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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Getting Down to Specifics: Core Principles and Policy Reforms

By Gary Hart
The Democratic Party has reached a stage in its evolution where it must re-identify its core principles, ideals, and beliefs. Taken from four great Democratic presidents of the 20th century, those are:

  1. We are a national community based on a commitment to social justice (Franklin Roosevelt);
  2. America’s national security must be based on democratic alliances and the security of the global commons (Harry Truman);
  3. As a republic, our citizens owe a duty of participation in the public life of our nation (John Kennedy);
  4. Our party is committed to equality and justice for all (Lyndon Johnson).

Whether liberal or not, these ideals and principles are distinctly different from those of the Republican Party which does not share them.
Democrats should base their national security policy on these and several other principles:

  1. Our government must be willing to justify its military activities and conduct its pursuit of security before the American people in the court of public opinion;
  2. We must properly understand what security means, what our objectives are, and how they are to be achieved, or all the military spending in the world will not make us more secure;
  3. Security means more than safety from attack, and each of us is more secure when all of us are more secure;
  4. To be able to finance our future security, we must fundamentally realign our lifestyles, replacing consumption with production, and invest in the elements of a strong economic base.

Our new security structures must include:

  1. An international peace-making force;
  2. An international consortium to control proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;
  3. Reorganization of our intelligence community to emphasize human collection and collaboration on intelligence sharing;
  4. Creation of a fifth military service which combines all Special Forces;
  5. Creation of a separate constabulary force and a civil affairs structure within the Pentagon to build and rebuild failed and failing nations;
  6. Reorganization of the “big Army” into smaller, lighter, swifter units;
  7. Adoption of military reform principles of unit cohesion and officer promotion;
  8. Recognition that we are now confronted with fourth generation warfare;
  9. Adoption of the policy that Democratic presidents will strike preemptively only where a threat is imminent and unavoidable;
  10. Assurance that Democrats will answer four questions before committing troops abroad: Who is going with us?, How long will we be there?, How much will it cost?, and What are the estimated casualties?

Gary Hart represented the State of Colorado in the United States Senate from 1975 to 1987. In 1984 and 1988, he was a candidate for his party’s nomination for President. During his 12 years in the Senate, he served on the Armed Services Committee, where he specialized in nuclear arms control and was an original founder of the military reform caucus. Since retiring from the United States Senate, Gary Hart has been extensively involved in international law and business, as a strategic advisor to major U.S. corporations, and as an author and lecturer.
He was co-chair of the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century. The Commission performed the most comprehensive review of national security since 1947, predicted the terrorist attacks on America, and proposed a sweeping overhaul of U.S. national security structures and policies for the post-Cold War new century and the age of terrorism.
He is currently Senior Counsel to Coudert Brothers, a multinational law firm with offices in twenty-seven cities located in eighteen countries around the world, and is the author of fourteen books.

One comment on “Getting Down to Specifics: Core Principles and Policy Reforms

  1. JRBehrman on

    The core principles, ideals, and beliefs of this republic originally included a very distinctive Swiss/Roman concept of universal suffrage based on a well regulated militia. This was in stark contrast to the military institutions of the British Empire of the day. There is scarcely a vestige of that left today. Our anglophile elites, from Berkeley to Princeton, squabble over their own perogatives and privileges in narrow and wildly unpopular terms.
    As for the Democratic Party of Lawyers, Mostly, not one Democratic Governor has appointed an Adjutant-General offensive to the Pentagon, promoting a John Boyd, say, from Colonel to Major-General, articulating explicitly critical doctrines, and offering a credible counter-example to the corruption of our nominally bi-partisan, actually rotten defense establishment.
    Not a single Democratic Secretary of State has stood against the “credit-scored” national voter-roll and East German electronic tally-vote technology that even Her Majesty has spared her mere subjects.
    Sorry, Gary, but which of our Blazing Saddles sitting Democrats have even one principle, ideal, or belief that they are prepared to stand for unless and until they can share in the peripheral “action” with the other party’s concession-tenders or just plain crooks.
    Show me anything but hand-wringing and whining.


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