Saturday, July 24, 2010

Point/Counterpoint



Paul Krugman provides the counterpoint for today’s Republican talking point.

Addicted to Bush

”After the election, the G.O.P. did its best to shout down all talk about how we got into the mess we’re in, insisting that we needed to look forward, not back. And many in the news media played along, acting as if it was somehow uncouth for Democrats even to mention the Bush era and its legacy.”

You may not realize this is going on but it is quite real. I have been chastised twice this week -- by people not even remotely connected to each other -- for bringing up Bush in political discussions. ‘Tis the political season folks and the narrative is being set. The Bush Presidency is already on its way down to the bottom of the historical heap and the Republicans want to silence any reminder of it. If you bring it up, you’re unsophisticated. You don’t have anything to contribute to the debate about the future. You’re just like all the other people that don’t love America -- you’re more interested in politics and blame than making our country great again.

But Krugman is right. This isn’t about Bush. It’s about policy. And the truth is, Bush was Republican policy incarnate. He was as close as any individual can be (I’m sure it wasn’t close enough for some) and his policies failed. America’s reputation tanked on the world stage. And that was before we ruined the world’s economy with our deregulate-at-all-costs financial policy.

The Republicans would have you believe that Bush’s ideological impurities kept him from succeeding. That is because they need you to believe their policies could work. But the proof is right in front of us. Afghanistan. Iraq. The Great Recession.

Two things to think about on your own because I have to leave.

How does the Republican narrative become so cohesive, so often? I submit the answer is here in this hotel I’m in -- USA Today and Fox News. What’s on the TV in your hotel lobby?

How did we get from Dick Cheney’s famous utterance, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter” to Mitch McConnell and 39 other Republican Senators all voting against extending unemployment benefits to our fellow citizens because they’re so worried about the debt?

Policy matters. So does your vote. Even the TV station that is playing in the lobby matters.

Don Brown
July 24, 2010

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