Published August 25, 2005
Weapons of mass destruction? Operational links to al Qaeda? Iraq an imminent threat? It matters not that those arguments never panned out. An evil dictator is gone, and it’s all good. Social Security facing a shortfall? Baby boomers no longer able to count on America’s surest and long-lasting entitlement? Even though it’s going to cost more to implement over the next twenty years than it would cost to save Social Security for the next 75 according to our very own vice president, it matters not. You’re going to have “more control” over your accounts, and it’s all good. Meet the real Teflon president. And why should anything stick? As the Washington Post reported on January 15, “President Bush said the public's decision to re-elect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and that there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath.” The election is over, and it’s all good.
Now we have a budget that takes subsidies away from farmers, removes monies from states to fight bioterror, and doubles the co-payment veterans must make for prescription drugs. We have an attorney general who, in his previous role, offered his boss a legal framework that led to abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. But as long as we’re not beheading people, that makes us better than the other guy. And our new secretary of state in her previous job said, on September 9, 2002, "We do know that [Saddam] is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon." Then, when former weapons inspector David Kay’s report came out and she was asked to account for that remark, the response was, “Nobody ever said that it was going to be the next year." But the next year was when we invaded Iraq, lest we forget the timeline here. All this in an administration that vowed to “bring honor and integrity back to the White House,” while claiming higher moral ground than its Left-side competitors.
So, frankly, I’m very happy that they’re in power. They have the Executive Branch, the House, the Senate and the courts. Yes, I know, even though it was the Republican James Imhofe of Oklahoma who vowed to block every Clinton nominee to the federal bench as long as Clinton was in office, we’re the obstructionists. This in spite of the lowest vacancy rate on the federal bench in 13 years and an 88% confirmation rate for Bush appointees, compared to an 81% rate during Clinton’s first term. And in 1993 when Democrat Dan Rostenkowski was indicted, Republicans decided that they, too, would have a rule that their leaders could not hold a post if indicted. Now that their leader Tom DeLay is facing a similar fate, they've thought better of it. If they were Democrats, that would have been a flip-flop. What is it that absolute power does, again?
So, it’s going to be a great four years. And we have a front row seat to watch as Republicans call for bipartisanship. When parties call for bipartisanship what they really want is for you to agree with them. Otherwise, you’re impeding progress. Of course, removing the age-old guarantee of Social Security, cutting veterans benefits, and infringing on our ability to fight bioterror might not exactly mean progress in all quarters.
Nor is progress exemplified by invading a Middle Eastern country and blasting it back to the Stone Age so that we can spend billions rebuilding what we’ve put asunder. And appointing judges that would overturn long-established legal precedents could also be considered — how else can I say it — bad. Somehow, though, I have the feeling that there will be a large number of Americans convinced my views are just Democratic spin. After all, if they have all three branches of government under control, it can only be one thing: all good.
Tell Alan what you think! E-mail him at email@example.com.