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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Republicans: 'tis the media « Previous | |Next »
April 3, 2006

The battle for Baghdad between Shiia and Sunni militias has begun. So where do the Americans stand now? Do they have a plan? Other than "whatever it takes", or the empty slogans of "a long struggle" "promoting democracy and opposing tyranny" or "taking the fight to the enemy." How does that connect to fighting a counterinsurgency?

Nick Anderson

The Republican Whitehouse is being judged harshly by fellow conservatives. The hawks and war backers blame the media for the misfortunes in Iraq and difficulties in America as the midterm congressional elections loom larger on the horizon. Gee, and here's me thinking that the political right has both feet firmly planted inside the dominant corporate media structures. Silly me.

Update: 4 April
Are the Democrats any better? Do they have a plan? Do the Democratic politicians have a serious plan for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Are the Democrats making it clear that enough's enough? Are they saying no to an open-ended commitment in Iraq. What are they saying about the civil war in Iraq? Do they acknowledge this?

From the bits I've read the Democrats do not have a serious plan for troop withdrawal. They appear to be in afraid of the Republican charge of "cutting and running". They seem to be happy to sit and let the Iraq war continue to cause further domestic political damage to the Republicans.

Personally I'd like to see the Democrats get control of the House later this year and for the Republicans to lose control of Congress.Then the Republicans could no longer block the Democrats from conducting genuine investigations backed by the subpoena power of Congress into the corruption surrounding the granting of 'rebuilding contracts' in Iraq to the US crooks and profiteers.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:37 PM | | Comments (15)


The Democrats dont need ideas. They have a recent history of better governance than the Republicans. I suspect that is why Mark Warner will come to the fore in 2008, he has a history of good governance in Virginia and would fit that media-image/story well.

Democrats don't need ideas? They just wait for the Republicans to make enough mistakes for COngress to fall into their laps?

Gary, Yeh pretty much. Apparently the polls for the President are the best indicator of the outcome in congressional elections. The republicans got their majority when Clinton's polls were in the toilet. Bush has put his party in the same position.

I dont think their policies have to be beyond they represent good governance (not incompetence), they will balance the budget, and pay down the deficit.

That is probably simple enough for the media.


pray tell me how do the Democrats plan to balance the budget and pay down the deficit?

Don't you need some policies about globalization for that? Is not US manufacturing employment is in long-term decline--eg., in the car industry?

From where I sit in Adelaide Australia there are lots of squeals in Washington about the yawning US trade deficit with China. You know the one: unfair Chinese competition is annihilating US manufacturing industry and “stealing American jobs”.

Democrats have been playing their equivalent of parlimentary theatre in Congress lately trying to install a PAYE policy on budgets. Basically only spend dollars you already have. That is a policy of good governance. They dont have the numbers so it is theatre atm.

The other elephant in the life raft is defence spending. Defence spending consumes about 650 billion a year. America's closest military competitor spends about 45 billion a year IIRC. I think the current yearly deficit is in the range of 300 to 400 billion. I doubt the democrats would act on that, they are as much in love with an over-riding military as the republicans are.

Hastert/Bush's/Delay medical bill from a couple of years ago has blown out too. It is also confusing for anyone that is using. Costly and unnecessarily complex. Again an opening for good governance.

If the Democrats really started putting programs on the table in the quantities needed to balance the US budget, it would keep them out of office for the next century.

Like you I cannot see them slashing the defense(war) budget in half or addressing the wasteful government spending in defence and security. They could cut the corporate welfare, the subsidies that go to agri-business and obscene earmarks on federal legislation.

Do they go along with Bush's tax cuts?

Gary, I dont think all of them did. The tax cuts didnt reach into the middle class much. My wife and I are both white collar workers, and with the $300 cheque we ended up about $900 in front. From the middle class point of view, you basically had to be a day trader with three kids to do well with those cuts. Most of them did not go to the middle class.

The republicans have had the presidency and the two houses for a while now, yet low hanging tax reform like the AMT has not been touched. Instead there has been blowouts like Iraq, the inequitable tax cuts and the health bill.

Governance has been really bad at the federal level. It looks like DeLay has resigned too. He was probably going to lose his seat in the upcoming election anyway.


The current federal budget path is close to unsustainable and taxes will have to be increased at some point to put the budget on a sustainable path.

I presume that some Republicans argue that the best way to downsize government is to take away its revenue. So tax cuts will lead to spending cuts since reducing revenues puts downward pressure on spending.

I'm not sure whether that holds anymore.It's tax cuts plus increased spending under Bush isn't it?

Gary, Republican rhetoric in the US never matches reality. They are in a mode of say anything. Their governance is like drunkard bankers. It has been coined as "borrow and spend".

IIRC the budget deficit is only about 400 billion this year, which if you take out the emergency supplements for Iraq/Afghanistan and get the Health bill under control is quickly achieveable.

Good governance will get the US on the right track quickly.

yeah during the mid-1990s, the Republican Party campaigned on reducing the budget deficit.Now they don't care. They will not reduce defense spending, or raise taxes? Will they cut domestic spending?

Paul Krugman thinks there is a problem. In The Great Unravelling he claims there may not be enough funds to pay for the waves of baby boomers who will soon retire:

the Government isn't taking in enough money to pay for the programs and we have no strategy of dealing with it. So, if you take a look, the only thing that sustains the US right now is the fact that people say, "Well America's a mature, advanced country and mature, advanced countries always, you know, get their financial house in order," but there's not a hint that that's on the political horizon, so I think we're looking for a collapse of confidence some time in the not-too-distant future...we have about 10 years now until the baby boomers hit the United States.

Alan Greenspan the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, had warned in 2005 that the federal budget deficits were "unsustainable," and he urged Congress to scrutinize both spending and taxes to solve the problem. He also warned that the deficits could be driven sharply higher by costs connected to the aging of the baby boom generation, particularly entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Gary, The Republicans make little shows of cutting domestic programs but it only ever adds up to a couple of hundred million. It is enough to give Limbaugh and Hannity the high ground to pontificate away on when they are cutting people's mics.

does this article confirms your view about the (conservative and moderate) Republicans.

Gary, Yeh I agree with that. The middle classes in the subrubs have born the brunt too. The tax cuts entirely missed us, as I mentioned above, and county and town taxes have been increasing at high levels. My county tax increased by 25% last year. My salary did not go up by that much, so tax at the lower levels is outpacing inflation, while the borrowing at the higher levels is increasing without end.

Poor governance is the reason. Competency and good governance will be the central theme of the next congressional and presidential elections IMO.

From a Fred Barnes' article in Murdoch's Weekly Standard:

DeLay believes the House worked best when it was "the echo chamber for the president." President Bush would propose and the House would dispose, just as the old saying has it. By doing so, the House became "the engine" for enacting Bush administration policy. The House would lead, and the Senate would follow. That was the story of Bush's first term.

There's executive dominance for you.

Gary, They have pretty much mimicked Au style party discipline. The republicans effectively have a caucus. Committees are no longer a fiefdom that can hold out against central party control. Some of the older committee heads can, Arlen Spector is one, but most of the younger ones were dependent upon DeLay's fundraising.

The Democrats are starting to organise in a similar manner. So I expect this will become the standard in American politics.