First lady Michelle Obama stands at the podium on stage with stage manager David Cove for a soundcheck during preparations for the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena.(AFP Photo / Alex Wong)
Alright, alright: President Obama didn’t exactly mend America’s immigration issue in his first four years, and, even after making a few promises, the prison at Gitmo remains as open as ever. Hold tight, though — the Democrats got this.
The Democratic National Committee is convening in Charlotte, North Carolina this week to iron out a campaign platform to push on President Barack Obama after he accepts the party’s official nomination to run for a second term. And while talking points won’t be voted on until later by the DNC for final inclusion in their platform, Democrats released a draft of what the party has put together so far on Monday.
Included on the initial draft of the Democrat Party’s platform are issues all too expected, including health care and tax reform, as well as a few campaign promises that may sound strangely familiar, especially for anyone around for the last presidential election. The Democrats have drafted a platform for Mr. Obama’s reelection campaign that calls on the commander-in-chief to come through with some of the very same promises he made four years earlier while vying for the presidency.
Unbeknownst to Americans in 2008, the president’s initial platform was actually a two-term plan.
“Four years ago, Democrats, independent and many Republicans came together as Americans to move our country forward,” reads the beginning to the draft released Monday. “We were in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the previous administration had put two wars on our nation’s credit card and the American Dream had slipped out of reach for too many.”
“Today, our economy is growing again, al-Qaeda is weaker than at any point since 9/11 and our manufacturing sector is growing for the first time in more than a decade. But there is more we need to do, and so we come together again to continue what we started. We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth – the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.”
As the committee continues to outline objectives for a second term, they harp on a handful of issues that were promised during the 2008 campaign — albeit never enacted.
In the latest draft, the DNC says they are in the middle of “substantially reducing the population at Guantánamo Bay,”and insists, “we remain committed to working with all branches of government to close the prison altogether because it is inconsistent with our national security interests and our values.” Only four years earlier, however, the committee was much clearer with its goals. Back then, reveals the 2008 party platform, the Democrats vowed, “We will close the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, the location of so many of the worst constitutional abuses in recent years.”
During his first week in office, President Obama signed an Executive Order that he said would shut down Gitmo; it remains open three-and-a-half years later.
Elsewhere in the party’s newest platform, the DNC discusses what the nominee should do to address immigration in the US. “Americans know that today, our immigration system is badly broken – separating families, undermining honest employers and workers, burdening law enforcement, and leaving millions of people working and living in the shadows,” the platform reveals.
Last time around, though, the DNC even then was in agreement that immigration was in need of a fix, something that has also been largely ignored. Just four years earlier, the Democrats wrote, “our current immigration system has been broken for far too long. We need comprehensive immigration reform, not just piecemeal efforts.”
For the DNC, it seems as if “far too long” didn’t seem like enough time to address immigration properly, so maybe by the end of the president’s eighth year in office they can approach it the right way.
In another provision included in the 2012 draft, the DNC declares, “We recognize that the right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition,” but rallies for “commonsense laws and improvements” to gun laws in America, an issue that has taken center stage in recent weeks, especially after a rash of mass shootings across the US.
“We can focus on effective enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work together to enact commonsense improvements – like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole – so that guns do not fall into the hands of those irresponsible, law-breaking few,”the party writes this week.
This, also, is an effort that — on paper, at least — is four years in the making. In 2008, the party wrote, “We can work together to enact and enforce commonsense laws and improvements – like closing the gun show loophole, improving our background check system, and reinstating the assault weapons ban, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals”.
While the draft released this week by the DNC indeed offers a clear alternative to the agenda being used by Republican Party opponent, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, its items shouldn’t be considered campaign promises — at least not any more than they were four years earlier. Instead, interpret the RNC and DNC platforms this election season as suggestions.
Suggestions that clearly take longer than a single term to get done.