The Columbia Critic

A place to debate anything we want to. We'll talk Columbia campus issues. We'll talk up the homosexual problem. We'll talk China. And we'll talk without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We may be left. We may be right. But we aren't going to be quoting any party line. We're leading the discussion. But feel free to chime in. Hannity and Colmes this is not.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

conservatives hang your heads

Tomorrow morning, regardless of if the Democrats sweep the House and the Senate or just one of the two, it will be clear who screwed up: Karl Rove, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld. Since the Iraq War began, the Bush administration, and thus the loyal Republican Party, has stood on the shoulders of one issue, fighting terrorism. It is not that the war on terrorism is an unworthy cause to rally around, it was that it was the ONLY cause that they rallied around.

Karl Rove has been credited by many people on all sides of the political aisle for being a genius; a master manipulator and strategist of epic proportions. His strategy was to find in all political races, a weakness that could best be exploited to the American public. To his credit, that strategy worked; it worked for a long time and it got many Republicans into office, but again, a one strategy approach is extremely risky. This midterm election, campaign races were ugly, they were the ugliest and the dirtiest I have seen since I developed a political consciousness. I speculate, given Rove’s history of pulling strings, that a lot of the negative ads were either suggested by or inspired by him. Americans saw that the ads were nasty. Americans saw that conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh were cruel. Americans saw that there was one issue that they were called to rally around and to be honest, I think we all were tired of being scared by the specter of terrorism.

The Bush administration has centered on the Iraq War for a long time. We must stay the course. We must spread freedom in the Middle East. We must drum up Democratic inadequacy at protecting the average American. Placing all of their eggs in one basket was successful when things seemed to be going according to plan, but as most of us know, what we expect rarely occurs according to plan. Iraq has been a disaster. Thousands of American soldiers have lost their lives, a two-digit multiple of that number of civilian Iraqis have been killed, and there is no peaceful light at the end of the tunnel. To be honest at this point, the end of the tunnel doesn't even exist yet. Part of this can be blamed on poor planning for post de-Baathification Iraq, part of it on the shoulders of Iraqis not stepping up and taking control of their country and sectarian violence, and a large part of it is a single minded Department of Defense strategy that rejected those individuals and ideas who were best suited for Iraqi reconstruction and planning for war.

Republicans by an enormous majority margin supported the Bush administration in its march into Iraq. There were few voices of dissent and even less of a substantive effort to have the administration embrace accountability for its failures. If you ask the President, Rumsfeld, or Cheney, you will be told that there have been no failures, that we are on the right track, and that they will see their plan through to the end. The American public however views Iraq as a failure. In a Republican controlled House, Senate, and Executive branch of government, Republicans had an opportunity to bring a conservative framework to America, in both legislative and social aspects; a conservative ideology which in my opinion would be more than welcome by the majority of America. The true conservative spirit of America was failed, plain and simple. Government is not smaller, spending is out of control, our borders are not secure, and the focus of government has been on job retention and not serving the public interests. In six years we have not fixed a faulty voting system, we have not addressed illegal immigration, we have outspent every past Presidential administration to date, government has in fact gotten larger, we have not prepared ourselves for the jobs of the 21st century, we have left millions of children behind, and we have sacrificed our moral foundations that for centuries have made us great.

Without any other issues to fall back upon, the Bush administration came up empty. This was an extremely unfortunate outcome for a number of Republicans who have served their states and constituents well, the failures of the Presidency and Republican majority ruined their current career. Tom Keane Jr, Lincoln Chafee, Chris Shays (who right now looks like he might win, we’ll see tomorrow), Anne Northup, etc; people who are in my opinion, good public servants, who are being run out by general mass dissatisfaction with the Bush administration. By stubbornly clinging to a failed policy and focusing so heavily on one issue and one issue alone, Bush and his party have not only angered America but also put Republican legislators’ jobs in jeopardy. The American people have spoken and they are tired of being scared shitless every time the approval rating goes down and the economy is in not doing well. Tomorrow, if we are lucky, the United States gets back on track and checks and balances means something again.


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