November 8, 2006

I'm back.

Hi, everyone. I'm back from Washington, with a class to teach in a couple minutes, but I just wanted to drop a post here in case you wanted to start talking about the Rumsfeld resignation, the knife's edge split in the Senate, what the task for the Democrats is now, and other post-election things.

UPDATE: Class is over. Now, I'd really like to see what you folks have been writing. I have over 400 unread comments. Time to speed read.

112 comments:

quietnorth said...

I felt a great sense of relief, not that Rumsfeld will resign, but that President Bush seems to have accepted some reality about the situation in Iraq. Now, I hope that we can figure out what the least bad option is in this terrible situation.

Jim said...

The dustbin of history still has room for Bush and Cheney!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I feel a sense of relief that the good professor is back in Madison, WI where she blogs best.

Quietnorth: I hope that finding the "least bad option" includes WINNING.

Betty's Not a Vitamin said...

Hello All,
I'm new here but my comment is that the Democrats have found religion and the pendulum appears to be swinging back to the left. I predict a Democratic presidency in 2008. Also, look for some war mongering from the left side of the aisle. They are wanting to shed the wimp stereotype. I predict the war will widen to encompass Iran and possible Syria under the guise of “a new direction.”

Fenrisulven said...

I felt a great sense of relief ...that President Bush seems to have accepted some reality about the situation in Iraq.

Bush is accutely aware of the reality in Iraq - he gets briefings all throughout each day from cmdrs on the ground.

I think what you're seeing is Bush throwing the Dems a bone in the spirit of bi-partisanship. He needs them to work for good faith solutions to Iraq, instead of having them exploit it as a political prop. Success in Iraq is more important than Party, and the Dems have proven they will sabatoge our foreign policy unless they get a buy-in.

Pogo said...

I expect the democrats to waste their first 100 days on subpeonas and hearings and indictments. And the next 100, and the next.

Ad nauseum, until jihad strikes within. Again.

Chad said...

Did anyone see the President's press conference. Wow!!! He seemed like he got a total wake up call. If the Dems really wanna work, this may be the best thing for his presidency.

Goesh said...

Betty, do you really want to take out Iranian nuke sites and see the skin melting off Iranian children by the thousands from radioactive contamination? tsk, tsk - our muslim brothers and sisters would not like that. I can see the pictures now, front page al jazeera. With a massive tax increase and the draft we could put boots on the ground over there but that wouldn't bode well for the Dems in 08 that's for sure.

SteveR said...

Good riddance really, like many conservatives, I feel this group didn't deserve to "win." Now that the 2008 election comes front and center, its a good time for the Democrats to show what they are about.

I am sincere in the hope they do a good job.

Internet Ronin said...

Re: the Senate: As Virginia uses electronic voting machines without a paper trail, I wonder what George Allen thinks is going to be recounted.

Which reminds me, in the old days, most big cities like NYC & Chicago used manually-operated machines that left no trails - how many of those are still being used? And how many other states were stupid enough to buy independently unverifiable systems such as use in Virginia?

BTW, I'm with MadisonMan - had Rumsfeld gone a few weeks ago, the House GOP would be in better shape. All you have to do is look at who lost and their districts. (Although I'm not sure it would have helped them in the Senate races.)

J said...

"I predict the war will widen to encompass Iran and possible Syria under the guise of “a new direction.”"

I'm not ready to be that specific, but I agree any "new direction" the Dems choose to pursue in Iraq isn't going to please the left.

Too Many Jims said...

Fenrisulven,

I do find Bush to be hypocritical. He wants everyone to be bipartisan now that the Dems have control - after last week saying "the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses." One thing we've learned in the last 6 years is that Bush is willing to destroy the country if he's allowed to have power.

cynical optimist said...

fenrisulven: it seems to me that Bush has already sabatoged "our" foreign policy. Since when did the USA policy stand for initiating wars based on a tissue of lies and false pretenses? Our country has been set back decades in squandered good-will.

Jonathan said...

Do you think that God finally told Bush that Rumsfeld is a moron? If Bush could run the government as well as he controls the news cycle (I mean, what a brilliant move - Rummy's firing takes the election off the front page), the country wouldn't be in the shape it is in.

NSC said...

Poor President Bush - he wants to work with our new Overlords and he is called hypocritical.

The guy just can't catch a break.

Time for the Dems to actually govern which, as we all know, is a hell of a lot harder than sitting in the cheap seats and throwing peanuts.

I have great expectations of the Dems now though - disease will be eliminated, poverty will be wiped out, global warming will cool, moderate and reasoned Muslims will throw out their more radical members and accept Christianity and other beliefs as equals, the bad economy will suddenly improve, I will have more money in my paycheck, the Muslim world will suddenly embrace Israel, and America will once again have the unconditional love of the world.

Happy times, indeed.

MadisonMan said...

I think a case can be made that Bush's paralysis in the face of changing course (read: Fire Rumsfeld) has as much to do with the Power Shift in DC as the perceived course of the war at present. I really have to wonder who gave him the bum advice to keep Rumsfeld around for the election. But maybe my vision is just clear hindsight -- I didn't see anyone calling for Rumsfeld to resign last week so Republicans could win. Would've been a bold gamble, though.

Anyway, now the heavy-breathing rhetoric of the election can be discarded, and for the good of the Nation, the Legislature and Executive can get to work on something that will have true bipartisan support. I hope.

One thing that did come out of this: Frist '08? Allen '08? Dead.

Betty's Not a Vitamin said...

Do you really want to take out Iranian nuke sites and see the skin melting off Iranian children by the thousands from radioactive contamination?

I simply think the Dems will shed their obstructionist mentality which would otherwise incorporate hearings etc. (There will be some hearing because they won’t be able to resist.) But the Dems are going to want to be seen as more proactive than the right side of the aisle, hence, a wider war – Iran, unless someone else volunteers. Chavez’s porridge is to cold and Kim Jung Il’s is to hot. And besides, skin doesn’t really melt. It chars and draws up, sort of like bar’b’que. The news footage would be okay if juxtaposed with some tasty sauce recipes.

Too Many Jims said...

MM said . . . "One thing that did come out of this: Frist '08? Allen '08? Dead."

Kerry '08? Santorum '08? Dead.

quietnorth said...

Fenrisulven,

I was thinking the best of the President. If you are right, and he knew all along how things are going in Iraq, but decided only now, after the election, to tell the American people and to make a change in direction, he is a liar and he put his party above the troops.

About winning: Define please. And specify how many more troops will be needed. Can we talk about that now?

Simon said...

A couple of days ago, a commenter rejected the idea that losing the house might do Republicans good, and asked if there are ANY circumstances that would be a GOP defeat. I said then, and I re-iterate now, that the loss of the House is okay. Not great, but okay. But the loss of the Senate is a total and unmitigated catastrophe on every level.

Simon said...

Oh, and getting rid of Rumsfeld would make the loss of the House worthwhile even if it carried no other benefits.

tjl said...

Those who think the Dems will take the opportunity to work constructively with Bush on Iraq are wrong. The Dems, encouraged by the media, will see the election results as a repudiation of the entire Iraq enterprise. The Dems will conclude that they can continue to make political hay by bringing the war to an end as soon as they can, by any means necessary. The Dems will see no political benefits for them in finding a bipartisan solution.

With Bush a lame duck and both houses of Congrees under Dem control, the White House will be in a position comparable to that of Gerald Ford after Nixon's resignation. There will be much handwringing but Iraq will have to be abandoned to its fate. (Cambodia comes to mind.)

I regretfully agree with the media and the Dems that this election was a referendum on the war and the adminstration lost. What remains is the orderly liquidation of a policy rejected by the electorate. The Islamists have always said that their triumph was inevitable because the Western democracies lacked the sustained will to oppose them for as long as it would take. I fear they are right.

Sloanasaurus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Simon said...

MadisonMan - Frist was already dead long before this election. George Allen went on life support during this campaign, and is now an ex-contender. His campaign has expired, it has ceased to be.

In the '08 primaries, nobody who can't win Ohio without totally alienating the base need apply. Sad to say, Newt is probably out. McCain is probably out. Romney and Giuliani are about the only serious contenders right now.

NSC said...

About winning: Define please. And specify how many more troops will be needed. Can we talk about that now?

We could talk about it before the election. But now the Dems can try to add to the conversation. What number do the Dems suggest? How do they define winning?

They are in power now. I would love to hear some answers.

Sloanasaurus said...

You will start to hear stats like this very soon:

The Republican Congress came to power on 1/1/95 when federal spending was near an all time high of 21.75% GDP. When Republicans left on 1/1/07, federal spending was 20.5% GDP... a reduction in government spending of $175 billion per year or 1.75 trillion over 10 years. What will the democrats do?

The reason why you haven't heard this stat lately is because dederal spending was down at 19% in 1998. Republicans have been on a spending spree since then and everyone in the Republican party knows it. However, overall, the Republican Congress cut federal spending during their 12 years - facts don't lie. As time goes on we will forget about emotionalism tied to the spending binge and be left with the basic facts.

Democrats will need to cut spending too… or they will be stuck with this nasty comparison in districts like TX-22, FL-16, NC-11, GA-8 etc….

Fenrisulven said...

cynical optimist: it seems to me that Bush has already sabatoged "our" foreign policy.

See, this is what I'm talking about. Dems cannot be trusted to take this seriously:

Since when did the USA policy stand for initiating wars based on a tissue of lies and false pretenses?

We did not initiate a war on lies and false pretenses. That itself is the lie. Clinton, Gore, and Kerry all said the same as Bush about Iraq. Read the Iraqi Liberation Act.

Our country has been set back decades in squandered good-will.

More bunk. Please describe with specific detail how our country has been set backwards? Please define what good will existed, and how we squandered it. The Czechs and Poled depended on Europe's good will and were betrayed to the facists because of it. Israel is headed down the same guantlet of European "goodwill". I'm tired of that canard - nations never act on "goodwill", they act only in their self-interest. "Allies" like France and Germany will throw us to the wolves if it serves their self-interest. Just look how France and Russia are sabatoging attempts to rein in Iran.

Sloanasaurus said...

I regretfully agree with the media and the Dems that this election was a referendum on the war and the adminstration lost. What remains is the orderly liquidation of a policy rejected by the electorate.

You read to much into the Dem's victory. There was a lot more than just the war. There was republican fat in the Congress.

If it was all about the war, what then explains Lieberman's election victory? Lieberman is an outspoken supporter. How come the dems could not get more than 50% war opponents in a blue state to take him out. How do we know Lieberman's deal with Harry Ried won't be "I will caucus with the dems only if you refrain from bringing up funding cuts or resolutions against the war." If you bring up such resolutions, I will caucus with the Republicans, effectively killing the resolutions.

After all, Lieberman's mandate is to support the war - that is really the only difference between him and Lamont.

Simon said...

Sloan
Democrats don't cut spending, they raise taxes. Whenever you've heard a democrat on the trail this fall moaning about unbalanced budgets, they aren't talking about seriously approaching the issue, they're talking about raising taxes.

Shanna said...

Did anyone see the President's press conference. Wow!!! He seemed like he got a total wake up call. If the Dems really wanna work, this may be the best thing for his presidency.
I thought it was a very gracious speech. I also think some of it would have been nice tot hear before the election. And, although I’m glad they’ve decided to jettison Rumsfeld, I’m torn as to whether it’s better that they did it now or if they’d done it before the election. I think if they’d cut him out a year ago it would have been better for the Republicans in this election, but I also kind of like that they waited and now it’s like we all have a fresh start.
Time for the Dems to actually govern which, as we all know, is a hell of a lot harder than sitting in the cheap seats and throwing peanuts.
Yes. This election was mostly about people who are mad at the Republicans. Now the democrats have their chance. I hope they use it wisely. I would not consider impeachment hearings and tax raising wise.

Sloanasaurus said...

Like Rush, I feel kind of relieved about the election. Conservatism is all about small government not just low taxes. Bush pushed through the tax cuts, but the congress did not respond with the cuts in spending. In the end spending is the Congress' fault not the presidents Yet, Republicans have not been about that for the past 6 years. To talk about being Republican and being for small government was hypocritical. However, that hypocricy has gone away. Those republicans are out. The Reagan republicans are back.

Sloanasaurus said...

Whenever you've heard a democrat on the trail this fall moaning about unbalanced budgets, they aren't talking about seriously approaching the issue, they're talking about raising taxes.

Yes, a good observation. Democrats are always for sound financial discipline and balancing budgets by raising taxes.

Too Many Jims said...

Simon,

Can you honestly say that before yesterday Republicans (with a few exceptions like Pence) were talking about seriously approaching the spending issue? They may be getting their religion now, but they were the worst kind of big government conservatives.

Jeremy said...

NSC -
Your list failed to include Cristopher Reeves walking again. I think we can expect that in 3 ... 2... 1

Shanna said...

Can you honestly say that before yesterday Republicans (with a few exceptions like Pence) were talking about seriously approaching the spending issue?
No they weren't and that's alot of why they lost. But does that mean the Democrats are going to be better? I would say no. Whenever I hear them talk about fiscal discipline they are talking about raising taxes "on the richest americans". Which is bunk, by the way. Because if you flat out confiscated the actual richest people's entire fortune, you'd still have to go to the middle class for help. And the tax structure makes it so the rich are the only ones who can afford fancy tax shelters.

Sorry. Tangent. But when is the last time you heard a Democrat talk about cutting any spending that isn't the military?

MadisonMan said...

To the Republicans moaning about tax hikes: What is more important to you, low taxes, or winning the GWOT? Assume you can't do both. I think Republican profligacy in the past 6 years almost guarantees that.

Betty's Not a Vitamin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sloanasaurus said...

To the Republicans moaning about tax hikes: What is more important to you, low taxes, or winning the GWOT? Assume you can't do both. I think Republican profligacy in the past 6 years almost guarantees that.

Actually you can and you should if your tax rate is too high to begin with. Bush proved that the tax rate was too high because of the massive growth in federal revenues over the last two years from the tax cuts.

Pogo said...

There is only one real concern for our nation, the one that the Democrats don't believe exists.

The terrorists know they've won. They've already said so. They expect us to wimp out and run away, just like in Vietnam, and to hell with those left behind.

So MadisonMan, attending to the GWOT is off the table. The Dems have hearings, lawsuits, minimum wage hikes, tax increases, and gay marriage to pursue.

Until more buildings explode.
Welcome to the national suicide attempt, part 2 (AKA "Let's all party like it's 1972!")

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Last night was the best night since November 2000.

We are turning a corner...

al said...

The reason why you haven't heard this stat lately is because dederal spending was down at 19% in 1998.

Wasn't this around the time that Clinton was decimating the military? Did we lose a couple of divisions around this time? Boots that could have been useful...

Simon said...

MadisonMan,
If we were in a situation where there were no fat in the budget, if there was no federal spending that could be cut, then I would concede that your argument is sound, albeit unpalatable. But that isn't the case. When Democrats are ready to start making drastic cuts in non-defense discretionary spending, when they're ready to privative social security, when they're ready to set as their goal the elimination of federal entitlement spending, then we can start talking about raising taxes. But unless or until that time, you're in no position to make that argument. Pelosi is talking about a whole new world of Medicare entitlement spending, so she simply isn't living in the same wide world of math as the rest of us if she thinks we need to raise taxes to pay for the GWOT.

Democrats always talk about economic issues under an assumption that absolutely staggers me: that you can change an element of fiscal policy without it having any impact elsewhere in the economy. So they talk about raising the minimum wage and offer vapid analysis that assumes that all other variables will remain equal and unaffected. And they talk about raising taxes as if one can do so without affects the economy negatively.

The only way to balance the federal budget and keep it balanced is to spend less, and keep taxes low.

Betty's Not a Vitamin said...

Those [fiscally irresponsible] republicans are out. The Reagan republicans are back.

Isn’t it pretty to think so?

Isn’t it also time to jettison Rush right along with Rumsfeld and those ousted Tuesday night? His ill-considered buffoonery was no help to the cause of conservatism and his brand of pseudo-intellectual commentary has outlived its usefulness.

bearbee said...

I predict the war will widen to encompass Iran and possible Syria under the guise of “a new direction.”

Do tell. And just who is going to support the US in such an effort? Great Britain? Tony Blair is hanging on by his teeth and has indicated he will be stepping down. Our close friends the French? NATO? The UN? The NYT? And where do you anticipate our overleveraged military will get the resources for such an engagement?

Fritz said...

The press is spinning he lied to us story, the moonbats that Bush is coming back to reality, WRONG. Bush just set the trap on the most effective weapon against success in Iraq, lack of Democrat leadership and public support! Bush tapped Gates to thwart Democrats ability to hide behind the Iraq Commission's upcoming report. Since Gates was an author, Democrats will be forced to support our Mission rather than sour the publics patience. Brilliant move. Now that Democrats won Institutional positions, it will place an even greater burden on them to support US foreign policy.

tjl said...

"If it was all about the war, what then explains Lieberman's election victory?"

There was more to Lieberman's win than just the war. Lieberman's positions on almost all other issues accurately reflect the views of most CT voters. There was also a basic decency issue -- many who didn't agree with Lieberman on the war thought he'd been knifed in the back by a candidate who had little to bring to the table other than his trust fund.

Sloanasaurus said...

Great quote from Lieberman on the Hannity show:

"you cannot in life forget who your friends are... and I will not"

SteveR said...

MM You're smart enough to know we could have never taxed our way out of the post.com/9/11 recession. Spending on the GWOT aside it was all the wink wink earmark crap that spelled doom for Republicans, it was arrogant and wasteful and Democrats would be wise to avoid that perception. I see Sloan has stolen some of my thunder on this but deficits are not the problem. At least until, un-reformed entitlements start rolling in.

I'd like to see a plan for that that doesn't include a payroll tax hike on 30 somethings to pay for me in 17 years.

Sloanasaurus said...

There was more to Lieberman's win than just the war. Lieberman's positions on almost all other issues accurately reflect the views of most CT voters.

Except of course the 40% of the state (all Democrats) who voted against him.

Too Many Jims said...

"But does that mean the Democrats are going to be better [on spending]?"

I would be surprised if this next Congress is not better on spending. If it is not, Republicans should stop running for President.

johnstodderinexile said...

Bush seemed to make the election a plebiscite on Rumsfeld with his statement last weekend. He lost, so Rumsfeld's gone. I think that's kind of neat.

The Bush 41 team that is now ascendent has had experience working with a Congress in the other party's hands. Rumsfeld would have been even more of a disaster in such a role.

I think both parties are waiting to see what Baker says, and assuming it's reasonable, they'll largely embrace it. One thing is clear after this election: Neither party knows what to do about this war. There are no clear-cut answers. It's far murkier than Vietnam was at this point. There's a lot of "if we do this then what happens, if we do that then what happens?" chess-game speculation in terms of our relationships in the Middle East. We need a direction. We need a "new" direction. But what direction? Nobody but James Baker & co. knows.

chickenlittle said...

"Now that Democrats won Institutional positions, it will place an even greater burden on them to support US foreign policy."

That's the part I really like- talk about a reality check for them. Fantasy-based pacifism ala Lamont will die on the vine before next spring

MadisonMan said...

pogo, what are you talking about?

sloan, you're ducking the question, but I won't put it in boldface.

My opinion is that the Republican Spending Spree of the past 6 years will really impact the ability of the country to pursue a successful GWOT unless money is raised somewhere. Republicans in the past 6 years have shown themselves to be unwilling to cut spending, unwilling to cut the size of the Government, and unwilling to cut future entitlements. Finding God now that they've lost power will not unspend all the past and future money gone in the last 6 years.

This reminds me very much of Doyle's first term as Governor. Republicans spend like drunken sailors and then the Democrats have to come clean things up.

(Where is non-Gov Doyle, by the way?)

Shanna said...

If we were in a situation where there were no fat in the budget, if there was no federal spending that could be cut, then I would concede that your argument is sound, albeit unpalatable. But that isn't the case.

Exactly. Hell, go to those porkbuster websites and look at how much crap the government pays for, before we even get into the major stuff. We could cut millions without anyone noticing. *cough*BridgeToNowhere*cough*

Isn’t it also time to jettison Rush right along with Rumsfeld and those ousted Tuesday night?

Oh lord. Rush again? Really? Last I checked, nobody elected Rush to anything, so asking for people to get rid of Rush is nonsense. It’s just a guy on the radio. Sheesh, I am sick of this. Move On already. This is getting to be a major pet peeve of mine. You shouldn’t just bring up Rush whenever you run out of arguments! It’s pathetic.

Great quote from Lieberman on the Hannity show: "you cannot in life forget who your friends are... and I will not"
Oh that is lovely. This Lieberman thing has the potential to turn almost Shakespearean.

johnstodderinexile said...

And who, pray tell, is on Lieberman's list of friends?

That's the most ambiguous comment I think I've ever heard a politician say.

CB said...

Did I miss it, or has no one here mentioned the fact that just the other day Bush said he would keep Rumsfeld, thereby lying to the American people in order to influence the election.

Sloanasaurus said...

In my opinion is that the Republican Spending Spree of the past 6 years will really impact the ability of the country to pursue a successful GWOT unless money is raised somewhere.

Yes we should get it from cuts. IN 1998, the gov was spending 19% of GDP and we were fighting a war in Kosovo. That's $200 billion per year.

Shanna said...

Republicans in the past 6 years have shown themselves to be unwilling to cut spending, unwilling to cut the size of the Government, and unwilling to cut future entitlements.

Yes, they have. And they faced judgement yesterday. That is good.

But why were they unwilling to cut the future entitlements?

Does no one remember the way Newt was treated when he tried to do that? I remember commercials accusing him of being responsible for peoples grandparents having to eat dog food, and those commercials didn't come from Republicans.

Democrats were the obstructionists and when the Rep's added a new medicare entitlement dem's complained that it was TOO LITTLE! How can I take confidence that they would be any better than the Republicans? All they want to do is raise my taxes!

Gah! This is why the Republicans deserved to lose and hopefully they will find the courage of their convictions again.

And Bush didn't help. He's a big spending Republican. He should have used that veto pen once in a while.

The Drill SGT said...

Beyond a number of GOP presidential hopefuls that are DOA, I think Hillary's chances are worsened. Up till now, she has been able to straddle a number of issues. With potentially a Dem Senate, the onus will be on Reid and the rest of them to actually pass bills. It will be interesting to see what the concrete agenda of the Dems turns out to be.

MadisonMan said...

Simon, I may just be being pessimistic on financial matters. But the national debt has jumped by more then $3 trillion since Bush and the Republicans took over -- it's gone up $19 Billion since November 1st! Interest payments on the debt have passed $400 billion this year.

If GWOT is pursued without a tax rate hike, we can all thank Democratic Fiscal Prudence.

Betty's Not a Vitamin said...

You shouldn’t just bring up Rush whenever you run out of arguments! It’s pathetic.

Cool your jets. I’m with you. I was refering to any early reference to Rush. I just think that he’s not much of an actual authority on anything. Also, I don’t give a damn what any of your peeves are.

I predict the war will widen to encompass Iran and possible Syria under the guise of “a new direction.”

Do tell. And just who is going to support the US in such an effort?


It doesn’t seem to have mattered that much thus far. Also, from the Dem’s perspective, the greater the hardship the better. They will blame it all on Bush anyway. The U.S. military touts its ability to fight two major wars. Two low-intensity conflicts (after the invasion) don’t amount to one.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"Republicans in the past 6 years have shown themselves to be unwilling to cut spending, unwilling to cut the size of the Government, and unwilling to cut future entitlements. Finding God now that they've lost power will not unspend all the past and future money gone in the last 6 years."

That's very true, but nor does it legitimize Democrats raising taxes. Worse yet, MM, the Democrats want to RAISE spending! Pelosi's still rattling on about a new prescription drug entitlement bill. If the Democrats came in and said "you know what? We have to balance the budget, and we have to raise military spending, and these are matters of dire national priority, and to accomplish them, we are going to raise income taxes by x%, offset that with a capital gains cut of x%, and we're going to cut non-defense discretionary across the board by 25% and look at ways to start cutting entitlement spending with a view to reducing it in real terms by 5% by 2008," if you guys came in with a serious attitude and a plan like that, then maybe we could take democrats seriously on fiscal matters. But they cannot seriously come in proposing MORE bloody entitlement spending and expect to be taken seriously when they say there isn't enough money to go around so we have to raise taxes.

MadisonMan said...

Drill, if Hillary's chances are worsened, all I can say is good. Senators make unsuccessful Presidential Candidates.

Simon said...

BTW - fiscal prudence is not spending what you can't afford and at the level of government, it means doing as little harm to the economy as possible. That means keeping taxes as low as possible and - except when in dire straights - keeping spending low. I'm as disgusted at the Republican spending orgy as is everyone else, but I get the sense that what makes the Democrats mad aren't all that money being spent, it's what it's being spent on. If it were being spent to sponsor abortion clinics or printing and Spanish language ballots, the Democrats would be thrilled with it.

By the way - now that the Democrats run the House and probably the Senate too, when can we expect a repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell to make it to Bush's desk? Or is that something that's of just too high a political value in beating up on the army to do away with?

Sloanasaurus said...

Simon, I may just be being pessimistic on financial matters. But the national debt has jumped by more then $3 trillion since Bush and the Republicans took over -- it's gone up $19 Billion since November 1st! Interest payments on the debt have passed $400 billion this year.

The debt on the federal level matters less than spending. The debt or deficit really only represent the difference between the amount the gov wants to tax or borrow.... they get the surplus money from the same place - from rich people. They either borrow from rich people or tax rich people. Of course the real damage a deficit or debt can do is to interest rates. However, how high does the debt have to go before rates really go up. After world war II we were 1.6 GDP in the hole and rates were still low, today the national debt is around .6 GDP.

Deficits are sometimes desirable to encourage the legislature to spend less. Spending is what really matters in the end. How much time does the lord require of you to tend to trivial matters rather than working on your farm. The more the lord needs you, the less you make on your far,.

The question should be how much of your national resource does the lord/government spend...? Because the government is really bad and inefficient at creating most assets that produce future wealth, the more the government spends, the less standard of living will accrue in the future.

Note the goverment produces some good assets such as roads, national defense, police, etc.... Most of the time, however, the government wastes our money.

Pogo said...

Re: "pogo, what are you talking about?"

More clearly, I don't think the majority of Democrats even think there is a war on terror. They would rather be isolationists, hence their strange bedfellowing with former foe Pat Buchanan.

NSC said...

Did I miss it, or has no one here mentioned the fact that just the other day Bush said he would keep Rumsfeld, thereby lying to the American people in order to influence the election.

Assuming he had made a final decision to let him go, announcing it would have influenced the election far more than his not announcing it. And probably to the better of the GOP.

Hell, at least he didn't wag his finger at us when he said it.

CB said...

announcing it would have influenced the election far more than his not announcing it.

It's not that Bush didn't announce Rumsfeld's impending end, he actually announced that Rumsfeld would not be leaving, when he surely knew that he would. In other words, he lied. A small lie as far as politics goes, but an unnecessary and strange one.

Betty's Not a Vitamin said...


Did I miss it, or has no one here mentioned the fact that just the other day Bush said he would keep Rumsfeld

A lot of similarities to the Harriet Miers nomination -- just no election involved.

Jeremy said...

CB, but what could he have said? Either dodge the question or lie? Besides, I suspect that the plan was to keep Rumsfield on if the Rs won and let him go if they lost.

Simon said...

CB,
It would not only be unnecessary and strange, it would be completely bizarre. Firing Rumsfeld before the election would very possibly have saved us from losing the Senate; it was readily apparent at least a month ago that the Democrats had successfully transformed this election into a referendum on the war, and that the GOP could not win that referendum. Firing Rumsfeld would have been the first step towards mollifying those who are merely pissed about the conduct of the war, rather than its existence.

Politicians don't usually conceal information from the electorate that will help them! The object of lying to the electorate is to make victory more likely, not less so.

anselm said...

If the Dems don't start impeachment hearings, they deserve credit. They will have taken the high ground for the good of the nation - and taken a lot of heat from their base over it.

Besides that, a withdrawal from Iraq coupled with strong border security measures may well be isolationist, but it is worth consideration and will get mainstream support.

Revenant said...

Did anyone see the President's press conference. Wow!!! He seemed like he got a total wake up call.

Er, he's not stupid. The Democrats control Congress now, so obviously he has to try to cooperate with them (and, of course, on one of his pet projects -- illegal immigrant amnesty -- they're on his side).

When Republicans controlled Congress, he didn't need the cooperation of the Democrats. He didn't "get a wake-up call", he's just faced with a different political situation now.

Sloanasaurus said...

Besides that, a withdrawal from Iraq coupled with strong border security measures may well be isolationist, but it is worth consideration and will get mainstream support.


That is until the first suicide bomber blows up a bus load of commuters in middle America. The mood will change real quick....

Fritz said...

I love history, this big Bush lie will be known in history as greatness. Unlike leftists, Bush puts the country before domestic politics. I guarantee in 3 months, public support for our Iraq policy will be above 60%, why? Democrat leadership will sign on to the "new direction" and that would have not been possible if he dropped this resignation before the elections. If Republican fortunes had improved, this "October Surprise" would have made Democrats even more intransigent to leave. We don't have that luxury, time is against us. We need bipartisan support to signal to the Iraqis that they don't need their militias, we will not cut & run.

Pogo said...

All I can say thanks for now is concealed carry.

Betty's Not a Vitamin said...

That is until the first suicide bomber blows up a bus load of commuters in middle America. The mood will change real quick....


This is also why the Democrats will turn out to be more hawkish than Republicans. They know the next attack is looming (as all the intelligence reports forecast it) and they would be very foolish to set themselves up to take the blame.

Shanna said...

More clearly, I don't think the majority of Democrats even think there is a war on terror.
Well, Pogo, Pelosi just said she doesn't think it's a war so there you go.

Cedarford said...

Fenrisulven - Success in Iraq is more important than Party

The problem for the Bushies was in letting Iraq become a monomania. Nothing else mattered BUT Iraq, Iraq, Iraq and it's noble purple-fingered, freedom loving people. Not budgets, not the threatened middle class, not cleaning out the rampant corruption and arrogance, not fixing the immigration problem. Just keep the tax cuts going, tell the lesser Americans that the "Doer Folk" in the Ownership Society would eventually trickledown their concentrated wealth..and Stay the Course.

It bit them.

Reagan understood that winning the Cold War was just one part of his Presidency and he had considerable work elsewhere that had to be done. Anyone in management or leadership that fixates on "one defining matter" as the only thing worth their attention for years, to the detriment of all other matters they are tasked with doing - soon becomes an ex-maager or ex-leader.
****************
Althouse - Glenn Reynolds reports on his Blog that you were THE photo-blogging fiend at your CNN clavern. No one matched you.
******************************
Sloanasaurus - Bush proved that the tax rate was too high because of the massive growth in federal revenues over the last two years from the tax cuts.

Bush proved nothing. For every dollar he borrowed from China to create new Gov't jobs or pork and make up for lost revenue from his tax cuts on the wealthy, he got 20 cents in revenue. Which is why we are 3 trillion more in debt.

Saying "It's Your money" is like a business magically being allowed by recklessly irresponsible bankers to borrow far in excess of revenues to reward to executives with wheelbarrows of money and expand "growth into non-profitable areas" - while the working scum of the firm get nothing in the deal - other than a growing feeling the CEO and the inner circle are steering the company right into the La Brea tar pits.

Why do you think the independent, or Reagan Democrat, middle class and working poor moved heavily into the Democratic ranks?

Bush's reckless spending and tax cuts mostly benefit the wealthy. Not the inferior, lower 95% of the population. The Republicans fixated on the wealthy and their Southern Religious Right base. They kept those factions and energized them - but lost the entire moderate middle of America, If they keep it up, they are toast in 2008.

I mean, doubling the number of American billionaires by tax cuts and pork and allowing the uber-wealthy to "hoover-up" all the GNP wealth gains is great Republican policy - if the middle class and working poor also get something in the deal. But they didn't. And voted accordingly
**************
Simon - It would not only be unnecessary and strange, it would be completely bizarre. Firing Rumsfeld before the election would very possibly have saved us from losing the Senate; it was readily apparent at least a month ago that the Democrats had successfully transformed this election into a referendum on the war, and that the GOP could not win that referendum. Firing Rumsfeld would have been the first step towards mollifying (voters)

Agree. It was not just a lie, but a lie that hurt Republicans. It likely negated the Kerry Blunder and cost some close Senate seats. I know at work people in the middle were fuming mad that Bush had announced that he was staying with Rumsfeld the next two years no matter what and Cheney came out with "Full Speed ahead in Iraq". That was in Missouri. And bye bye Talent on Bush's declaration of eternal loyalty to His Main Man, no matter what.
A statement and decision to lie as bad and inexplicable as his Harriet Miers nomination. Bush "didn't want to influence the election so he had to fib??" My, my, isn't that his fucking job?? To tell the truth and hopefully save Republican office-holders? Imagine if he said that he was changing course depending on the Baker Commission and a new Congress recommendations and the 1st step in prep to that was replacing Rumsfeld?

We would have Senators Talent, Allen, Chaffee, possibly new Senator Steele. Plus 10 House members that lost by razor thin margins would have likely survived.
************
Fritz said...
I love history, this big Bush lie will be known in history as greatness. Unlike leftists, Bush puts the country before domestic politics.


I don't think anyone will use "greatness" to describe a President lying about something he was going to do anyways in a week and which cost his Party control of the Senate and would have saved 10-14 very, very good House members like the New Hampshire and Connecticut Reps.

The only way this makes sense - if you assume Bush has a brain - is that he wished to end opposition to his amnesty for 30 million illegals and their dependents to reward his corporate benefactors and his personal wealth after he leaves office. Of course 100 million new Democratic-voting Americans by 2050 - mostly illegals and descendents of illegals will screw the Reps even further, but the "Great One" will be dead by then and wealth will be concentrated in 50,000 American oligarchs by then - so why should he care what history says about him?

My guess? Worse than Carter will be the verdict, and the greatest venom will be in the English-speaking part of America.


Dumb, dumb, dumb Dubya!

bearbee said...

It doesn’t seem to have mattered that much thus far. Also, from the Dem’s perspective, the greater the hardship the better. They will blame it all on Bush anyway. The U.S. military touts its ability to fight two major wars. Two low-intensity conflicts (after the invasion) don’t amount to one.

And of course Russia and China will just sit back and watch.........Russia which continues to supply much of that nuclear technology to Iran and which is building a strong alliance with China..........

tjl said...

"Well, Pogo, Pelosi just said she doesn't think it's a war so there you go."

Pelosi said one of her priorities was "putting an end to the problem in Iraq." I think that makes it pretty clear she thinks it's an error to be liquidated, not a war that the Dems will unite behind.

Many on this board, including our hostess, think there are enough moderate Dems to restrain the excesses of the base. I hope their optimism is warranted but I think the winds will blow in the other direction. The freshmen will have to do as they're told if they want good committee assignments. Few will be willing to risk the wrath of the party for principle, like Joe Lieberman.

The Exalted said...

fenris,

i can't read anything you're writing, i think someone poured white-out on your posts.

please correct.

The Exalted said...

Sloan
Democrats don't cut spending, they raise taxes. Whenever you've heard a democrat on the trail this fall moaning about unbalanced budgets, they aren't talking about seriously approaching the issue, they're talking about raising taxes.


its amazing, its like none of you were alive, oh, 7 years ago when we had a democratic president and a surplus. can you all be this intellectually dishonest? i say yes.

Simon said...

TheExalted,
Congress writes the budget. Seven years ago, a Republican Congress ran a balanced the budget; for the last six years, a Republican Congress has run an unbalanced budget, and now a Democratic Congress will try to raise taxes to balance the budget. That's just the fact of the matter. There's no point in blaming Bush for the last six years, and even less point in crediting Clinton with the years before that.

Betty's Not a Vitamin said...

And of course Russia and China will just sit back and watch.........Russia which continues to supply much of that nuclear technology to Iran and which is building a strong alliance with China

And this is relevant how? I sell you a particular technology, then I incur some kind of interest in your ongoing well-being? An alliance is implied? Why did China capitulate (sort of) with regard to N. Korea? Russia’s long experience in Chechnya has provided them with the same interests in the outcome in Iraq (and Iran) as we have.

Cedarford said...

Simon, on the "Shit Just Happens Theory" of Massive Reckless Spending - (applied as well to misplanned military adventures, why the poor are getting screwed, the ubiquity of corruption, etc.):

1. Don't blame the Republican Congress - during Clinton's Day they were not drunken spendthrift sailors.
2. No point in crediting Clinton for the wisdom of the Republican Congress.
3. Don't blame the fiscal restraint meltdown of the Bush years, because Congress authorizes spending.
4. But don't blame the Republican Congress under Bush because they proved they were responsible under Clinton.

Got it.

No one is at fault.

No one is accountable.

Same argument can be applied to immigration, Iraq, lack of a Natural Energy Plan.

Well reasoned.

Pity the voters reasoned otherwise on a variety of those matters.

The Exalted said...

simon,

what stopped bush from using his veto power on those unbalanced budgets?

i seem to remember bush creating some costly entitlement program as well, no?

The Exalted said...

also, as for the republican congress which apparently can be taken "seriously" as to its fiscal responsiblity despite record deficits, please tell me what kind of return i, Joe Taxpayer, am getting from our $300 billion+ expenditure on the Iraq war.

because, to be honest, i dont feel the capture and execution of Saddam is worth $300 billion. maybe 5 to 10. after that we're talking real money.

Seven Machos said...

Exalted: I know you want to blame the president for the unbalanced budget. That's your stupid way. But it really was the Republican Congress's fault that we are spending more than we are bringing in.

As a result of Bush's tax cuts, government "income" has increased.

Moreover, if the president vetoes a budget, there is no money for the government, and there would likely be a shutdown. Still further, a presidential veto is limited. It can be overcome by a 2/3 vote in the Congress. Would President Bush really risk alienating his own leadership over the budget when he could easily lose and get damaged over a shutdown?

Again, I know you hate Bush, so I am wasting my time, and that you are kind of dense, so I am wasting my time. But you really should stop and think before blindly castigating President Bush for everything you feel is wrong with the world.

Seven Machos said...

Exalted -- Who cares what kind of return you are getting on your taxes? What kind of return am I getting for useless welfare programs, lax immigration policies, Robert W. Byrd placards across West Virginia, or discrimination against whites and Asians and Jews at prestigious public universities?

Were it up to conservatives, government would be half the size and the military twice as large. But we get the government we voted for. And that government voted pretty much unanimously to put the military in Iraq.

Why all the anger? Is it just because you don't know any better?

NSC said...

its amazing, its like none of you were alive, oh, 7 years ago when we had a democratic president and a surplus. can you all be this intellectually dishonest? i say yes.

We have had 9/11, a war, and Katrina since that time and we still have a great economy and a deficit that keeps going down. Clinton had nothing like that to deal with.

How about you being intellectually honest.

Simon said...

Cedarford,
You assume that the overspending began when (and perhaps because of) Bush's accession. I disagree; I think it began when DeLay and Hastert came to power in the House. Now, are they to blame entirely? Of course not, you can't have an orgy with two people, but when you have a leadership that accepts and even encourages reckless spending, rather than restraining it, the last six years is a picture of what you'll get.

I don't want to free Bush entirely from blame - I think he probably should have vetoed some spending bills. If you're trying to talk me into the proposition that Bush is a crummy President, it's not that long of a trip.

MadisonMan said...

I know you want to blame the president for the unbalanced budget. That's your stupid way. But it really was the Republican Congress's fault that we are spending more than we are bringing in.

I blame both the Legislative and Executive Branches. Bush has a veto pen -- and I suspect he'll find it now. Is there a reason he couldn't veto a bill chock full of earmarks? Reagan did.

Too Many Jims said...

Simon,

Your willingness to minimize Bush's role in spending is surprising. Even setting aside your wrong and simplistic view that "Congress writes the budget" can you deny that the "compassionate conservative" intitiatives have increased spending? Specifically "No Child Left Behind" and Medicare Part D.

If Congress writes the budget and the President has little role, I understand why Clinton deserves little credit for controlling spending. By the same token, Newt, Armey and the rest of the true believers deserve derision for not doing more during that time to control spending.

bearbee said...

And this is relevant how? I sell you a particular technology, then I incur some kind of interest in your ongoing well-being? An alliance is implied? Why did China capitulate (sort of) with regard to N. Korea? Russia’s long experience in Chechnya has provided them with the same interests in the outcome in Iraq (and Iran) as we have.

The intent of both Russia and China (and others) is to curb US economic and military power and regain status and/or become the next superpower. Russia is practically on Iran's border. Supplying military equipment and fighters would be relatively easy. Venezula is the US 3rd largest oil exporter. Chavez hates the US and has established close ties with Iran, Russia and resource-hungry China. Chavez has already cut supplies to the US and increased exports to China. Further cut backs in oil imports could cripple the US economy.

Simon said...

Jim,
I can think of at least three reasons why I was opposed to both of the programs you cite, and I don't want to minimize the President's role in the budgeting process. But the final say is basically Congress' call, and if there was excessive spending under Newt's watch, then he needs to take some of the blame for that. But as I see it, these problems began when we ejected Newt and the era of DeLay began.

Look, the last election where it matters is behind us now, so I can be quite frank about this. I think Bush is a fucking moron, and the left is probably right that he's the easily the worst President of the last half-century. Has he faced extraordinary problems that would have tested any President? You bet. Would any other President have done better at facing them? Maybe, maybe not. Anyway, my point is that I don't particularly like this President, so it is hopefully abundantly clear that I come not to defend him. Still, with that all having been said, I like DeLay even less, and I think that a great deal of what has gone wrong in the last seven years lies directly with the leadership in the House, who have spent like drunken sailors, and rolled over to the White House at every opportunity. These are people who have put party above institution, and avarice above all. And a person who places partisan loyalty over their oath to support and defend the Constitution are beneath contempt (a description, by the way, that also applies to practically every member of the Democratic caucus in both chambers). So as much as you can blame Bush for a great number of things, the blame for the spending lies upon Congress first and Congress last.

So I'd prefer to read this election as a rebuke to Congressional Republicans for abandoning the Contract with America, but while that's partially true, I think the fact of the matter is that it's mainly a rebuke to Bush on Iraq.

But as much as I dislike Bush

bearbee said...

So as much as you can blame Bush for a great number of things, the blame for the spending lies upon Congress first and Congress last.

We could quibble about this but Bush as President and as leader of the majority party should have exerted leadership and fiscal disipline. He did not. I attribute the reckless spending directly to him. His lack of leadership sanctioned the spending spree.
And I believe Cheney was quoted as saying to Paul O'Neill "You know Reagan proved deficits don't matter,".
It is that idiotic attitude that has created the $8 trillion and growing debt

Simon said...

bearbee said...
"We could quibble about this but Bush as President and as leader of the majority party should have exerted leadership and fiscal disipline. He did not. I attribute the reckless spending directly to him. His lack of leadership sanctioned the spending spree."

To some extent, I agree with that - there was more leadership on the issue that he could and should have exercised. And I certainly agree that this was very much a failure of leadership, but that failure was in the offices of the Speaker of the House, and above all else, the Majority Leader.

My view is that -- and this is a horrible thing to do to John Boehner, I feel bad that it has to be this way -- it's absolutely imperative that the Congressional GOP now strips everyone who had any authority in the 109th Congress of any residual authority. Every member of the leadership needs to go to the back benches, and no one who was a chairman should be a ranking member. We have to recognize that a line needs to be drawn, and we need to hermetically seal off the legacy of six years of heresy.

Too Many Jims said...

Simon,

If the GOP house leadership sold out conservative principles by prostituting themselves to K street and big business special interests, Bush served as the pimp. Can't have one without the other. If he didn't agree with their spending priorities, he could have done what Clinton did and vetoed those priorities.

The Exalted said...

@seven machos:

here is your serious presidential team in fiscal conservative action:

After 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan, the budget deficit was growing. So at a meeting with the vice president after the mid-term elections in 2002, Suskind writes that O'Neill argued against a second round of tax cuts.

"Cheney, at this moment, shows his hand," says Suskind. "He says, ‘You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due.'"


i know, i know, how can i read that passage when my "hatred of bush" has driven me blind?

further, amazingly, you purport:

Were it up to conservatives, government would be half the size and the military twice as large.

i guess it wasn't "up to conservatives" the last 6 years where they controlled every lever of legislative and executive power?

(the senate excepted for the brief period after jeffords switched).

@nsc:

We have had 9/11, a war, and Katrina since that time and we still have a great economy and a deficit that keeps going down. Clinton had nothing like that to deal with.


actually, non-military expenditures have risen dramtically during the bush tenure. and the deficit is most certainly not going down, it is reaching record heights.

but, why let facts get in the way of your little polemic.

Seven Machos said...

I personally don't think deficits matter. The ultimate effect of a deficit will be:

1. Less spending.

2. Default to a bunch of bankers.

Less spending is far more likely and less calamitous. But default would eventually lead to less spending, too.

You are know economist, Exalted.

The Exalted said...

heh, not sure what to make of that comment.

you want our government to default? is this more "seriousness"?

and i did major in economics back when -- you clearly did not.

cheers.

Seven Machos said...

Exalted -- The government isn't going to default. But if you just think about it, what would happen if it did? Would the Chinese government seize ours for not paying T-bills? Would some bank auction off government property?

No. And, in addition to the fact that the U.S. government is not going to default, this is why default is not really a threat.

Name me one bad thing that happens when the U.S. government borrows money.

The Exalted said...

government borrowing crowds out private borrowing.

and the more our government borrows, the more money we waste paying off interest each year.

again, though, you have no understanding of economics so this is wasted.

cheers.

Seven Machos said...

Exalted: Is government borrowing from 5/3 Bank down the street there? Or does it borrow in some other way?

Have you noticed less borrowing lately? Are there more or fewer entities in the loan business now? Hmmmm...

I think the budget should be balanced as well, because it will lead to smaller government. But government borrwoing tends to stimulate the economy tremendously. Never let facts get in the way of a good argument, though, Big Guy...

bearbee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bearbee said...

When government borrowing is for the purpose of investing in businesses that create and build and in turn expand the economy, it is a positive thing. When government borrowing is to pay for consumption it is not a good thing. Our budgets are not balanced. The current $8 trillion does not include unfunded liabilities such as social security or prescription drugs. Since 1970 our manufacturing sector has been shrinking. We are producing less and consuming more and our debt grows. Our trade imbalances keep growing. Annualized, the trade gap is estimated to well over $800 billion of foreign-made merchandise.

Thus far global central banks through purchase of t-bills have been willing to support our consumption. But they including China most recently, are increasingly concerned about the extent of our debt resulting in their diversification out of the dollar and into euros and the yen. This trend will cause the dollar its continued loss of value (since 2001 the US dollar index has slid from 120 to 85), commodities to soar (the CRB index since 2000 has increased from 190 to 394) and eventually inflation to spiral out of control. You will need a fabled wheel-barrow filled with money to buy a loaf of bread..

The Exalted said...

government spending stimulates the economy, not government borrowing.

more borrowing makes borrowing more expensive, aka, higher interest rates.

and, as i'm sure you're aware, government is a pretty wasteful apparatus. much better for economic stimulation to come straight from private enterprise rather than from taxed enterprise to government spending.

Seven Machos said...

Government borrowing does not stimulate the economy? Where did you study economics? I need to know so I will never listen to anyone there.

bearbee said...

In the 'old days' to stimulate business rather than running to keep up with debt, the govenment would 'borrow' money from the Fed which in turn would create government bonds that mainly Americans would buy with their savings, which then put that 'borrowed' money into bank reserves so banks could lend out money to business to create, expand and build, in other words to produce goods.

Today we are consuming more than we are producing as evidenced by our widening trade gap. To support our huge Federal debt and with the lack of savings combined with unprecedented personal debt of the American public, the government 'borrows' money from the Fed which in turn monetizes our assests by creating t-bills that are purchased primarily by foreign money to help us pay our debts. We are relying on the world to finance our non-productive debt and support our growing consumption.

There is.. no.. free.. lunch.........

bearbee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bearbee said...

Here is an interesting tidbit:

WHAT'S THE REAL FEDERAL DEFICIT?
"The federal government keeps two sets of books.
The set the government promotes to the public has a healthier bottom line: a $318 billion deficit in 2005.

The set the government doesn't talk about is the audited financial statement produced by the government's accountants following standard accounting rules. It reports a more ominous financial picture: a $760 billion deficit for 2005. If Social Security and Medicare were included — as the board that sets accounting rules is considering — the federal deficit would have been $3.5 trillion."