Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Hits Keep Coming

I grew up in the age of AM radio, with top 40 hits as a main format. About every hour, someone was bound to say something like, “K blah blah blah, where the hits just keep on coming!” The message was effective enough to be remembered about 40 years later.

I mention this because our current administration seems to be suffering more than its share of “hits,” all reflecting on the President’s ability to remember what government is meant to be and whom it is to serve.The hits seem to come in spurts, with the latest involving the Justice Department, including the FBI, and the VA organization. Scooter Libby was convicted, but an appeal might keep him out of the Big House until the presidential pardon that The Scooter earned carrying water for the Vice President in the campaign to smear whistleblower Joe Wilson arrives.

But I’ve already written about that debacle several weeks ago. Here are the new ones (summarized into the shortest possible space): bad management at the nation’s military hospitals leads to poor conditions for recovering soldiers, The FBI misreported a great increase in snooping on Americans in the last two years, and finally, the Department of Justice fires a number of local prosecutors for what appear to be political reasons, then try to cover it up.. As I write, another booboo, this one involving the Corps of Engineers’ service in the New Orleans area POST-Katrina, has surfaced.

I listen to one guy on the radio who theorizes thus: These screwups are permitted to happen in order to give Republicans the opportunity to say “Big government just doesn’t work, and all these functions should be privatized to others who can handle them.”. If an earthquake hits, just sit tight and wait for help. Halliburton is sending a truck from Dubai which should arrive in a week or so. Have your credit cards ready.

I’m no doubt biased in all this, but it’s hard to think of any president having two worse back-to-back years, at least since Nixon. Congress didn’t fare much better with a string of scandals, all tied to Republicans. And those years were preceded by the Iraqi invasion and followed by the 2007 stuff already mentioned. All this from the guy with the MBA who was going to show us how it should be done and with the help of the always “around power” religious right, who backed Bush in spite of his failure to keep promises to them.

This streak of clinkers has put the right back on its heels. They have less time to attack because they’re obliged to defend what’s already happened. Working class families (those “Reagan Democrats you used to hear so much about) may have seen their jobs outsourced to China, probably losing health care benefits in the process. They see that phony issues like flag abuse, school vouchers and doctor assisted suicide are just things meant to keep them distracted from what they could (and should) howl about: the war, health care, the abandonment of the Constitution, the treatment of vets, etc. I heard the normally sneering Laura Ingraham whining yesterday on the radio in the role of Rip Van Winkle, suddenly awake to the fact that things hadn’t turned out as planned when the brave GOP marched into office on the basis of a one-vote mandate.


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