More gripes about the GOP
I'm not the kind to indulge in hand-wringing or finger-pointing, but the recent electoral setback by Virginia Republicans, and the troubles on Capitol Hill and in the White House, warrant serious reflection. So, here are some of the more valid criticisms I've come across:
- Death Tax Repeal (NOT! -- even Russia and Sweden repealed theirs)
- Highway Bill ("6000 earmarks totaling over $24 billion")
- Social Security Reform (at least Bush tried)
- Sugar and CAFTA ("should have been a cake walk")
- Windfall Tax (even Hastert played demagogue on oil)
- Reinstating the Davis-Bacon Act (Hurricane Katrina)
I was among the few people who posted a comment about an especially touchy topic:
The failure to recognize and act upon the obvious connections between illegal immigration, national security, moral corruption (getting used to turning a blind eye to those who flaunt labor laws with impunity), and the welfare / entitlements quagmire is indicative of a party that is intellectually comatose. If GOP party leaders had half as much vision and guts as they have lust for reelection, they would act upon all of those problems simultaneously as part of an integrated national reform agenda, recapturing the spirit of 1994 and saving domestic freedom. As things stand, however, they are becoming more like the Democrats every day. P.S. I'm tired of all the whining about "RINOs." Show us true, ethical conservative leaders, and the troops will fall in line!
Roth curiously omitted immigration, and I think I know why: Today's Washington Post notes that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is bitterly opposed to any restriction on or increased enforcement of current laws, and has threatened to stop campaign contributions to any Republican legislator who dares vote in favor of such measures. This illustrates one of the biggest vulnerabilities in the Republican coalition: the growing tension between conservative values and the interests of corporate America. The fundamental social norm in board rooms is "don't rock the boat," and any policy change that seriously curtails the plentiful source of cheap, unorganized labor is anathema to those for whom the bottom line is all that matters.
I want my digital TV!
In last Thursday's Washington Post, George Will derides a $3 billion program for creating a fatuous "Inalienable Right to a Remote." The House and Senate have passed bills (reconciliation pending) by which every American will be guaranteed subsidies to be able to purchase digital television converters by 2009, when all U.S. broadcasting is scheduled to switch to digital signals. He suggests that the act be titled, "No Couch Potato Left Behind." We don't want to lose the low-brow vote, of course! The entitlements mentality has truly run amuck in the "conservative" party.
Politics and religion
Andrew Sullivan had a very apt "quote for the day" (from an English rabbi), which began:
Politics turns into virtue what religions often see as a vice -- the fact that we do not all think alike, that we have conflicting interests, that we see the world through different eyes.
It's called pluralism, folks. Getting over the fact that our neighbors are different from us is how we maintain a peaceful, civilized society.