Friday, April 21, 2006

A Failed Ideology

There is a big political shift going on, and no I don’t mean the President’s shuffling of the cards in his stacked deck administration, I mean out here, in the real America. Bush is increasingly thought of as an idiot by the public (I don’t know what took so many people so long to figure out what was obvious from the start), his approval numbers keep sliding downward and one of our country’s leading historians, Sean Wilentz, has written a devastating piece about the Bush Presidency for this month’s Rolling Stone, titled, “The Worst President In History?” After reading the article, the natural inclination is to wonder what the question mark is for.

But what is happening now, may be about more than just one man, one failed President and five years of steady decline. It has been an experiment in neo-conservatism, an ideology long thought by those currently in power to offer salvation for this country. Well, they've had their chance to radically realign our government, foreign policy, military and presidential powers to reflect their ideology, and what we are left with is a country unrecognizable to most Americans. The Republican Party, by buying into the neo-conservative agenda and supporting this administration’s every move, may have shattered any hope of maintaining their “permanent majority.”

The American people are becoming increasingly aware of the very serious economic and geo-political problems facing our country and that is a direct result of Bush’s policies exacerbating the problems and bringing them directly to the kitchen tables of working people. The disaster of Bush’s making in Iraq is beginning to affect the people of this country in tangible ways. The war in Iraq is less of an abstract problem when we personally know people who have died or have been wounded in the line of duty, when we see our neighbor struggling to make ends meet while her husband is serving our country overseas, and when the price of gas causes real economic hardship as well as uncertainty about our future energy supplies. Republican rule has led us here, and our current dire predicament is not only a result of failed leadership, but of failed policy that stems from an inherently flawed and dangerous ideology.

If Bush is, in the end, viewed by history as the worst President ever, the only way that we the people won’t share in the blame, is if the truth comes out. The truth about the 2004 election, the truth about the extent of the illegal domestic surveillance, the truth about the lies that this administration peddled in order to lead us to war, the truth about the secret deals that were struck between our government and oil/energy companies, and the truth about how far this administration has gone to cover up all of these things. We are in the process of rejecting Bush, his policies and his objectives, but until we demand an end to the secrecy and reject the notion that there is no need to go back and look at what has been done, we will continue to share in the blame. We don’t need to wait for history to judge this President, we can judge him now, and we can change our place in history by at least attempting to clean up his mess.

Enduring five years of divisiveness, fear mongering, lost jobs and increasing disparity of wealth has made us tired. We are worn out from the decline and fearful about our future, but we are increasingly on the same page. Neo-conservatism was rejected by the left from the very beginning, we saw it as cynical and based on fantasy like assumptions that ignored history and logic, but it is now being rejected by the right as well. Two minority groups, the neo-cons and the religious fundamentalists, have taken control of the Republican Party much to the chagrin of true conservatives and moderates. The reality is, Republicans can’t win without these two extreme groups and the last five years has provided them the opportunity to take root within the Party, and in a two party system, that leaves only one place for those moderates to go. If Republicans want to hold onto their majority, they better purge their party of extremism and the first step is excising this President. It may not help them in the short term, but it could cut the length of time they will be shut out of government. They struck the deal with the devil, now they’ll have to pay the price.

The only way that we can stop the divisiveness in this country is if the Democrats can take the lead. This country can’t handle another President that supports this war. The situation in Iraq is not what we were told it would be, it is a burgeoning civil war that the American people don’t want anything to do with, and without public support, it can’t be won. We need a President that was against this war in the first place, a President that we can be assured won’t lead us down a similar path again, a President that will take bold action in solving the big problems that we as citizens are becoming more and more aware of.

We have to become energy independent, we have to address global warming, we have to invest in our infrastructure, we have to force American companies to invest in our future, we have to make the wealthiest among us sacrifice to bring the rest of us back up (we sacrificed to elevate them) and we have to become one country again. One country with common goals, and a common vision of what our country should be, divisiveness has brought us down, consensus will raise us up. Republicans must take the blame and Democrats must take the lead in finding the high road.

As Mr. Wilentz points out in his article for Rolling Stone, historians agree that Franklin Roosevelt was one of our best Presidents ever. He took control at a critical time in our history and took bold action to correct the problems we faced. Democrats pay a lot of lip service to FDR and laud him as one our Party greats, but what they really need to do right now is embrace the lessons learned from his leadership. We are again at a critical time in our country’s history, now is not the time for timidity and political triagulation, it is time for vision, leadership, honesty, efficiency, openness and action. The status quo is not good enough, and we cannot handle another failed presidency. Electing Republicans will guarantee failure but Democrats must convince us that they can not only mitigate the damage, but repair it as well. It’s what FDR would do.


Anonymous Dale Hippert said...


Nice follow on to the Rolling Stone piece.

Ignoring history and logic is the modus operandi for both the Neocons as well as the wingnutistanians who willingly and ignorantly went along for the ride.

Having a 'premillenial' President preaching to his equally analytically challenged 'choir' was icing
on the cake for the Neocon agenda. But I'll bet even most Neocons underestimated the degree of stone cold ignorance Dubya brung to the table!

Eunuch exclaims, "Sex is cool!"

Blinding Bush with Science (3 comments )
READ MORE: George W. Bush, Global Warming, 2006

"This week, President Bush spoke at a magnet middle school in Maryland to talk up his "American Competitiveness Initiative," emphasizing how important it is for students to think of science as being "cool." If only he had the credibility to argue the point.

"You know, sometimes -- you might remember those days, when you were in middle school, people say, you know, science isn't cool," Bush said.

"Science is not only cool, it's really important for the future of this country, and it's great to have people we call adjunct professors here, to help lend their real-life experiences to stimulate junior high students to the wonders of science."

It's easy to agree with this message. I just wish the messenger knew what he was talking about.

If the president were serious about showing young people how great science is, how about leading by example? Bush could, for example, stop his administration from muzzling scientists at NASA, censoring scientists at the EPA, and punishing scientists who stray from the party line at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey.

For that matter, if Bush really wanted to show kids how great science is, he could reverse course on teaching intelligent-design creationism in public school science classes, he could stop rejecting all scientific evidence as it relates to global warming, he could finally give up on restricting the scientific breakthroughs promised by stem-cell research, he could stop taking scientific advice from a guy who writes fiction, and he could generally give up on using bogus science to justify his political agenda.

That would be cool."

1:37 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

YES! Thank you!

For a while now whenever I see or hear "U.S. policy..." or "the U.S.'s actions in Iraq..." in news reports I've been mentally replacing "U.S." with "Republican". Because that's what we're really talking about when we're looking at the failures of the government in the last 5 years -- the failure of the Republican policies that are directing the government. Iraq descends into chaos and civil war? That's not the U.S.'s fault -- it's the Republicans' fault. The UN sides with Russia and China against the U.S. on how to deal with a potentially nuclear Iran? Not because of the U.S.'s behavior -- because of the Republicans' behavior. Hurricane Katrina a disaster of unnaturally catastrophic proportions? That's not because FEMA doesn't work -- it worked fine all through the Clinton administration -- it's because Republican policies have failed at all levels!

I've always believed that this is intentional, the result of the Grover Norquist School of Government that is behind Republican ideology -- the Republicans believe that government's sole purpose is to funnel federal dollars into the pockets of their friends, so they set out to destroy any other function to "prove" that government doesn't work. They're banking on the fact that most people, when confronted with the propaganda campaign that's been waged by the Republicans since the Reagan era, aren't going to recognize the subtle distinction between the failure of government and the failure of Republicans. And sadly they're probably mostly correct. We can't count on the corporate media to point out the difference, and I haven't seen much from the Democrats that suggests they're willing to counter the Republican narrative -- if anything, most of what I see from the Dems suggest that they've internalized the Republican talking points, talking from the Republican frame of reference and conceding points without even recognizing that they're doing it. I don't see them repairing anything.

Democrats: Putting the Point-Two in America's 1.2-Party System!

2:21 PM  
Anonymous exelizabeth said...

I want a WWFDRD? bumper sticker. I could put it under an ITMFA one.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Betty Cracker said...

Amen and amen! I read the Wilentz piece, and like you, I wondered why he bothered with the question mark.

I do wonder, though, if the majority has learned its lesson. It's encouraging to see Bush's approval ratings crashing through the basement. But let's not forget he had already demonstrated his staggering incompetence and radical ideology before the 2004 election. Even if there were shenanigans in Ohio, tens of millions of people voted for the bonehead fair and square.

I'm still shaking my head over that fact. I thought Kerry was a lousy candidate, but damn! How stupid can people be?

Geocrackr made some good points about the Dems too -- they do seem to have internalized the Repub playbook to an alarming degree. If they don't get off their spineless asses and step on their throats in the fall elections, I don't know when they'll ever get the courage. Maybe a third party will be the only alternative in that scenario. I just don't know.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Liberal girl, you rock!

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen and amen! I read the Wilentz piece, and like you, I wondered why he bothered with the question mark.

It's almost as if Joe McCarthy had become president.

11:34 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Dale--I'm sure the "stone cold ignorance" that Dubya brought to the table was exactly why the neo-cons chose dear leader, but you're right, they must have been pleased by just how vacant he turned out to be.

GeoCrackr--I think you're right about people accepting the propaganda as gospel, until it becomes so obvious that even the knuckle draggers have to admit that the shit really does stink.

Exelizabeth--Now I want a WWFDRD bumper sticker too! Let me know if you find one, or better yet, make one and sell it.

Betty Cracker—The thought that those same tens of millions of people will be going to the polls again in November does keep me up at night.

Michael--Thank you, I try.

Kvatch--I think good old Joe is next in line, or at least a guy who thinks as highly of his tactics as Bushy does of Reagan's.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Rory Shock said...

great writing ... fdr is he even a democrat by today's definition? sure would be great if he could take over tomorrow ...

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Betty Cracker said...

For 2008, I expect the Repubs to again cynically exploit tertiary issues that will bring the religious right voters out in droves -- like they did with gay marriage last time. That was relatively small scale, but enough to tip the balance according to some analyst. I expect a full-court press in 2008.

I'm already seeing the foundation laid. Here in Florida, there was a petition drive to place a proposition on the 2006 ballot to amend the state constitution to exclude same sex marriage, civil unions and recognition of same sex marriages in other states. The drive failed to get enough signatures to put the initiative on the ballots in the upcoming elections. This was not due to the fair-mindedness of FL voters; rather, it was due to a short deadline for getting the signatures. But the organizers have vowed to make sure it is on the ballot in time for the 2008 elections.

The anti-gay group that tried to push this thing through is political savvy. I think they purposely got started late so they wouldn't get the signatures they needed for the 2006 elections. They want to stir up their base with the specter of gay marriage and make sure they turn out in droves in 2008, when the stakes will be higher. Looks like it worked too.

Well, two can play that game. Maybe the Dems should think about ballot questions that appeal to a broad segment of voters but would be antithetical to the Repub base, such as environmental issues, education, etc.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

So yesterday the Dems released their six-point "Democratic Vision". PunkAssBlog (and others) I think successfully deflates it for its complete lack of vision, but I would like to hilite one particularly glaring point: released on Earth Day, the "vision" says absolutely nothing about the environment.

Betty, you're probably right about the Rethugs setting up fake ballot issues to bring out their rabid minions, though I doubt they missed their signature deadline on purpose - that's giving them a little too much credit in their currently disorganized state, plus stirring up their base now won't do them any good 2 years from now. But the Dems can't even make an environmental vision statement on EARTH DAY! What kind of ballot measure theme could they possibly organize?

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...


You're beginning to worry me by exhibiting some very wingnutistanian tendencies!

Specifically, taring with a broad brush, taking matters out of context and not asking the key question: 'does that seem plausible?'

Surely somewhere in this great, still more green than not, country of ours....more forested lands by a smidgen than in 1906...some prominent Dem made an Earth Day speech!

Also, one could reasonably infer an environmentally friendly stance from the implementation of either of the first 4 'vision statements' by a Dem administration.

Not convinced? Then take a look at the official Dem site pasted below, after taking a look at N. Pelosi's website to read what she had to say yesterday,

Today the Party released the six-point “Democratic Vision:”
It promised:

_Honest and open government;


_Energy independence;

_Economic prosperity and educational excellence;

_Expanded health care;

_Retirement security.

Protecting Our Environment

The Democratic Party believes that it is our responsibility to protect America's extraordinary natural resources. The health of our families, the strength of our economy, and the fate of our world all depend on our stewardship of the environment.

We reject the false choice between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. We know instead that farming, fishing, tourism, and other industries require a healthy environment. We know new technologies that protect the environment can create new high-paying jobs. We know a cleaner environment means a stronger economy.

Far too many Americans live with unhealthy air or water quality. Democrats will fight to strengthen the laws that ensure we have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. And Democrats will make sure these laws our enforced. Rising rates of asthma and mercury poisoning are just two of the dire consequences of ignoring environmental problems.

Democrats know that a sensible energy policy is key to a strong economy, our national security, and a clean environment. Democrats are committed to the next generation of affordable and renewable energy for the 21st center and to conservation measures -- like increased CAFE standards -- that will immediately reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Read more about this topic...

12:36 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Yesterday Digby added a particularly trenchant observation of the Cheney Administration's ideology with regard to their foreign policy stance:

Suppose your local police department suddenly threw out all the rules and started acting "crazy" on the theory that the criminals would get scared and stay home. Would that actually make your town safer or more dangerous?

This is such a deeply immature view that I honestly don't know (why) these influential middle aged men are even allowed to drive much less be taken seriously on foreign policy.

Dale - Make sure you don't pull any muscles stretching that far to defend Dem incompetence. The Dems made a major policy statement regarding their "vision", condensed down into six easy-to-digest sound-bite statements, on Earth Day, without referencing or even acknowledging the purpose of Earth Day. Nancy Pelosi adding a web page to her site or "reasonably infer(ring)" a sympathetic interpretation does not a "vision statement" make. I would also point out that the four paragraphs you quote are an expansion of some 11-point "agenda" which is not, you may notice, part of the 6-point "vision statement" released on Earth Day.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

My muscles are just fine, thank you! And the day I defend Dem incompetence will be the first day.

Let's see. Do you think there was a single person attending any Earth Day ceremony who doesn't know that the Dems are the ONLY environmental 'game' in town? And oh, the '11 point agenda' is the Official Agenda of the Democratic Party. Sorry you need to have your hand held on Earth Day and that you have to be reassured about something that everyone who cares about the environment already knows.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Aww c'mon Dale, no need to be deliberately obtuse -- the topic isn't my needy insecurities, or even the Dems' supposed environmental street cred, but the Dems making a symbolic statement without even acknowledging the powerful and important symbol of the day they're making their statement on, which, according to their own agenda, they should be supporting. That's what's called a "failure of messaging".

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...


Obtuse cuts both ways.
And why is is that when anyone sees things differently from you, their
mental acumen comes under assault from you?

Case in point, aside from this, your pissing match with 'The Him'!

You've made a mountain out of a molehill, considering all of the other issues confronting the nation.

Earth Day speeches by Dems
are nothing more than preachments to the choir.

I'll be more concerned about 'failures in messaging' as we approach the mid-terms.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Obtuse cuts both ways.

Ha! - the "I know you are but what am I" defense! A little moldy, but still a classic...

But I must protest! I was giving you the benefit of the doubt by suggesting you were being deliberately obtuse by misrepresenting my point so you could argue against your straw man. For instance, I'm pretty sure I wasn't discussing "all of the other issues confronting the nation," but how "Democrats must convince us that they can not only mitigate the damage, but repair it as well," and illustrating how unlikely a scenario that is if they don't even have enough sense to use an obvious symbol in a symbolic statement.

And aren't we approaching the mid-terms?

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...


'People who live in glass houses....' is equally moldy but no less accurate.

Thank you for the 'kindness' of the benefit of your doubt.

It's not a 'straw man' to argue that your point was disproportionate.

You take the Dems absence of the 'visionary statement' and raise it to a level of disapproval it doesn't really warrant, all things considered.

That you choose do characterize my raising
of 'all things', context, as a 'straw man' does not make it so.

Let's concede that an opportunity was missed to make the 'grand statement' that the Dems are good for the earth and the Rethugs are evil. So what?

I take it that Dem agenda statements on the environment, their track record as more beneficent stewards of same together with the Rethugs record of depredations against the environment, warrant a 'take a deep breath' and get over it response and not the hyperventilating
you've displayed.

I don't need for the Dems to hit every note to want
them as my orchestra. I just know that I want the
cacacaphony of the Rethug
'band' to be replaced.

7:33 AM  

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