Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thank god for Democrats, say the Republicans

When this Bush came into office, the standard complaint made by the Republican administration and the Republican Congress was that the country was in a shambles because of the years of the Clinton administration. Never mind the fact that Clinton had six years of a Republican Congress. The Clinton’s had ruined America and now George W Bush was here to undo the damage. As no progress toward doing that was made during the first few months of the Bush administration, what a relief it must have been to have the terrorist attacks. Now there was someone new to blame for the economy and the lack of progress the Republicans had made. So Bush turned his attention toward Afghanistan and toward hunting Osama bin Laden, with the help of NATO and the good wishes of much of the rest of the world. Bush’s attention soon wandered toward Iraq, and we invaded them. And the years rolled on, as Osama and Afghanistan were forgotten and we started an occupation of Iraq with US government officials tossing packs of money they called “footballs” around and then losing the "footballs". The new problem was Al Qaeda in Iraq, aided by communist sympathizers at home (also known as Democrats and Hollywood). Although the economy grew some from 2000-2006, and average wages grew a bit, that was mostly because the wages at the top end grew dramatically while the middle class and the poor just stagnated. Katrina brought into sharp focus just how inept our government had become. Although the Republicans tried to blame the Democratic state and local government, clearly the federal government was not and still is unable to address the problem. So what a relief is must have been when the Democrats won the Congress back in 2006, for the first time since 1994. Now all the problems that have been festering since 1994 can be laid, once again, at the feet of the Democrats.

That’s just what Jack Kelly did in today’ column, in between taking shots at Al Gore. “The power grid already is strained by the unwillingness of Democrats to construct electric power plants of any kind.” is a sentence buried in the middle of Kelly’s anti-Gore screed. So suddenly the Democrats have stopped any new power plant being built in the last year and a half, because in the six or twelve years prior, no one was interested in building a power plant (twelve including the Clinton years). What were the Republicans doing between 2000 and 2006? What were they doing after Middle Eastern terrorists attacked our country? Not reducing our dependence on foreign oil by opening up the OCS to drilling (like they now “suddenly” want to). Not authorizing new power plants to be built (ditto). No, the Republicans were cutting the rich tax breaks, ignoring the housing bubble and bringing home the earmarks for their districts like there was no tomorrow.

Yeah, the Democrats, including Al Gore, are not perfect. The Democrats are now getting earmarks for themselves, and somewhere I heard they are the largest in history. Of course, I assume the budget is also the largest in history, the sort of thing that happens in a growing economy. Doesn’t excuse the Democrats, just means they aren’t any worse of villains than the Republicans. And I don’t know why Al Gore has four houses, including the monster mansion in Tennessee. It may be that after he left the Vice Presidency, he thought he might still have a public role, and wanted to be able to receive people in his house in a style they would respect. If he had a modest house outfitted with solar panels, I am sure people would dismiss him as an Ed Begley Jr wannabe, some environmentalist who wants us to wear Jimmy Carter sweaters and ride bikes everywhere.

Instead Gore has an enormous house, on which he has installed solar panels so that his carbon footprint is apparently zero (at least in terms of home energy usage, although possibly he sells enough surplus energy back to make up for the private jet, etc). People who try to lead are human and fallible. Some Democrats are still upset with Gore for not fighting for the election harder, some even for Gore “sighing” in the debate. At least, though, Gore is not calling conservation a “Personal” virtue; something Cheney has not, to my knowledge, apologized for or at least corrected.

I glanced around the web just enough to see that the APS was doing no more than presenting the debate not changing its position. There clearly are scientists who don't believe in global warming, but its not clear to me how *many* there are. When conservative columnists say that the global warming issue is in serious doubt, a web search usually reveals that these claims are made by only a few, and dismissed by many others. It may be that the earth is not quite warming as fast as predicted, just like it may be that the surge in Iraq has in fact been "militarily" successful. But the slowing in the rate of global warming may just show that efforts to reduce carbon output here and there were successful (and not taken into account in the original predictions), just like the military success of the surge may enable the actual troop with drawl from Iraq.

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