Indiana Senator Evan Bayh says it’s important for Democrats to offer voters a clear alternative to what Republicans have been delivering out of Congress and the White House. “I think there’s a consensus in the country that we’re not heading in the right direction and that our current leadership has let us down but I frankly don’t think they know much yet about what we stand for,” Bayh says. “They’ll be more susceptible to the old slice-and-dice, divide-and-conquer wedge issue type of politics that I think the president and his supporters are going to resort to until we can show them that we have a positive agenda to build a better future for this country.”
Bayh, who was the keynote speaker at a Friday night Democratic party fundraiser in Des Moines, expects Republicans to “go to old stand-bys” so Democrats need to show voters what they’d do if they gain control of congress, especially on economic issues. Bayh says Democrats should offer an “aggressive approach” on energy policy, promoting greater use of ethanol. “Brazil gets about 100 percent of their motor fuel from ethanol and if the Brazilians can do it, we certainly can do better,” Bayh says.
Bayh also says Democrats must not shy away from outlining foreign policy objectives. “A national security policy that involves being both tough and smart. We’ve seen that being tough alone doesn’t really secure America. You’ve got to go about it in the right way,” Bayh says. “And that, on our part, is going to involve embracing our heritage.”
Bayh suggests Democrats stress the foreign policy credentials of Democrats from the past, from presidents like Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and J-F-K and reframe the debate about the role of the U.S. in the world today. Bayh, who is pondering a presidential campaign for 2008, will make appearances at events today (Saturday) in Osceola, Council Bluffs and Sioux City to help Democrats running for the statehouse raise money.