Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Pox is only on the Republican House

With the complete mismanagement of America under the Bush Presidency, lots of Republicans are disgusted. Many center-right blogs I read have people drawing a strong line between their conservatism and Bush's Republicans. The Republican Party is in serious trouble. On Monday CBS News (.pdf) released a survey showing 71 percent of Americans believing the country is headed in the wrong direction and just 33 percent of Americans approving of President Bush. That is overwhelmingly positive for Democrats, but the internals of the poll brought even better news. A majority of Americans say they want Democrats rather than Republicans to control Congress (51 percent to 34 percent). That's the largest gap recorded by AP-Ipsos since Bush took office. Even 31 percent of conservatives want Republicans out of power.

So what are Republican loyalists and conservatives to do? Dignan is so disgusted that he has declared he may not vote in 2006. (Mysteriously gone from his blog, Google has cached it, scroll down to March 17 2006). Then he contemplated he would run for office, but finally he has just settled on blaming our 'Reactive Government'. I would too, really. A 'pox on both their houses' is much easier to live with then to look at the shambles of the Republican Party and wonder "Is this what I've worked so hard for?" or "Who are these fools?" or "I believed in you guys and you haven't represented me one bit!"

There is only one problem with Dignan's answer. He's wrong. The Pox is only on the Republican House (and Senate and White House). Let's look at the examples he gives that so frustrated him.

Iraq War - Dignan concedes that the War in Iraq has been completely mismanaged, but we didn't have any choice because of Bush Sr. and Clinton's inaction. Slow down there Dignan! Didn't have any other options? Sanctions established under Bush Sr. and enforced under Clinton were clearly working. If we needed to drop a dictator, we could have made the humanitarian argument. The world joined us in pushing for humanitarian intervention in Haiti, former Yugoslavia, several west African nations. The problem is that Americans wouldn't have wanted to fight. Bush and company used the fear of WMDs as a precursor for the war. When we found out that the sanctions were working, it now looks like Bush and co were playing fast and loose with the facts. You can't put the blame for how poorly the war has played out so far at the feet of the Democrats.

Illegal Immigration - It has been internal Republican struggles that has stymied movement on illegal immigration. Democrats have been very consistent on this. Democrats have supported easy and legal immigration for decades. Their support is muted today because they are afraid they'll be swiftboated and cast as in favor of asking Osama Bin Laden to come across the Rio Grande. However, Republicans have two vocal and opposed wings. The first is the nativist wing. The wing represented by Patrick Buchanan who wants severe restrictions on immigration to the US. Members of this wing have a strong visceral reaction to immigration and are the foot soldiers for candidates manning phonebanks, pounding the pavement and planting the yard signs. The second wing is the corporate wing. The wing that keeps its meat packing plants churning 24/7, berries picked and shelves stocked because of lax enforcement of immigration laws. The corporate wing keeps the candidates in the money. Both wings need each other, even though they are diametrically opposed. With that sort of internal tension, a politician has his hands tied. Nothing will or can happen.

The Fuel Crisis - Again, Dignan wants both paint both parties as being at fault. I don't think he's being fair. Democrats, buttressed by strong pro-environmental groups, have been pushing for alternative energy and higher efficiency since the 1970s. It is true that Clinton didn't support higher CAFE standards during the 1990s because he was told it would slow down the economy. However, that pales in comparison to the Republican Party that has stood in the way of higher efficiencies and would rather just drill their way to cheaper to gas. It shows a complete detachment with the law of non-renewable resources - 'If you use it, it is gone.' Again, money speaks. Energy companies give overwhelmingly to the Republicans.

Can I point out a few other areas where the Republican government has failed miserably?
  • Lobbying reform
  • Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit
  • Hurricane Katrina (before, during and after)
  • Budgeting and fiscal responsibility

And that is with control of all three branches of government.

Dignan argues for term limits as the answer. I guess he assumes all are guilty until proven innocent. There are 535 federal representatives in Congress. Some are slimebags. Some are drunks. However, many of them are decent, hardworking individuals. In what other profession do we say, "As soon as you get some experience, you must quit." Term limits do exactly that. Want to clean up Congress? Call your representative. Start a blog. Give time or money. On a grand scale, America would be better off keeping the money and power separate.

There is much to be done and the Republican Party have shown they can't do it. It is time for a change.

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