Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Feb. 7, 2005

A Contract FOR America

He has said we are at war. For three years he has called himself a “wartime President.” Yet, unlike any previous war American civilians have not been asked to sacrifice for the war effort. In fact, it’s been just the opposite, we have been encouraged to live it up, get out there and spend money. You know, “so the terrorists don’t win.

And, despite the quarter-trillion (and mounting) cost of the war, the Commander in Chief actually lavished tax cuts on companies and civilians, $1.8 trillion in all most of which went to the Gatsby folks already at the sweet end of the “how ya doin’” scale.

Economic physics declared that it could not last. Not even the strongest nation on earth can spend at that rate while also gutting its only income stream and not eventually hit the wall. And, as I pointed out in Friday’s column, that was exactly the idea. The Bush tax cuts-n-war policy turned an $84 billion budget surplus in 2000 to nearly a half-trillion dollar budget deficit this fiscal year.

It was inevitable. It was planned. And now that it has happened. We no longer have enough money for both domestic social programs and war. The time for sacrifice is at hand. It is time for patriotic American civilians to shoulder the burdens of war. Freedom, as the neo-cons like to remind us, is not free.

So, who amongst us will be asked to pay up – to sacrifice? The wealthy? Forget about it. Bush insists tax cuts that largely benefit them be made permanent. No, neither the money nor the soldiers needed to fuel the war will be drawn from the ranks of the wealthy.

(Sidebar rant: While Bush maintains that the deaths of some 1500 of America's other parent's boys and girls in Iraq have been “worth it,” his two service-age daughters remain nowhere near Iraq. Maybe someone should send a recruiter around to see if they think it’s “worth it” too. They could take a film crew with them and do a TV series about their military service. It could be a kind of Paris Hilton and Nichole Richie Go to War show:
Oh, Barb, look, I broke a nail! Do I get a Purple Heart for that? I should.”)

No, the rich will not be asked to sacrifice for the war. On the contrary, between overly generous tax cuts, many will also profit from war spending either directly (Halliburton etc.) or through their stocks in companies that land fat war contracts.

So, if not the wealthy, who is getting this bill? Duh! As though we could not see this one coming. The bill will go to the working poor, middle class families, minorities, the disabled, education and the environment.

It all begins this week as Bush unveils his $2.5 trillion budget for fiscal 2006. The budget will slash and burn domestic spending, eliminating more than 150 federal programs while boosting defense spending.

This is the moment neo-cons have dreamed of for half a century. At last they are poised to purge the federal government of the last vestiges of Roosevelt’s “communististic” New Deal and Johnson’s “socialistic” Great Society. It is the neo-con’s Omaha Beach. The landing craft are massed; their troops primed and ready to push the weak opposition forces into the Potomac.

“A coalition of the most conservative House Republicans, the Republican Study Committee, showed its clout by luring House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) to a retreat in Baltimore on Friday for luncheon remarks urging them to stick to their principles on budget and social questions. He drew a standing ovation -- at least the third he has received from House Republicans in the past two weeks… About 50 of the 100 caucus members attended along with Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.). Other speakers included group founder Charles W. Colson and former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.). The group went to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for a dinner marking the 10th anniversary of the swearing-in of the "revolutionary" class elected in 1994.” (Today’s Washington Post)

Memo to Democrats: Arrrggggh! Be it known that we are already looking for alternatives to you guys. But, if you let the neo-cons get away with making the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy permanent while slashing programs to the working poor, you clueless, valueless little connivers are finished as a party. Do you understand? Finished.

And the same goes on Social Security. If you allow them to yank $2 trillion out of our national pension fund to create private accounts, and let them pay for it with borrowed money our grand kids will have to pay back, the Democratic Party will be carted off in mass on the shoulders of outraged voters to the nearest glue factory.

How’d They Do That?
House and Senate Dems might want to curl up next weekend with a new book written by Fox “News,” reporter Major Garrett. The book, entitled, "The Enduring Revolution: How the Contract with America Continues to Shape the Nation" documents how the Gingrich GOP revolutionaries' grabbed the majority from the fat and complacent Dems.
It seems, the neo-cons had a plan – and still do. And they are right on course. After grabbing the majority from napping Dems at the beginning of Clinton’s second term, the plan called for oversight hearings to drag out as much Democrat dirty laundry as possible. The book reproduces memos written by Gingrich, DeLay and others during that time. For example,

"House Republicans must be willing to let the world know that great evil has been done in the Congress over the last 40 years of Democratic rule," the document says. "To exaggerate a bit, this will be our Nuremberg."

Had it not been for Monicagate, those hearings would have happened. But Clinton gave them something with far more entertainment value than policy matters - sex - and the neo-cons ran with it, to great effect. Their enemy had been kind enough to get caught with their pants down, literally, and slaughter ensued.

While this new book is not entirely kind to Gingrich, he recommends it.

“Every Democrat who wants to know how to build a positive, idea-oriented agenda and how to integrate a team into one effort should read it," Every Republican who wants to be reminded how we got to be a majority -- and why we have to remain the reform party if we want to stay a majority -- should also read it."

The author wrote that at one point Gingrich grabbed the phone during budget negotiations with President Bill Clinton and calling him “a lying son of a bitch.”

Of course Clinton was a lying son of a bitch. But not on policy issues, just about his private sex life. Bush and Cheney are also lying son of bitches, not about their sex lives (about which I suspect we would be profoundly bored,) but about matters of life and death -- about the justification for going to war. Those lies have killed tens of thousands of innocent full-term humans -- mostly civilians, over the past three years.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing is there were a Democrat with the balls to call them liars, to their faces? Stop with “we were misled,” crap when asked if Bush lied. Cut to the truth – they lied to us. They are liars. It’s one thing to show the President of the United States due respect when he deserves it, and quite another to pussyfoot around when the whole world knows he lied. So, what’s with this “he misled us,” crap?

So, for once I agree with Newt, Dems should read the book. And then they should lock themselves in a Motel 6 until they can produce a Contract FOR America. Ten points, no more. Ten hard-rock, non-mealy-mouthed policy positions on which they will not budge. Goals they intend to achieve, not just run on. Goals they are willing to die for, politically.

Submit Yours
To that end I would like to ask readers of this column to email me your ideas for Contract FOR America, 2005. We all know by now the Dems won’t – maybe even can’t – do this themselves. So, let’s do it for them. Then we will shove it in front of them and say, “either sign it and mean it, or we will work day and night to replace you with someone who will sign it, mean it and fight for it.

Send your Contract FOR America suggestions to me at Stephen@pizzo.com.

Arrrrrggghhh! I have SOOOO had it with my party. Okay, I better stop here. I feel a “yeeeeeehaaaa” coming on.

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