Friday :: Apr 8, 2005

He Comes To Bury John Paul, Not To Praise Him

by pessimist

Things aren't going well for King George lately. Has Karl Rove been on vacation, or maybe stuck in one of 'Unca' Dick Cheney's Secret Hideouts?

Regardless, the reverses recently inflicted upon our C-average Sovereign appear to have emboldened those in the ILM who have contrary opinions:

Take this one, for example:

The message we play down

In the pageantry at the Vatican since his death, and at his funeral in Rome, the world and especially Americans seem to be forgetting one big part of the message of Pope John Paul II. That message was that in its unbridled materialism and pursuit of wealth, the western world is going down the wrong path.

Yes, the pope was a fierce advocate of freedom, but he also warned against excesses in our pursuit of worldly pleasures and goods.

It's not surprising that this part of his message is being downplayed. It is uncomfortable. We don't want to hear it. Since the 1960s we have accustomed ourselves to the notion that the pursuit of happiness means we have a right to do whatever we like, without restraint, without consideration for the effects of what we do on everybody else and nature itself. Unlimited consumption has been our motto. The more and the bigger the better.

This reporter knows his Republican Platform!

There's more emerging that indicates all is not well in GOP-land.

Over at The Progress Report they are saying things that would only make our BFEE/PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse pissed:

For years, Washington conservatives have myopically pursued their political agenda while setting aside not only sound governance principles, but longtime tenets of conservatism. Now they're reaping what they've sown. New public opinion data finds President Bush hamstrung by historically low approval ratings, a markedly unpopular agenda, and, according to a major new Wall Street Journal/NBC study, a conservative movement increasingly disenchanted with the widespread corruption, rigid ideology, and fiscal profligacy of their entrenched counterparts in Washington.

A note to pundits who still refer to the president as a "popular" leader: Please stop.

President Bush's base is also none-too-happy with the right wing's concerted campaign to run up massive deficits while simultaneously cutting important social programs. Thirty-two percent of Bush backers polled by the Wall Street Journal called it "a bad idea" to borrow $2 trillion to privatize Social Security. More than half of President Bush's base disapproved of the president's handling of the economy (53 percent) and said the country heading "on the wrong track" (51 percent).

There is much more over there, but you get the basic idea. I recommend that you readers check out the other points there I didn't cover.

Speaking of that Wall Street Journal article, ...

The Schiavo case has opened another rift. Though Mr. Bush and Republican congressional leaders acted to maximize the opportunity for reinserting Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube, 39% of Republicans said removing the tube was "the right thing to do," while 48% said it was wrong. About 18% of Republicans say they lost respect for Mr. Bush on the issue and 41% lost respect for Congress. The survey of 1,002 adults, conducted March 31-April 3, has a margin for error of 3.1 percentage points in either direction; the error margin for Republicans alone is 5.2 percentage points.

"It's a story that splits our party," says Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducts the Journal/NBC survey with his Democratic counterpart Peter Hart. A similar split on Social Security, he adds, will make it "hard, but not impossible" for Mr. Bush to accomplish the centerpiece of his second-term agenda. On his centerpiece initiative of Social Security, for instance, 32% of Republicans call it "a bad idea" to let workers invest payroll taxes in the stock markets.

On judicial nominations -- a cause of contention between the White House and Democratic leaders -- resistance among rank-and-file Republicans is even higher. Four in 10 say the option of filibusters should be preserved.

On Mr. Bush's proposal to grant legal status to some illegal immigrants already in the U.S., Republicans are opposed by 50%-48% -- almost matching the 54%-42% opposition among Democrats. About 55% of independents oppose Mr. Bush's plan, while 38% favor it.

Even on tax cuts, Mr. Bush's signature first-term economic initiative, one in four Republicans now says tax cuts have "not been worth it" because they have increased the federal budget deficit and have led to reductions in government programs. Robust majorities of independents and Democrats agree, while 69% of Republicans say tax cuts have been worth it because they have strengthened the economy and allowed Americans to keep more of their own money.

The economy remains a concern for all Americans. Amid rising gasoline prices -- ranked as the second-most-closely watched issue of recent weeks after the Schiavo case -- 53% of those surveyed disapprove of the president's handling of the economy, up from 47% in January. The national mood has darkened somewhat in recent weeks, as 51% say the country is heading "on the wrong track" while just 34% say "in the right direction."

"We're in the midst of the tough stuff" in Mr. Bush's second-term agenda, Mr. McInturff says.

It isn't as tough as it should be yet! Congressman John Conyers - one of the few Democrats in Congress who remembers that their role is to oppose the excesses of the majority party - has this to say:

GOP Heading Over Political Cliff

When the history is written concerning fall from political grace of the Bush presidency, I believe we will point to the emergency passage of the Schiavo legislation as constituting the turning point. Clearly there is short term political fall-out from the unprecedented legislative intervention into a private family matter. The most recent CBS poll shows the president's popularity is at an all time low - 43%, while the Congressional approval rating is down to 34%.

With Schiavo, the entire nation was exposed to the win at all costs mentality of the Republican Party, and the fact that their deeds do not match their rhetoric.

To begin with, Americans now understand that Republicans can no longer claim the mantle of being "pro-life," when they are decimating Medicaid, when they are preventing life-saving stem cell research, when they allow guns to flow freely to terrorists, when they ignore the tragic school shooting in Minnesota, and when more than 1,500 American soldiers and more than 100,000 innocent civilians have died in Iraq as a result of a misguided war.

They certainly can't claim to be "pro-family," when their bankruptcy bill would put credit card companies ahead of families, when they tolerate families living on a minimum wage below the poverty level, and when the president signed legislation in Texas authorizing the removal of life support systems for financial reasons.

The president can't claim to be "pro-democracy" when he ignores repressive regimes abroad, when his Administration tolerates and encourages torture, and ignores the need for voting reform in our own nation. He surely cannot claim to lead the party of "fiscal solvency" when we began the Bush presidency with a more than $200 billion/year surplus, and our deficit is now more than $420 billion per year and counting.

He also cannot assert to be "pro-military," when the Pentagon is engaged in a back-door draft and when he is cutting veterans benefits. He cannot claim to be a "uniter not a divider" when he has consistently sought out wedge issues that divide our nation.

More than just Democrats are pointing to the growing disconnect between the political imperatives of the GOP base and the views of the public at large. One Republican strategist acknowledged "a mini-revolt" and noted "They [GOP Members] walked the plank on Social Security reform under much duress, and now they were walking the plank on Schiavo, you're going to see the beginning of Bush's difficulties with Congress for a second term because the congressman deal in self-preservation and these are just two strikes for 2005, and we're just getting through the first quarter."

The Schiavo case has taught the entire country that the Republican leadership is willing to systematically cast aside the norms of politics and comity in the Congress, the courts, the state legislatures, and even our most intimate family decisions.

One of the readers on my campaign's blog expressed the frustration of so many Americans when he wrote to me: "The rules that bound this country have become irrelevant, and rules are changed, with no regard to ethics, in order to gain extra advantage.... Some people feel it's important to change the rules during the game, no matter who gets hurt, or whether the playing field remains level." He has become so depressed by the direction of our nation that he plans to turn his flag upside down in protest.

The legacy of the GOP majority will be ceaseless partisan manipulation for maximum political benefit, with diminishing returns to the American people. The sooner their tenure comes to an end, the better for all of us.

That might prove to be difficult if enough Republican supporters like these corporate officers offer finacial tribute to the C-average Sovereign!

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pessimist :: 3:58 PM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!