Saturday, November 18, 2006

"We'll succeed unless we quit."

Most every blogger I read talking about that statement pretty much noted the irony of the President saying that in Vietnam, which marks the first time he's ever gone there, by the way. The men he defeated in 2000 and 2004 saw it through a gunsight. Anyways....

There's a bigger issue I have with that statement. Where he said it is irrelevant. The fact it was spoken in Vietnam just means that the Rove machine screwed up again, which is understandable coming right after a crushing defeat and six years of spinning everything. Clinton survived because he rotated out the spinners. Bush hasn't even handled that right, and it's costing him now.

The big issue with the statement, though, is the continued stubbornness it displays. The President is declaring that if only we stay forever, we'll win at some undetermined point in the future with victory defined by some vague statement. He might as well wish for a unicorn to appear in the Rose Garden.

America's problem with this war is largely stemming from the fact that he is so incredibly vague when asked to define victory and success. Standing down as they stand up sounds like musical chairs, not a victory plan. America voted for change in this election, largely based on Iraq. It was the same reason that Nixon won in 1968. America was sick of the LBJ undefined victory plan that never came to fruition. Bush hasn't put forth anything better than LBJ in 1967.

I've written often about the similarities between the two presidents, and this is just one of many. I don't think you'll find an American who doesn't want us to win in Iraq, but we all have different ideas of winning, and this president, who has put himself forth as the strong, decisive leader, has not given America anything solid to coalesce around. The president has constantly shifted ground on why we should be fighting in Iraq, with his only consistent explaination being the straw man argument about Saddam and al-Qaida.

The President had a great chance after the 2004 election to give us a clear strategy, a clear objective, a rallying point in Iraq. He failed that task miserably, and as the news out of Iraq got worse, support for the war plummeted. Bush has hit a 31% approval rating overall and on Iraq. That's territory he shouldn't want to be probing right now, and if he'd done his job two years ago, he wouldn't be here now.

And the "now," as it is, means working with his political enemies. It means trying to fix this thing instead of being a coward and handing it off to his successor. It means he stops acting like a politician and starts acting like a real leader. It means dropping the soundbites and speaking in plain language, telling us the whole truth, telling us what's gone wrong, what's gone right, and what victory really means. All we've gotten is hollow words. America said on November 7th that those words aren't enough anymore. They want actions. Is the President going to do it, or is he going to just wait this out, let more soldiers die, and hand it off to the next guy? I hope he understands this, but it's a dim hope. Six years has taught me that doing the right thing has too often been lost on this administration.

Monday, November 13, 2006

What Tuesday means

I'm probably the last person to write this sort of post, but hopefully I can add some new insight to the discourse.

This election means that the idea of an unaccountable executive branch is once again dead. This election means that oversight will return and we will have answers to justified questions. This election means that reform can finally begin to take place. This election means that George Allen and Rick Santorum will no longer be presidential contenders. This election means that there is no permanent Republican majority, that the majority existed because of the politics of smear and fear. This election means that many new members of Congress are people who will not be bought, people like the Jon Testers, the Jim Webbs, the Patrick Murphys, the Tim Walzs, people who are not lifetime politicians, but instead farmers and combat veterans and teachers, people who know how real life goes.

This election means that opposing viewpoints will be heard. This election means that the American people will be protected better, because there will be true debate on issues. This election means that Congress will be the dominant branch of government once more, as our Founders intended. This election means that us here in the blogosphere do matter, because many of those we supported won their races. This election matters because the elected officials who help determine the future of our foreign and military policies will include many people who have served in uniform recently, such as Walz, Murphy, Joe Sestak, Chris Carney, Brian Lentz, and more.

This election means that this nation saw through the smears, the fear, and the lies that Republicans put forth the last two years. They weren't interested in Terri Schiavo's well-being, they were interested in the political gain (which backfired). They weren't interested in small government, because several of them took major bribes to increase government's size. They weren't interested in the average person, because they dodged TV cameras, reporters, liberal constitutents, and tough questions in general. They weren't interested in a culture of life, because they did very little to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans. They weren't interested in defending the Constitution they swore an oath to, because if they were, they would not have been the President's rubber stamp to gut civil liberties to keep us "safe."

This election was change. These new Congressmen are not conservatives. Some are moderates, but many of them are downright progressive, who believe in the progressive cause, and who will lead us into a new age.

Attempting to return

I'm starting to have a little more time to post, so hopefully I'll be able to make this work, but we'll see. I read more than I write these days, but with a Democratic majority, I'll have much more to work with (I hope).

Anyways, see the post above this for my first shot at resurrecting what was once a decently trafficked blog.