Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bush: Excelling Where Kerry Never Could

In recent days the thought has occurred to me that perhaps in some way we are fortunate that Kerry lost the 2004 election.

I mean, okay, George W. Bush is going to be one very, very expensive lesson for the American people to learn, but he's tearing apart the Republican party more effectively than John Kerry -- or pretty much any other Congressional Democrat -- ever could.

Since the re-election, America has come to understand just what "compassionate conservatism" is all about: borrowing billions to take away the social security safety net and put it in the care of Wall Street; promoting cronies and their roommates to management positions at federal disaster agencies; protecting the credit industry while inflation rises and wages stagnate; cutting short a vacation to attempt to intervene in the life of one woman in a swing state; flying off to California to accept a souvenir guitar while a Category 5 hurricane bears down on a major city, etc., etc., etc.

Oh yeah. Iraq and that whole "War on Terror" thing. No, we haven't found Osama bin Laden, but Bush is about to use his veto power for the first time: to ax a bill that passed the Senate 90-9 on tightening the definitions of torture and appropriate handling of foreign detainees.

The saddest part is that Bush is just handing control of the country to Democrats, but there isn't a single person stepping up to the plate. Come on, folks. Republicans have lined up the lid on their own coffin; let's nail it shut.


Esther said...

I agree he's made a lot of mistakes. I still like him for a few reasons: namely, the War on Terror which I think must be fought (even if we haven't caught bin Laden yet. Security, that's why I like Bush.

Steve said...

Esther-The President and his administration showed in the wake of Katrina they have NO clue as to handle an incident. Do you seriously think that things would have been different had Katrina been a bomb of some sort?

It will be interesting to see what happens. Usually the party in office surrenders seats in Congress during mid-term elections. I think the question is whether Democrats can take control of either or both Houses from the Republicans. I have my doubts, especially when you have the likes of Senator Reid and Congresswoman Pelosi in charge in their respective houses.

I don't know what the answer is but I am not sure putting the Democrats in charge will help. Especially if Hillary, who currently supports the war is the standard-bearer. What becomes the difference between the two parties?

Andy said...

It's not just the response to Katrina that's disheartening and terrifying; report after report shows the government just is not following through on the vital recommendations made on matters of homeland security following 9/11. For example, they caved on urgent warnings to improve security around chemical plants because the corporations said it was too expensive; just like with Katrina, where in the months and years before the hurricanes officials pleaded for more money to improve the levees and naturalists urged restoration of the barrier islands, a few million dollars spent could have saved billions when disaster struck, not to mention many lives.

Going to Iraq has done absolutely nothing to improve the security of the U.S. at home; terrorists used our invasion of Iraq to justify -- to themselves at any rate -- the attacks in Madrid and London. We are not in Iraq fighting the people who attacked us on 9/11, we're there fighting new enemies who've been inspired to acts of atrocity by the carnage we've wreaked in their homeland. Where we needed to build friendships, we've created hatred.

I'm glad you feel safer, but I certainly don't.

Courtney said...

Andy, I think you're dead on about how the administration is self-destructing before our very eyes (although that won't hand us the election, since we don't know what to do in the wake, evidently!) Even my mother, the staunch Republican, told me today that he's gotten himself into quite a bit of hot water, and she (the fiscal republican emerges) doesn't know where all this supposed money is coming from to pay for it all. "He's going to have to raise taxes." I never thought I'd see the day.

Jess said...

You're right. It's the Democrats' for the taking. I just hope they don't mess it up (as they're so good at doing). Nail the lid shut, indeed!

little-cicero said...

The tax cuts are the greatest contribution this administration has made. They WILL stimulate the economy as occurred after Reagon's tax cuts, and I think the Left knows this, so you want to take away this contribution for your own partisan objectives. Ultimately, Economic Conservatives will be rallied when the tax cuts yield their results, Security Conservatives will rally when the war yeils success, and Social Conservatives will rally when Roe v Wade is shot down. This Right-Wing Conspiracy to reunite conservatives may happen in one year, or it may happen in 10 years, but look out if there's a Republican in office when it does happen!

Esther said...

I agree that if there is a disaster the whole Katrina thing looks bad. I blame that a lot more on the state of Louisiana then on the Feds though. There have been some really bad hurricanes in Florida and they cleaned things up and nowhere near as many people died. That is because the state of Florida takes this more seriously and has better plans than Louisiana. New Orleans in particular should have been looked after better. I mean, it's like a death trap waiting to go underwater. It amazes me that it's lasted these couple hundred years as it is. I would add that I read the levees would have had to be fixed during the Clinton administrtion in order to finish them in time to protect against a hurricane of Katrina's magnitude. So it's not just Bush's fault.

When I mention fighting terrorism I am only talking about the part of the war that is not in the U.S. I do not mean the potential for disaster problems which, in all honesty, scares me. I have done a lot of reading on the potential of a terrorist detonating a dirty bomb in a major U.S. city within the next ten years and yeah, I think we need to do a better job protecting our borders.

Bush's plan is regime change. It's American, it's arrogant, but commercial republics do not fight other commercial republics. Check the stats.

I also think we need missile defense and Bush is spending very little money on that.

My main point is that Bush fights, and right now we need someone who fights. We need someone better than Bush who fights, but at least he does fight.

Hillary's just supporting the war to get the conservative support. I don't really care though because I'm already pretty convinced she will win.

Esther said...

LC: Reagan's tax cuts occurred under very different circumstances. We are all going to be paying dreadfully high taxes and we sure won't have any social security money.

Esther said...

Andy: We had terrorist attacks all over the world before 9/11 and before Iraq, we would have them not matter what afterwards. Terrorists do not go away when they are ignored nor do they try to be friends with the people they are trying to kill. I don't think that would be any different.

But if you like I don't agree with us going to war in Iraq when we did anyway. I think the timing stinks and we lost a lot of valuable allies doing it and it has stretched us too thin.

Andy said...

Jeez, a lot to respond to.

LC: um, the tax cuts are a disaster. Pretty much every economic indicator out there points toward a major economic crisis in the near future. Tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy and for corporations do not stimulate the economy. There is no such thing as trickle-down economics, trust me. There is only trickle-up economics. Give money to the poor and they will spend ends up in the pockets of the rich and gets recycled through taxes. Give money to the rich and...well, they invest it and nothing happens. If five years aren't enough time to show that corporate tax cuts don't create jobs, then I don't know what you need.

Esther: no one is blaming "just Bush" for Katrina; but the fact remains, he's been in office for five years now, and under Clinton, FEMA was one of America's proudest agencies. As a matter of public record, Bush repeatedly refused to fund the improvements that were necessary to reduce the damage of a catastrophic hurricane that had long been listed as an inevitability. As to whether we should have had a major city in a region that vulnerable, that's also not Bush's fault. But you can be sure he's not leading the discussion about the wisdom of rebuilding there...other than his desire to sit on Trent Lott's porch.

I understand that you were talking about the foreign War on Terror, and that's what I meant also: not only am I sure it's NOT helping, I'm sadly convinced it's making everything much, much worse. I have never, ever bought the line, "fight them there so we don't fight them here." Why are we FIGHTING them anyway? Maybe if we'd adopt some fair policies in that region, maybe if we stopped sending ambassadors over there to insult them by presuming they'd all live like Americans given the choice, they'd stop hating us.

And Esther, your comment about terrorism occurring before 9/11, after and as a factual inevitability needs to be directed to George Bush, not me. He's the one that acts as if nothing before 9/11 occurred and the one that keeps promising us that by winning the war in Iraq, whatever that means because he sure hasn't told us, that we will be able to defeat terrorism.

Nonsense. You can't stop a determined terrorist. There will always be crazy radicals, someone will always be hating you. And it needn't be Muslim extremists. The War on Terror wouldn't have stopped the Oklahoma City bombing. What we need is to be prepared; and what we need to do, rather than slaughtering Arab children and their mothers, is to start attacking the image the Arab world has of us by really trying to help them, rather than fulfilling bin Laden's prophecies.

Steve said...

Andy...I am a little concerned if you are saying... Let the battle be fought here. I just wanted to clarify that. I am assume that is not what you are saying. The Republican mantra since 9/11 has been that we have NOT been attacked on U.S. soil since those tragic events. They believe that by taking the fight to the other nations they have made us safer. It "seems" that is true.

If we look at the conflict in the Middle East as an example. We will be fighting this religous war for decades. Our nieces, nephews and their children will be funding and fighting this pseudo war.

The question is what does the future of the United States look like? President Bush promised to be a uniter not a fighter. Well we can see where that campaign promise got us. Do we have an opposition party that will be a party of ideas and promote change and will we be better off with them in power? Those are my questions.

Esther said...

Andy: The Katrina stuff was directed at Steve's points and the discussion of the foreign war was also to clarify for Steve, but I forgot to put his name in, sorry.

As for the rest, we really don't disagree as much as we think we do. I am all for diplomacy instead of war. I do, however, believe that terrorists are the ones taking innocent lives and need to be fought here or there. But that's probably the only point on which we really differ very strongly.

In th end, we have somewhat different worldviews and I can look at yours and see what is good about it and what I disagree with and you can do the same with mine. Debating the details will probably never resolve anything, so I'm just going to let my previous comments stand and continue reading your blog because I enjoy it and reconsidering my own thoughts because I am not afraid of being wrong. :o)

Andy said...

Oh, I'm absolutely not suggesting that we should sit around and wait to deal with terrorists on our own turf.

I'm saying that terrorism is far more complex than simply one group of people with some training camps in Afghanistan that we could bomb and then end terrorism. Terrorism will not end even if we manage to establish real democracy in Iraq.

Yes, it's true that America has not been attacked since 9/11, but hopefully that's because of increased security and greater attention being paid to threats. I'm not above giving credit where credit is due.

However, incidents of terrorism globally have increased exponentially since we invaded Iraq. As someone who rides the New York subways daily, London and Madrid are forever in my mind. I don't think there is any way an attack can be prevented; I regard it as an inevitability. We must be prepared; Katrina would indicate the federal government is powerless now, so let's hope municipalities take notice.

The only way to defeat the threat of terrorism by radical Islamists is to defeat support for it within the Arab world; and the only way to do that is not to bomb women and children and show videos of desecrated corpses, etc., but to really play a positive role in the Middle East. This means taking an objective stance on Israel, and it means not installing puppet dictators like Saddam Hussein, among other things.

I think many Americans think the Arabs are sitting in tents somewhere tending their goats without benefit of CNN and they don't know what's really going on in the world. Trust me, they know that President Bush is considering vetoing legislation that would prevent him from torturing Muslim prisoners. They know.

little-cicero said...

Economic indicators say there is a recovery about. Gas prices are restraining growth, as well as the Chinese competitor, but the so-called "housing bubble," contrary to your Greenspan yellow tape-economics, is still growing, which points to the fact that people are still doing well.

Tax cuts go to everyone, as well as the investor class. Investment helps a great deal, especially since those who invest large sums over the long-term stabilize the market with their consistency. "It's the Economy Stupid" and the economy is not helped along by higher taxation, it's helped across the board by tax cuts, especially on the supply side. By increasing taxes, you may balance the budget, but, in a recession, all you accomplish is an increased cost of living, higher inflation, lower investment, and less success in the private sector. That's why Reagonomics is better than Clintonomics in the recessional portion of the Economic Cycle.

little-cicero said...

Attacks are most common in countries whose population is lukewarm, and whose leaders are unsupported on the War On Terror. As long as they know that our leader will stay the course and then some if there's an attack, they will avoid attacking. Like the Zawahiri letter says, first take back Iraq, then the rest of the world (see my post "Playing With the Same Set of Dominoes"