Dionne: A Presidential Debate on Economics, Please

By September 28, 2007General

E.J. Dionne, the Washington Post’s skilled amanuensis of the conventional Beltway wisdom, draws on the UAW-GM settlement to ask for more clarity from the Democratic candidates on economic issues. From “Detroit’s Creative Bargain”:

[To] govern successfully, progressive parties — and especially the Democrats — need more clarity than they have now on how to save middle-class living standards, how to grapple with the impact of global trade and how to marry economic dynamism with social justice.

But, however regrettable the fact, the political process now works to punish specificity. Why not wish for something achievable?

Something achievable like a well-structured debate, perhaps.

The media could help, too. How often do we need to parse every tiny nuance of each candidate’s already well-known position on Iraq? Why can’t news organizations host debates focused solely on how to build a just and growing economy in a world very different from the one our grandparents inherited? Maybe GM and the UAW could sponsor it.

Sounds good. The Democratic candidates have addressed economic issues, but almost solely in the context of labor-sponsored public appearances, which produce little but sloganeering. But isn’t Dionne missing something?

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., Sept. 6, 2007—CNBC/MSNBC/The Wall Street Journal announced today that they are jointly sponsoring the first Republican Presidential debate of the 2008 campaign focusing on economic issues. The two-hour debate is scheduled to be held on October 9 in Dearborn, Mich. and will be broadcast live …..[snip]

“This debate will focus on issues that are at the heart of every Presidential election, namely the economy, taxes, fiscal discipline and government regulation,” said Mark Hoffman, CNBC President. “This will mark the first time in the 2008 presidential campaign that all declared Republican candidates will be asked to provide voters with specific plans for the American economy and American workers in an increasingly global marketplace.”

Sponsor a similar event for the Democrats, and we’re good to go.

Odd that Dionne overlooked this event.

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