Try a Little Common Sense

Today, Harry Reid gave an address at the National Press Club called “The Use of Power: An Agenda for Reform.” Here are some highlights (via Harry Reid’s war room):
Our common sense reform agenda will take our economy from sluggishness to prosperity. A prosperity where a rising tide lifts the boat of every American who is willing to work hard.

When it comes to the economy, the Washington Republicans offer the same old answers and then try to change the subject. But the growing trade deficit and a runaway national debt that puts us into hock to China and Japan show that this Administration and this Congress have lost control over America’s economic destiny.

Democrats stand ready to win back America’s prosperity. We’ll end the tax breaks that encourage companies to take jobs overseas. Restore fiscal responsibility. Spur innovation. Open the doors to college. And make work pay more than welfare.

And if we want our companies to be ready to compete in the world economy, we have to hold down health care costs. Today, Starbucks spends more on health care than on coffee. Today, GM spends more on health care than on steel. Today, we can’t ask our companies to go head to head with foreign competitors with this burden on their backs.

Our families will never get ahead while they are getting battered down by health care costs that total $10,000 a year.

And our country will never be what it should be as long as the color of your skin or the size of your bank account determines whether your children can see a doctor. We can do better for them. And they are expecting nothing less from us.

Many of the jobs of the future will be jobs that come from new energy saving industries. Today, Japan’s and South Korea’s head start on innovation means they are running away with those jobs. We have to get back in that race.

Americans are getting fed-up every time they go for a fill-up. They know that our reliance on Mideast oil is making America less safe. They want us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make this nation energy independent. We can get there – but only if we start putting America’s security and prosperity first.

And Democrats will continue to stop George Bush from privatizing Social Security while we say “yes” to shoring up Americans’ pensions and making our retirement system more secure.

This is our agenda – an agenda for reform, an agenda to do the people’s business. And for them we will continue to fight.


This week’s events mark our chance to forge a common sense center that embraces an American agenda for reform. As Democratic Leader, I will be working aggressively to advance the work the American people sent us to do. And I hope that Republicans of good faith will join with us to get this job done: To strengthen our national security. To make America energy independent. To restore economic prosperity and opportunity. To help our families and business afford their health care. To boost Americans’ retirement security and protect their Social Security.

In the coming weeks and months, I’ll have more to say on all these fronts. But I pledge today, that in everything we do, the lesson of this week – that we can build on the common sense center – will remain front and center.
The common sense center. It’s a nice thought, but as I recall, both people on the Left and the Right were pretty pissed off about the filibuster compromise. And so many of the issues we’re facing aren’t compromisable because the Left has already suggested centrist solutions and the Right continues to reject them. How do you give the LGBT community equal rights in a centrist way? How do you find the center between people who want abortion to be safe and legal and accessible and people who want it criminalized outright? Where is the center between the position that stem cell research should be legal and stem cell research should be illegal? The problem is that people on both sides of an issue have to have common sense.

On marriage equality, the common sense solution is to separate civil marriage and religious ceremonies, requiring everyone to register a civil union and leaving the religious aspects to the church. Will the Right ever capitulate to such a change? On abortion, the common sense solution is to encourage the use of birth control, make sex education (which can include but should not be limited to abstinence as an option) a priority, and make abortions as safe and immediately available as possible, so that they are done as early as possible. Will the Right ever support even one of those steps? On stem cell research, the common sense solution is simply that it should be legalized, because there is no reason it shouldn’t be; the misinformation campaign that invokes inappropriate comparisons to cloning, abortion, etc. should cease immediately. Will the Right agree to approach the topic with the rationality it deserves?

I hope Harry’s on to something; I really do. I just haven’t seen much common sense floating around lately.

As a side note, it’s nice to see he’s been reading my blog:
As of this month, more time has passed since 9-11 than the time between Pearl Harbor and the defeat of Japan. During those three years and eight months – sixty years ago – we invaded North Africa and Normandy. We freed people from the Philippines to France. Hitler lay dead and Tojo was in chains. We had defeated fascism around the world and had begun to build the new United Nations.

But today Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, our homeland is still not secure, we’re still not energy independent, and – in many ways – Americans are less safe than we were before 9-11.
(Just kidding.)

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