Monday, January 01, 2007
The War Trumps Everything
I'm an incurable optimist. Sometimes I'm right, like my believing that the republicans would be crushed last November. Sometimes I'm wrong , like my believing that the republican leaders would be sat down after they muffed the Foley debacle. Recently I predicted that the next two years would see considerable progress on some of the big issues, since everyone in government had something to gain by playing the game together. Now I'm not so sure. The war trumps everything. This president, the man who "made macho" more than any other modern president, is now weaker than any modern president - weaker even than Jimmy Carter. The bad guys called his bluff, and their hand was a lot better. Now he's stuck to the tar baby of the war because his last diehard supporters (the pseudo-religious right, the neocons, and the bitter Limbaugh/O'Reilly-lovers) are still behind it. He can't afford to lose them, because they would desert the republican party, too. A "new strategy" of a measured pull-out would take a lot of attention off the war, and maybe Bush could stomach ditching his dream of dominating a key middle eastern country, but the party won't let him. So the war will dominate in 2007, for worse. The democrats, on the other hand, are hog-tied in the senate and will have great difficult getting any major liberal bills in front of the president for signature. The blue-dog democrats elected in 2006 may well short-circuit any kind of amnesty for illegal Mexicans, even though Bush would sign a bill if it got to him. At the end of the day, democrats may settle for a lot of useless hearings on Bush administration actions (the war) and policies - sound and fury, signifying nothing. As 2007 peters out, all the attention will focus on the 2008 elections and the year will have been wasted. O, democracy! So, there you have it. I'm solidly behind an optimistic outlook for lots of positive legislation in 2007, and equally sure the war will trump everything, so nothing will be accomplished. 2007 is a crapshoot - let's hope the dice fall our way!