It is appearing more and more likely that Hillary Clinton will be running for President in the fall of 2008. At this point the poll numbers suggest she will be in a tight race regardless of which of the wretched hive of scum and villainy the Republicans nominate. That could not be more sad. After all, with the notable exception of Ron Paul-the Howard Dean of the Republican field, by which I mean he is probably the only one who might make a good President, but who will be destroyed by the party elite-every one of the GOP candidates is a carbon copy of Pres. Bush on the single most important issue of the election: the war in Iraq. The fact is that until American troops return home the next President will effectively be incapable of dealing with any other issue because his or her attention will be focused on Iraq. Beyond that, the multitude of real problems facing Americans today cannot be addressed adequately until we lock the floodgates of American tax dollars being wasted on this unwinnable war. (Sorry, Greg Reeson, but the fact is that a war against an idea cannot be won with bullets or bombs. That is a historically proven fact. Don’t believe me? Do a search on Nazis and see how many web sites come up with contemporary groups. Or, for a more apt analogy, check out how much the government has harmed the Mafia by taking down its top dons. There will always be someone to replace someone who has been killed. Even capturing Osama Bin Laden himself won’t have any detrimental effect on Al-Qaeda.)
The money that is wasted on Iraq-most of which you won’t even find in President Bush’s official budget because he takes pains to hide it from you-is staggering. For instance, the money that has so far been spent on the war in Iraq could have provided free health insurance to 50 million kids for the past four years! That money could have been used to hire over a million new teachers each year since the war began. The money wasted in Iraq could have been used instead to provide full four year scholarships to over 21 million students. Talk about no child left behind! Your money that has been spent in Iraq to make Dick Cheney’s Halliburton buddies richer than God could have been used instead to build almost four million affordable housing units for the poor. Think of what a boon that would have been to your economy. In Louisiana alone there would have been enough money to build 30,000 of them; almost enough to provide shelter for all those who clung desperately for life amid rising flood waters while George Bush played guitar at a birthday party for the super-rich. California could have gotten almost half a million new housing units.
The money budgeted to finance Bush’s war in Iraq computes to spending almost $4,000 for each Iraqi citizen, regardless of whether they have ever committed an act of terrorism or violence against an American soldier or not. Do you think you could use an extra $4,000 in your pocket? Okay, well consider this then, $4,000 in the Iraqi economy computes into $91,000 for each American citizen. If you could go back in time and vote on whether to send that money to Iraq or to your bank account, which would you choose? If you choose to vote for anyone still supporting this war, you are basically casting a vote to send your money to an Iraqi instead of yourself. Let me remind you: McCain, Giuliani, Romney, and even Fred Dalton Thompson are on record as supporting the troop surge and the war in general. None of them-not a single one-has forwarded any plan for bringing this war to a resolution, one way or the other. Just like Pres. Bush.
Now do you see why it is such a sad state of affairs that any Democrat is not so far ahead in the polls as to make their GOP counterparts consider dropping out and waiting until the next election? It is kind of like 1976 when Gerald Ford actually came within two percentage points in the popular vote and 57 electoral votes of beating Jimmy Carter. There was really no reason for that election to be that close. After all, Ford had pardoned Nixon and his stand on the issues of the day were almost exactly the same. Perhaps because Jerry Ford exuded a certain kind of goofy charm and honesty he succeeded by virtue of his considerable contrast to Richard Nixon. (Another contrast is that Nixon was exceptionally intelligent and not afraid to break ranks with his own party.) 2008 should be different, however. For one thing, none of the leading GOP candidates exude anything approaching charm. McCain is a charlatan, Romney is smarmy, Giuliani is almost Hamlet-like in his inability to make up his mind, and Fred Dalton Thompson should really be tagged with the nickname Slick Freddie. (Wait and see.) And while all of them certainly appear to be more intellectually gifted than Bush-not exactly what one could consider a Herculean task, of course-neither do any of them seem poised to make a run at Nixon’s status as the smartest man to ever secure the Republican nomination. The most substantial difference between the 1976 election and 2008 is that Gerald Ford was not truly attached to the Nixon scandals. He became Vice-President after all that mess was done and the White House was merely focusing on covering up and saving Nixon’s butt. Ford’s hands were relatively clean except for the pardon and in retrospect that decision does not seem like the worst thing that could have happened. Certainly it was not as historic a mistake as pardoning Scooter Libby would be.
On the other hand, McCain, Romney, Giuliani and Thompson and all the rest-except for Ron Paul-have shown that electing them would produce a President who plans to continue with the scandalous policies of his predecessor. It would be as if Gerald Ford had come out and said he favored conducting dirty tricks on his political opponents and compiling an enemies list on which he would seek revenge. Can you imagine how close the 1976 election would have been had Ford said that? Well, when the GOP candidates say that the war in Iraq needs to go on until we have achieved victory, or that there is nothing wrong with violating civil liberties and human rights it is the exact same thing. The Republican candidates are essentially committing to carrying out the same failures of the Bush administration.
And yet neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama are blowing the potential GOP nominees out of the water in the polls. It almost defies belief. If George W. Bush’s name were placed in those polls, I wonder how close the results would be. And since the GOP candidates differ in no substantive way from Bush, how to explain the disparity? Well, of course, there are two ways to answer that conundrum. One is that Americans really are not ready to elect a woman or black man President, despite what they may tell pollsters. The other possibility is that neither Hillary nor Barack get the primary lesson of this election.
It’s the war, stupid!
Once the Democrats in Congress understand that, their approval ratings will reach record heights. Bush supporters love to point out that Congressional approval ratings are as low as his own. But what they fail to mention is that the reason Congress has such low approval ratings is because they failed in their promise to hold Bush accountable. Since the Democrats won Congress, they have let Bush have his way as easily as the GOP Congress did. The disapproval of the Congress has nothing to do with what the Democats have done; it has everything to do with what they haven’t done and with what they continue to allow the Republican minority to get away with. What they haven’t is put an end to this war, put a clamp on Bush’s abuse of power, and bring everyone who has ever worked in the administration before Congress to answer for their offenses. Congress is doing itself no favor by playing nice. If it doesn’t get radical in its response to Bush, the Democrats will find themselves on the outside once again. And obviously, they don’t know how to use their minority power to make or break the agenda like the Republicans do. No, Congressional approval ratings are not an indication that they are not acting in the best interest of Americans; that is Bush’s cross to bear.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and John Edwards need to learn from Congress’ mistake. Americans neither want nor need a middle of the roader right now. A moderate does no good in the task of bringing a country back from the brink of radicalism. The Bush administration is the most radical this country has ever seen, breaking laws with impunity and attempting to reconstitute the balance of power. I mean we’ve got a Vice-President who attempting not only to rewrite his Constitutional job description, but single-handedly and unilaterally dismantle an official federal agency simply because he doesn’t want Americans to know the extent of his criminal actions. Why Congress isn’t filing impeachment papers against Dick Cheney right now I’ll never know. (Actually, I do know: they aren’t impeaching Cheney because they fear the GOP will succeed in convincing voters it was an act of partisan politics and might cost them the White House.) We need someone to not to pull us into the domain of the left, but to pull us back to the center. And the laws of physics clearly indicate that if you are standing in the center of a teeter-totter you will never be able to balance it from that position when all the weight is on one side. You absolutely have to be unafraid to walk all the way down to the very edge of the other end and ask for support.
If Hillary and the rest of the Democrats want to ensure this election isn’t close enough for the Republicans to steal again, they need to move toward the opposite extreme instead of moving inching ever further rightward.
It’s the war, stupid!