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  • Tuesday, November 19, 2002


    The bitter Mr Krauthammer cracks a morbid little smile

    Talking Points Memo directs us to the 1200 word spinfest by the dyspeptic Charles Krauthammer. I know that Mr. Krauthammer doesn't get out much, but what to make of the fact that he glosses over so many of the Bush Administration’s initiatives and achievements and their ramifications? Shall we say that he is obtuse, willfully ignorant, or just a liar who brushes aside facts in order to make a point?

    To start with let us remember that up until the election the conventional wisdom was that the election would revolve around "local issues". For example, for the people of Georgia it was a debate about whether the state would keep a symbol of the Confederacy as a part of the flag. Nothing riles up the crackers like the joys of battles lost. In the process a war hero was beaten by a coward. After the election, the Republicans began to immediately crow about a mandate for George Bush. After all, all the Karl Rove-selected candidates Bush campaigned for won...not so fast there John Thune, wait a second Greg Ganske, sit down Bill Simon. Surely, Charles Krauthammer would have us believe, the Republicans are fully in control of this great nation of ours. Except that the election may indicate otherwise. According to the all-wise Daily Kos:

    In the final tally, the GOP lost 1 governorship, while the Democrats picked up 3. The two independent governorships (in ME and MN) split evenly between the two major parties.

    The GOP picked up: AK, AL, GA, HI, MD, MN, NH, SC, and VT.

    The Democrats picked up: AZ, IL, KS, ME, MI, NM, OK, PA, TN, WI, and WY.

    An extraordinary 20 governorships changed parties, out of 36 contested. Democrats did far better in picking up key swing states for 2004. CW is that a governor can give his or her party's presidential nominee a 1-3 point boost through the use of the gubernatorial bully pulpit and state party apparatus.

    As such, the following GOP pickups could help Bush's chances in 2004: MN, NH, and VT (17 electoral votes). On the Dem side, we have AZ, IL, MI, NM, PA, TN, and WI (95 electoral votes).

    It is more than fair to say that Bush has control of all three branches of the government (Scalia and Rhenquist have seen to that), but as far as a mandate or a repudiation of everything that the Democrats stand for...not so fast Charlie. (Keep in mind the Republican Rule of Elections: when a Republican wins by a single vote it's a mandate. If he loses by a single vote, it's because of voter fraud). Recent polls have shown that Bush hasn’t even hit the fifty percent mark when it comes to “would you vote for George Bush for President again”.

    There are two selections from Krauthammer's House of Bile that are worth reviewing. First:

    Odd. In a country where the great assault, such as it is, on "choice" consists of parental notification of teenage abortions, in a country where most people don't particularly enjoy having their wealth "transferred," where they support reasonable environmental regulation and believe in some separation between church and state, how could this conjunction of "piety, profits, and military power, all joined at the hip by ideology and money"--Moyers's summary of Republicanism--command such public support?

    With a litmus test for judicial appointments based on "pro-life" credentials, a massive tax-cut for the wealthy with a tuppence for the masses, environmental regulations dictated by former industry lobbyists/lawyers/shills, and a Majority party that includes religious freak acts like John Ashcroft, Orrin Hatch, Tom DeLay, Asa Hutchinson, and John Walters...why doesn't Krauthammer's vision of America look like mine? Oh, that's right, he's in gloat mode.

    Then he writes:

    This is truly bizarre. George Bush, extremist? This is a president who passed an education bill essentially written by Ted Kennedy. His tax reform involves the most modest of rate cuts for the upper brackets and is what any Keynesian would have done in the face of a recession. It is, for example, more moderate than the (John) Kennedy tax cuts. The other alleged parts of his agenda--the environmental rape, the imposition of theocracy, the abolition of civil liberties (Moyers: "secrecy on a scale you cannot imagine")--are nothing but the delusion of liberals made quite mad by defeat.

    Leaving aside the notion that Bush "passed" an education bill (although he did pass on his obligation to fulfill his military duty) Bush did sign the bill...then proceeded to not fund it. It's a unique Bush trick. Money for New York reparations? Sure, I’ll sign that! Oh, you actually want the money...can I get back to you? As far as the other "alleged parts of his agenda" I give you the Environmental Regulations by industry insiders, for civil rights I've got your Patriot Act right here and here, and for the Bush theocracy we have this. If Krauthammer sees nothing extreme in any of these, I suggest he get himself to an optometrist. That tunnel vision of his is getting worse…

    posted by tbogg at 9:34 PM



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