Monday, October 30, 2006

The Presidential stump speech: Disastrous

Over the weekend I saw a clip on T.V. showing the President at a campaign event talking about the "Democrat" plan or lack there of for the war in Iraq. Of course this caused me to go into a dither because I felt it was perfectly reasonable to wonder what the heck the White House plan for Iraq has been, and how well that plan has progressed. Thus I determined to make my Monday post a scathing indictment of the Presidents attempt to bludgeon Democrats for a situation he is entirely responsible for.

In order to research this post I looked up the speech that President Bush is giving during this final week of campaigning. Reading through this speech I found myself becoming progressively perplexed as to the real effect of this speech. How could any audience who hears this speech leave the event with a determination to allow the President continued unfettered power in pursuing policies that have proven so conclusively to be horrendous failures.

I am convinced that these audiences are examples of a sort of mass delusion that has overtaken the extreme right fringe of our nation. There is no fact, no reason, no justification, no proof that can be offered that would sway them from their predetermined belief that this President can not err. Let us consider a couple of instances offered by the speech of just this mindset.
[Pres. Bush] We will win this election because Republicans understand the values and priorities of the American people. We will win this election because our priorities and our values do not shift with the latest political opinion poll or focus group. (Applause.) We will win this election because we got a good record to run on.
Republican values like those represented by the dozens of prominent Republicans forced to resign from office in disgrace because of Abramoff or not being able to keep away from the kiddie help, or taking bribes to move legislation and so on and on and on...and on. I mean how the President tosses this applause line into the speech in the first couple of minutes and manages to say it without breaking into evil laughter is a mystery to me.

The Republican record is one of fiscal disaster, foreign disaster, natural disaster disaster... quite frankly their record is disastrous. The first test of having audience members who are died in the wool koolaid drinkers was passed with flying colors as the applause for the sterling record of Republicanism died down and the President proceeded.

A little further into the speech the President says:
Let me start with taxes. Max and I have a philosophy: We believe that you know how to spend your money far better than the federal government does. (Applause.)
Actually this is a case where the President is correct ... but for all the wrong reasons. The fact is that Republicans have proven, whats the word here..., DISASTROUS stewards of our national budget. Let me draw an analogy between what the President is saying here and something that could happen in real life. (Not that the budget disaster overseen by the R's isn't real enough mind you, but it's kind of abstract.) You need to have your couch cleaned. You can rent a machine, or choose from professional couch cleaner D, or R. Cleaner R tells you that professional couch cleaners suck, they always have, you can't trust them and you are much better off cleaning the couch yourself. Cleaner D promises you the finest job replete with special add ons, bells and whistles, done by the best cleaners in town, for a bit more cost. For some reason, known only by you and God, you hire cleaner R. Cleaner R takes your couch, bathes it in acid, field dresses a deer over it, lights it on fire, and then drops it off a pier. When the smoldering hulk of your couch is delivered back to you, the light goes off in your head... AHA! Cleaner R was disastrously correct. Professional couch cleaners have always sucked and they always will... I rather like my analogy so I'll just leave it alone and proceed to the next Presidential stump speech idiocy.
[Pres. Bush] We captured a fellow named Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The intelligence community believes he was the man who masterminded the September the 11th attacks. I thought it made sense -- if our most important job is to protect you, it made sense to find out what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed knew. (Applause.) In other words, we've been giving the professionals the tools necessary to defend America in this new kind of war.

And recently -- recently, there were votes in the floor of the House of Representatives, in the floor of the United States Senate to provide these critical tools. In other words, Congress voted on these tools. And I want everybody in this district and in this state and around the country to understand those votes, because they were critical votes. And it shows the difference of attitude between the two parties, and the leaders in the two parties, about our responsibility to protect you.
Frankly what the President is talking about here is the one issue that for me demonstrates the absolute depravity of this administration. They have couched their language in such a way as to make torture of human beings acceptable. The notion that this President and his apologists have taken it upon themselves to redefine the language in order to cajole America into taking the path tread by the monsters of history breaks my heart. We never will be able to take this back. But let us break down the particulars listed by the President in this abomination of a speech.

The President says that after capturing K/S/M that all the reasonable people who thought about it determined it would be best to find out what he knew. So far so good. The fork in the road between tyrannical monster and intelligent interrogation is how we get information, and the veracity of what we get from this guy. Once we have him strapped to the waterboard, we have chosen the path of the inhuman tyranny we used to rail against. I contend that all information gleaned from that point on is useless. He says what he needs to say to get the torture to stop. He will rat out the queen of England if that's what it takes. The President may spout off about the valuable information we get from these techniques, but forgive me for discounting the danger represented by some character with an acetylene torch to the Brooklyn Bridge. The outlandish nature of some of the "plots" exposed by terrorists suspects while being tortured is hardly a strong point in favor of the tactic. In fact it was under torture that Ramzi bin al-Shibh provided testimony that supposedly linked Iraq with Al Queda efforts to acquire WMD. This was entirely made up to stop the torture, but it gave this administration fodder to lead this country to war.

So what of the recent vote that the President claims shows Democrats are not willing to give him the tools to fight terrorism? The President had carte blanche to fight the war on terror as he saw fit and has disastrously botched it. Period. When he was being allowed to torture and disappear whom he saw fit (until the Supreme Court Hamdan decision that is) look at how effective this administration was at conducting this war. Is losing the near unanimous support of the international community for our cause positive? You can trace a good deal of that loss of support to our treatment of detainees. Has sacrificing as many lives in Iraq as we lost in the 9/11 attacks (that milestone will be reached late this or early next year) proven an effective way to combat terrorism? A truly objective look at this shows the answer is conclusively no, which is further born out by our intelligence community. Please forgive me Mr. Bush (actually forget about forgiving me, because I don't need it from you) if I conclude that your notion of fighting terrorism has strengthened our enemies and led to an explosion in anti-American sentiment. You have weakened our cause substantially Mr. President. You are the top agent for Al Qaeda based in Washington D.C..

Please spare the speechifying against Democrats and get your own house in order Mr. Bush.

I could seriously write another 10 paragraphs on the absolute paucity of logic that makes up this speech. I've already gone on long enough however so I'll put this to bed.

We believe that you know how to spend your money far better than the federal government does.

This was my favorite--a perrenial favorite and true as far as it goes. What he didn't mention was the fact that what the federal government is engaged in is spending your children's money, and your grand-children's, and your great grand-children's.

I recently did a little economic analysis of the debt service required to finance the war. It works out to about $650 per American / per year, essentially forever.
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