Thursday, November 23, 2006
22 down - 26 to go
Given that the GOP is now the minority and given that the GOP isn't even interested in completing spending bills any longer, Bush will really lack any substantial support from Congress for the next two years. A complete lack of will on the GOP's part now.
- Trade - pretty weak effort on the Vietnam trade bill. A clear indication of how little support Bush has, how little enthusiasm this lame duck Congress has to accomplish anything, and how free trade is going to have difficulty fighting the protectionist groundswell of this period.
- Deficit - latest i've read has the deficit declining to $247B & 2.0% of GDP. Close to cutting in half the highest deficit. Of course, the expectation is that the deficit starts going up next Fiscal Year because of our aging population (Medicare drugs & Social Security).
- Iraq - what can the Baker group propose? One last college try with additional troops? Regardless of whether we stay, Iraq's future is bleak. The majority of Iraqis want us out so it's time to go. Put up a referendum to save face, or put together some schedule for withdrawal. Leave a line of credit to the government and see if you can convince the Kurds to allow a small listening post to remain. But leave - our presence is causing more harm than good now, so go.
- Hillary vs. Warner wager looks like a loser. Really don't know who can stop Hillary from the nomination now. Of course Muskie was the front runner in '72 so it doesn't always work out, but who has the $$$ and name recognition to defeat her for the Dem nomination?
- Troop level is the only other wager that looks a little iffy. Bush will not want to concede defeat, but will instead want to pass on the problems with Iraq to his successor, so still expect to win my wager that we'll have 50,000 troops there, but with this most recent election, that wager is in more doubt than i would have thought a few months ago.
At this point, not sure what Bush can accomplish for the remainder of his term. Immigration reform is the best bet since the Dems are largely in agreement with Bush concerning amnesty & guest worker program. Beyond that, what other common ground do the Dems have with Bush?
This post is a few days late, but hopefully finds all in good spirits none-the-less - a happy t-day to all.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
A coalition destroyed
Still for years it looked like the Dems were regionalized as the party of the Northeast, mid-west, and West Coast, and I never even hoped that the Dems could win the House much less both branches of the legislature, but the GOP has finally became the party of the south & plains states - driving away most of the support they had in the Northeast & Mid-West.
Finally the GOP's approach of wedge issues cost them their desired "permanent GOP majority". You can only win elections with 51% of the vote for so long and with Terry Schiavo and corruption scandals and massive government give aways the GOP has driven away the libertarians, the ethically minded, and the fiscal conservatives leaving only the yellow dog Republicans.
I was also gobsmacked by the myopia of the GOP Congress in ceding so much power to the executive branch. Everytime they allowed Bush to run roughshod over them, they should have been thinking "do we really want to give this much power to Hillary Clinton?" Foolish foolish behavior and for that reason alone - failing to be a check on the executive branch, they deserved to be voted out of office.
During the campaign, the conservative commentators tried the "Speaker Pelosi" scare tactic, but the populace has already experienced Dennis Hastert, so why should Nancy Pelosi scare them? She certainly will be less ethically challenged then Hastert, and for that reason (plus many others) Americans are willing to give her the benefit of the doubt over Dennis.
So whither Iraq now? Obviously the cut-and-run stigma no longer holds and whoever wants the brass ring in 2008 will can politically safely propose some 'peace with honor' platform given how unpopular the war has become.
For other issues, I can see a compromise on immigration reform and little else.
Subpoena power? Give 'em hell Henry!