Republicans Fall from Grace

When George W. Bush was installed as President of the United States of America by the Supreme Court, a lot of us Democrats really wanted to take him at his word when he said he would be a “uniter, not a divider.” He also said that Democrats were going to be surprised. We sure were. Apparently, George’s way of working with Democrats was to say, “if you’re with me, I’ll cooperate, but if you’re not, we’re going to have a problem.”

Six years later, with American voters handing a mandate to Democrats all over the country to enact change on their behalf, Bush is expected to deliver a speech this afternoon calling for unity. We have heard this story before. On the anniversary of September 11th, Bush made a public call for unity, then followed it by saying on the campaign trail that the Democrats’ only idea for national security would be to “wait until we are attacked again.” Comments like that hardly work to foster a spirit of unity.

I hope that Bush will indeed work with Congress to get something done during his last two years in office, but that hope is tainted by his actions of the past six years.

One of the key points on the Democratic agenda will be to reign in some of the power that the executive has staked out for itself over the past six years. That isn’t likely to meet with much approval from Bush and Cheney, and one blog noted the following:

Bush and Vice President Cheney have made the expansion of executive power one of their hallmarks, and advisers say they do not plan to give up any of the ground they have won without a fight all the way to the Supreme Court. “We’re going to have a fierce constitutional showdown over the boundaries of power between the executive and legislative branches,” one adviser said. “The executive usually wins those battles, so we think we’ll consolidate our gains.”

If America voted for anything last night, it was for checks and balances… For oversight. The fact that this is one particular area where the White House will be unwilling to give any ground doesn’t bode well for the next two years.

For all the talk about “witch hunts,” impeachment has been publicly announced by Nancy Pelosi as being “off the table.” That does not mean that people who have committed crimes will be let off scot-free in a new wave of generosity from the new majority party. People will be held accountable. If the Democrats clean up the system and truly “drain the swamp,” as Pelosi suggested they will, they will be rewarded with more time in another two years. If they spend the next two years simply issuing subpoenas and spinning their wheels going after Republicans, they will prove that they are no better than the party that preceeded them. America voted for change, and that didn’t mean just a change of party. The Democrats asked for the opportunity to change Washington, and now is the time to make good on their promise. The real challenge will be to enact change with no cooperation from the executive. Whatever the words that eminate from the White House this afternoon, we already know the character of George W. Bush. He said one thing in 2000 and then proceeded to rule like a king. He claimed the United States should be “humble” in its dealings with other countries, then when elected, he changed the U.S. foreign policy to one of superiority by military supremacy and reserved the right to pre-emptively attack countries that posed any military threat.

People like George W. Bush do not change. When they are confronted with their transgressions, they stand their ground and show their anger at being caught. The next two years are not going to be easy. I hope the Dems are up for the battle. Our healing as a nation depends on it, as does our standing in the world.

Dems Post Big Wins

Dems Kicks Out BumsAnn Coulter’s bluster about how Dems should traditionally pick up many more seats in this cycle than they will have by the end of the night notwithstanding, the Dems won big tonight. Not only will they control the agenda for at least the next two years, they have picked up gubernatorial seats across the nation. Seats that were previously considered “safe” for Republicans went Democrat. The reasons for big Democratic wins will be debated over the coming weeks and months, but the overall message is clear — America wants a new direction. Now the real work begins. Time to “drain the swamp” and restore America’s faith in its government. Time to reach across the aisle and prove that the Democrats are bigger than their GOP counterparts. Time to reward hard work and not just investment. Time to prove the Democrats can be strong on defense and keep America safe.

Congratulations to Speaker Pelosi. A new day is coming for America.

Sentencing Before the Verdict

So Saddam is going to be hanged. We heard this sentence last week. Our nation invaded another nation, captured its leader, and is now going to execute that leader. Sure, it’s supposedly the Iraqis putting Saddam on trial, but we know the real truth, don’t we?

How do we know that it’s the United States of America behind the sentence? It’s very simple. The sentence was timed to coincide with US elections. Sure, that’s a very cynical comment, but how often do you sentence someone on trial before the verdict is even known? It turns out the verdict on Saddam won’t be ready until Thursday. So why else would it be so important to come in with a sentence of hanging before the verdict is even published?

Time to get out and vote, folks… As former US Deputy Secretary of State said yesterday to a gathering in Australia, “it’s time to turn another face to the world and get back to more traditional things, such as the export of hope and opportunity and inspiration.” When you find yourself agreeing with the same guy who threatened to “bomb [Pakistan] back to the stone age,” you know some serious winds of change are blowing.

On The Road…

Allen Campaign SignI’m attending a spiritual retreat in Alabama this weekend. As I have never really traveled in the south at all, and since I detest flying (I always get sick, and the first few days after the flight my head feels like it’s under water), I decided to drive. I left this morning from Long Island and got into Roanoke, VA around 10pm tonight. It’s odd that I’m driving through all the areas where the nasty battles are happening. As I exited I-495 around Washington and hit I-66, traffic basically stopped, so I decided to take a local road to try to bypass the traffic jam. On the sides of the road were George Allen signs and Jim Webb signs. Tomorrow I’m heading to Tennessee, home of the Corker/Ford battle. Here in Roanoke, there’s an Allen or Webb television ad at virtually every commercial break. There’s also lots of talk about one of Allen’s constituents who was attacked by Allen personnel when he tried to ask the Senator about his sealed police record regarding his first wife and whether or not he spit on her.

I don’t think I’ve been alive at a time where there has been more mudslinging going on. It’s not just the candidates themselves though that seem to be getting in on the act. Even the local news up in NY was getting into the Kerry story, for example. The local FOX affiliate played the clip a few times and, of course, stopped the clip before the part where the audience laughs at Kerry’s poor attempt at paraphrasing a joke. You see, the audience “got it,” and understood that Kerry’s remark was directed at George Bush, and not at the troops. But most talk shows and television coverage didn’t play the laughter. They cut the clip short. They also didn’t mention that one sentence before Kerry made the poor attempt at paraphrasing a joke, he had been talking about George W. Bush. It’s called context, and it’s the reason the local audience got the “joke.”

I was rather shocked that John McCain came out immediately and condemned Kerry for… wait a minute. What am I saying? I shouldn’t be shocked that he’d come out and condemn Kerry for allegedly “insulting the troops.” McCain sold his soul to the GOP when he spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention on behalf of Bush.

You see, the Republicans all know what Kerry meant. When Sean Hannity says he’s outraged at Kerry’s statement, he’s lying. As if John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam Veteran, would ever insult the troops or claim that the military was made up of uneducated people. Even Bill O’Reilly of all people defended Kerry by claiming he didn’t think Kerry would commit career suicide by saying such a thing. The Republicans are just looking for any quote they can take out of context and throw it back at people with mock outrage. It’s so transparent that I hope most people can see this for what it is — an attempt to distract from the real issues of the day. Kerry said as much in a formal apology printed on his website, where he managed to get in a very apropos comment that “It is clear the Republican Party would rather talk about anything but their failed security policy.”

It appears there are only so many dirty tricks the GOP can pull. Hopefully America now has the entire playbook written down through observation and is ready to usher in a new era of responsibility and accountability by putting Democrats in power. And lest anyone think the Democrats will be just as inactive as this most recent Congress, Nancy Pelosi was on the Ed Schultz show this afternoon detailing all the things a newly elected Democratic congress would accomplish in its first 100 hours. Priorities include raising the minimum wage, cutting education loan interest rates in half, implementing all the recommendations of the 911 commission, reversing GOP legislation that forbids the government to negotiate drug prices, etc.

There really is a difference between the parties this year. I guess we’ll find out in a few days whether or not the negative ad campaigns and lowest-common-denominator appeals of the Republican talking heads have further turned people off, or if they’ve been effective.