Thursday, November 09, 2006

Anatomy of da’ Feet

A GOPUSA article by Bobby Earle dissects the congressional losses and concludes that the elections were not a referendum on conservatism.

“Liberals run and hide and try to distance themselves from that label because they know the American people have rejected the policies of big government (programs and regulation), tax-and-spend, weak on defense liberalism.”

Conservatives, on the other hand, are proud of their bedrock principles including small government, minimum regulations, low taxes and the strongest military on Earth.

So, how does one explain the election results that President Bush called a real drubbing? That requires understanding the relationship of liberalism to the Democratic Party and conservatism to the Republican Party.

The Democratic Party is in synch with liberal principles of government-run social programs, government control of business, and the taxes needed to pay for it all. Only the minority Blue Dog Democrats embrace conservative principles.

Republicans, unfortunately, are not sure which feet they stand upon. Reagan Republicans were and still are conservatives. Bush 43 is a social conservative and a strong military conservative but a big government liberal. In these elections, Americans abandoned Republicans because Republicans abandoned conservatism.

Earmarks and pork-laden budgets were embraced by both Parties, and never vetoed by the Republican president. The Republicans in congress introduced the multi-trillion-dollar yet unfunded prescription drug benefit and were derided by Democrats for being too cheap. Lesson: Never try to outspend a Democrat. Instead of dismantling the Department of Education, the Republicans introduced “No Child Left Behind” - a worthy concept but used by Democrats to mobilize teachers and unions. Lesson: Never try to out-regulate a Democrat.

Most of all, the election was a referendum on the conduct of the Iraq war. Most Americans supported the invasion and the strategy up through the Iraqi elections. Now, however, most see a need for a change in strategy.

The US military won remarkable victories in Afghanistan and Iraq. When Bush declared “Mission Accomplished” on the aircraft carrier, he was literally correct and he should have said so. But it has been clear to most Americans for a while that the conflicts in both countries are now more like police actions than wars. The enemy insurgents are indistinguishable from the general population, use terror as their primary weapon and target civilians. This is not a fight that plays to the strengths of our magnificent military.

Now that the Iraqi military has been built up to 300,000 men, they and the Iraqi police must take over the fighting. In the 11/6/06 issue of Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria writes about the way forward. According to Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki, if the Iraqi troops were left to their own devices they would establish order in six months. The Sunni Baathists would be crushed and that would be that.

Zakaria notes that 61 percent of Iraqis now support attacks on US troops. The Sunnis all hate us for deposing Saddam and the Shia resent our protection of the Sunnis. Thus the American troops need to get out of the way and focus, instead, on strategic interests such as the oil fields, Kurdish autonomy and security of the border with Iran and Syria. Zakaria suggest that these critical security tasks could be accomplished by a US force of about 60,000 (down from 145,000) at a cost of $30 Billion per year (down from $90 Billion).

Some such policy change must be made before the American people demand a withdrawal. Yesterday President Bush appointed Bob Gates to replace Rummy as SecDef. Gates is a “realist” who most likely does not share the president’s idealistic faith in a truly democratic solution in Iraq. He was also a member of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group led by James Baker and Lee Hamilton that is reviewing U.S. options in Iraq. I hope that something like the above will be part of the ISG message.

I’m convinced that such a change will be regarded by most Americans as real progress and will be supported by a large majority of the congress. Many Democrats have been calling for a redeployment of US troops for some time and new congressmen like Democrat Jim Webb (VA) a former marine should support it.

It’s just too bad that the President did not make such a change six months ago when it could have made a difference in the recent election. But, hey, now he has the opportunity to deal with Nancy Pelosi on a regular basis. Lucky guy! I wonder if he’ll like this blog. (Thanks, Dori, for the pic of Bush)


Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Wow, I couldn't agree more Bill.

Great Post!


6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post dad, and I love the picture!

~ Carolynne

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great picture of Bush! I just love this President! I wish he could be President until the day he dies!


4:59 PM  

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