Thursday, October 19, 2006

Placing The Blame Where It Belongs

In the face of mounting polling evidence that shows that the Democrats could actually take not only the House but the Senate as well, some on the right are starting to contemplate life with a Democratic Party controlled Congress and it isn’t going over very well.

Ever since they wrestled control of Congress during the Newt Gingrich led "Contract with America" days the GOP has pretty much had free reign on controlling the agenda of this country through the last part of the Clinton Administration and all through the Bush years. With all that history, why all these years later has the GOP suddenly lost it’s charm with the American people?

Of course there is no one reason for the recent loss of popularity but one thing is for sure, the turnaround cannot be blamed on anyone other than the GOP itself. The last few years a number of issues have come to light that have caused great concern among all but the die hard GOP kool-aid drinkers including the steadily worsening situation in Iraq, appearances of deception coming from Congress and the White House, almost daily scandals involving elected officials many of which are members of the Republican party, and an almost total disregard for Constitutional freedoms by many in Washington.

Getting to this point was a slow and gradual process that can probably be traced back to the beginning of the war in Iraq. At the time the Bush administration was at it’s highest popularity and could have gotten just about anything they wanted. Instead of using that popularity to further the war on terror that begun after 9/11, they instead decided to go after a country that had been a thorn in our side since Bush’s fathers days, Iraq. To accomplish this they used very suspect intelligence and what could be argued, outright lies regarding Iraq’s WMD program and ties to terrorism, to sell Congress and the American people on the need to invade.

Once they went forward with the invasion, it became quite apparent that the planning for the war and the subsequent occupation was totally inept and instead of admitting their mistakes and altering their focus they came up with the totally ridiculous "stay the course" agenda. To this day they have yet to figure out that a bad plan isn’t going to get any better the longer you try to carry it out and all we have to show for this agenda is a growing civil war, increasing numbers of terrorists, and over 3000 US casualties with no end in sight.

All throughout his tenure President Bush has taken every opportunity to increase his power by using secret programs to spy on US citizens often bypassing Constitutional controls. Once these programs come to light he attempts to justify his actions by playing the fighting terror card and if worse comes to worse, he uses his allies in Congress to write legislation after the fact to legalize his actions as evidenced by the Spectre bill to legalize the wiretapping program and the recent legislation authorizing the use of torture on terror suspects. Even when Congress tries to reign in his attempts at grabbing more power, he uses the now infamous signing statements to override their attempts.

Of course the GOP led Congress hasn’t been immune in this either. Recent scandals involving numerous members of the House and Senate have many wondering what will happen next plus the fact that Congress has no apparent focus on the issues facing the country and has had a difficult time passing any meaningful legislation. A few hundred national guard troops and a fence as a solution to our porous Mexican border problem? Is that the best you can do?

As the November mid-terms draw closer and the polling continues to worsen you would think that the GOP would focus on addressing these problems. But unlike the agenda they had when the regained Congress that focused on what they planned to do, this time around they instead have tried to scare the public into believing what would happen if they lose. Considering their scare tactics are what got us into the sorry state of affairs in the first place, that argument isn’t passing the smell test anymore and if they do in fact lose control, they only need to look in the mirror to figure out why.

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