Lead paint Democrats


i am against lead paint – particularly when it is used on children’s toys. I believe that children should not have access to toys made in China, which are finished with lead paint.

I am also against pool drains which disembowel children. These pool drains should be taken off the market and are clearly a threat to public safety.

That’s right, I’m willing to make bold statements against lead paint and faulty pool drains. Presumably, I’m not the only one. While there are undoubtedly fringe libertarians who would argue that the invisible hand of The Market dictates that children must be poisoned or otherwise injured in the name of “freedom,” most sentient Americans think otherwise. The sane majority thinks that government can and should do something to curb these types of abuses.

None of these bold positions, however, make me what I like to call a “Lead Paint Democrat.” To be an LPD, one must be a Democrat who not only seeweks the limelight on noncontroversial issues such as lead paint and pool drains, but one who also ignores, downplays, or capitulates to Republicans on those issues, which could possibly be seen as controversial. You get bonus points as an LPD if the noncontroversial issue you’re advocating for has to do with “saving the children,” given that these issues are most likely to be the least contentious of all.

For a model LPD, Minnesotans need only look to our own junior senator, Amy Klobuchar. I must confess that Sen. Klobuchar was the one who gave me the inspiration for my new moniker when, nearly every time I saw her in the news over the past couple of months, she was valiantly advocating for those issues which consistently poll in the 90 percent range.

First it was the pool drains. After the horrific disembowelment of an Edina girl, Klobuchar was on the case, transitioning from a floor speech on Iraq to a lengthy discussion of the faulty pool drains and the need to regulate them. Then it was the toys from China covered with lead-based paint – an issue that Klobuchar has taken to with particular zeal and continues to highlight on her Web site and in press releases.

However, to be a proper LPD, Klobuchar would also need to ignore or capitulate to Republicans on more controversial issues. On this she did not disappoint.

More recently, Klobuchar joined other spineless Democrats in the House and Senate to make legal President Bush’s illegal wiretapping program, which all but eviscerates the fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Although everyone involved in the debate agreed that the laws regarding surveillance needed updates given new technology, the law that passed went far beyond this – providing virtually no oversight of the Bush administration to conduct nearly any surveillance they deem necessary. Still scared of being called soft on terror by the most unpopular president in modern history, the LPDs caved again on yet another important issue. But don’t worry, the LPDs tell us the law will sunset in six months at which point it will be revised. Let’s just say I’m not holding my breath.

I’m sure Klobuchar and other LPDs are good people, but until they take the lead on defending the Constitution and on pool drains, there is not much hope for the republic.

Jason Stahl welcomes comments at jstahl@mndaily.com.