Friday, December 22, 2006

Seriously, how could it possibly have been WORSE?

That's all I want to know. How could it possibly have been worse?

When I and the rest of my progressive friends listen to defenders of the Administration and Republican Party deny, obfuscate, propagandize and split hairs over the monumental crimes and failures of the last six years, we are invariably tempted to get into the muddy details and argue the finer points: Whose authority was it to send in the national guard after Katrina? Did the world really believe there were WMDs in Iraq? Was Bin Laden really catchable in Afghanistan? Can democracy work in Iraq? Etcetera, etcetera.

But an epiphany hit me today: as I was preparing to engage in yet another "fine points" debate with a wingnut, I realized that I was really talking about all this in the wrong way. What I should be asking is this: "If Al Gore (or another Democrat) had been elected to office in 2000, how could it possibly have been WORSE?"

I'm serious about this. Screw the details--as long as we are willing to debate the details of how horrific foreign and domestic policy could or should have been made slightly less horrific, we ignore the fact that we are limiting the terms of the debate to generally insane and incompetent policy. By turning the argument into a hypothetical one about what a Dem president and Administration would have done, a debater can expand the horizon of possibilities beyond the pathetic limits set by the constraints of talking about the Worst. President. Ever. and his batshit crazy policies.

So here's my challenge to the Right Wing Establishment: Please tell me how it could possibly have been WORSE. Because I'm having a hard time here.

Honestly, do you really believe that the national debt would be HIGHER today if Gore had been elected allowed to serve as our duly elected president? Seriously, I want to know. President Clinton reduced the national debt when he was in office. You seriously want to tell me it would have been WORSE under a Democrat?

Truthfully now, do you really believe that the national trade deficit would be HIGHER today if Clinton had stayed in office? That the financial industry would have outpaced the manufacturing industry by even greater margins under a Dem president? Really?

Seriously, do you truly believe that a Democratic president would have been even MORE oblivious to the pre 9/11 warnings? I mean that. Your National Security Advisor was scheduled to give a speech on freaking missile defense on 9/11. I want to know--how could the national focus have been MORE misguided?

Candidly now, are you really trying to tell me that a Democrat would have botched Afghanistan any WORSE than Bush has done? Really? I mean come on now--these are the same Democrats that just got done fighting one of the most internationally agreed-upon and efficient wars in American History in Kosovo. It was Democrats who led us into WWII and Vietnam, so we're not gun-shy. Really, I want to know how Afghanistan could possibly have been done worse.

Straightforwardly, you mean to tell me that Al Gore would have failed even more spectacularly to fail to catch Bin Laden? Please explain to me how that would even have worked. I'm all ears.

In all candor, are you really telling me that America and world are better off for our having invaded Iraq? Tell me how a Democratic president who DECLINED to invade Iraq, and focused our resources on Afghanistan instead, would have left the world worse off than under Bush. I'm all ears. Or tell me which Democrat would have invaded Iraq like your hero did--either way.

With all due respect, I seriously want to know something: how could President Kerry have possibly left Iraq a more painfully excruciating disaster than it is today? How would Iraq be worse off today for having had Kerry in charge? I'm not kidding--I really want to know.

Now THIS one really leaves me flabbergasted: how in the whole wide world could ANY Democrat--even Joe/Jane Sixpack off the freaking street!--have botched the Katrina rescue and recovery any worse? You can lay the blame on Blanco and Nagin all you want--but are you seriously trying to tell me that President Gore would have left New Orleans in worse shape? No really--try it with a straight face this time.

In all honesty, are you trying to tell me that a Democratic Congress would have been even MORE out of control with government spending? Actually, I already know the answer to that one: a few of you tried to use that line in congressional campaign ads, and it was a failure because not even people as crazy and mendacious as you could say it with a straight face.

And there's SO much more where all this came from--
National infrastructure.
The divide between rich and poor.
Anti-Americanism in the world.
The proliferation and growth of Al-Qaeda.
The election of Islamist governments in the mideast.
Frayed national unity and bitter parisanship.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The housing bubble and consumer debt levels.
Electronic voting machines and voting security
Outsourcing of scientific discoveries and progress overseas.

Etc, etc.

I mean, the list goes on and on and on. On not a single one of these issues can I fathom how a Democratic administration and congress could possibly have done worse--nor can I picture how even in the wingnuttiest imaginations, they could really picture it being worse either.


I'm deadly serious about this. This a challenge. I want to know.

If there are any trolls lurking out there, here's your chance to respond without getting troll-rated; I'd like this to be a donut-free thread.

I'm waiting--but I'm not holding my breath.

And as for you, my progressive friends, as long as the wingnuts can't answer these questions--at least not with a straight face--I see no reason why we shouldn't keep on asking them again and again until their ears bleed.

Because--honestly and in unison now--how could it possibly have been WORSE?


Blogger RoseCovered Glasses said...

There are good points in your article. I would like to supplement them with some information:

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armaments”

The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex establishment, budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Administrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the new Sec. Def.Mr. Gates, understand such complexity, particularly if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

Answer- he can’t. Therefore he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

This situation is unfortunate but it is absolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen until it hits a brick wall at high speed.

We will then have to run a Volkswagen instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.

5:01 PM  
Blogger thereisnospoon said...

well, a good President needn't get bogged down in the details. A clear head and a willingness to break some eggs is in order...

Great blog, btw.

4:19 PM  

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