Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Failure of ideology

With 6 years of nearly undisputed leadership under their belts the new breed of conservatives should be trumpeting the successes of their policies. After all, the opposition party wasn't even brought into conference on many of the bills proposed and signed by our fearless leader. They neo-cons have essentially set public policy for the last 6 years. Democrats and others have been almost completely shut out of decision making giving the conservatives an unprecedented chance to test-drive their ideas on the nation.

So what’s been the result?

1- We were told conservatives are better at defending us: well, worldwide terrorism is on the rise; as a nation, we have more enemies (and luke-warm allies) than before 2000; and more American’s have died overseas in terror attacks than at any time in history (the next greatest being under Reagan).

Well – that may be a short-term result of our ‘stern’ foreign policy – what are the longer term trends?

Let’s look at trends in Iran – the #1 state-sponsor of terrorism in the world. During the 90’s Iranian citizens, particularly the younger generation, looked to the west longingly. They started to demanding reforms. The movement didn’t get very far before hard-liners started a crack down, and banded reform candidates… but the populace was starting to look at western reforms as positive.

Now? Well, nationalism is on the rise. Our “axis of evil” rhetoric and combative foreign policy have helped to galvanize hard-liner rule and turn a reform-minded populace into

Of course the Iranian people are being spoon fed lies from their leaders, but the fact remains that OUR policies are making it easier for these leaders to turn their populations against us and our interests.

2- Energy policy. Supposedly an oil man from Texas in cahoots with energy industry reps would put us on the path to long-term energy “stability”. Yet here we are, 6 years later more dependent than ever on a region of the world that is falling further into chaos… while we have NO energy initiatives here at home. The best the conservatives can come up with is drilling in ANWR.

3- Finances: the party of small government… Yeah right: According to CATO this administration and congress has increased spending (not even considering the cost of the war) more than any administration since Johnson. Foreign governments are buying our paper and financing our spending. Of course, that paper becomes payable, with interest. Which means every dollar we borrow now will be paid back to a foreign government (China) with interest. That’s money we won’t be able to spend here and money the Chinese will spend (likely) building up their infrastructure and military. Great financial policy guys…

4- The war. I’ve blogged on this enough. Suffice it to say if your gonna ask a section of American society to sacrifice by putting them in harms way, you should probably ask the rest of the nation to get behind them (maybe pay a bit more in taxes to pay for it?) in a meaningful way (if I see another yellow ribbon for the troops on a Hummer I think I’m gonna puke). Instead, we’re told to “go on vacation”, “spend money”, etc. Yeah – that makes us all feel like we’re in it together. That’s leadership huh!

5- Constitutional abuses – I’ll just refer you to CATO:
President George W. Bush has failed in his most important responsibility "to preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution of the United States, according to a new Cato Institute study. The authors of the study, legal scholars Gene Healy and Timothy Lynch, say that the administration's sweeping claims of executive power in the Padilla case would suggest that Mr. Bush believes "the liberty of every American rests on nothing more than the grace of the White House." Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush
Somehow the “party of personal responsibility” will find a way to blame this whole fiasco on Clinton and the Democrats… and a lot of repugs will buy it. But at least its looking like a majority of Americans have seen the light – and the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the far-right.

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