Monday, October 09, 2006

This Week’s Political Buzzword : DISTRACTION

Everybody’s talking about Distractions, but I only heard one person talk about the distractions that matter to me.

President Bush said in an address before the Military Officers Association of America "Iraq is not a distraction in their war against America" but the "central battlefield where this war will be decided."
MY COMMENT : It’s not about distractions, but the lack of attention.
Candidate Bush after the U.S. S. Cole was attacked said "This tragedy is a reminder that peace is always fragile, and risk is always real and hate in this world does not sleep. We remain in a contest of will and purpose, with enemies who hate America, and target those who defend her. We must always be prepared. And those who attack our nation and its people must always be punished.”
So how did President Bush react to the Presidential Daily Briefing of August 6th entitled “Bin Laden determined to attack inside the United States”?
Or, how did the “War President” react to U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Eric K. Shinseki response to a Congressional question in February 2003 (pre-invasion) regarding the number of U.S. troops needed in Iraq to pacify the country and protect the infrastructure?
Or, how did the “War President” react to John McCain, Joe Biden, and Dick Lugar’s pleas for more troops in 2003?
Or, how did the “War President” react to McCain’s proposal in November, 2005 when he outlined his “Winning the War in Iraq” plan ?
Or, how did the “War President” react to Democratic Congressman Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland proposal “Ensuring America’s Strength and Security: A Democratic National Security Strategy for the 21st Century”?
Or, how did the “War President” react to the April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate?
From Bob Woodward’s book “State of Denial”, there is ample evidence that the real problem is that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld are ignoring reality and not providing maximum alternatives to resolve Iraq or to finish the job in Afghanistan.
A true “War President” would be involving allies and “the loyal opposition”.
IF Iraq is lost, it won't be the Democrats fault - or any weak-kneed liberal Pacifist - but the "War President" who wouldn't listen to any advise.

In discussing the Mark Foley scandal, Gil Gutknecht said last week's events are "more distractions than they are pivotal to the outcome of November's elections," adding that "it could get dangerous'' if those distractions pile up."
MY COMMENT : Foley’s actions are of a personal nature ( not legislative ) and are deplorable. A personal act by one Congressman should not damn the entire Congress. But looking at this over the Congressional term where three other Congressmen have resigned and at least one being investigated (plus investigations into Congressional staffers), it is appropriate to ask how Congress is policing itself. Despite the revelations of the Jack Abramoff influence peddling case, this Republican-led Congress has not enacted meaningful reform legislation that addresses earmarks, privately funded travel, gifts, and campaign contributions. And remember the Republican leadership has not exactly embraced their internal ethics committee as illustrated when Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert replaced the Republican Chairman of the House ethics committee, Joel Hefley, after the committee admonished Tom DeLay for ethical misconduct.

On Tom Hauser’s Debates and Candidate Conversation’s program, Tim Walz was asked about The Wall Street Journal’s description of him as being “The Republican nightmare here in the First District is a burly, high-school teacher and coach who is running as a Democrat ..” [Note, I was channel surfing during a football game commercial when I came across Hauser’s program, so this is from memory – which at my age may be faulty.] Walz’s response was to talk about the District and its Independent and Republican voters. He pointed out the success of Democratic Party legislators from Rochester and that he hears voters being disappointed over using social issues as “distractions” over real concerns. Walz stated that he is a fiscal conservative and expressed concern that our needs are not being addressed.
MY COMMENT : Walz gets it. While most of us are concerned about health care, the national debt (and our personal debts), safety ( be it in the world, at the airport, or even at the schoolyard ), job insecurity, an effective energy policy that limits our exposure to manipulation by other countries, an un-equitable tax policy that favors investment income as opposed to working income, etc.; this DoNothing Congress has wasted more legislative time on Terri Schiavo, same sex marriage and flag desecration.
What happened to the Republican Party that believed that Federal government should not interfere with the rights of the individual? What about the separation of church and state? Where is the support for the rule of law and the importance of oversight to maintain a separation of powers between the three branches of government?
In my opinion, the 109th Congress has accomplished zero and moved to appease corporate interests at the expense of citizen’s necessities.


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