It’s a worthy laundry list of promises, but if there is a unifying idea behind this basket of aspirations, I missed it. I hear all the time, but don’t really know for sure, that the mythical undecided voters that both campaigns chase are not particularly ideological—if they were, they would have already decided between the candidates—and that they clamor for these sorts of statements that include specific and quantifiable goals.
But the list leaves a lot to wonder about. Does Obama have a new plan for addressing climate change? Beats me. (He did say, “And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet because climate change is not a hoax.” But he didn’t actually offer a real proposal to do anything to stop climate change—nothing like a carbon tax or cap and trade. In fact, he talked about increasing oil production and other sources of carbon pollution.) Will he pursue comprehensive immigration reform in the next session of Congress? He didn’t say. When he faces the fiscal cliff, which would be the first and possibly the most consequential issue of his potential second term, how will he reform Medicare and restructure the tax code? Again, the details were absent last night.