Every time some piece of legislation passes, no matter how slim the margin and, even at times when it’s just in the proposal stage, up jumps a Republican spokesperson to claim that it simply validates what the voters were saying in November. This time it was Tom Delay applauding passage of the budget resolution last night. If the majority of voters were even half as knowledgeable about budgetary matters as Delay suggests it would be astonishing. Actually it could be that if they really understood what was going on in the country they might vote differently.
On the other hand, if most of the electorate accurately foresaw that their votes would contribute to the kind of economic policies now being enacted, it would be far more distressing than their ignorance about such things. It would mean that we as a people endorse a national agenda set by a leadership inured to the needs and sufferings of many in our society. It would also mean that we support a government that entrusts our future to money-lenders in other countries, and one that is not ashamed by the fact that so many of our politicians are perched comfortably on a national auction block.
With some adjustments, the resolution passed by surprisingly slim margins – – in The House 214 to 211 and in the Senate 52 to 47. Some Medicaid cuts were restored, but still tax breaks and tax cuts for the rich remained.
The president as usual in his press conference engaged in meaningless platitudes and bromides about the budget and the war on terrorism. It’s easy to say that tax cuts boost the economy even if the economy isn’t exactly booming, and it’s easy to say that Congress is afraid to do the “hard work” needed to ‘fix’ Social Security. It just isn’t meaningful.
And it’s easy to reduce reservations about the Bolton nomination to a remark about his bluntness which is hardly the whole story about this man. Some say “I’m a little too blunt” said Mr. Bush. Perhaps, but mostly his critics say he’s a little dim, uninformed, and not up to the complex demands of being president. He probably memorizes a lot of stuff which may add to the stumbles he often makes. When you don’t really understand your material you can lose your way in the course of a sentence. Now, if the topic were baseball, he might have an easier time since that’s an area he understands better – – although he did trade Sammy Sosa when he owned the Texas Rangers didn’t he?
When asked last night, about the high incidence of terrorist attacks throughout the world the president replied that was part of the strategy – – to keep such things from occurring on our soil. That must be reassuring and comforting to our friends abroad and to the hapless Iraqis we liberated. One can’t help but wonder why security isn’t as tight as it was for the elections the president likes to speak of with such pride. It was a good show with the borders strictly monitored and vehicular traffic minimized in major cities. Typically, much of what our government reports is mostly for show, so much else mismanaged and, with respect to our troops, under-manned and under-protected. In golf, the saying goes “drive for show, putt for dough.” In Iraq “Shock and Awe” was a really big show. Afterwards, the end game has left a lot to be desired.
In the past Republicans used a “tax and spend” mantra to describe Democrats. Now, however, we have a government led by the GOP that prefers to borrow and spend, but rather than shoring up entitlement programs, it proceeds instead to starve the poor and coddle the rich. In the budget resolution there’s a provision to raise the federal debt limit from $781 billion to $8.96 trillion. And most of the time the cost of our presence in Iraq isn’t even included in budgetary calculations. How can anyone suggest that this is responsible fiscal policy or that it responds fairly to the needs of ordinary Americans?

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