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Republicans find themselves trapped in the limbo of Bush's "compassionate conservatism," unsure at any given moment whether government should expand or contract. Democrats are the party of second opinions, wandering from one pathologist to the next. Consultants tell Democrats to talk more about God; bloggers tell them to talk trash about Bush; self-help books urge them to use their words, rediscover their values, and stand and fight for what they used to believe in.
We've spent much of our careers telling Democrats how to win. But in our view, that is the right answer to the wrong question. The politics of the Bush era, on both sides of the aisle, is based on a mistaken premise. America is not a partisan prize or a political project. Without a map to the challenges of the new era, all political roads lead to ruin.
The Plan is a draft of the new conditions, new requirements, and new terms that this new era will demand. We offer Americans a new bargain: more of the opportunity and security we remember, in return for more responsibilities that for too long we forgot. This new bargain includes a whole new approach to education, a radically different kind of tax code, a new stake in the economy and a dynamic new set of opportunities and guarantees, and a new set of individual, civic, and public responsibilities.
To secure this new bargain, we will need a new politics. A public debate that continues to duck the nation's hardest questions is just wasting time America no longer has. We invite Republicans and Democrats alike to steal our formula: There is nothing wrong with America--or either party--that can't be set right by finding the courage and ideas to solve our country's greatest problems.
Posted April 26, 2010
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