Tag Archives: benchmarks

Better Leaders, Fewer “Benchmarks”

I saw an article in the Washington Post recently that really caught my attention. The author writes:

We used to have goals. Remember goals? Sending a man to the moon? Or how about ending poverty or balancing the budget?

Now we have “benchmarks.” Like “surge” or “insurgents,” it’s become part of our everyday language when we’re talking about Iraq.

Benchmarks are an important component of any plan – they help you measure progress, and they clue you into what is and is not working. But benchmarks absent any underlying plan or final goals are meaningless – nothing more than empty talking points meant to create the illusion of a plan that doesn’t really exist.

The Boston Globe also recognizes the empty rhetoric of Bush’s benchmarks:

The most obvious deficiency of the benchmarks is that Congress provided no penalties for failing to meet them. Bush opposed such penalties; the absence of any explains why he felt free to praise the bill as reflecting “a consensus that the Iraqi government needs to show real progress in return for American’s continued support and sacrifice.”

Even if Congress had persuaded Bush to agree to punishments for unmet benchmarks, however, the belief in benchmarks as instant therapy for Iraq would still be obtuse.

Real progress comes from bold leaders who have identified not just near-term benchmarks, but a robust plan for achieving visionary, progressive change. 21st Century Democrats has supported real leaders in the past – leaders like Ted Strickland, Keith Ellison, and Sherrod Brown. We’re proud of the men and women that we helped in 2006, and we’re looking forward to helping more progressive leaders in the 2008 elections.

At 21st Century Democrats, we believe that there are too many people in government who are more concerned with meaningless benchmarks than real progressive change. We’re looking for more visionary progressive leaders, so if you know a great progressive candidate that could use our help, tell them to fill out our candidate questionnaire. If you believe we need proposals instead of benchmarks, sign up for our email newsletter and stay in touch with us as we move forward towards real progressive change.