« Immigration: Next steps | Main | The January 24 Document »

April 08, 2006


more from Harwood:

"Chaos theory" is the formula of House Democratic campaign chief Rahm Emanuel for selling voters on the need to boot Republicans out. A well-placed Republican strategist privately fears the same thing after the Senate's zigzag performance in the past week on the immigration bill, saying it "has been handled about as ridiculously as anything I've seen."

Good post. One thought, however. You call Bush one of the worst leaders the US has ever had and compare him to Grant. That is very unfair to Grant. It is true that Grant placed people in high office who proved corrupt and that he was too inclined to favor big business. He was not a good president. However, he was personally honest (and died broke), did not abuse power, took his obligations seriously and was always high-toned. Moreover, he fought for civil rights in an era when that cost him popularity, and aside from (and not excusing) the corruption, his administration was pretty average (not bad in every direction).

Grant and Jackson will have to live with cronyism, whatever else they did (that doesn't make them 'worst'). But Bush and Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, and Warren G. Harding are the bottom 5 by consensus.

"The Democrats don't have to be perfect to win in November. Yes, it'll help to lay out something that they stand for.. But not being a Republican right now is giving them a huge advantage..."

That seems about right, we'll have to look at that trend more closely over time. Here in PA, Casey's lead over Santorum is shrinking. That tells me that voters want more from Dems than a campaign message "we're not as dumb and corrupt as they are." Voters are really, really ready to listen to new ideas and to see a commitment to solve problems, like Iraq, as you indicate.

The collapse of the budget talks is symptomatic and emblematic of the problems besetting the GOP. I have written on this $8.4 trillion, having gone up over 40% during Bush's 5+ years in office.

But it is clear that the investment tax cuts handsomely benefit only a very tiny percentage of taxpayers who own substantial stock holdings in taxable accounts (i.e., not retirement accounts). The Alternative Minimum Tax will hit millions of upper middle and lower upper income taxpayers next year and into the future if not reformed. But both reform of the AMT and extending the investment tax cuts are very expensive.

We are way past the time when cancelling the Bush tax cuts could substantially improve our fiscal condition. Much more will need to be done, and in the face of that to talk of additional tax cuts or extending the investment tax cuts is a genuine act of aggression against the taxpayers of the future who will have to pay for this profligacy.

There was a mistake there. I meant that it is insanity to talk of more tax cuts when the annual deficit is $600 buillion a year and the cumulative debt is $8.4 trillion, having gone up over 40% during Bush's term in office.

One thing I think worth continuing to note: all this horrible news -- and the terrible polls -- come at a time when financial pages just about scream "economic boom". Apparently the inequity of benefit (and, I presume, gas prices) have persuaded most people to ignore even figures they've often believed (like consumer confidence) in favor their own personal pessisism. (And -- as I've said too many times here -- where do the numbers go if the economy takes an official, on-paper downturn?)

What's been amazing about this week, as DemfromCT recounts, is how over-stuffed it's been with bad news for the GOP. That Tom DeLay could be forced to resign, and it's not even the worst thing to happen all week, is astonishing.

I think, though GOP Congressional disarray is deeply damaging (it evokes memories of Fall '94 for Democrats), the Libby leak news wins the race for the bottom among this week's stories. It goes to Bush's two remaining relatively-strong suits -- "protecting the country" and "honesty" -- and shoots them right between the eyes.

I doubt Bush can go much lower in approvals -- barring a true economic collpase -- but all this news makes it impossible for him to recover. And November gets closer every day.

Excellent and enjoyable post. I remember Charlie Cook saying on a Meet-the-Press that the Dems have no obligation to do anything except sit back and let the Repubs self-destruct, and he suggested that would be the best approach.

As I have said many times, the financial page sscream "economic boom" because the stock market is up (due to infusions of liquidity from the Federal Reserve and record profits, much of which is earned overseas) and the top 5% is doing pretty well. But the other 95% isn't doing so well.

It is like one of the old psych experiments where a series of pairs of lines are shown. Everyone says line A is shorter than line B, when in fact it is longer. The point is to see how quickly the subject, who sees that A is actually longer, will capitulate and agree that it is shorter. No one wants to feel that they are the onoly ones not enjoying the boom times.

Couple this with the unstable balance of payments and increasing debt load, and the looming explosion of Medicare costs. Slowing of the economy seems inevitable, as the consumer slows down, but the Fed will try to stave it off until after the election. The wild card seems to be oil prices, and here an invasion of Iran just seems so counterproductive, apart from all the other reasons it is an insane idea.

”I remember Charlie Cook saying on a Meet-the-Press that the Dems have no obligation to do anything except sit back and let the Repubs self-destruct, and he suggested that would be the best approach.”

The Democrats might even win this round, or the next, Republicans having bollixed things that badly. But it would be a crying shame to let this moment go by without using it to bludgeon Republican movement ideology to death while it’s prostrate and exposed to the light of day. If we don’t have the good sense to use this teaching moment to re-educate people on the usefulness of well-run, progressive government, reasonably insulated from the influence of industry, shame on us.

shep, the way one does that is to win and then run FEMA, CDC and EPA properly.

demtom, you're right about Bush's 'leaker-in-chief' image being the worst of it for republicans. His persoanl attributes have kept him propped up, but this destroys them.

"shep, the way one does that is to win and then run FEMA, CDC and EPA properly."

I think we did, not too long ago. A useful comparison, I agree. I don't see Democrats making it. Why not?

A useful comparison, I agree. I don't see Democrats making it. Why not?

Because it is an executive thing and will be made in 2008.

Too bad. "It" is also a good public policy and good government thing. If Democrats aren't running on that, they're still running within the Republican frame.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Where We Met

Blog powered by Typepad