January 05, 2007
Democrats May Be in a Quandary on Iraq
I'll have more to say later on the pending Bush announcement on Iraq, but for now, note the push and pull already visible in the Democratic party, clearly seen just from reading the reporting of David Postman in the last 24 hours. On one hand, you have Democrats like Adam Smith who are only slowly coming around to an anti-war position, but who prudently fret about the political consequences of looking weak on national security issues. On the other hand, you have rabid "get out now!" activists like Dal LaMagna who are ready to beat the tar out of their own party if it doesn't pony up with a serious plan to get the troops home pronto.
The friction between the two opposing points of view is intense, and likely to grow more so if Democrats are somewhat split (as one would expect) on the details of whatever Bush has to say in the coming days. Moreover, how do sane Democrats tell people like LaMagna their plans are, well, dumb. Take just this notion: "To protect the country, they say, the old Iraqi army must be reconstituted and rearmed."
So, uh, what do they propose doing with the army the Iraqis are currently putting into place? Tell them to go home? They're far from perfect, but they're at least volunteers with a foundation of modern training and some hope for future competency. Compare that with the army of Shiite conscripts that had virtually dissolved on its own by the time American troops seized Baghdad in 2003. Those men, whose brethren were long suppressed by the Sunni-dominated Hussein regime, had no interest in defending it, and seemingly little interest in protecting its infrastructure after the regime collapsed. Yet these guys are supposed to magically come together again to secure the country against a collection of al Qaeda types, foreign fighters, Iran-supported Shiite militias, and still disgruntled Baathists? Right. Good thinking, Dal!
It makes me almost feel sorry for serious Democrats who, whether one agrees with them or not, are trying to think thoughtfully about the issue. Then of course, I remember this is the same party that ran on the visionary platform in 2006 of "we're not Republicans and Bush is wrong...about everything." Then I don't feel so bad.
Posted by Eric Earling at January 05, 2007
12:55 AM | Email This
1. I think most of the Democrats will quickly adopt John Kerry's position on Iraq.
2. Good one Walters! Which one?
3. Democrats go for emotion. The cause and effect of their actions are beyond their capability to think. So what will be next dismantal the military to help pay for social programs that in the long run destroy the structure of our society.
One thing Democrats will never learn. Personal Responsibility. Some understand it but they let emotions guide their thinking.
Eric, you're not the first conservative writer to suggest that the Iraq quagmire and Bush's determination to deliver more of the same is somehow a problem for Democrats. However, as pervasive as this idea is becoming among the dwindling number of Bush-supporters, the degree of wishful thinking this represents still amazes me.
It's not the Democrats who are in a quandary here. In the coming months, it will become clear that little is changing for the better in Iraq. Bush's "surge" will amount to an insignificant change that only returns U.S. troop strength to levels we already had in 2005. A substantial majority of Americans have already shown that they have had enough of this, that they blame Bush and the Republicans, and that they want change.
As Commander-in-Chief, Bush is the only one who can really effect this change, and yet he refuses to do so. It's true that the Democratic Congress holds the pursestrings, but it's extremely unlikely that they would defund operations when substantial numbers of American troops are still on the battlefield. Most people understand this.
The more left-leaning Democrats are free to scream all they want about forcing an immediate pullout by defunding the war, but when it doesn't happen, it's not going to hurt the Democrats because those people and their followers have nowhere else to go. They are certainly not going to respond to Bush's intransigence by voting Republican in 2008! Instead, the continued waste of blood and treasure will further drive home what a disaster this war has been. That's not going to be good for Republican candidates in 2008.
5. Keep wishing for failure in order to score political points, Scottd. It's all you've got.
6. I've been hearing this new general is not a people pleaser. He'll fire and hire reluctant generals like I eat my twizzlers, or so the blogosphere is saying. About time, too, if true.
Seriously Eric, there's not a lot of thinking going on anywhere in the Democrat party. These people are filled with emotion and the false sense of authority of their collectivist groupthink. Rational argument is out of the question, as anyone who does not agree wholeheartedly with their positions is labeled and shunned.
I keep reading the assumption that there are "serious Democrats" out there. With leadership like Pelosi, is that really true? I think the country divides more into two classes. Sane and Insane. On the sane side, we have a semblance of moderates that may vote Democrat or Republican, but who are close to the center. On the insane side, sure there are some right wing wackos, but the vast majority of the insane are today's progressives and others who make up the extreme left. And they represent a large part of the "Democrat" camp.
Watching these folks try to lead is going to be good entertainment, but certainly not reality based.
So, scott... what you're saying, in effect, is that the democrats can't do anything about the issue that got them elected?
And you then infer that somehow, their failure (and it WILL be DEMOCRAT failure) to act on their number one issue somehow equates to "wishful thinking" as a problem for them?
The fact is this: the expectation was and is for decisive action by the democrats on the war in Iraq. If they fail to deliver (as they WILL fail to deliver, because, after all, we know that democrats can only TALK a good game) then the idea that democrats won't pay in '08 goes beyond "wishful thinking," all the way into the realm of delusion.
Democrats promised to do something about the war. Not sure what... but something.
The fringe whacko left.... the stilwells of the world, are all demanding their pound of flesh.
When they don't get it... the fringers actually DO have somewhere else to go... or, in this case, not go.
They can, and will, do what the conservative base did for the last election.
They'll stay home.
And that's the problem the left has that few of them will admit: it's easy to complain. It's easy to whine and snivel.
The problem for the democrats is they have yet to come up with any better ideas on the subject.
They've been given their chance. And when they fail, they'll pay... just like the Republicans paid in '06.
scottd is right that Iraq, at least for now, poses more of a political problem for Republicans than Democrats. But I think he misses the point of Eric's post. The issue is that the hard left antiwar types who helped put the wind in the Democrats 2006 sails are going to make it hard for the Democrats to be thoughtful and constructive on solving the Iraq crisis. For most folks on the left, this war is all about George W. Bush, Satan himself, and any acqiescence in Bush's policies--even constructive criticism--is a deal with the Devil (or, rather, a Lieberman kissing of the Devil is some sort of bizarro Gethsemane). Anything short of complete repudiation would be a betrayal.
So, again, the issue here isn't which party Iraq hurts more. It's whether the Democrats, who, after all, now share power in Washington, can responsibly exercise that power. Or will they, like scottd, continue to see this awful war only through the lens of gotcha partisan politics?
Hinton, you are right, but wrong. The spin by the MSM will always point the blame at the Republicans even though the Ds are more so.
Personally, I hope Bush stays the course, but forces the issue in Iraq. I mean force the Iraqis to take control of their own country instead of the Iranians taking control.
LaMagna: "It's been a month and a half and we haven't seen anything come out from the Democrats. Why aren't the democrats out there with a plan??"
Because, Dal, they never had one. We knew it; surprised as heck you didn't realize it.
12. To see some of what Eric is tlaking about see my post "Democrats get tast of their own medicine" in the public postings. Cindy Sheenhan recently drowned out a House Democrat press conference with anti0war chanting so badly the Democrat politicians tucked tail and took off for the nearerst caucus room and only came back out to finish their press conference on "ethics reform" only after they new the anti-war protesters were gone.
The question I have is how long are we obliged to keep iraqis from killing other iraqis?
These people love killing, they love war. The only thing that would unite this country is if we made it a colony of isreal and give them all one common cause to go to war about. I'm not sure isreal would be keen on this idea, but it's better than anything bush has so far.
Seriously, if we don't see a hard core ultimatum: total martial law or total pull out- there are no solutions in between that will get americans the desired result in iraq.
We can snuff terrorist cells with a much smaller presence.
My patience and pocket book are running thin on iraq. This is hatfields killing mccoys with us sitting in the middle.
i love how all you wingnuts fret about the dems "quandry." after 6 years of monopolistic republican rule and 3 years of the abortion that is "operation iraqi civil war," you guys have a lot of gumption to lay this turd of a foreign policy at the dems door.
why don't you guys just man up and admit that george and his 109th congressional republicans botched the job. your credibility would rise (marginally).
Andy, having Israel make Iraq a colony is not better than anything Bush has done. That was almost funny.
Reports I hear out of Iraq is that slowly but surely the country is coming together. Big pockets of resistance to change, sure, but the reporters aren't going out of their comfort zone to get the real picture. Get the real picture from the soldiers.
I listen to what Ollie North has to say because he doesn't just hange out at the REPORTER HOTEL, like most of the MSMers and the Democrat legislators who visit for a day or two.
16. Dinesh, The Democrats painted themselves into a corner by "demanding change" when in fact they won't. Pelosi's "First 100 hours" of legislation will be killed in the Senate (except for minimum wage hikes). The fringe left has already started attacking moderate Democrats (Wednesday's news conference is a good example.) After 24 months, America will be fed up with their antics and banish them again for a decade or so. Why? Because Democrats don't actually stand for anything. They live and die by polls and place those polls ahead of America's best interests. What's worse, it looks like their plan for 2008 is to nominate a 150lb feral lesbian in a TJ Maxx pantsuit as their presidential candidate.
17. doc t: if you are so good at reading the future, why didn't you foresee the FUBAR that is iraq, and instead of visiting blogs, why don't you just day trade stocks?
18. Even Darcy Burner admitted on John Carlson's show back in August that the democrats had no plan for Iraq. One of the few times she was being direct.
"you guys have a lot of gumption to lay this turd of a foreign policy at the dems door."
Well Dinesh, it is at the Dems door. These are the same democrats that have for years been screaming THEY can DO BETTER...
So Prove it, pull the plug on war, see where that puts us. Grab your gonads and do it.....
Happy now? The dem's have the power, now prove their worth. It's obvious that the american people didn't like what the past admin was doing, that is why they ELECTED the Dem's to Power. So keep the promises, and get us out of this WAR NOW.....Regardless of the consequences.....
20. ..and while they're at it, since Americans surveyed believed the dems would be better at delivering tax cuts (Boy, were THEY lied to), I'd love to see it. Get moving, dems.
Hey dinesh, how's this: Bush and his generals screwed up the Iraq occupation. It's taken too long, and no there's a low-level civil war.
There. I said it. And now that I've established my cred, how about this: Dinesh, you're an asshole.
Something totally off-topic, but Pelosi was on TV this AM, with her family literally RUNNING after her (one with baby in arms). I wonder how her grandchildren will feel, or even her children, when they realized they missed a part of life that included grandparents. Not grandma the most important woman in the world, but their grandma who is suppose to be a big part of THEIR world.
Just a womens perspective I guess.
23. Dinish, During the Dot.com boom I bought tons of Boeing and Washington Mutual, so I do okay in that department. One last prediction: If Dem's pass a windfall profits tax on oil, gas will be $6.00 a gallon in 2008.
Only if Bush doesn't veto it, Doc-T.
I thought Pelosi was a lightweight and a dunce. I was wrong: unlike dinesh, she's smart. She knows that there's no way her she's gonna get her windfall tax on "Big Oil" past Mitch McConnell or Bush's pen. But that kind of jive polls well with her base and, I'm sorry to say, most Americans (especially when they call it "getting rid of tax breaks on Big Oil"). So it's win-win-win: Pelosi doesn't actually pass legislation that she knows is bad policy, and she gets to call the GOP Senate and the White House obstructionist and say they're in the pocket of the fat cats.
It's what Newt Gingrich would have done if he hadn't listened to his admirers on the right and shut down the federal government and impeach the President.
Once upon a time, Bush was one of the smartest politicians around. Lets see if he still has some magic left to turn the tables on Pelosi.
dj: so, bush and his generals screwed up, eh? what's the consequence for him? in 2 years, people like you will line up to pay his speaking fees of $100k.
you guys want it both ways. the dems beat the repulicans in 2006 b/c the republicans were incompetent, spendthrifts and corrupt. the dems vowed to pressure the COMMANDER IN CHIEF to do something in iraq other than throw off 1 liners about "democracy" and "staying the course." the american people voted and your side LOST. now let's see how effectively the dems can pressure bush. since the election, we have 1) a new defense secretary; 2) a new top brass on the ground in iraq; and 3) a new, pending white house counsel to defend the president against inquiries regarding torture, turning a blind eye to corrupt contractors and the like.
you guys don't demand results, you tolerate incompetence and just preach dem hate.
instead of focusing on the dems, why don't you hold up a mirror to your bloated, incompetent republican party.
Dinesh dishing "now let's see how effectively the dems can pressure bush. since the election, we have 1) a new defense secretary; 2) a new top brass on the ground in iraq; and 3) a new, pending white house counsel to defend the president against inquiries regarding torture, turning a blind eye to corrupt contractors and the like."
Woooo Hoooo, go get em Dem's.....show me the Money....Who's your Mama.....
Now grab those gonads and get your #1,#2, & #3 busy, you have a War to End......
BTW, don't worry about Bush, the Dem's got the Power !!!!!!
For the record, I don't think one Democrat in Congress has said that he or she would vote to withhold funding for military operations in Iraq. In fact, Sen. Levin, the new chairman of the Armed Services Committee (shudder), has explicitly said that he would NOT support that. So other than sending lots of letters to the President and using its "oversight" powers, I don't know what Congress will be doing to demand results in Iraq.
Oh, and dinesh? If you don't think Republicans haven't been looking in the mirror these past months, you need to spend some more time reading Sound Politics and other blogs and newspaper columns written by conservatives. Lots of angst, lots of introspection and uncertainty, dude.
The Democrat opinion about Iraq is the same as the average American's. He simply says "I don't like the war in Iraq".
Unfortunately, that's not the issue. Nobody "likes" the war in Iraq. Nobody likes taking out the garbage or doing the dishes. If there were a referendum on the ballot, most people would condemn doing the dishes and cleaning the yard.
The only issue is: do we need to be there. That issue was not raised by any Democrat. It is the implicit policy of every Republican -- we are doing something that needs to be done.
During this session, the Democrats (and American people) will hit the brick wall. If you don't do the dishes, they get dirty and you can't eat. If you don't throw out the garbage, then you live in a pig sty. And if you don't fight in Iraq, you get your towns and cities blown up.
dj: angst, introspection and the like all brought on by the election results. prior to that, what?
did you need the election to tell you that spending was out of control and republicans weren't doing a thing about it?
did you need the election to tell you that rumsfeld needed to go and not a single republican had the courage to defy george and publicly state so?
i'm glad the republicans are looking at themselves and their action/inaction over the last several years. perhaps they will remind themselves of their committment to fiscal responsibility, small govt and a rational foreign policy.
i'm just amused that many republicans expect a democrat controlled congress to do what a republican controlled congress could not. that's hilarious.
dinesh, too many false facts there to respond to. I'd simply point out that many, many Republicans were arguing before the election that spending was out of control. The so-called "Bridge-to-nowhere" was a grassroots Republican bete noir for years. That's one reason so few of us bothered to vote this time.
Oh, and our very own Mike McGavick called for Rumsfeld's ouster long before the election.
"i'm just amused that many republicans expect a democrat controlled congress to do what a republican controlled congress could not. that's hilarious." It's not a joke, dude. It's actually good old fashioned hope that somebody can solve some of our nation's problems. Believe it or not, Republicans are Americans first who, above all else, want America to succeed. Given the Democrats' single-minded addiction to power as, apparently, an end to itself, I sometimes wonder if the same can be said of them.
Dinesh still dishing "i'm just amused that many republicans expect a democrat controlled congress to do what a republican controlled congress could not. that's hilarious."
Dinesh, I would'nt be AMUSED if I were you. It is not only Republicans, but MANY/MOST democrats, who EXPECT the dems to do what the R's couldn't.
You see, now the Dem's get to Prove it now.....Grab those Gonads and get to work......
i hope the dems can do what the republicans could not.
as for the addiction to power, i think the mark foley fiasco demonstrates that political parties, regardless of stripe, exist to preserve power rather than address issues.
on the need to get issues addressed, and a hope that dems (or anybody) can address them effectively, we agree.
33. Sorry, dinesh... but wasn't that the child molesting democrat congressman Gerry Studds continued democrat support that demonstrated the point 20 years before the Foley episode?
hinton: you're missing the point in an effort to stick up for your party.
both parties exist to preserve their own power (often at the expense of the people who voted for them). foley is the most recent example of a republican attempt to do so. given the dems controlled congress for 40 or so years prior to the 1994 takeover, i'm sure there are many examples of dems doing comparable things. the gerry studds incident is not likely to be high on that list. rather, my sense is that the studds incident was trotted out recently in an effort to provide republicans with some cover, and to say (in true schoolyard fashion), 'look they are perverts too!'.
Wheels Come Off Neo-Con Bus
-Conservatives Are Thrown Under
It's time for true Conservatives to admit that the Battle in Iraq has ground to a halt and recognize that we should support pulling back militarily from the quag in which it has become mired.
To tweak the metaphor a bit more - the wheels have come off the Neo-Con bus, and Conservatives should be tired of being thrown under it.
The U.S. met its military objectives long ago - with the crushing defeat of Iraq's military, plucking Saddam Hussein from a spider-hole to face justice (string him up already!), and the long-overdue mission of verifying his ongoing schemes of illegal weapons programs.
But, the Neo-Con mission careened way off track and into the bog when the victory conditions morphed ineptly into imposing peace and harmony throughout Iraq and the region. These new victory conditions of forcing a "democratic" nirvana in Iraq were NOT specified by the force-authorization vote in Congress - which, by the way, was signed by nearly every liberal in Congress (although they lie about it now).
The latter fact notwithstanding, we can write off the Left in this argument - for they would despise Bush no matter what his actions - if he created programs to feed forlorn puppies and kittens, he would robotically be condemned by liberals for favoring the white kittens over the darker ones, and be accused of causing the achievement-gaps among the runts of the litters.
But we must come to terms with the fact that Bush's Iraq policy, right now, is severely fracturing the Right, and threatens to cripple future Republican prospects into the foreseeable future!
To come to grips with this murky state of affairs, it is necessary to recognize that defining victory in Iraq as forcing peace and harmony (ensuring "stability and security") and imposing "democracy" through foreign military coercion is sheer Neo-Con fantasy. (Note: Neo-Cons are not Conservatives at all - they are virulently for big-government socialism and coercion - "compassionate conservatism") Conservatives rightly know that this policy is antithetical to forbidding U.S. military engagements from foreign nation-building, and of the adherence to exclusively protecting our national interest.
It is precisely by this over-reach, the rejection of traditional conservative foreign policy by which Neo-Cons have augered U.S. prestige into a marshy ditch. And it is precisely these morphed, utopian victory conditions which precipitated the fact that the Neo-Con administration can no longer tell you how victory will be achieved because its measure is nebulous at best - not to mention the impossibility of imposing a Mid-Eastern utopia.
Conservatives must ask, and Neo-Cons must answer, the following questions:
1) When in history has democracy successfully been imposed upon other people?
2) From what historical precedent do we believe this is possible in the Middle East?
3) From what authority do we believe that the U.S. Military shall be employed to achieve this?
After our commander-in-chief has polled everyone in sight as to devising his brand new strategy for extracting us from the quagmire, as we sit here poised to endure the Bush administration's looming "Surge" strategy for victory in Iraq, we must pose the ultimate challenge to our Neo-Con friends:
How large a surge, exactly, in American blood, lives, and treasure is required to achieve "victory" in Iraq? And how exactly will we know when we've achieved it!?
How can a successful strategy ever be devised when the definition of victory keeps morphing into something which has yet to be defined (as witnessed by month after month of polling), its measure is vague at best ("stay the course"), its justification has near evaporated ("create democracy"), its authorization is non-existent (coercion "makes us safer"), and its viability has never been proven possible through historical precedence?
Is it not time for true Conservatives to be heard by denouncing this tragic Neo-Con folly in Iraq, and support a rational military pull-back in Iraq - reallocating resources to the larger War against Islamo-Fascism, and securing our national borders from invasion?
Brace yourselves, the Neo-Cons (right-wing totalitarians) will relentlessly howl "surrender", "cut and run", and the like when confronted by ANY attempt to detract them and expose their Middle East fantasy. And Conservatives should roundly expose these slogans as Neo-Con Propaganda which, by design, they virulently employ at every turn not only to brow-beat the Left (impossibly), but expressly to shame Conservatives into to continuing to go along for the ride.
Is it not time for Conservatives to stand up and call it like it is in Iraq?
36. Note for accuracy: LaMagna's framework proposes an agreed timeline and a political settlement ... not an "out now" imperative a la Cindy Sheehan.
What exactly is a "neocon" anyway Jefferson?
I think 99% of the time when people sling that name around, they have no idea what it means. Is it a political philosophy that we should take more proactive actions on the world stage so that we have little wars instead of big ones? Is it an evil plot to take over the world? Do you have to join a club and get a decoder ring?
I dang sure don't think "neocon" policies - whatever that means - were the #1 reason that congress went to the dems this year after more than a decade of GOP rule and I think the data from the last election backs that up.
Think about it: How many of the republican senators and congressmen that lost their jobs this year really did so because they were "neocons" that held strong views on continuing the war versus those that just got greedy (like in Ohio and Southern California) or corrupted morally like Foley and Reverend Ted?
If anti-war efforts were so strong, why was Leiberman - in the most liberal of states - re-elected?
Doesn't makes sense does it?
So was this election really about "neocon policies" or was it about how power breeds corruption? If this election were really only about the war, rather than corruption and weak morals, do you really believe that demso would have regained congress?
I don't think the facts would support that at all.
You claim "the wheels are coming off the neocon bus" when I'm not sure that there ever really was a neocon bus. I frankly think the whole "neocon" thing is so overblown as to be laughable.
I know there are a few people that openly subscribe to that "New American Century" document on television (Bill Crystal, etc.), but I think we can both agree that the number of pundits in the media that do far outweighs the number of republican politicians that ever voices support for these policies.
You ever see a senator label himself as a "neocon" in the way some dems proudly call themselves liberals? Me neither?
Frankly, I never heard the word "neocon" until after the turn of the century, and a very large number of the repbublican congress members in both houses were in congress were in congress before the democrats started throwing around this label.
I think dems (and republicans) should really be honest with themselves and admit this election was really about throwing out a bunch of lawmakers that had lost their way fiscally and morally.
Sure, there's some widespread dissatisfaction about the war, but I don't think we'll ever have a news poll that shows Americans approve of their sons and daughters coming back in body bags. I'd even agree that there are legitimate polls that say people don't think Bush policies aren't winning this war but I'm not sure I'd say it really turned the elections.
Bring em all home, let Iraq fall and all it's oil money fall in the hands of who? The Dumb D's couldn't run a foreign policy if it fell on their heads.......
...The dumb D's, the non-thinking Dems, the looney left... For crying out loud! You wingnuts don't have an original thought in your clouded minds other than the skirmish between the Republicans and Democrats, when it's really about the true Americans fighting and dying in a situation that is beyond repair.
The last six years of Republican rule has put America's military in it's most dire condition since the end of World War II and you want to blame the Democrats for NOT HAVING A SOLUTION???? The Democrats couldn't get a goddamned word in edgewise under Republican rule. The Democrats had a plan THREE GODDAMN YEARS AGO: MORE TROOPS, fire Rumsfeld, guard munitions sites in Iraq -- when it would have made a huge difference. By many military experts' accounts, it's too late now.
The Republican Congress held three lousy hours of oversite on this war in the last three years! Three hours! And you want to scream about the Democrats not having a plan? Who put us in this mess? The Democrats didn't cause us to go to Iraq with too few troops. Democrats didn't cause us to go into Iraq without an exit strategy. The Democrats didn't oversee military operations that allowed hundreds of tons of munitions to fall into enemy hands. Democrats didn't look the other way when billions of taxpayer dollars were rewarding corporate contracts while our troops were short-changed. REPUBLICANS DID. And everyone knows it.
Looking for Democrats to clean up this mess in the first 100 days much less 100 hours is so damn petty and counterproductive. For all the claims that Republicans are the ones Supporting our Troops, you people sure do one hell of a piss poor job! If ragging on Democrats makes you people feel better, then you've lost sight of the goal. Finish the Kool-Aid, pay the tab, and now go home and sleep it off. You're finished.
Just what is a Neo-Con?? - A great question, indeed. I do not use the term here lightly, or indiscriminately. I won't attempt here to go into the full etymology of the term, but I can tell you a book titled Neo-Conservatism was published about a decade ago, and its author Irving Kristol is widely deemed the Godfather of the gang.
I must admit its meaning was quite fuzzy to me, a true Conservative, until the November 2006 election debacle, where its meaning suddenly crystallized (Krystolized?) and became clear. Think "Compassionate Conservatism".
When Conservatives first heard the phrase "compassionate conservatism" used in connection with the 2000 Presidential election, they were enthused, assuming that it meant a return to Reaganism - where individuals should be expected to take responsibility for their lives, but where individualism and private charity would be relied upon to help those few who truly cannot help themselves - free of government coercion or interference. This is truly compassionate.
But, as it turns out, Compassionate Conservatism, as championed by the Bush Administration (which is dominated by Neo-Cons) is neither conservatively "compassionate", nor Conservative at all.
Witness: ballooning federal deficits, record-level expansion of drug benefits program, No Child Left Behind monstrosity, Katrina's colossal giveaways and waste, Harriet Meiers nomination, a tax cut which disproportionately benefited the UNDER-taxed (and is scheduled to sunset soon), starving Terri Schiavo, back-room deals cut with Vicente Fox, immigration "reform" abomination - literally giving away our sacred rights and benefits to illegal insurgents (outright treason), failure to seal our national borders, Orwellian TSA searches and seizures against innocent Citizens, steel tariffs, farm subsidies, enough pork to feed the planet, on and on.. - all without a single VETO!
This is NOT Conservatism - it's a Neo-Con sham. It's also known as Socialism.
Next, consider our foreign policy in Iraq which somehow morphed from defeating its military and bringing Saddam and his desires for weapons programs to justice to now, vowing nebulous "security and stability" in Iraq - coercing peace and harmony through imposing American democracy in the Middle East courtesy of the U.S. military (not its job). This latter, unauthorized objective, forcing a middle-eastern utopia to "make us safer" is a Neo-Con fantasy - and, if you think for a moment, it isn't compassionate at all - it's totalitarian - and it's, not surprisingly, not going very well either. Cries that we're "Surrendering to terrorism" if this fantasy is at all perturbed, is Neo-Con propaganda designed to shame and shut up Conservatives (because we know nothing at all will shame Leftists to get on the Bus).
So, to sum up, Neo-Cons, through clever phrases like "compassionate conservatism" and "stay the course" are really just right-wing socialists and totalitarians who truly believe they can impose a better society, and they can accomplish it better than can the liberals. Think about that.
As the once great American civilization sinks inexorably toward the Left, and the true Left becomes ever-more loony and radical (as we have seen), the middle of the political spectrum, the "mid-line" shifts left too, causing many disgruntled "moderate" leftists to jump to the right of the line to become Republicans. And this just happens to be the central idea behind Irving Kristol's coining of the phrase, or as he put it, "A Neo-conservative is just a liberal who got mugged by reality." They're simply more "realistic" socialists - isn't that nice?
But make no mistake about it, formerly disgruntled liberals or Neo-Cons, who jumped ship, changed their PARTY, not their basic ideology - they just recognized much of the Left was too wussified to impart their wonderful visions by sufficient coercion. Voila - compassionate conservatism.
I hope the reader is starting to recognize the pattern here. And, not by coincidence, the logo "Neo-Con" itself implies that they are "Neo", or New, as in newly enlightened "conservatives", a kindlier gentler, more "compassionate" strain compared to the "Paleo-Cons" - old, stuffy, outdated true Conservatives who still believe in silly notions such as individual freedom, liberty, private property, etc., and a government which only pursues its Constitutional duties as duly authorized.
Why is all of this so important?
Because if we fail to grasp what's happening, and who's behind it, we'll fail to learn the actual lessons of the latest election, further fracturing the Right, enabling the Left to gain even more power, and we'll continue to encourage the dismantling of our American Civilization.
No, the reason Conservatives lost is not because the Left had any great plans for America, it's because Neo-Cons have screwed things up big-time - and we'd better start calling a spade a spade. Democrats did not win - Republicans lost, because GWB and his Neo-Con administration have ever-increasingly alienated supporters on the Right - particularly Conservatives - which has caused them to drop out and become greatly disillusioned by the Neo-Con con game.
So, with all of their congenital vitriol and lunacy these days, what are the chances that Bush will win Leftists over to his causes? That's right - when there are snowball fights on the River Styx. So, why does Bush continue to throw Conservatives, and their ideals, under the bus by continuing to make overtures to the Left when:
1) He's never had their genuine support
2) He's never going to get it
3) He's had most conservatives sitting patiently on the Bus for years?
Think about that. The political BATTLE IS ON THE RIGHT. It's inevitably FRACTURING.., giving a huge gift to a death-cult Left which has done nothing to deserve more power!
Do Republicans, through relentless liberal policies and Neo-Con propaganda, think they're going to somehow OUT-LIBERAL the LIBERALS?! Let me help - IT'S NOT GOING TO WORK. (i.e. it's not working - look at the last election)
The only solution is to expose the Neo-Con right, and start moving back toward Reaganism which we know is compassionate and we know it works. I'm challenging the Right, particularly Conservatives, to recognize the impending doom right before our eyes..
If you're having trouble seeing my point, just take a look at the health (near death) of the Republican Party in King County. How well do you think the strategy of out-liberaling the Liberals is working?? (Ask Eric Earling et. Al., "pragmatic" Neo-Cons)
How shall we wrestle the Bus back onto the highway, onward toward that Shining City on a Hill?
Your use of "neo-con" is totally erroneous and incorrect. You're lumping neoconservatives in with Bush's self-described compassionate conservatism in a way that is totally illogical. The only synthesis in your discussion is that you disagree with the assemblage of issues you trot out, then try to blame them all on the one element of the Republican coalition you like the least. That's preposterous.
I could argue at length with you about a number of the policies you complain about, though I think it more relevant to point out a couple of the most glaring flaws in your thinking:
1) Your claim of the Bush administration is dominated by "neo-cons" is laughable. Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, and Stephen Hadley are neo-cons? Moreover, are Margaret Spellings, Mike Leavitt, Dan Bartlett, Karl Rove, et. al neo-cons as well? Please. You don't like Bush Administration policy on many fronts, that much is clear. But get your definitions straight. These people are not the Democrats turned Republican of neoconservative fame.
2) Your blame of the supposed influence of neoconservatives/backers of compassionate conservatism in Congress is odd. A large portion of the former Republican majority pre-dated George W. Bush, and despite their weakness in controlling spending is largely a conservative bunch. They were/are certainly more conservative, particularly on domestic policy, than the neoconservatives and their liberal roots. Quick: name one self-professed neoconservative in Congress.
You don't like the direction of the Republican party. That's fine, and indeed there was much about the last Congress not to like. But get the terms of the debate correct or no one is going to take you seriously. Take for example you labeling me as "'pragmatic' neo-con." Um, ok. Since I've never been a liberal or a Democrat, and I disagree rather strongly with modern Democrats (and often with neoconservatives as well). Moreover, I violently disagree with self-ascribed liberals, particularly at the federal level. How does that make me a "neo-con" again?
Meanwhile, you're not embracing Reaganism, you're embracing Buchananism, with its isolationist approach to foreign affairs, protectionist approach to economics, and minimalist approach to government; all of which have been rejected in one form or another by the American electorate.
You're of course entitled to your opinion. Your problem, however, is that you insist that only conservatives that bear your ideas about conservatism are legit. Political parties and political movements don't work like that, but good luck.
You've dismissively called me a Paleo-Con, so, I get to deem you a Neo-Con - which, I believe, is amply demonstrated by your support of right-wing socialist, excuse me, "pragmatic" policies.
There are no Neo-Cons in the Bush Administration? You're right, your assertion is laughable - how about Wolfowitz, Pearle, Rove, Cheney, and Bush for starters. Do you actually think Bush is a Conservative? That doesn't even pass the chuckle test.
Do I believe Bush basically tries to be a decent person and occasionally exhibits some Conservative tendencies - particularly on social policy (but even then largely lips service)? Yeah. But his performance, by and large, is anything but Conservative.
Conservatives had high hopes going in to 2001, hopes of picking up Reagan's torch again (especially after 8 years of Slick Willy). In the wake of his father's presidency, which was botched, his campaign rhetoric surely made it seem as if he'd transcend the sins of the father. You'd think that after 8 years as VP under Reagan that old H W would have gotten the Conservative bug. But, now, after 6 years of "compassionate conservatism" we find out that the acorn never does fall too far from the tree - does it?
Not to get bogged down in semantics, but the term "conservative" is often used for everyone right of center, but not everyone right of center is a Conservative. Likewise, Republicans are definitely not all Conservative - R's are member of a Party, not representing a specific political philosophy, or ideology.
In this context, Conservatism as a long-established (Paleo) political tradition and ideology; with this defined, we can identify the Un-Conservative (Neo). Neo-Cons are this relatively new and dominant force on the Right, and who also know they are smarter, more nuanced, more enlightened (pragmatic realists, who stay above the ideological "fray", and know just how to compromise their principles with leftists) and therefore, have the luxury of laughing-off the unworthy rest of the Right who they continue to marginalize at their peril (an arrogance which you amply demonstrate in your response above (and a lot of your responses to other commenters who challenge you ideologically)).
I should state this is not intended as a personal attack; I am, however, strongly posing a rhetorical and ideological challenge to move back toward the Right, lest we suffer even more damage at the hands of the resurgent Left and virulent insurgents of various forms who continue to violate our nation's sovereignty.
How about these latest gems of brilliance by our POTUS:
1) Announces the replacement of the SecDef the day AFTER the election - while he swore up and down to us that he no intention of doing so up to the day OF the election.
2) After YEARS of "staying the course", and "winning", the mantra suddenly turns to "we're not winning, we're not losing."
3) When the Commander-in-Chief spends months on end polling everyone and his brother's accountant for their advice on what to do in a war which is this far down the road - I ask, what do these signals portend?
4) He can no longer tell us what "victory" actually means, and now appears on the brink of implementing a "Surge" strategy for doing exactly what in Iraq?
5) It was just revealed that he cut a deal with the Mexican government in 2004 that he would strive to give SS benefits to Mexican insurgents - who continue their massive colonization of the United States of America.
And now, he's overtly telling the new Leftist cabal in Congress that he'll acquiesce in raising the minimum wage rate, is willing to consider some tax hikes, and is eager to push Comprehensive Immigration "Reform" - CIRA (aka Amnesty Plus) through congress - the single most treasonous bill I've ever seen cooked-up in Washington in my lifetime! So, what benefits do you suppose the Right will actually realize from Bush' train-wreck - excuse me, from his presidential "legacy" at this point?
Do you propose, with a straight face, to claim that GWB is a Conservative? Or do you have some more nuanced terms from the neo-enlightenment that will prop up this guy's image, and take us to the promise land?
Do you honestly deem "compassionate conservatism" to be Conservative? Go ahead and attempt to make the case.
As to your challenge: "Quick: name one self-professed neoconservative in Congress."
You, and I, both know that no one in Congress will ever stand up and proclaim, "Hey, look at me - I'm a self-proclaimed Neo-Con." In other words, no liberal Republican is ever going to publicly pull away the sheepskin in order to brag that they're really a wolf. But, we all know liberal Republicans and Neo-Cons plainly exist. How else, other than by definition, by mounds of empirical evidence, do you explain the Right's crumbling Conservative record in the last six years, and its seemingly inexorable slouch toward the LEFT?
I'll ask again: Just as locally in King County - how well is the strategy of out-liberaling the liberals working out? Is it a Neo-Con, or a Conservative who would be supporting all sorts of unending, bloated, ineffective, multi-billion dollar mass-transit social-engineering boondoggles??
Will you not admit that Neo-Cons viscerally feel in their nuanced hearts that a healthy dose of Socialism and of Big Government Coercion ("compassionately" of course) is necessary to move us toward a better world?
You claim that I'm a "Buchananite" - based on what? William F. Buckley Jr. is not on board the Neo-Con bus either - is he a Buchananite as well? I'm always amused when the Left, or liberal right-wingers always go for the "protectionism" pejorative when anyone raises the idea of protecting our own homeland. Do you not see the hidden mission in the term "National Guard"? Do you like the nation's borders pretty much wide open? Uh, huh..
I'm absolutely not a protectionist, economically or otherwise - you forget about the freedom part of Conservatism (and the Constitution). It's just that Freedom does not include illegal insurgencies into my own homeland, condoned by people like you, in order to vacuum up the assets seized from innocent Citizens in order to buy the illegal's vote, exploit their labor, crowd our jails, demand my Rights, and f* up America.
And good luck to you too with your bloated government, wonderful monuments to coercion, pay-offs of illegal aliens, and fantasies of reforming the hearts and minds of the Middle East via unending pragmatic surges of American blood, bullets, and wealth.
We'll see how well all of these lofty Neo-Con fantasies work out.
I disagree with most of your standard definitions on things and find your sidestepping of my basic point pretty interesting.
I'm going to guess that you really aren't a conservative of any stripe - just another leftist on these boards trying to bend the election results to support your own anti-war views.
It could be that you are a conservative and that I'm wrong - and if that's the case I apologize.
I certainly DO agree with you when you say that Bush would be making a serious mistake if he bent to the will of the new democratic majority on any front concerning national security, taxes, or social issues.
I really do think you should put the whole "anti-neocon" rant thing away though. It comes off like whining about the monster under the bed - it's a boogie man that just doesn't exist, and blaming this for every kind of mis-step from "no child left behind" (which I don't think was a bad thing) to the offenses in the middle east is a bit silly.
I asked you before to show me the large number of reps or even a single senator that went down to defeat due to their war support. You didn't answer because that wasn't the problem. It came down to morals and corruption.
If it hadn't been for creepy emails to pages by a Florida republican rep, closet homo evangelists exposed days before the elections, highly corrupt politicians in Ohio and southern California, and a mass media working overtime to target senators in a few key states with minor media gaffes like "maccacca," I think both houses of congress would still be in the hands of the GOP.
The cold hard facts of the elections support that.