I guess if I was a nicer person I would be writing about all the uplifting stuff I have seen and heard over the past year. But, as the sailor man said, "I yam what I yam", so I looked back at the year picked out the ten worst political low-lights. So, in no particular order:
1. The Response to Bush's Attempt to Reform Social Security
Anyone who thinks that Bush is nothing but an opportunist who just wants to get elected so he can steal our freedom should note his attempt to fix our broken Social Security system.
The Social Security system is nothing but a big Ponzi scheme. The government takes your money, promising to invest it for your retirement. The government "invests" the money by buying government bonds, and then uses proceeds of the bond sales (i.e. your money) to buy important stuff like bridges-to-nowhere. So there isn't anything to pay the retirement checks but current payroll taxes, and with people living longer and the baby boomers about to retire, the well is going to run dry in the not-to-distant future.
Every now and again some politician tries to do something responsible to fix the system, with predictable results; the members of the other party accuse him of wanting to kill old people, while the members of his own party duck and cover. It was Bush's turn, this time.
2. The Republican Response to Attempts to Cut Spending
Speaking of bridges to nowhere, how about the Ted Steven's response when, in the wake of the massive federal spending needed in response to Katrina, the suggestion was made that maybe we could trim a few modest items off the budget. One of the proposals was a to save 400+ million by not building two bridges in Alaska that didn't go anywhere. Stevens, a member of a party elected because they promised to be fiscally prudent, threw a hissyfit and threatened to quit from the Senate if he didn't get his pork.
3. The "Racist" Response to Katrina
Speaking of Katrina, the government did a lousy job of responding to the Katrina disaster on all levels, local, state and federal. And the politicians hardly waited for the rain to stop falling before they started blaming each other for all the problems. And our mainstream media got into the act by shrieking urban legends of terror, rape, murder and death as cold facts. It wasn't anyone's finest hour.
But all this unfortunate-but-expected nonsense got blown off the table by the allegations that "Bush delayed the federal response to Katrina because he hates black people". And this was not limited to just idiot rappers, but by our elected "leaders."
Me, as a conservative I am neither surprised nor overly disappointed about the responses by our various levels of government. Anybody who wants to see our government in action, go get your driver's license renewed, or just visit a post office. Then tell me why you would expect the government to do a better job at tackling bigger and problems.
4. Hyperbole and Defeatism on the War in Iraq
It would be one thing for the democrats to say that Bush got us into an ill-considered war, and the potential gains aren't worth the lives lost and the money spent. But policy arguments aren't good enough for the maddened left in this country, we have to admit that Bush lied about why he went to war, which was really to steal all of the oil and destroy civil liberty
But now we have had that war, which has resulted in a freely elected government in Iraq that is counting on us to keep the peace until the Iraqi army can be rebuilt. For the near future, they need our protection from the maddened terrorists who want to kill everyone who won't submit to their view of how Allah wants the world to be run
The reaction from the left? From the Cindy Sheehan moonbat brigade to John Murtha, we hear that there is nothing more important that we leave everyone in the lurch and cut-and-run, right this very minute. Forget about the fact that this will practically guarantee that Iraq will turn into a failed state, with all the lives lost for nothing. And now we have the leaders of the Democratic party saying that not only aren't we winning the war, but that it can't be won. That, of course, is sure to comfort our troops, friends and allies.
In other words, who cares if what we say is bad for freedom, or security or our war effort, so long as it hurts George Bush.
5. Screeching about the Government's Invasion of our Privacy
And what about all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the disclosure that we are intercepting communications between suspected terrorists abroad and in the U.S.
Most people would say "no big deal." After all, we are in a war. Listening to the other side's communications is something you do when you are in a war, generally without much concern about getting a warrant. And add to this the fact that we have been intercepting suspected terrorist communications during prior administrations, before we were in a war (or at least before we knew we were in a war).
But some people can't miss an opportunity to bash Bush, even where it gives aid and comfort to the bad guys and hurts the war effort. So of course this is treated as a hugely big deal, even among some of our leaders who knew what was going on all along. And, of course, this willingness to believe the worst about our country and this administration causes otherwise sensible people (and some who are less than sensible) to see government agents under our very beds.
6. Criminal Investigations of Leaks to the Media
I don't think anybody outside the moonbat brigade believes that Karl Rove or anyone else in the Bush administration "outed" Valerie Plame to to get back at her husband, the lyin' Joe Wilson. It was just damage control on Wilson's NYT allegations. And the notion that there was vast damage done to the national security by letting it be known that this mother of two working at a desk in Langley was CIA is something that only Charles Schumer buys.
But in uncritically supporting a criminal prosecution into the matter, where a reporter can be jailed to make her reveal her sources, we are going down a road which leads to a place where most members of the media don't want to be. Will we see more criminal probes into how a particular newspaper got a particular story? We already are, in the Justice Department's recent criminal probe of how the NY Times found about the NSA's intercept policy.
And does anyone think it will stop here? What about the leaks about the CIA's air force, or the leaks about the CIA's "secret prisons" or the leaks about the grand jury testimony in the Plame investigation itself? If we are going to treat all leaks involving classified information with equal dignity, we should expect lots and lots of investigations.
7. The Tom Delay Indictment[s]
Isn't it odd that Tom Delay is seeking an early trial, and that Ronnie Earle is trying to drag his feet? Not something that you see from the usual criminal defendant, that. The reason, of course, is that Ronnie Earle doesn't have the goods to back up his charges.
In fact, there is lots and lots of evidence that this is a politically motivated attack on an innocent man. There is Ronnie's first bungled indictment, his hurried shopping for a new grand jury willing to indict on different charges, his speaking about Delay at democratic fundraisers while the investigation was going, and his allowing a movie crew to "cover" the investigation. Normally you would think that a prosecutor using his position to punish his political enemies with false criminal charges would be a big deal to the civil liberties crowd, but not--I guess--if the victim is an unlikable guy like Delay.
8. Enemy Propaganda as "News"
The press comes out with bogus claims that our guys are flushing Korans down the toilet, and deadly riots erupt. As I noted back in the day:
We are being Mau-Maued (in the sense of Tom Wolfe's book on the subject). Our enemies in the Muslim world have turned their sensitivity meters way up high and are looking for anything they can to take offense. Have the infidel dogs touched the Koran without washing first, or without putting on white gloves, or placed it too close to a sink? Outrage! The Westerners don't respect the True Faith! Of course, the media completely buys into this and people like Andrew Sullivan practically wet their pants.
We are in a war, and as usual our media uncritically reports enemy propaganda. And the loyal opposition, in the person of Dick Durbin, reacts by calling the troops who have the difficult and thankless job of keeping terrorists locked up "Nazis." My aching back.
9. The Harriet Miers Nomination
What the heck was Bush thinking. Here was the moment that the people who fought to get him elected had been waiting for, an actual chance to shift the Supreme Court marginally to the right. So Bush picks his own personal lawyer, with no special qualifications other than thinking her boss was swell, who might be a conservative but then again might not be.
10. Terri Schiavo
Looking back on this, all I can do is make like the Godfather and ask how it came to this. A political war fought over a poor woman in a coma. We all came out looking like callous bastards, or idiots, or zealots.
Oh well, have a Happy New Year.