S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Bush administration into sixth year-And?

("OCP"=Our Current President, for me, defines the current administration as temporary)

OCP faces his sixth year in office, and it may not be easy, as this story's argument goes.

But he has a plan, noted in this 1/6/05 article in USA Today:

It was in the sixth year of their presidencies that Bill Clinton was impeached and Richard Nixon was forced to resign, that Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower faced the worst scandals of their tenures and that Franklin Roosevelt encountered increased resistance to New Deal legislation. . . . The White House and its allies see opportunities, though, sixth year or not. "This president has a real pattern of defying conventional wisdom," says Mark McKinnon, media adviser for Bush's presidential campaigns.
"I've been thinking long and hard about 2006," Bush told reporters Sunday. White House spokesman Scott McClellan says the basic game plan is simple: "The economy and progress in Iraq."
The article, by David Jackson and Susan Page, lists the White House strategies for combatting "sixth year" historical difficulties. In this list of points in the article (in boldface), I have included (in italics), what I think are the problems with these strategies:

  1. Start fast - The trouble with this approach can best be illustrated by the speed with which the administration moved from the war in Afghanistan, of which most of us approved, to the war in Iraq. Refusing to let the UN inspection program in Iraq reach its natural conclusion, the troops were ordered to invade Iraq. They did start fast there and reached Baghdad within record time. OCP landed on the deck of an aircraft carrier, walked out in his flight suit and declared the war was over. Not quite so fast. Within the past two days there have been around two hundred deaths from violence in Iraq, 11 soldiers yesterday alone. Progress?
  2. Stay aggressive - Aggression is, indeed part of the problem with OCP. The preemptive nature of the war in Irag was unprecedented for the United States, ostensibly the world's model for democracy. The very style of OCP, aggressive at press conferences, calling out other nations as "belonging to the axis of evil," disrespecting our longtime allies in Europe, appointing United Nations Ambassador- John Bolton - aggression personified, etc., etc.
  3. Bring some troops home, or at least keep them safer - This is an utterly cynical stance, in my opinion. I will absolutely applaud this move, however, as the outcome of fewer troops killed and wounded is the goal for which we all can wish. I will believe it when I see it, though the signs are there now, in that a planned deployment of new troops was canceled. A troop drawdown could also help the skyrocketing deficit, which was the other very regrettable effect of the invasion of Iraq.
  4. Talk up the economy - According to NPR,
    "U.S. Stocks Lackluster, Despite Buoyant Economy, by Jim Zarolli, Morning Edition-December 29, 2005 · The U.S. economy remained surprisingly robust in 2005 despite the surge in energy prices. Inflation remained under control and home prices continued to rise. But income growth lagged and stocks turned in a mediocre performance."
    Two-income families struggle as globalization continues and there are no raises, scandal has plagued large corporations (business schools were even forced to include ethics in their curricula), and the stock market has been stagnant for some time. And the debt is rising every minute; the link calculates your current share.
  5. Scale back big promises - Here are some promises that I expect NOT to be scaled back: Civil liberties must be protected as domestic surveillance is done, under the rule of law and the courts. The American people should be told the truth, not lies. (Scaling back the spin would help). Scaling back the war in Iraq would allow more equitable help for our most vulnerable people. Some of the safety net promises of decades could then be kept.
  6. Keep the Republican family together - This is already proving to be difficult. Libertarian Republicans have problems with domestic spying and are calling for Congressional investigation of the NSA. Fiscally conservative Republicans have problems with deficit spending and the largest budget in history. Moderate Republicans have problems with the extreme Right Wing blurring of church and state. People running for election in 2006 are not anxious to ride the coattails of the low opinion ratings of OCP, now clearly a lame duck.


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