Monday, January 19, 2009

Quote of the Day

From today's E.J. Dionne editorial entitled, "Why the Uniter Divided Us:"
A hyper-partisan domestic politics of us vs. them followed naturally from Bush's instinct to confuse moral certainty with moral clarity. In his farewell address, he declared yet again that "good and evil are present in this world, and between the two, there can be no compromise."

Yes, but the hardest moral decisions are usually not between good and evil but between competing goods (security vs. liberty) or lesser evils (a draining war in Iraq vs. a messy, long-term strategy to contain Saddam Hussein).


Kent H said...

The Bush presidency has been a hugely conflicting and rather confusing (at times) set of circumstances for me.
The fact is that much of the hyper-partisin politics began way before Bush was even inaugurated. Democrats felt bullied by the majority Republicans when Clinton's behavior and subsequent impeachment were so polarizing. The Republicans took advantage.
No matter who the president was in 2000, if he/she were Republican, he/she was going to get nailed.
But then Bush came with a mixed bag of compassionate conservativism (good thing) and rather poorly communicated ideals and convictions.
I am a conservative first (not Republican). I prefer leadership and governance to politics. The fact remains that after 9/11, there were no further attacks on American soil. The economy had some 6 years of growth after 2000 and Congressional leadership on both sides of the isle let us barrel into the current mortgage/ economic crisis without a peep. There were too many congressional/ private sector love affairs going on for there to be real, honest evaluation of the catastrophe that was coming.
The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq may or may not have been the most economically advantageous, but with intelligence at the time what it was, I defer to those making the calls.
The economy stinks. Jobs are going elsewhere (thanks NAFTA). We are at war. Conservatives are reeling and angry. Liberals are smug and determined. And we still have an enormous mess for Obama to lead.
What we need now is real leadership and government and not more politics. We do not need the goverment to take over the means of production and finance - just provide a better environment so the wealth of the American work force can dig us out of another crisis.

Darren Staley said...

I don't even know where to start here. Let's take it from the top:

The Democrats felt "bullied" by the Clinton hearings (witch hunt) so they decided to "nail" any Republican until Bush came along with his "compassionate conservatism?"

Hmm..what about the media caling Gore boring and accusing him of misstatement while giving Bush a pass on his drug abuse and sketchy military record had nothing to do with it?

Okay, there were no more attacks on American soil post-9/11. But there was only one foreign terrorist attack on American soil early in the Clinton administration (1993). So doesn't Clinton then get the credit for keeping us safe during his following eight years?

On tne mixed-party bag, Bush enjoyed a favorable Congress for much longer than Clinton did. And I do not recall Democrats during that time calling anyone who criticized Clinton a traitor as Republicans have done under Bush.

You want to talk Afghanistan, fine. But we were lied, outright lied into the war in Iraq. The intelligence at the time was made up, at the behest of the administration.

If I tell you that a crap cake will taste like a crab cake, you will be hesitant to eat it. If I tell 100 other people to tell you the same thing, you may try a bite.

Finally, on the economy. You claim it has just gone awry in the past couple of years, but all of this happened in two years?:

"The current economic downturn, which was just officially declared a recession last week, marks the second recession of Bush’s presidency. The first occurred from March through November 2001. While a few other presidents have also had two recessions on their watch, almost none have had a record on jobs as poor as Bush's. Perhaps only Herbert Hoover, the president who helped steer the country into the depression, has a jobs record worse than Bush.

While President Bush’s labor market record is better than Hoover’s, Bush has presided over the worst annual job creation record of any president since Hoover. Most presidents in the 20th century have created jobs at an annual rate of between 2 percent and 4 percent. Hoover lost jobs at an annual rate of 4.4 percent, making him the only president to preside over an economy that actually lost jobs. While President Bush has not lost jobs, he created jobs at an annual rate of only 0.4 percent through the end of November. And the economy is now losing jobs at a rate of 1.4 percent per year.

Bush’s record on wages and income inequality is perhaps even worse than his record on jobs. Under Bush, wages and income for most Americans have been essentially flat and income inequality has risen to extreme levels not seen since Hoover’s presidency. Under President Hoover, income inequality, as measured by the ratio of the average income of the top 10 percent compared to the average income of the bottom 90 percent, rose from 7.1 percent in 1929 to 7.8 percent in 1932. Under President Bush the rise in inequality has been even greater, with the ratio rising from 6.8 percent in 2001 to 7.9 percent in 2006, the most recent year the data is available. These periods of high income inequality sharply contrast with the period of 1942 to 1987, when the ratio of top incomes to the incomes of most Americans never exceeded 5."

Of course conservatives want to move on and ignore the horrible policies they espoused caused this mess.

Of course conservatives want to lump Democrats into the mess because they voted in good conscience on lies at the risk of being labelled a traitor or socialist if they voted otherwise.

Point is, if the conservative argument was right, we would not be in this mess and would not even be talking about taking over finance.

The conservatives have now forced our hand. Unregulated free markets have crippled our economy and the world economy, and now it's cry me a river, it wasn't all our fault, let's have a do-over and we'll do it better next time.

I say no thanks. The electorate has said no thanks. And I hope that Obama and the new Congress says no thanks.

Kent H said...

WOW, Let's see:
Poor Al, Gore ...
I'll give Clinton all the credit you give Bush ...
Bush's favorable Congress was crippled by the "power-sharing" policy they signed early on - giving co-chairmanships and equal representation in committees to the Democrats ...
I'm not sure how you say we were "lied into Iraq." A lot smarter people than you or me (on both sides of the issue) were looking at the same intelligence. Intelligence is a lot more complicated than a couple of grainy satellite pictures.... as a source -- YIKES!

NOW - If you'll take a second look at my post, I am no Bush apologist. I am truly conservative - Bush is NOT!!

I guess you would say that a government that can't protect a border, provide safe schools or qualified teachers, handle Fannie Mae, etc, or provide decent roads can now take over the most complex economy on the planet and make it run beautifully.
National government is good at very few things and intended to do very few things. Check your Constitution and see what those are. And when you are living in USSR Jr. and we have lost all initiative to perform at a high level -- blame that on the Republicans too.

Darren Staley said...

Luckily, I have a copy of the Constitution here, let me flip through..oh, here it is:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

That sounds like a pretty tall order to me. And they put it right up front in big fancy letters, too.

Now, on Iraq. My point was that the intelligence, per the Downing Street Memo and other insider accounts, was fabricated and/or cherry-picked to fit the policy as instructed by the administration. So yeah, lots of people saw the information, the information was intentionally misleading.

I will allow that CAP is a potentially biased source, but it was all I can find on the fly and I have not seen any data to refure their numbers.

On your final point, I think the government could:

A- Protect Borders: Criminally charge and heavilly fine any CEO whose company hires an illegal worker. The Democrats will not support this for fear of losing the Latino vote. The Republicans will not support this because they are ultimately pro-big business. So that's a push.

B- Provide decent and safe education. Every time a Democrat tries to fund a comprehensive education policy, the Republicans have a few standard replies: throwing money at the problem won't fix it, if we do spend money we have to include vouchers, and the teacher's union sucks. Edge: Democrats

C- Handle the Fs. Freddie and Fannie do good things, but they should not get a pass. But the same could be said about conervatives and finance, energy, pharma, defense, etc. Edge: Push leaning Democrats

D- Build roads and bridges.Again, we could invest in infrastructure if we weren't slashing tax rates for the wealthy. Edge: Democrats.

Of course we are going point by point when in the end our key ideologies will never meet. You believe the government is good for little more than defense and I believe that the government could do much, much more.

As for the government running the economy, recent events had shown that the private sector ain't doing such a bang up job either. The government is going to the private sector, they are coming to the government hat in hand to clean up the mess they made.

Finally, I am not a communist. I am not a socialist. I support regulated capitalism along with basic rights for the workers that keep the economy moving: education, health care, retirement, a safe workplace with decent wages.

None of this runs afoul of the Constitution. On the contrary, it meets the spirit of the document precisely.

Thanks for the debate!

Kent H said...

Enjoyed it.