Rahm Emanuel: Big Ideas For America

TIME.com -- Joe Klein: Why the Democrats Are Happy Warriors - 11:01pm The party tries to move forward with five big ideas. ... This time the model is Newt Gingrich's Contract with America...campaign of 1994, in which Republicans

Expand support for higher education. "Make college as universal in the 21st century as high school was in the 20th"; three out of four jobs in the new, high-tech economy require two years or more of higher education.

Create a National Institute of Science and Engineering, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Funding for the nih has quadrupled since the 1980s, from $7 billion to $28 billion. "That's why we lead in pharmaceuticals and medical technology." Funding for science has been stagnant—about $5 billion—during that period. "I'd quadruple it and concentrate on nanotechnology, broadband and energy."

Promote energy independence. Reduce foreign oil by 50% in 10 years. Create a hybrid economy. Use government contracts and tax incentives to boost solar and wind power.

"You got a job, you got health care." Give the uninsured vouchers—"I'm not afraid of vouchers"—for use in the insurance system that covers federal employees. Basic coverage, nothing fancy.

Organize a bipartisan summit on the budget. Balance it....... Everything on the table—loopholes, pork, Bush tax cuts. "And then you gotta have a reform piece," Emanuel hydrofoiled. "Actually, that should come first. Clean up the relationship between lobbyists and legislators, same way we did donors and candidates. This place is a cesspool—gotta address the gifts, free trips, the revolving-door lobbying jobs for staff members."

I told you, the ideas are already out there. This is a pretty coherent five point program. It can be turned into a 10 point program, or it can stay this way.

One thing that is missing is foreign policy, and that is a big one. Try this: Long War.

But I must say this is a pretty good framework he has provided.

This five point program has to go in two directions. One, sum each point in one tight phrase. Two, go into the depths of policy, crunch the numbers.

The shaping of this platform has to be a dynamic, inclusive, positive process. The election is not going to be about badmouthing Bush. It has to be about tomorrow. Although Bush bashing sure is allowed.

Emanuel's five points are uplifting.

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