Friday, October 22, 2004

The Shrinking GOP

The Shrinking GOP
A good education was wasted on George W. Bush
by Alan Bisbort - October 21, 2004

First, a word to my Republican friends. By "Republican," I mean the sort of Republican my dad, the U.S. Army colonel/civil engineer, was: fiscally conservative, pragmatic, a true conservationist when it came to "the outdoors," as he called it. The only things in which he was a true believer were science, technology and hard work. I like to think he passed on some of these traits to his son and daughters, but I am not -- nor are they -- Republican.

I won't bore you with why that is. What I do want to suggest to you is that your party is dying. You are watching its death throes in the person of George W. Bush. He's the embodiment of the worst aspects of the far right wing. While he has been "talking to God" and basing decisions on crackpot neoconservative dreams of empire, the country is tanking fiscally and we are on track to becoming a second-rate nation. Russia, the former heart of the Cold War beast, just approved the Kyoto Protocol while we stand down, quivering behind our facade of invincibility. Already, France and Italy (!) are ahead of us technologically. "Old Europe" is kicking our ass on the stock market too. The damage, though too early to fully assess, is profound. We're the world's largest debtor nation. Whenever our creditors want to, they can call in their chips and eventually we'll pay them ... but with what? "Clean coal" or "hydrogen cars"? Community college vouchers? Forget it.

My advice to you: Vote for John Kerry. Many of your colleagues are doing this, including former governors of Minnesota and South Dakota, and Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA)'s reelection campaign features signs linking his name to a Kerry presidency. They sense the failure. They smell the disaster that awaits the GOP.

piece on Sunday, "Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, told me recently that 'if Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3.'"

Further signs of GOP disaster: Voter registration drives have added thousands of new Democratic voters to the rolls in the swing states of Ohio and Florida, a number far exceeding the pick-ups by Republicans. New registrations have risen 250 percent over the same numbers in 2000 in these areas, compared to 25 percent for the GOP. This pattern is replicated across the nation. If you're not concerned about this, you're deluded, and you'll be rudely awakened on Nov. 3. What will you do then? Blame Clinton?

If you really must vote Republican this election, out of misguided party loyalty, here's a way to get around Bush: Leave the presidential slot blank.

Second, a final word on the debates: The best of the four (including Cheney-Edwards) was the second presidential debate in St. Louis, a "town hall" format where informed voters asked the tough questions gutless corporate moderators avoided. The worst was Wednesday night's debacle run by Bob Schieffer, Bush's golf partner. I agree with the Nader folks on at least one thing: This debate scam has got to go. It's total bullshit. As it now stands, millionaire media lightweights get to ask all of the questions that they deem of importance to the unwashed American masses.

As Bob Scher of Liberal Oasis notes with his usual sagacity. Bush's "biggest whiff" was his answer to, "What do you say to someone in this country who has lost his job to someone overseas?" Bush: "I've got policies to continue to grow our economy and create the jobs of the 21st century ... here's some help for you to go to a community college." Scher notes, "No sympathy. No understanding. Bush practically puts the blame on the worker, whose job was snatched away through no fault of his or her own, for not having a good enough education. He was similarly nonsensical on the larger outsourcing issue: 'The best way to keep jobs here in America and to keep this economy growing is to make sure our education system works.'"

A good education was wasted on GW Bush.