Thursday, November 09, 2006

Post Election Lessons

We now have a little over 24 hours after the elections. While some of the contests are still undecided, it is safe to call both the House and Senate for the Democrats. I think congratulations are in order for the Democratic Party. I honestly didn’t think they could do it. The elections were fair and honest elections, and the DNC gave the Republicans a “thumpin”. So what lessons can we, the President, the newly elected members of congress and the senate, and House Speaker to be Pelosi take from this?

First, I honestly believe the American voters are tired of elected officials not doing the job they were sent to Washington to do. I support the Republicans, but they really have not done anything since the last election but squabble amongst themselves. To many times Republicans like Senators McCain and Graham have fought hard to get on TV, and not fought hard to get issues solved. I have been and am still frustrated about that. The newly elected Congress needs to go to Washington and actually accomplish something. Social Security, Illegal Immigration, and Tax reform (think Fair Tax Act), are all issues that have been touched on over the last few years but have had nothing really done about them. These are all issues that must be solved for our country to continue on. I would recommend that Democrats and Republicans both pick one and work to solve it before the 2008 elections.

I think the voters have had enough of the name calling and finger pointing in Washington. The voters want to see their elected officials act like statesman, and there are far too many examples from the last few years were both sides of the aisle have failed to do that.

No one can question that Tuesday’s results were a clear message that the voters feel something different has to be done in Iraq. I am going to try and predict the future so bear with me. I think that some of the far left voters are going to be surprised and find that a time table for withdrawal from Iraq will not be set by the new congress. Any timetable that is set in stone simply gives our enemies a finish line. A set exit date says, “If we can just hold out till then, the Americans will run away.” Iraq is also very different from Vietnam. In Vietnam, when we left, and when we stopped helping our allies, the North Vietnamese moved in to where we were, they killed our allies and took over. In Iraq if we leave, the terrorist will move in, Iran and Syria will set up a new government, and the terrorist will kill our allies. But there is one other step our enemies will take that they didn’t in the 1970’s, the terrorist will follow us home and attack us here. There can be no safe and honorable exit from Iraq without a stable government in Iraq. I think the Democrats know this, and while they won’t say it publicly, they will act on it.

I think the next two years could be very interesting depending on whether or not Republicans and Democrats learn anything from November 7, 2006.


Domesticated Dog said...

I agree with you closing statement: The next two years will be very interesting.

It seems that the DNC and GOP have provided a great deal of entertainment value in the last 6 years and advertising outlets have made countless dollars selling advertising space on programs and in venues where politicians talk about their greatness. You pointed out McCain and Graham and the TV appearances and you statement is appreciated.

These guys are spending way too much time on TV. There was very little new legislation passed in the last session, because there was no one there. Each of these members of congress receives a great deal more in terms of compensation than just a salary and the need to demonstrate that they are worthy of it. The campaign for the 2008 nominations has been going on for the last two years and too little seems to be expected from our nations most important and, perhaps, influential employees.

Today, you were able to see Bush and Pelosi make nice. It was laughable. These two have been knifing each other for so long, the mere fact that they now talk of working together is disgusting. Rumsfeld seems to have received the axe to pleased the opposition, it looks like he has been sacrificed as a peace offering.

I will agree with you that the Dems will be far less left in the coming session. The Dems still have a lot of work to do too prove that they can win a presidential election. As you know they've done pretty poorly the last couple time around. With Bush's approval ratings as low as they had been and the slog we were already engaged in Iraq, no WMD, no Osama Bin-Laden, and the litany of obvious lies told, Kermit the Frog should could have brought in a majority of votes against the incumbent assuming he and Ms. Piggy tied the knot and stopped just shacking up. (Basically, I'm saying that the Whitehouse is not a swinger’s mansion. (Or is it?) And, the Dems are still way behind on a number of moral issues that they have adopted or failed to distance themselves from. The issue of gay marriage and partial birth abortion will still play big to large audiences and the Dems and the Dems have failed to demonstrate how they will re-establish themselves in the churches and among the God-fearing.

Andy D said...

Domesticated Dog, I always enjoy your comments and think that perhaps you and I aren't too terribly far apart on our political beliefs. However, I have to challenge you on one of your points in this comment. You state as one reason that the Republicans should have lost big was the "...litany of obvious lies told." I am assuming (and understand what that does to you and me) that you mean by Bush. This is an item I constantly challenge people when I talk politics face to face. If you are talking about pre-Iraq, please give an example of a lie Bush told before we got there. I will accept any lie you chose as a starting point for discussion. I don't want to put words in your mouth, so I will let you respond before I push on. In addition, you could be talking about lies by other Repulicans over the last few years, of which I must admit there have been some. I look forward to your response, respectfully...

Domesticated Dog said...

Mr. D,
Thanks, I enjoy all of your posts. the comments are compliments.

Perhaps lie was too strong a word and, then again, perhaps not. The claim the Bush administration made that there was link to Al Qaeda seems to have been false and there has been some waffling by the presiedent and his own staff about that. It seemd pretty clear that they were indicating that Iraq was part and parcel with Al Qaeda, but upon later review their position has been revised.

Then there is Ye Olde WMD and the clear and present danger Iraq was supposed to pose to the US. This is another grey area of sorts. I conced Iraq pursued weapon programs in the past, and concede that Saddam used WMD (bios not nukes) on citizens of his own country and the Iranians. But, there was an absence of evidence of modern weapons program capableof producing a nuke and the previous inspections following the Desert Storm invasion uncovered the primitive Calutron device that was using to enrich his Uranium. The device was destroyed and there are photos of it. But that was more than adecade ago and alot of countries were working on nuke programs then like Pakistan and India.

If you recall, the UN inspectorrs were able to comb the country and were only able to present the absence of evidence - the proof of nothing. And, Rumsfeld used as argument that he knew Iraq had the weapons of mass destruction a and nuclear program because they couldn't find it. He used the absence of evidence as part of his evidence. I took a couple classes in symbolic logic, but didn't need them to see the flaw. Almost fell out of my chair laughing.

And the chemical weapons that he used before were a gift from the US and manufactured by Merck (in Maryland I believe). Iraq didn't even have the capacity at the time of the invasion to produce significant quantities of the weapons. Or, at least the evidence presented failed to support that they did.

The opinions that I hold are not Johnny-come-lately's, but are recollection of the opinions that I had during the run up.

As far as a Saddam Al-Qaeda relationship, that is unlikely on the face of it, because it would have been a threat to Saddam himself to have Al-Qaeda within his borders. I have spoken and worked with Iraqi's and Saddam power really didn't extend that far out of Baghdad - which is part of the reason such extreme measures were used to control the population.

Then there are other administrative slip ups like the Valerie Plane (pardon me if I spell it wrong) thing. There was a general lack of honesty here.

Now, that said, I am not being partisan. Chuck Sumer is awful and dirty, and an egregious partisan when he needs to be, John Kerry is an opportunist, and Al Gore would have won the 2000 election if he had just been himself. I voted for Bush in 2000 - he was the better choice in the absence of any disaster and his stance initially seemed to be one of protection of civil liberties.

I think are views are similar in many ways, however, we may differ on the amount of deception that we have percieved in the last few years. Do you realy believe that politicians are honest anyway?

I got to stop here. I'm goinjg to read you recent post.

Andy D said...

Thanks for the response. I am going to take your points one at a time. The point I wanted to illustrate with my question was that I don’t think it is accurate to say that President Bush lied to the American people prior to our invasion of Iraq. If you want to argue that he made poor decisions or that his policy is a failed policy that is an entirely different topic. But I think it is inaccurate to say that the President lied and I hope to address the points you made.

First, you argue that the administration at least hinted that Saddam was involved with or trying to cooperate with Al –Qaeda. I don’t remember President Bush using that as a reason for invasion. If I remember correctly (and my wife says my memory isn’t great), President Bush went out of his way to argue that Saddam and his regime represented a clear and present danger all by themselves. But for the sake of argument, lets pretend that we used a potential link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda as a reason for going to war. This reason would have been valid. Documents that were captured by our military after we captured Baghdad show that Saddam was actively trying to recruit Al-Qaeda’s participation in an operation of some sort. There are numerous references to Saddam brining representatives from Al-Qaeda into Baghdad and “wining and dining” them for lack of a better word. While it doesn’t look like there was an established relationship, it is only because Al-Qaeda either didn’t want it yet, or hadn’t decided what commit they wanted from Saddam.

I want to respond to the WMD claim by looking back at the world before we attacked Iraq. Everyone believed that Saddam had WMD’s. Even Saddam’s own generals thought he had WMD’s. When the US invaded and began pushing towards Baghdad, Saddam’s generals went to him and asked for the WMD’s to use against the Americans. The response from Saddam was that there were none for them to use. Interviews with those generals since our occupation show that the Iraqi generals believed Saddam had WMD’s up to that point in the war. If Saddam’s own generals believed that Iraq had them, how was Bush to know any different? And if you wish to argue this was an intelligence failure, which is a valid point. However, a failure of intelligence by the world community is a far cry from President Bush lying to get us into war.

The Plame case is an interesting one. I followed this pretty close, and all along there were reporters who said that eventually the truth will come out, and everyone is going to be disappointed because it is a non issue. I won’t recap the entire history for space, but based on the Special Prosecutors investigation, it now appears that President Bush’s administration was unaware that Mrs Plame was ever listed as “covert”. There is still some discussion regarding whether or not she was classified as covert when her husband went on his now infamous mission on behalf of the CIA. The administration was cautioning reporters from trusting Mr. Wilson’s take on things because of some extraneous circumstances to his entire trip. One of these extraneous circumstances was that Mr. Wilson’s wife was instrumental in him getting the assignment in the first place. There are two important points to remember in this discussion, an investigation later decided that Mr. Wilson’s entire findings from his trip were at a minimum wrong, and at most grossly incompetent. The Administration was right to caution reporters from putting to much stock in Mr. Wilson’s claims. Secondly, if there was any wrongdoing on the part of the President or his advisors, I feel confident Fitzgerald would have charged those individuals. As it is, the only charge brought by the Prosecutor was perjury. This charge had absolutely nothing to do with the original investigation and was only based on testimony. The Prosecutor accused no one of intentionally outing Mrs. Plame. You may disagree with the administrations interpretations of Wilson’s trip to Nigeria, but they were defendable interpretations, and not fabrications of any sort.

To answer your last question, I do believe there are politicians out there who lie all the time. I think there are those who lie some of the time when it helps them out. I also think there are politicians who make bad decisions, but they are just bad decisions and not actual lies. I hope this gives you some new information to examine President Bush. He has made bad decisions, but I don’t think he has lied to the American public.