The Inane AsylumÔ - Observations on the Elections and Their Aftermath: What Do They Really Mean?
By Bernard Levy
Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, definitions:
We’ve listened to and absorbed the rantings, ravings, and forecasts of most of the prominent political pundits in the country, both before and after the election. We’ve taken into account the changes that have already occurred in our country, including the “resignation” of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense, the immediately thereafter announcement of Robert Gates as the new Secretary of Defense, the prospective plans of the new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, for the first 100 hours of the new Congress and the worldwide reactions to the results of our mid-term elections.
First, the players and their attitudes. We, at The FCP, are most impressed with the post-election statements and the level-headedness of Nancy Pelosi. We have not been overwhelmingly impressed with her behavior during the last six years, but we could have misread her statements and political posturing. Or, could it be a variation of the Harry Truman syndrome: when a person is thrust into a position from which he (or she) has to perform and perform well, he (or she) will certain do so, probably exceeding expectations of those who observe? Clearly, Ms. Pelosi fills that bill.
President Bush and his administrative henchpersons are another story. First, it is interesting to note that Vice President Cheney, chief political guru Karl Rove, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have almost disappeared from view. I refer you to The Full-Court Press first issue column: “PTFE – The Slick Invention that Protects Politicians and Corporate Executives.” Perhaps Ms. Rice and Messrs. Cheney and Rove have gone to that secret laboratory in the Runnamuckah Hills in eastern Oregon to obtain the necessary coating used to insulate politicians and corporate executives from legislative and financial investigations and lawsuits. Who knows? There may be such a laboratory in the United States which indulges in that type of activity.
President Bush is another story. Again, I refer you to our first issue’s column, “The Bush Way,” to give you some insight into his mannerisms and reasons for his actions. His vitriolic attacks on Democrats, emphasizing time and time again that Democrats are soft on terror and electing a Democrat will weaken our national security, were not only without merit, but without any consideration for the wellbeing of the United States. If our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are unduly concerned with the results of the election because of these past pronouncements by President Bush, he has not only done a great disservice to our troops, but has, in fact, exhibited an anti-American attitude that plays into the hands of the terrorists.
I particularly enjoyed Mr. Bush’s recent statement on television, particularly in conjunction with his meeting with Nancy Pelosi when he said, to paraphrase, campaigning is finished, now governing begins. Golly, I thought that he was the President of the United States even during the campaigning. He was under the duty, actually a fiduciary duty, to all the people of the United States to act responsibly and reasonably. It’s one thing to campaign hard and effectively; it’s quite another to exhibit mean and malevolent attitude that actually defines a person and his or her character traits.
If you were to call candidates “dirty, rotten Jews” during a campaign effort and the elections result in success for those candidates, gaining their confidence and cooperation to achieve common goals may be quite difficult, if not impossible. Mr. Bush should understand that everything doesn’t go in elections; elections are not football games; he has a duty as the recognized leader of the free democratic world to consistently set a moral and ethical example in conveying his thoughts.
President Bush is a devote Christian – I believe the correct term is a born-again Christian – and it was Jesus who emphasized the importance of taking the moral ground by “turning the other cheek.” Can President Bush do that, or, at least, become effectively consolatory to those whom he has so vigorously insulted? Only time will tell, but the tremendous whooping that the GOP and President Bush took in the elections is clear.
What does the election mean to the American public and Congress? Did the American public vote for Democrats or did they vote against GOP candidates? The so-called politically-astute commentators and analysts vary in their opinions, but we believe that there is value in all of their statements. Bush’s war in Iraq was first and foremost on the minds of most American voters, and the American public not only voted against Republican candidates regarding this issue, they also voted for Democrats, hoping that the course of the war would change. Interestingly, the war in Afghanistan was not a major topic of concern, but our efforts for a lasting and meaningful democracy are going badly.
The economy, while apparently quite good overall, has real weaknesses and many of the voters are not benefiting from the Bush administration’s pandering to the rich, superrich and corporations, particularly those who are involved in defense contracts. Again, President Bush has done everything in his power to minimize the importance of increasing our efforts against global warming, protecting the environment, providing meaningful healthcare to all of our citizens, and emphasizing an effective federal energy policy and programs.
The “resignation” of Rumsfeld was incorrectly categorized by the news media. He didn’t resign; he was flat-out fired. But the most interesting part of this – a hidden story – is that President Bush, within minutes after the announcement of Rumsfeld’s termination, he announced his candidate for the Secretary of State, Robert Gates. Wow!
The decision to change a Secretary of Defense during war is a decision that’s not reached quickly and without serious thought. Even President Bush was prepared. It’s clear that President Bush has now gone back to dear old daddy for help. We may never know the true story, but the facts are clear; James Baker, former Secretary of State to George H.W. Bush, Sr. and current co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, whose report on possible future actions to be taken in Iraq will be issued shortly, and Mr. Gates are all part of H.W.’s close circle of political advisors and former administration members.
The report card is in; our current president is a lousy president; I don’t think there’s another word for that.
Now, to Congress. Democrats have established themselves as the majority party in both houses, combining with two independents, one of which is former Democrat Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, to control the Senate. In reality, Democrats cover the complete spectrum of political thought and inclinations. As Will Rogers said, “I am not a member of any organized party. I’m a democrat.”
Many of the new members of Congress – remember, they replace many long-standing Republican incumbents – are more conservative than those incumbent Democrats who will chair important committees. Hopefully, the Democrats will band together on many important issues, but voting may require – really should require – reaching across the isle to garner votes necessary to pass legislation. I applaud the new Congress because I believe it must represent a fresh start in cleaning up Congressional ethics and helping to set the country back on the course that will benefit the American public as a whole and not special interests.
Hopefully, the new Congress will make real progress in righting the American ship that has listed badly and is in serious danger of being grounded in both global and national shallow waters.