Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why Haven’t Democrats Taken Better Advantage Over the Anger at a Lame-duck Republican President?

For this answer, let's hear it from the man.......and frequent dinner guest at my home Mr. Victor Davis Hanson .........well not quite frequent......actually he's never been to the Gringo pad.....but Mr. Hanson, if you ever come across my blog, I've got a R/T airfare and some fine Méxican food waiting for you right here in the Valley of the Sun..........Phoenix, AZ.

First, things are not quite as bad as they first look. Americans are frustrated over Iraq, but not quite sure that we can precipitously leave—or that Iraq won’t be stabilized.

Last year the Democrats wanted new tactics, more troops, a change in command, and a new defense secretary—and got all that with the surge, Sec. Gates and Gen. Petraeus. If the Sunni insurgents of Anbar keep turning on al Qaeda, and the government can achieve some compromises—Iraq could devolve into something like present-day Afghanistan: messy and an irritant, but far better than the alternative of either a Taliban theocracy or Saddam-like dictatorship.

For all the shrill rhetoric about the excesses of wiretaps, the Patriot Act, renditions, and Guantanamo, the Democrats for now won’t end these security measures. It’s hard, after all, to complain too much when al Qaeda hasn’t attacked us in six years. House Speaker Pelosi didn’t help the Democrats’ case by flying to meet with Bashar Assad, the Syrian dictator who helps terrorists to murder democratic reformers from Lebanon to Iraq.

On the economic front even with climbing gas and food prices, overall inflation remains relatively low. So is unemployment. There are no longer cries of a “jobless recovery.” Interest rates are tolerable. The stock market has reached all-time highs. Most displeasure is over others doing better, rather than not doing well yourself.

Illegal immigration is still a hot button issue. But recent beefed-up enforcement, some economic progress in Mexico, and worries about deportation have made it harder to cross the border. And the public is optimistic that there will be a lot more, not less, border enforcement.

And Something Else…

There is a second reason why the Democrats should be careful. Most of the corrections for Mr. Bush’s perceived mistakes are not necessarily liberal ones. A lot of anger over the war—the first pullback from Fallujah, the reprieve given Moqtada Sadr, the restrictive rules of engagement—is voiced from the political Right: talking loudly while carrying a small stick.

Ditto the nature of criticism of the economy. Americans don’t want new federal programs, higher taxes and more spending. Instead, they fault the Bush administration for its vast new entitlements, bloated budgets, and growing national debt. Again, the outrage comes mostly from conservatives.

On immigration, most Americans want a fence, strict enforcement of the law and more security. Hot-button issues like amnesty and guest workers can come later. In other words, the recent Bush immigration reform legislation, backed by most Democrats, was seen as too lax rather than restrictive.

In sum, most voters wanted President Bush to give the military more leeway on Iraq, balance the budget, and close the border. And they still can’t quite decide whether a Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton would be more likely to do what the President did not.

So what will determine the next election? If Sen. Clinton or another Democrat can make the case that George Bush was too directionless on Iraq, spent too much money, and left the border wide open, she will probably win. But if Iraq calms down and Gen. Petraeus succeeds, while Sen. Clinton and others call for more taxes, more programs, amnesty, etc. then they will achieve the unlikely: three continuous Republican administrations.


At 8:23 PM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

dang Joe...08 is gaining on us!


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