Let’s re-light the political lamp.
First, one news item sums up the "Republican conversion to ethics."
The headline is "DeLay wins plum seat on appropriations panel." Also for DeLay? The subcommittee overseeing the Justice Dept! Let’s see, the committee controlling money flows and the one supervising investigations of corruption. Ooooh, I guess they really are serious, this time.
Did I mention that at the same time President Bush talks about increasing support for alternatives to oil he is cutting funding and staff for the National Renewable Energy Lab?
At another point in his speech, he asserted, "Every year of my presidency, we've reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending, and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my budget will cut it again ... "
Ah. But. "Non-security discretionary spending" is less than 20% of the federal budget. As a percentage of GDP (the most relevant measure) it was 3.4% when Bush took office (down from 3.8% when Clinton took office). Final 2005 figures will be available next week, but based on estimates it is now back up to the 3.8 where it was when Clinton took office in 1993.
Can any figure better put the lie to all the “conservative” rhetoric?
Ah, but one of the lunacies of perception is the inability of either gops or dems ever to show who guarded the borders, who cut the deficit, who deregulated several industries, reduced the actual number of federal employees and paperwork and secrecy (for the first time in a century). There are very few honest and sincere “conservatives” who should not have voted for Al Gore.
If you want to see how the dems are finally starting to get their act together, drop by http://fightingdems.america patriots.com/ to see the long list of vets who are running for Congress. So many that it may just be a bit hard to “swift boat” every last one of them.
I am still kind of peeved that the President called criticism of our entry into the Iraq War as unhelpful “hindsight”. Once again, isn’t hindsight relevant to our ability to judge his team’s track record of competence? (Not to mention honesty.) Hindsight is perfectly relevant when it comes to deciding whether to give someone else a chance to lead, for a change. Someone without a PERFECT record of blunders and falsehoods. Or are they saying that 300 million people can’t find even a different team of CONSERVATIVES who happen also to be far more honest and skilled? (Hint. I could find hundreds. Within the hour.)
I clipped the following from an article laying out how much better we now stand in the Muslim world, after five years of this leadership.
Hamas just shocked the world by winning a sweeping majority in the Palestinian elections (taking 76 out of 132 parliamentary seats). In Iran, where until recently moderate reformers had been winning elections, the hardliner, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who says Israel should “be wiped off the map”), was elected president. In Iraq, where a Shiite clerical list allied with Iran won a plurality in December's election, the Sunni population (which until recently had been largely secular Arab nationalists) cast 80% of their votes for hard-line Sunni fundamentalist parties. In Egypt's recent parliamentary elections, the radical Muslim Brotherhood made major gains. And Hezbollah -- considered, like Hamas, a terrorist organization -- surged in last year's elections in Lebanon.
In Pakistan, anti-American rallies entered their second week as thousands of angry Pakistanis protested a U.S. airstrike, chanting “Long live Osama bin Laden!” Bush is uniting the Islamic world. Unfortunately, he is uniting it in support of Islamic extremism and hatred of the U.S.
But how could you seriously doubt the competence of this administration? They are, after all "the grown ups" (as they boasted upon taking power in 2001, presumably in contrast to those undisciplined kids in the Clinton administration who lucked into eight years of peace and prosperity). Some people might find some of this stuff scary. And yet, paradoxically (or is it "ironically" ... or both), Bush's support is strongest among the most fearful (see cartoon above). He and Osama seem to have a nice, symbiotic relationship -- each increases support for the other. With Bush's poll numbers lagging (see below), Rove is cranking up the fear-mongering that worked so well in 2004.
Again, I can believe several things at once. (Most people can, I just admit it.) The mature citizen hopes and prays that the incompetence explanation is the one behind all these debacles. The part of me that does paranoid pattern recognition can only see one plausible explanation. You find it simply by asking which theory would actually suffice to explain a long series of policies and events. In other words, who actually has benefitted? Down the line. Including from the radicalization of the muslim world.