Thursday, April 27, 2006

Republicans Drown in Oil Crisis

If there ever was a case of poetic justice, it's the Republican quandary of having to deal with the second major gas price spike in the past year. $3.00 gasoline is trouble, especially if you are the guys who laid much of the groundwork for the problem. Yes, it's the Republicans! How, you say?

Remember Jimmy Carter? He said we had a national emergency when we bought 50% of our oil from foreign sources, since those who have the oil might hold our country hostage. Now we buy over 60% from overseas and are even more vulnerable. Has President Bush explained our vulnerability and presented a plan to deal with it? NOT, at least for the past six years. Now he's forced to explain how new technologies will come to our aid by 2020. 2020? You got to be kidding me! I guess he saw no benefit to using his bully pulpit to talk down SUV's when his pals were getting rich off the gas they were guzzling...but even the slower intellects understand that his inaction has increased our exposure to oil blackmail and price spikes.

Guilt by association! President Bush is an oil man, his friends are oil men, he comes from a big oil state. We pay $3.00, his friends get rich, the oil companies post record profits. He says it's just the law of supply and demand, nothing he can control. Control he can not, but influence he can, as the wise Yoda would say. He could have warned about supply and taken strong positions like drilling in sensitive areas for contingency purposes only. He could have warned about demand and insisted on sensible conservation measures and alternative sources of energy. Why is nuclear power suddenly a good thing in 2006, when we should have had the reactors built already if there had been any leadership! Blame a lot of it on a guy who stands by his pals.

GWB denied thinking about oil before he invaded Iraq, but he almost certainly did. He thought about all the oil his pals would get out of Iraq after we won the war. Didn't happen. Instead, the lack of WMD's convinced a lot of people that the war was about getting more oil, but that has not worked out. Instead, we're getting less oil and we have fewer friends among those who do have it. This is not good.

The bottom line is that voters are going to remember the president and the Republican congress that sold out to the oil industry and failed to "lead". Leadership is about anticipating problems and working on solutions "before" the sky falls. People are interested in leaders who stand up for solutions in advance...any random lazy guy can maintain the status quo. If oil stays up, those Republicans will go down (drown, that is) in November. It could be a real gusher!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Rumsfeld Should Be "Called to Account"

The Republican conservatives, those who insist on the free market and a limited government with a strong defense orientation, need to hold Donald Rumsfeld accountable for the giant foul-up of the Iraq war.

A free market assumes that there is effective competition for goods and services - "deliverables". When the committed deliverables are not delivered, the competitor is penalized by being excluded from the market. Donald Rumsfeld, as the architect of the failed Iraq war, should pay this price. By keeping him on, President Bush is continuing to communicate the message that none of his staff will be held to account if they do a bad job.

In war, victory is the only acceptable outcome. The Republican's aggressive use of the military as a foreign policy tool is effective only if the use results in the desired effects. When the military does not achieve the desired objective its credibility as a tool is diminished. At this point it is safe to say that the U.S. military has not come close to pacifying Iraq or establishing a climate where democracy can take root. Rather, the terrorists have proven that they can strike at will when they are supported by a large segment of the population and they don't play by the rules of conventional warfare. "Victory" will not be achieved in Iraq, and Donald Rumsfeld must be held accountable for a plan that did not come close to achieving its objectives and, in the process, has diminished the value of the military as a foreign policy tool.

This administration will earn a historical footnote as one of the least effective and accountable governments in U.S. history. No vetoes despite out-of-control spending. Key staff members lying or stealing. Gangsters like Tom DeLay accomodated. No progress on major legislative matters including entitlements, tax law, and energy independence. A costly war justified by doctored intelligence and conducted by Rumsfeld in a manner that ensured failure. Assaults on personal freedom justified by a religious code - which is the accusation made by this administration against regimes like the Taliban, only on the other foot.

Americans need to show the aggressive "religous right" Republicans the door in November. Both houses of congress need to move to the Democrat side, if for no other reason as to hold the Republican Party accountable for taking the country nowhere during the last six years. But first, President Bush should at least fire Donald Rumsfeld for creating the most visible and costly failure of his presidency. Does this Texas cowboy have any backbone at all?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cynthia McKinney Must be Chastened

Cynthia McKinney is a major embarassment to the Democratic Party. If her conduct is not repudiated by the House Democrat leadership I fear that much of the public support gained via the Bush administration's total ineptness will be lost. This is a time to stand up for civility and respect for law, and a time to stand against false claims of racism.

Democrats rightfully stand with minorities and the common man or woman, but Cynthia McKinney must not be allowed to escape the consequences of her bad behavior. She is no role model for anyone, and especially not for young black Americans.

If I, as a senior executive in a large company, had walked past a security guard and then slugged him when he stopped me, I would have faced punishment from both the legal system and my company. Cynthia McKinney should have no more opportunity to escape the consequences of such an action than I would have had - none.

The House Democratic leadership has an opportunity to make a statement on this matter and to affect Congresswoman McKinney's standing in the House. Many of us are interested in the choice they make on this issue, and the choice can't help but affect the voter's choices in November. We want to see Democrats take the House, but a House with an unchastened McKinney is tainted.