CA Dem Convention: themes and commonalities

Edwards and Obama both (eloquently, it seems to me) couch their critique of Bush’s foreign policy in terms of what it means to be proud to be an American. “We’re better than that.” “That’s not who we are.” “The world needs to see America as a force for good.” The perfect combination of flag-waving and demands for change. More, please.

Edwards and Obama say virtually the same thing about global warming: a carbon-emissions cap, with the ration coupons auctioned. Radical, and sound.

Obama, Edwards, and Dodd all talk about torture; Dodd makes it one of his themes. Richardson promises to close down Guantanamo. Clinton is silent on the topic. This was pretty much a losing issue for the Democrats last year, but I wonder if that’s changed?

Clinton, Edwards, and Richardson all endorse a requirement to learn English as part of “earned citizenship.” This sounds like an obvious winner to me; I hadn’t known it, but it turns out to be part of the “comprehensive” bill now not making its way through Congress. All endorse tighter border controls and employer sanctions. HRC wants what sounds like a national identity card, which she puts in terms of being able to track terrorists. Richardson is for more H-1B visas as part of “competitiveness”; no one else endorses guest-workers in any form. Sounds right to me. Apparently Obama is on board with the Senate bill, but decided to pass the issue over in silence at the convention.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com