Category: Jim Ramstad
Posted: 04/13/08 13:57, Edited: 04/13/08 13:57
by Dave Mindeman
Congratulations are in order for Ashwin Madia -- the newly endorsed DFL candidate in District 3. Now, that he will be the standard bearer let the scrutiny begin. Below is my personal "progressive" scorecard for Madia on the issues -- as listed on his website:
1. End the Iraq War Responsibly. Grade: B-
As he states on his site: I propose withdrawing our forces over a period of 18-24 months, with a force of about 10,000-20,000 left in Iraq for three missions:
1. protecting U.S. State Department and USAID workers;
2. targeting high ranking members of Al-Qaeda; and
3. in conjunction with other nations, preventing ethnic cleansing.
This is a definite change from current strategy, but a force of 18 to 20,000 troops is still a substantial number. And, if those forces come under attack -- does that mean we go back in again? Protecting the embassy is important, but the way it is being built brings the word "fortress" to mind. Targeting Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a job for special ops -- not regular forces. And how do you "prevent" ethnic cleansing? Actually, you don't with military -- there must be political reconciliation to have any hope of that.
2. A Sustainable Economic Future. Grade: A+
Madia really gets it here. He is one of the few candidates who speaks with authority about the trade deficit and the weakness of the dollar. These are issues that drastically affect our economy but never get much play. He shows some real economic understanding:We cannot rely on the Federal Reserve to get us out of this by simply printing more money. Ill-advised interest rate cuts are in part what caused a housing bubble in the first place.
3. Create and Implement Solutions to Global Warming. Grade: A
He indicates solid support for the Green Economy.I support the use of a mandatory cap and trade system for carbon dioxide emissions. I also support expanded federal incentives for sustainable energy like wind, biomass, and biofuels.
I hope he keeps abreast of the problems with ethanol use regarding food sources and prices and the deforestation problems from land conversion to grow biofuel sources.
4. Balance the National Budget. Grade: A
He understands economics. He says all the right things here.
...Pay As You GO....transparency in earmarks...closing loopholes.
Good grasp of the issue.
5. Expand Access to Healthcare. Grade: C-
Focuses on primary and preventative care as cost savings. This is really a bogus solution. We need single payer. But in his defense, it is hard to take that position and win a Congressional seat.
6. Renew the Federal Commitment to Education. Grade: B
He points out the problems in education, but doesn't offer much in the way of real solutions. He does offer some ideas on college affordibility and they are good ideas:We can make college more affordable by doubling Pell Grants, increasing funding for Stafford Loans, and helping out those graduates who choose public service jobs through loan forgiveness.
College affordibility is an issue that needs to be pushed to the forefront.
7. Safeguarding our Fundamental Freedoms. Grade: C
Again he outlines the problem: Politicians have parsed words about the meaning of torture, authorized warrantless wiretaps, and created Guantanamo Bay and secret prisons without ever discussing fully and publicly whether our nation should use such measures.
But I'd rather he would say -- We will close Guantanamo. We will end warrantless wiretaps. And no more secret prisons...ever. And never, ever, ever will the United States engage in torture.
8. Honoring the Service of my Fellow Veterans. Grade: A+
This is going to be a strong issue for Madia. He can speak with authority on it and he gives very specific recommendations. He will win points with Republicans here and put Paulsen on the defensive.
Now, that report card is my own personal opinion; I don't pretend to speak for progressives everywhere -- but we need to be sure that Madia can speak for us in Congress. Looking hard at his own take on the issues of the day are important.
On the whole, I think he could represent us very well.