David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

Five Things Republicans Need to Shut Up About if They Intend to Run the Country Again at Some Point

It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that the Republicans are going to lose at least one house of Congress in next week’s mid-term elections. Or at least, it would be a foregone conclusion if they were running against anybody but the Democrats. (See my recent blog entry Five Things Democrats Need to Shut Up About if They Intend to Run the Country Again.)

Republican elephant dancingStill, if any Congress deserves a change in leadership, it’s this one. The Republicans have spent the past two years failing to provide any effective oversight of the president’s war on terror or his war in Iraq. They’ve essentially rubber-stamped everything Bush wanted, with a few token exceptions like McCain’s ineffectual tantrum about holding the CIA to legal interrogation methods. Sure, the unemployment rate is doing just fine, thank you, but as the ship’s gone down in Iraq, this Congress has sat back and done nothing.

Fact: Congress took 140 hours of sworn testimony investigating possible ethical violations in the Clintons’ Christmas cards. How many hours have they spent taking testimony on the abuses at Abu Ghraib, probably the worst blow to American prestige abroad since — well, the My Lai Massacre? Twelve hours. (Source: Boston Globe)

So here are my Five Things Republicans Need to Shut Up About if They Intend to Run the Country Again at Some Point.

1. The Democrats are the party of “cut and run.” No, actually the Democrats are the party of “let’s try something else — anything else.” Although granted they haven’t been particularly consistent in their message, very few Democrats are advocating we pick up and leave Iraq altogether in one panicky exodus. Instead, they’re advocating — well, I’m not sure what they’re advocating. But at the very, very least, they want to take a realistic look at the picture and stop whitewashing the policy failures of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Tenet, et al and stop trying to present this rosy 1984-style propaganda of a country where things are improving day by day. Given the choice between staying the (bloody, IED-strewn, corpse-ridden, torture-laden, budget-gobbling) course and readjusting our tactics to — well, anything that might, might, not result in scores of people getting slaughtered in ethnic violence day by day, I’ll take the latter.

2. The Democrats are going to raise your taxes. The only reason they would raise your taxes is because you, the Republicans, have spent the past six years raking up unbelievable budget deficits, and because you, the Republicans, have chosen to give the top 1% in this country so many irresponsible and generally unnecessary tax cuts. Perhaps the Dems don’t have the world’s most admirable record in trimming government spending, but any Reagan-era claims the GOP had on that score are long since gone.

3. The Democrats are flip-floppers. What the conservative mind sees as indecision is usually a product of a poorly framed question. Democrats generally have very strong and unwavering opinions on abortion, education, stem cell research, you name it. Take the now-classic example of the Republican supplementary military funding bill that John Kerry “voted for before he voted against.” Nobody was intending to withdraw funds from the troops here; the Democrats were simply trying to pay for it by rolling back some of the Bush tax cuts (and thus acting in a fiscally responsible manner — traditionally a Republican priority). A party with a better PR apparatus would have asked why the GOP sought to tie support for our troops to giveaways for the top 1% of wage earners.

4. The mainstream media is a tool of the liberals and the Democratic Party. If we grant that the dominant newspapers (Washington Post, New York Times) and most of the dominant TV networks (CNN, CBS, ABC) have something of a leftish tilt, we should also recognize that none of these organizations have nearly the sway they used to. What with so many red staters getting their news from Fox, right-wing radio, Drudge, and the conservative blogosphere, the right side of the fence no longer has any reason to complain that they’re not getting their message out. (And with all the accusations of liberal bias in the media, most slightly-left-tilting news organizations now work double-extra-overtime to give voice to the conservative point of view. George Will writes for Newsweek. Charles Krauthammer writes for the Post. Where are the left-of-center equal-timers on the conservative slanted networks? You think Alan Colmes counts?)

5. The Democrats want to take your guns away. If there’s one thing I dislike about the Democrats these days, it’s that they aren’t making any sort of effort to take your guns away. Or at least your assault weapons. In 2004, as election season approached, they piled on in a mad rush with Republicans to vote down a 10-year-extension of the (itself somewhat inadequate) 1994 ban on assault weapons. John Kerry made damn sure that everybody saw him out hunting on the campaign trail several times, and I’m sure even Hillary Clinton will find a way to squeeze off a few shots at a shooting range in 2008 if she’s the Democratic nominee for president. Congratulations, Republicans, you’ve effectively won this issue for the time being. Now shut up about it.

Next… Five Things Neither Democrats or Republicans Are Talking About, But Damn It, They Should.

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  1. […] also my blog posts Five Things Republicans Need to Shut Up About if They Intend to Run the Country Again at Some Point and Five Things Democrats Need to Shut Up About if They Intend to Run the Country […]

  2. […] Next week: Five Things Republicans Need to Shut Up About if They Intend to Run the Country Again at Some Point. […]

  3. George Pedrosa on June 30, 2007 at 11:31 am  Chain link

    Brilliant essay.

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