “affordable” education.
    No commitment to true public education as the nation has known it throughout its history. Despite all the gush about children, the platform supports only “affordable” education.

  • Nothing specific on the environment.
    Scarcely believable given Gore’s green spin.

  • No straightforward public financing of elections.
    Mired in deep controversy over his own fundraising activities, Gore still refuses to back straightforward public financing of elections, opting instead for gobbledygook like a “public-private, nonpartisan Democracy Endowment, which will raise money from Americans and finance congressional elections, with no other contributions allowed to candidates who accept the funding.”
  • Highlights