Finding the right eight words is hard, Chuck says. Elusive, even. He's spent two years looking for them. "Better Health Care"? Nah, he says. Too easy. Too empty. Too "typical political b.s." But after two years in the darkness, he now gropes toward the light: The 50 Percent Solution. "Democrats should commit to increasing reading and math scores 50 percent by dramatically increasing federal involvement, and funding, in public schools. We should increase the number of college graduates by 50 percent. We should call for reducing illegal immigration by at least 50 percent and increasing legal immigration. We should cut our dependence on foreign oil by 50 percent, and reduce cancer mortality, abortions and childhood obesity each by 50 percent. We should increase our ability to fight terrorism by 50 percent."
I sat for a long time (though less than two years) looking at those sentences, trying to figure out what the voices in Chuck's head have been saying to him. Joe and Eileen have a fat, dumb kid they need the government's help to slim down and get educated before one or both of them dies of cancer?
Some things I recognize. Chuck Schumer, who has never seen an abortion he is unwilling to vote for, whispers to Joe and Eileen that he longs to reduce abortions by 50 percent? Right. In practice, I suspect this means he wants to give 50 percent more of your taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider. But don't worry -- they won't spend THAT money on abortions. Joe and Eileen, he thinks, will like the sound of that.
Joe and Eileen, he apparently thinks, have ADD: The point of that 50 percent thing is to make the typical b.s. promises sound somehow more concrete. Never mind how, or what, or how much: All politics is values talk now.
As typical political b.s. promises go, "Better Health Care" isn't looking 50 percent bad.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.