DENVER — Democrats released a preliminary draft today of a platform that avoids mention of higher taxes, a freeze on Pentagon spending or a Palestinian homeland--raising the specter of convention floor protests from Jesse Jackson's supporters.
The platform could be the shortest in more than a century: an eight-page document that promises to restore "competence and hope" to the presidency.
The 3,500-word draft was being debated, revised and voted on late today by a 16-member drafting committee. Jackson's supporters are expected to put up a fight on the tax, defense and foreign policy issues.
The drafting committee, chaired by Rep. William H. Gray of Pennsylvania, will turn the work over Saturday to the full 186-member platform committee, which will try to put the document in final form by Sunday.
Possible Floor Fight
But Jackson, the only remaining Democratic challenger to Michael S. Dukakis, has said he may take his fight over such issues as higher taxes on the rich and a Pentagon freeze to the floor of next month's national convention in Atlanta.
The preliminary draft incorporated language on a dozen issues that Dukakis and Jackson representatives agreed to two weeks ago on Mackinac Island, Mich.
But in every significant area of dispute, Dukakis' preferences, not Jackson's, were embodied in the preliminary draft.
Ted Sorensen, the one-time John F. Kennedy speech writer who wrote an earlier platform "discussion paper" for Democratic Party Chairman Paul G. Kirk Jr., said in an interview today, "I am the drafter of the present draft as well."
"It's fairly clear now this will be the shortest platform in over a hundred years," Sorensen said. "It will be a thematic, readable platform. It will not have the traditional, negative cast. Reagan, Republican, Bush--those words aren't even mentioned," Sorensen said.
'To Restore Competence'
The draft is headed "The Restoration of Competence and Hope." It pledges party leaders and elected officials "to restore competence, caring and incorruptibility to the federal executive branch and get it working again fairly for all Americans."
It calls for "more stable defense budgets," appointment of a drug czar and "maintaining the special relationship with Israel" while pursuing peace in the Middle East along the lines laid out in the Camp David accords.
It endorses "freedom of reproductive choice" without mentioning abortion. It calls for an equal rights amendment, advance notice of plant closings and voluntary national public service.