He's Right, But It Won't Happen
One of the reasons I like (even though we disagree all the time) E.J. is that he's an unabashed cheerleader for the Democratic Party. He's a published hack for them, and isn't shy about that, so I find it refreshing.
This column could have been published for either party as a road map, and honestly would have more success were it to be implemented by the GOP, not suggested for Democrats.
The ideas, following up on some work by King County, Wa. supervisors, is to have government acting more as a third party agent for change, than directly trying to influence it. That is the first problem for national lvel Democrats, they dislike anything they don't directly control.
The two major ideas of the piece, health care delivery reform, and education reform will be DIW (dead in the water) issues for the national Democratic party because labor unions and teachers unions don't like either, if they aren't controlling the agenda on them.
Labor Unions have been spending tons of money on candidates to kill President Bush's idea of a national health insurance pool for small businesses. Why? Because it would put small and medium, non-union businesses on par with large labor in providing benefits for less. Though it would be good for the majority of workers, it would be bad for recruiting union labor, and they foot a lot of Democratic bills.
We've seen with No Child Left Behind how badly the education industry hates the ideas of change, and accountibility. What Dionne wrote about today would require more of both by teachers unions, but what he wrote about makes sense.
We've spent too long in using high schools as "college prep", when in fact not everyone in high school wants to go to college when they graduate. Our schools minimize the value of trade schools, and alternative career paths, to the detriment of those they are designed to serve.
Yet what E.J. wrote about today would require them to move to a less college oriented curriculum, at least for some students, and one more in line with getting them ready for a post high school trade that doesn't include saying "Would you like fries with that".
The standard NEA answer is along the lines of 'manufacturing jobs are leaving, so you have to go to college', but that isn't true. While less stuff is made here, it's still installed here, repaired here, and operated here, and we aren't trying to get youth ready for those jobs.
So while the Democrats running on a platform of "Rebuild America" sounds good, what Mr. Dionne forgets is there are entrenched interests in their national party that don't like the tools they'd have to use for that rebuilding.
However, I think the GOP could make a ton of hay by using his ideas, they are more in line with their thought process, and values.
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