How the Dems Can Win in '08: Promote Smart Growth, Alternative Fuels

Skyrocketing oil prices, the housing bubble and a radically altered economic landscape point to a need for Democrats to rethink their political strategy.
August 14, 2005, 1pm PDT | Michael Dudley
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"First off, Dems need a plan that can either divert the speculative excess of the housing bubble into a sustainable, equitable engine of growth, or a plan that can clean up after the economy collapses. Such a strategy will have to be based on a major new domestic market, and my leading contender is...housing. But not suburban housing and uncontrolled sprawl. That experiment failed and sprawl is rotting our communities; polluting our air, water and food; and sending our state governments into major deficits. The federal transportation and housing policies that underwrite sprawl need to be changed nationwide to facilitate smarter housing markets that build communities designed for people and families, not for auto sales.

"Second, we need to deal with our dependence on oil. Oil hit another trading high today, approach $64 as I write this. Threats in the Middle East, ancient refining capacity in the United States and rising Asian demand for energy make this price an unnecessary tax on the American consumer. Here, we must be bolder than in 2004 where the Democratic Party offered to reduce oil consumption over 20 years by only 20 percent. As I've mentioned many times before, we can get completely off oil as a transportation fuel in 25 years and it is in our national security interest to do so. The faster America accepts this challenge, the faster innovative American technology, products and services can capture the enormous market in Asia for oil-free transportation."

Thanks to Michael Dudley

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Published on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 in Tom Paine - Common Sense
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