Thursday, December 01, 2005

Psyching Ourselves Out

David Broder has a column in which he blames disillusionment among voters on Bush's purportedly dismal record as president, and says the Congressional Republicans are running away from him in droves in a desperate attempt to keep from losing control of the House to Democrats in the 2006 elections.

I have one question to Mr. Broder about his amazing analytical powers... do they really pay you for this?

There's a lot of disillusionment among the voters, however contrary to Broder's assertions, large numbers of voters are disillusioned with the tactics of the Democrats and the apparent willingness of their attack dogs in the mainstream media. Broder's rewriting of history to support his contention is factually incorrect to the point of being farcical.

Sorry, Mr. Broder. Clinton didn't win the 1992 presidential election because George Bush, Sr., had "played out the string" on the Reagan revolution. Clinton won because Ross Perot was able to siphon off enough conservative voters to give the Democrat a plurality, a rare event in presidential elections which Clinton managed to repeat in 1996. In both elections, the majority of voters chose someone besides Clinton.

Disillusion with the Clintons started early, and not because Clinton couldn't get anything accomplished. Rather, he accomplished too much. Clinton ran as a centrist, appealing to many independent voters who did not like George Bush but who also didn't like progressive Democratic policies. Once he won, however, he quickly revealed himself to be a progressive. It didn't help that the man announced he would break every major campaign promise immediately after he was elected in 1992. Many Americans who were willing to give Clinton the benefit of the doubt, like me (I didn't vote for him but I hoped for the best), saw the disconnect between his words and his actions. Many voters were alarmed by his tax hikes which killed the Bush-initiated economic recovery, his push for meaningless but restrictive gun control, his willingness to tinker with military readiness for political gain, and his attempt to enact government-controlled healthcare. Of all of these, I think the Brady Law and the semiautomatic rifle ban (both laws which have expired without an increase in crime) angered the most activists on the Republican side and led to the Democrats' Congressional defeat in the '94 elections. Clinton evidently agreed when he told an interviewer in 1995 that "the NRA cost us the Congress."

Eight years of the Clintons brought us phrases like "No controlling legal authority," and "It depends on the meaning of the word 'is'." We had 900 FBI files of political adversaries being delivered and examined at the White House. We had illegal campaign contributions from the Chinese People's Army delivered to Al Gore at a Buddhist temple. We had a foot-high printout of Rose Hill billing records turn up in the Clinton's living quarters at the White House two years after they'd been subpoenaed. The image of President Clinton telling us in no uncertain terms that he "did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky" is iconic in its representation of dishonest politicians. And who could forget how the Clintons left the White House; in shambles with keyboards defaced and government property being illegally appropriated (can we just say "stolen?") by staffers and the Clintons themselves. The Clinton Administration was equal parts tragedy and farce, and the real tragedy was that such an intelligent, gifted, charismatic man was so lacking in courage and character that he was an utter failure as a president.

Clinton's lack of courage was most evident in his foreign policy. We also had events like the US effectively surrendering to an African thug who was responsible for the deaths of eighteen US Army soldiers after Clinton sent them in to capture that warlord without allowing the Army to bring armor in theater. After the infamous Battle of Mogadishu, and despite the Rangers' expressed willingness to go back in the next day and finish the mission (this time with proper support), Clinton instead decided to pull our troops out, negotiate with Aidad who was directly responsible for the soldiers' deaths, and abandon the people of Somalia to the warlord's rule. Osama bin Laden realized then that the US under Clinton had no stomach for a confrontation, and so he began a series of terrorist attacks that culminated in the real tragedy of the Clinton Administration: September 11, 2001,

Here we are, five years after Clinton left office, and yet he has left behind a Democratic Party in his image. The 2004 Democratic presidential candidate couldn't make up his mind to save his life: "I voted for the $87 billion [troop funding] before I voted against it." (By the way, Kerry has yet to answer the SwiftVets' charges and sign a Form 180 and release it to the public, as he repeatedly promised during the campaign and even in January of this year.) Congressional Democrats screamed for the chance to vote in support of war with Iraq before the '02 midterm elections; now they're screaming that they want a do-over. And, of course, Bush is attacked for not having a plan even though the plan he enumerated today is the same plan that has been in place since shortly after the end of the war and by all credible accounts (including Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman) it's working. I love this remark from Senator Patrick Leahy:
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called Bush's remarks "nothing more than a spruced up version of more of the same, riddled with feel-good rhetoric that bears little relationship to the facts facing our troops." He questioned why the White House waited until now — more than 2 1/2 years into the war — to lay out publicly its strategy for victory.
How on earth can Bush's plan be "more of the same" yet this is the first time it's been presented?

I'd be a lot less disillusioned if the media would actually report what is going on, for once, instead of only reporting the news that hurts the war effort, that hurts the Bush Administration, or both.

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