Thursday, September 14, 2006

Optimism About the Election

As I walked the Appalachian Trail this spring in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, I often worried that the excesses of the Bush presidency would continue until he left office in early 2009.

Despite the fallout of the multiple congressional scandals, the Terri Schaivo travesty, Bush's obvious sell-outs to his greedy rich constituents, the stem cell rejections, and the free-fall of his Iraq strategy, there seemed like nothing could stand in the way of Bush and his do-nothing pals in congress. But a new breeze is blowing, and perhaps the November elections will begin a new chapter in our country's governance.

Today marked the revolt of Senate republicans over Bush's proposed trashing of the Geneva Conventions. By a large margin, the Committee sent the full Senate a much-modified version of Bush's bill. It will be very hard for the president to overcome the objections of John Warner, John McCain, Colin Powell, and General Vessey to the bill he put forward. This outright rejection of torture marks a return to the American ideals we thought our government was pursuing all along - until we found out different!

In my own congressional district a Democrat upstart, Eric Massa, is waging a strong campaign against the incumbent Republican, Randy Kuhl. Massa's impeccable military credentials, international experience, and personal integrity make him a formidable opponent for the Kuhl, a small-town political hack who grew up in the corrupt NY state senate. Massa seems to be the kind of guy whose leadership skills will immediately stand out in the House, and he'll be pushing for solutions to the country's big problems. I'm doing all I can to support him, even though I remain an Eisenhower republican.

Our not-straight-shooting vice president, Dick Cheney, soon will be visiting Rochester, NY, to raise some money for Kuhl. I plan to picket the hotel where he'll be selling photo op's for $1,000. This man has done more to harm the United States than anyone in recent history, and he needs to be repudiated at every opportunity.

So maybe the democrats will win the House in November, and we'll be back to divided government. For some reason, the checks and balances of divided government often seem to result in productive compromises. If Bush wants to save his presidential legacy, perhaps the loss of the House will turn out to be his greatest opportunity. Optimism is an American trait, yes?

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