The Third Rail

Friday, July 26, 2002

While I don't agree with Jack Beatty's views on many things and I doubt he's written this "letter" to help Christine Whitman, I think he articulates why there's so many problems with dubya. "Compassionate conservatism" is a joke. Dubya has no real political principles, just opportunism saddled with a desire to keep his corporate buddies in power. One can look at the many conservative principles he's thrown out in order to satisfy the political paranoia of his advisors. He's abandoned free trade, expanded the federal bureaucracy, dangerously eroded civil liberties. His incompetence in handling the recent corporate scandals has allowed the GOP to stake out the territory on initiatives that fail to protect the market from government bureaucrats while doing nothing to prevent future abuses! Congratualtions! To dubya, "compassionate" simply means he really, really cares. And that's it. Whenever he's criticized, heholds back a sniffle and admonishes ever so righteously that we don't know what's in his heart. Exactly. We don't know, and neither can anybody else. And neither can we look into anybody elses. All we can judge is on the effects of his decisions and policies. And what do we have? A mish mash held together only by the desires of dubya's friends in big business.

His foreign policy is in disarray over his ham handedness in alienating our allies. Now I think certain actions have actually been good. I don't mind a stance that secures an anti-ballistic shield over objections of the ABM treaty (I think it's the wrong policy for the wrong program for the wrong war that won't work anyway), the a rejection of the deeply flawed Kyoto (although we need a stronger and coherent environmental policy), keeping the US out of an international criminal court that would make a mockery of natural law principles, or actions taken to defeat al qaeda. Some of these were essential, some would cause friction regardless of diplomatic skill, but for the most part he's simply muffed it. Does anyone think Ronald Reagan would squandered the good will generated after Septmeber 11 so easily? The administration is stupid and lazy, grown fat in the head with the intoxicating power of American strength. It's like watching "Hulk Smash" when any problem arises. A smart man uses finesse when possible. Instead Bush seems to think that simply because something is "right" (in his mind), then consequences be damned. Sometimes this is smart. I think his speech calling on Arafat to resign was brilliant. It came the closest I've seen to articulating a vision of the Middle East after American victory over Al Qaeda, but follow through has been low. I've seen little in people attacking the fraudulent notion that America seeks to dictate who the Palestinians elect as their leader (he clearly said that if the Palestinians fail to elect someone untainted by terror, we simply won't deal with them), nor that one flawed and corrupt election in 1996 makes Arafat anything but democratically elected, a line being parroted by every dictator in the Middle East, like our ally Egypt. I can see the President not making this distinction, but some low level flunky or someone outside the government yet obviously authoritative would be nice. Does anyone think FDR would be fighting a war this way?

The greatest challenge to being top dog, is that everyone is resentful of him. A prudent man conceals his wealth when surrounded by jackals, and it is precisely this reason we should be careful when we display our unparalleled might. Talk softly and carry a big stick, a great man once said. Some things don't need to be said. A more diplomatic approach can be taken when implementing policies unpopular overseas. There is no need for an argument with Europe every other day. This is a dangerous time, and maybe dubya is far smarter than what I give him credit for, and such snafus are needed to advance important American positions. But maybe I wouldn't have such a hard time thinking that if he hadn't shown was an intellectual cretin he is.

What am I doing bloggin late on a Friday night? I'm out of here.

Sorry to been away for so long. One of the ills of the new apartment is the dial-in connection. I was really spoiled with the broadband access at Mo's. Not tonight, but expect a large list of posts soon to make up for my two week absence. Regular Wednesday posting will start in approximately three weeks.

In the meantime, the first post of additional victories of the war.