A draft of a Democratic Party foreign policy document that blasts the Reagan administration for engaging in "injudicious confrontation" in Central America, "ideological ineptitude" in southern Africa and "puerile name-calling" with the Soviet Union was itself the brunt of some name-calling yesterday by a group of moderate and conservative Democrats.
"We're not at all satisfied with that document," said Penn Kemble, chairman of the executive committee of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority (CDM), a conservative group trying to press a more muscular foreign policy on the Democratic Party. "It talks about world problems as if they were mainly the creation of Ronald Reagan's rhetoric," he added.
The draft is being prepared by a task force of the Democratic Policy Commission, an official arm of the Democratic National Committee. It is intended, once approved in its final form, to serve as a "framework for discussion" rather than an official party policy statement.
"I don't think it's excessively anti-Reagan," said Rep. Stephen J. Solarz (D-N.Y.), who heads the task force. "And I think that kind of concern would be more appropriately expressed by participants in a Republican task force. . . . If we have no differences with the administration, we might as well all join the Republican Party and forget about the next election."
Solarz noted that of the 33 members of his task force, only CDM President Peter R. Rosenblatt had expressed reservations about the draft's thrust. "The draft represents the consensus party view," Solarz said. "He may not agree with that view, but it reflects the votes we as a party have cast in Congress on these issues over the past five years."
Rosenblatt and other CDM leaders held a news conference yesterday to set forth their foreign policy principles. One asserts that the United States will "assist those abroad who are struggling against tyranny of the extreme Right or the extreme Left"; another states that "the Soviet Union. . . constitute[s] the gravest threat to freedom, peace and progress in the world."
Those principles are difficult to distinguish, CDM leaders acknowledged, from Reagan's doctrine. But rather than accept the charge of me-tooism, they insisted that, as torchbearers of the late Washington senator Henry M. (Scoop) Jackson's wing of the Democratic Party, they got there first.
"Ronald Reagan has come a hell of a lot further to the left than the Democratic Party has come to the right," said CDM Chairman Ben J. Wattenberg. "If the Reagan administration adopts these views, why should we complain? The more the merrier," Rosenblatt said.
The CDM held its news conference the day before Solarz is to lead a foreign policy roundtable discussion for the Democratic Policy Commission. At the end of the conference, Kemble distributed copies of the commission's draft and complained that it reads "like a partisan document rather than a statement of policy."
The draft was written by Solarz and Ted Sorensen, who was an adviser to President John F. Kennedy. The task force includes most leading House Democrats on foreign policy committees as well as figures from Democratic administrations, including Clark Clifford, Harry McPherson, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Sorensen and Stansfield Turner.
In its opening pages, the draft stakes out a rigorously middle-ground position on the major foreign arguments of the age: "The United States can neither police the world nor retreat from it"; "the United States must never plunge into needless use of force or shrink from its timely use when necessary"; "We must be prepared to stand up to the Soviets whenever necessary and to sit down with them whenever possible."
The body of the 23-page document attacks Reagan administration policy and rhetoric on arms control, southern Africa, Central America and human rights. It also lists congressional roll call votes in those areas in which at least 70 percent of Democrats took a position different from the administration's.
Solarz and Rosenblatt both said yesterday they hope to work out "accommodation" on the draft, although Solarz said he did not expect major changes.
CDM leaders said elements of the party remain out of step with the country's mood. "America has shifted to the right [on foreign policy issues], and the activists and some of the leaders of our party have not responded to the shift," said Rep. Dave McCurdy (D-Okla.), who is crafting a compromise bill on aid to the Nicaraguan contras.
Kemble said a "post-post-Vietnam generation of Democrats," typified by McCurdy, is emerging. "They're asking themselves, 'Do I have a long-term future in politics if the Democratic Party continues to be thought of as a party of weakness and retreat?' " he said.