I mean they all basically are anti-Iraq and pro-choice. No Democrat is going to be publicly anti-environment - at least until he's already in office - that's practically a "mom and apple pie" issue. Petroleum and oil companies run pro-environmental ads. True, those ads are lies, where they attempt to convince the public that theirs is "clean energy." But the point is nobody comes out directly against green policy so much as they try to subvert it.
But when it comes to the economy, Denneny appears to be taking his policy right out of George Stigler and Milton Friedman and other architects of the free market, supply side Chicago School of economics.
Here's what his campaign sent out as an "editorial memo."
Though his intent is laudable, Gerry Connolly's recent proposal for Fairfax County to buy foreclosed homes and sell them back to working families reveals his commitment to a dated and unsuccessful big government approach to economic issues.His "doing better," unfortunately, comes right out the Republican playbook of the last eight years, and the twelve years of the Reagan-Bush administrations before that.
As Democrats, we all agree that we need to ensure Fairfax has housing options for teachers, nurses, police officers, firefighters and others who serve our community. The only question is how to best achieve this goal...
...When public servants in government craft policy with the intent to improve people's lives, their first rule should be 'do no harm.' By buying foreclosed properties and selling them to working families below market value, the County would be artificially lowering the property values of other homes in the area, effectively taking money out of the pockets of citizens and families that are near the foreclosed properties.
Since housing markets are currently in a period of decline, working families who buy houses from the County at below current market prices will quite possibly see an appreciation in the value of their home as the market stabilizes and begins to grow. As home values appreciate, home owners' county tax bills will increase. Working families who struggle to buy a home at below market prices today could be challenged to pay their Fairfax County tax bill tomorrow.
On the other hand, if home prices continue to depreciate, Connolly's plan will have placed working families in financial predicaments that they would not have been able to enter without the County government's intervention.
Connolly continues to embrace the hackneyed notion that heavy-handed government intervention is the solution to everything. This approach may sound appealing in an election year, but it in the long run Connolly's plan will limit the ability of the free market to create choices for working families. Certainly this approach is better than the 'you're on your own' ideology of the Republicans, but Democrats can do better.
As a New Generation Democrat, Doug Denneny believes in using policy levers to respond to the needs of working families without skewing the private market. Doug believes the best way to help struggling families in Fairfax County is to offer substantial and targeted relief from property taxes.Now, relief from property taxes during an economic downturn is not necessarily a bad thing. But the biggest problem with this is that the property tax is the main revenue source for county government. With less money coming in, how would Doug propose that Fairfax County fund necessary programs like police and fire protection, emergency services, schools, teachers' and other county workers' salaries, and a host of social services for the disabled. What about parks, after school programs? Those are all the things that make Fairfax among the best communities to live.
Indeed, it's those services that make Fairfax one of the best places to do business as well. That's because businesses want to go where they can get an educated, skilled workforce. And good education and amenities attract the workers that modern, high tech businesses need.
In addition, philosophically, a progressive populist, like me, sees nothing wrong with government helping out and giving the little guy an economic boost into the middle class.
Actually buying up foreclosed homes and selling them below market value to provide affordable housing to firefighters, policemen and policewomen, teachers, emergency technicians, and other county employees is one of Connolly's more creative ideas. Making sure that the people who respond to citizens' needs and teach their children are also members of their community is a way to ensure that those valuable employees are stakeholders in the well being of our community rather than outsiders who merely punch a time clock.
Denneny also declined to sign on to the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq, which both Leslie Byrne and Tom Periello signed. The list of signers also includes Darcy Burner, Donna Edwards, and Jeff Merkley. Doug responded with his own plan, which I am not about to criticize. As a decorated combat veteran with experience in Iraq, he has important suggestions that must be heard and taken seriously.
The truth, though, is that the Responsible Plan is a good broad platform that Democrats can run on. By adding his expertise to shaping the plan and supporting it, rather than going his own way, while basically saying the same things, I think he weakens both his own position and that of the others. A bunch of people running around with individual plans is never as powerful a statement as a coherent group with a strong, broad platform that provides an easily understandable road map that everybody can support. I have no quarrel with the particulars of Denneny's plan but a great deal of skepticism about the effectiveness of his method of going his own way.
But it's really on his economic statement where Denneny baffles me.
In times of crisis, voters need proven, thoughtful leadership – not flawed, feel-good election year proposals. Gerry Connolly has responded to the housing crisis for working families in Fairfax with the fruitless policies of the past. The Republicans are silent on this issue. Doug Denneny, a New Generation Democrat, has a better approach that relies on competition and market forces to improve the lives of working families.Actually, his solution is exactly what a Republican would propose. There's nothing either "new generation" or Democratic about it. And calling it a fruitless big government solution from the past is right out of the Republican playbook of criticisms. Frankly, that's the kind of rhetoric you can read every day at Bearing Drift and Too Conservative.
You're a good guy, Doug, but you can do better than this.