What's the matter with Republicans..?
Republicans were not held accountable for the wholesale election irregularities that allowed Bush to be selected for office. Some of the problems, like privatized vote counting, are mentioned at (http://www.seconnecticut.com/elections.htm) Anyway what is the point of elections when, as Thomas Franks explains in his book What's the Matter with Kansas that "The trick never ages, the illusion never wears off. Vote to stop abortion; receive a rollback in capital-gains taxes. Vote to make our country Strong again; receive deindustrialization. Vote to screw those politically correct college professors; receive electricity deregulation. Vote to get government off our backs; receive conglomeration and monopoly everywhere from media to meatpacking. Vote to stand tall against terrorists; receive Social Security privatization efforts. Vote to strike a blow against elitism; receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our lifetimes, in which workers have been stripped of power and CEOs rewarded in a manner beyond imagining."
Republicans ran the economy into a ditch. They
ignored deficits at several levels. They insisted on 'modernizing' the
by revoking the Glass-Steagle Act which separated investment
banking from savings banks. (Socializing the risk and privatizing the
profits: a Republican favorite.) Deregulation permitted a
carnival of corporate corruption, made financial paper untrustworthy,
and poisoned the investment environment. Republicans would not
budget or pay for the wars they provoked, and, according to Nobel
Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, the cost of the war in Iraq
will be around three trillion dollars...(nope. Now his estimate is more
like 4 trillion.) If the war goes on endlessly, as the
Republicans want, then it will be more.
The 'stimulus package' as mandated by the Bushies, was a colossal waste of money. With all of the challenges facing us, Republicans, with Democratic acquiescence, came up with a plan to give away money. This is spending with NO value in return. (We used to call it waste.) If this 'stimulus' were spent for something worthwhile we could have better schools, healthcare, or infrastructure. But no.
Republican policy is consistently regressive, like their tax cuts. To keep wages down and improve corporate profits, Republicans have consistently favored union-busting. Corporations also found that much lower wages prevail in China or other third world countries. I'm told that Disney pays about $.11 an hour to make clothing and toys in Haiti. So just as in the 19th century, sweatshops have returned as corporate profits soar, just, for the most part, not in this country. Falling wages were great for Corporate profits but they also reduced consumer purchasing power, and so it should surprise no one that major purchases like housing are now out of reach of a lot of Americans. Hence the housing crisis. The kind of income distribution that we now have makes aristocracy possible again...along with heavily fortified communities. It has also brought on financial instability not seen since the 1930s.
Republicans like Grover Norquist think that the military is the only legitimate function of government. Notice that there is never discussion of the need to trim the military budget even though it is the largest part. You won't hear that the US spends more on its military than the entire rest of the world combined. What you will hear about is the crisis in Social Security and Medicare, not just because the R's are contemptuous of New Deal reforms, or that increasing military funding will further reward their cronies, but they actually think these programs are not legitimate. Rereading the Constitution, the defined functions of our government are broader than that. There is good reason the think that R's do not really support our Constitution. They don't like government, and it should be obvious that they are very bad at it.
US healthcare is the most expensive in the world, doesn't cover everyone, and overall outcome statistics are not very good. Republicans have demonstrated that their only concern is to see that it is privatized. Privatization of hospitals has had the effect of transferring wealth accumulated over decades from well-meaning charitable contributions to Republican cronies. Jeb Bush, Bill Frist, and other absurdly paid Republican CEOs have benefited immensely from this scam. They would have privatized Social Security, an even larger scam, had people not been on to them.
In spite of their claim that the government should stay out of the market, their hypocrisy shows brightly now that they are bailing out large investment houses. What most of the media are too polite (or intimidated) to say is that 'supply side' economics is not recognized at any university, and is still as much 'voodoo economics' as George the first said it was. Bush Republicans seems to think their regressive tax cuts are the answer to any and all economic problems. Their fundamentalist ideology has blinded them to any problem solving.
Republicans reliably support the corporate agenda. (When corporations run government, that is the very definition of fascism.) The Bush record demonstrates that Republicans are willing to wage a war on science in order to deny climate change.
Republicans, who claimed they wanted to get government off your back, reappointed Iran/Contra criminals to administer databases that track everyone. Recent news describe animals now being tagged with rfid. Guess what. Your car, your phone, your drivers license, your passport, your company badges, are all capable of tracking your every move. Credit card and bank transactions are also. You won't know if you are on the "no-fly" list until you get to the airport, but if you think peace is a good goal you probably will be.
Over the last centuries Europeans nearly destroyed themselves in horrendous wars. But they appear to have learned that a head of state who, on his own whim, can make war, can disappear people, can torture, can ignore habeas corpus, or can otherwise act without regard for law is a clear and present danger. After nearly destroying themselves, they have now limited royalty to ceremonial functions, and their people are clearly the deciders. That's what democracy is about
Bush, on his own, nullified long-standing treaties, overturned laws with signing statements, provoked wars in the Middle East, suppressed information from experts, thumbed his nose at international law, and caused ill-will in a large part of the world. His wars look like a power grab, resource robbery, imperialism, religious crusades, vengeful arrogance, or even war crimes and have no claim of legitimacy. Still, he has not been held to account. Although it is not discussed much, our civil liberties have shrunk dramatically until it is not clear that we have due process of law any more. Since Bush has packed the Courts, the system may no longer be self-correcting. Bush's claim of a unitary Presidency is a violation of his oath of office, a direct slap at the Constitution, and should be cause for impeachment.
Charlie Savage, a Pulitzer Prize winner, documents much of this in his book :Takeover, The Return of the Imperial Presidency". He quotes Bruce Fein, a conservative lawyer who served as a deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, who told Congress in February 2006, "The theory invoked by the president to justify eavesdropping by the NSA in contradiction to FISA would equally justify mail openings, burglaries, torture or internment camps, all in the name of gathering foreign intelligence. Unless rebuked it will lie around like a loaded weapon, ready to be used by any incumbent who claims an urgent need."
Many Republicans no
longer beware concentration of power. The Bush administration has
been determined to further concentrate media, and just
recently the FCC blatantly disregarded the vast majority of people in allowing
even more of it. Of course media takeover is almost as important as election
rigging or privatized vote counting for any coup. See
Partisans cannot be trusted with warrentless surveillance because it is a threat to the Constitution..
We have an administration that believes it is above the law, has imposed secrecy on its important policy decisions so there is little public debate and Congress has been unable to do proper oversight in the absence of information. Those checks and balances no longer function. It is clear that a strong political party can trump the Constitution. We need to rethink the 2 party 'system'. To start out we should have better voting procedures.
Republicans may claim to favor democracy, but in practice they do not. The US was founded on principles that "We the People" are the deciders, not George the Imperial, and that secrecy and concentration of power is a dagger in the heart of democracy.
Republicans unholy alliance with religion was rejected in our most recent elecction.
Before Bush was selected as President, he was a leader in the imposition of the death penalty. Because it is public knowledge, Republicans know that harsh prisons, renditions, and torture have been authorized and defended by their party leaders. Law and order Republicans, victims rights groups, and the failed War on Drugs have made the US the world's leader in incarceration. (Note: private prisons are profitable and need plenty of occupants.) US prison techniques were exported to Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and other (some secret) prisons around the world. Even though the Bush administration rejected the Geneva Conventions, the International Criminal Court, and other international law, they may one day be prosecuted as war criminals.
Technology has improved though, and as we proceed with a new arms race
(mostly with ourselves) the Star Wars BMD program
now is producing the means for us to wage war in space, a new generation of
nuclear weapons make our destructive capability far more than in former World
Wars, and we can easily consider much more thorough destruction than anytime
in the past. That's what Republican 'growth' and 'productivity' has given us,
and the R's are determined to spend even more on war.
Since the 'defense' budget is spread widely over Congressional districts,
and since our jobs now depend on military
expenditures, there is not much political opposition. For many, military service may be the only
job option. Thats why you won't see high-speed trains any time soon in the US.
Remind Republicans that, like other democracies that morphed into empires, we are losing our Constitution, our democracy, and our civil liberties for a dictator's dream of world domination. Republicans will not make you safer. Armageddon would validate some of their deepest beliefs.
They'll come waving the flag and carrying a cross though.