Issue #51

Last Update May 5, 2007

Commentary March 24, 2007  It's time for details. After six years of a government drifting toward the rocks, the American public can no longer afford candidates who speak in generalities, no matter how congenial. So far, with the exception of John Edwards, who has laid out a detailed plan for fixing our broken health care system, no candidate, Democrat or Republican, has addressed with any specificity the key issues of today and 2008. These are: health care; the Iraq war; energy supply; foreign policy in general and our conflicts with  Iran and North Korea in specific; our budget deficit; our trade deficit; jobs; the growing disparity between the ultra-rich and the rest of us; preparation for pandemics, terrorism and natural disasters; and restoration of our democracy. The candidate with detailed, specific and sensible proposals on these issues will get our vote, even if we disagree about some of the fine print. 

By now, serious candidates should have put together policy teams to work on these issues. If they haven't, it is a clue to the electorate that they want the job, but are unable or unwilling to do the work, and to be honest enough about their intentions to risk alienating potential voters who might disagree with this or that proposal. A candidate who tries to be all things to all people will end up disappointing everyone, and will be able to do nothing to stop our national decline. 

Barack Obama has a record of making good decisions. Unfortunately, as evidenced by his weekly podcasts and public statements, he has been reluctant to get down to specifics. Hillary Clinton has made some pretty bad decisions, and seems to have learned little from her 1994 health care fiasco and her 2003 Iraq War support. Her recent waffling on women's issues does not bode well either. Rudy Giuliani was a divisive and often ineffective mayor (despite his shining 9/11 hour, and, rather than upholding his reputation for plain and independent thinking, has begun to blur his positions on social issues in order to suck up to the Christian right. John McCane, long an irritant in the eye of the Bush administration, has now espoused many of Bush's actions, losing credibility with the center while making little progress with the right. Other Republican hopefuls have been silent on the key issues, hoping to inherit the GOP simply by not being George W. Bush. 

The Democratic congress has not been perfect since it came to power, but at least Nancy Pelosi and others in the leadership have laid out a congressional program, and have accomplished much of it. Presidential hopefuls would to well to imitate this approach. 

To be notified of New York Stringer updates and new issues, click here.

New York Stringer is published by For all communications, contact David Katz, Editor and Publisher, at

All content copyright 2007 by

Click here to send us email.