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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Perfect Storm for the Democrats

Various versions of a rather amusing joke are being emailed and posted about the Internet. An example of the joke is this:
George Bush has
  1. started an ill-timed and disastrous war under false pretenses by lying to the American people and to the Congress;
  2. run a budget surplus into a severe deficit;
  3. consistently and unconscionably favored the wealthy and corporations over the rights and needs of the general population;
  4. destroyed trust and confidence in, and good will toward, the United States around the globe;
  5. ignored global warming to the world's detriment;
  6. wantonly broken our treaty obligations; he has condoned torture of prisoners;
  7. attempted to create a theocracy in the United States;
  8. appointed incompetent cronies to positions of vital national importance.
Would someone please give him a blow job so we can impeach him?
After chuckling at this I started to think about it seriously. I know it's not meant for serious consideration, but it's just my nature to analyze everything under the sun. It struck me that those eight points are the most common eight points put forth by the Left before the 2004 election to bash Bush and the Republicans. The problem is that even with these claims being constantly bandied about in the media, Bush and the Republicans had a pretty solid victory in 2004.

What's worse is that most of those eight points are somewhat less "true" today than they were in 2004 when Bush won and it looks to me like the trend may well continue to favor Bush and the Republicans. Let's consider the points one by one:
  1. The war seems somewhat less disastrous at this point than it did before the 2004 election. There is a Iraqi constitution, elections are forthcoming, the Iraqi army is getting closer to being ready to take over from us, and Iraqis are generally pretty upbeat. It may still all fall apart, but it could also be that by 2008 it will be difficult to consider Iraq a disaster.
  2. The budget deficits have been getting smaller every year. By 2008, the federal budget may even be balanced, in which case this won't be an issue that the Democrats can hang their hats on.
  3. On the surface, this point was and remains true (though the "unconscionably" part is definitely arguable). Indeed, the Republicans' business friendly policies have led to record growth in corporate profits. However, as I've written previously "[w]ages and profits are always linked over the long run. When doing business becomes more profitable, companies seek to expand their business. This increases the demand for labor which reduces the labor pool causing wages to increase. Because of these earnings increases, I expect to see the median family income increase nicely during 2006 and 2007". If I'm right, most people will be feeling richer just in time for the 2008 election season. I don't think all that many middle class people really care about the "wealthy and corporations" as long as they are getting richer too.
  4. I just got back from Europe and I got the feeling while there that anti-Bush sentiments are subsiding a little. Perhaps they are just growing used to him; perhaps new European leaders such as Germany's new chancellor, Angela Merkel, are causing Europeans to rethink their relationship with America; or perhaps they're just focusing too much on their own troubles of poor economic growth, growing pension and other liabilities, and ethnic unrest to worry about America and Bush so much anymore. At any rate, they seemed less interested in Bush bashing than during my visits earlier this year and last.
  5. Many other countries are now backing away from meeting greenhouse gas emissions targets (see here, here, and here) which makes it seem like Bush and the Republicans were just more realistic than everybody else.
  6. Torture in certain conditions is supported by 60% of Americans. That may be horrifying, but it is reality and, as a result, point 6 doesn't help the Democrats all that much, if at all.
  7. A large majority of Americans want more religion. This makes Bush's religious stance a feature, not a bug, to most Americans. Indeed, the Democrats appear to be unfriendly to religion and this hurts them badly in elections.
  8. Sure, but what President didn't appoint incompetent cronies? Besides, Bush isn't running again, so his successor can't be faulted ahead of time for appointing incompetent cronies.
So the eight Democrat talking points that failed to convince the voters last election are becoming less convincing. It seems to me that it's really getting to be time for the Democrats to get some new talking points. Otherwise, a perfect storm might be forming and they might get slaughtered in 2008.


Oroborous said...

destroyed trust and confidence in, and good will toward, the United States around the globe

About "good will" - I've asked MANY people who have brought that up what, exactly, we've actually lost.

What good did it do for America for people around the world to have a vague feeling of amicability towards the U.S., and what actual harm has it caused us for many people around the world to now have a vague feeling of ill-will or resentment towards the U.S. ?

After all, they're still selling us their wares, lending us their money, buying our services and products, and clamoring to emigrate and become American citizens.

Where's the harm ?

Understandably, no one has yet provided more than a token defense of the absurd notion that American foreign policy should be run according to high school clique rules - especially since no mature individual should run their own lives that way, either.

As for "destroyed trust and confidence in the United States", that's CLEARLY wrong.

We said that if the Taliban didn't hand over bin Laden, we'd kick their spleens; they didn't, we did, and so rapidly that periodicals were still printing "quagmire" predictions while the remnants of the Taliban were speeding across the Pakistani border.

We told Saddam that if he didn't take the decade-old UN mandate to disarm seriously, then we'd kick his teeth in; he didn't, we did, and so easily that we lost fewer than 300 members of the military taking over a nation of 27 million.
(All of the other 1800 deaths have come in two-and-a-half years of occupation).
Even the Germans, beginning WW II, didn't do it so quickly and with so few casualties.

The world now has COMPLETE confidence that the U.S. will back up our words with action, without having to break a sweat, which actually makes it LESS likely that we'll have to take action in the future, and provides us with future opportunities to run some bluffs - we have credibility.

That has led to Libya giving up their WMD programmes, including a nuclear programme that was YEARS further along than anyone suspected, and COMPLETELY hidden; to Syria pulling out of Lebanon, and the subsequent (fairly) free and fair elections there; and to newly liberalized open elections in Egypt.

All without any further shots being fired, nor any expenditure of American treasure.

ignored global warming to the world's detriment

Not only is no nation following Kyoto, it CANNOT be shown that anything negative has resulted from the lack of action.

That's as much a matter of blind faith as belief in the Resurrection of Christ.

Bret said...

Oroborous wrote: 'About "good will" - I've asked MANY people who have brought that up what, exactly, we've actually lost.'

I'd agree not much. In fact, I've previously written that I can't figure out what's been lost either.

Nonetheless, regardless of the evidence (which may or may not exist), many people believe fervently that goodwill toward America was reduced during the Bush administration (at least the early part) and that having goodwill is important.

I've given up trying to debate that in absolute terms. Instead, I'm now focusing on the relative quantity of goodwill toward America. I'm basically saying that you can have more or less goodwill and that it looks like the goodwill to America, from Europe at least, is probably slowly increasing at the moment. In fact, compared to my visits to Europe over the last 30 years, it seems more or less the same as it ever was. In other words, using the loss of goodwill argument as a criticism against Bush is getting weaker all of the time, whether or not is was once valid.

I completely agree with the rest of your comments.