Note in a Bottle
If my regular readers will excuse me for a moment, I don't want to preach to the choir today. No offense intended, please. I just think it's the right time to re-open a dialog with the folks who supported George W. Bush. At least the Bush voters I know are fine, decent folk I find in them no ill-will, no evil intent and they are no smarter or dumber than the rest of us. But we stopped talking a long time ago and when we interact now we tend to just sneer and jab at one another. We call their guy "dumb" and "a liar." And they reply by reminding us that the last guy we sent to the Oval Office was adulterer and a liar.
It's all so tiresome, not to mention unproductive. So let's just clear the air – we're both right.
But Bill Clinton is long gone and Hillary has about as much chance of becoming President as I do of becoming the next Pope. So talking about them is a waste of both our times. But George W. Bush is with us for another three years. That's why I believe it's time we started talking again, talking about what we can do, together.
So, a note to my conservative friends.
Long time no see. How ya been? Not so good? I understand.
It took me a while back then to sort out my feelings too. I liked most of Clinton's policies. I loved that he balanced the budget, embarrassed the Europeans into responding to genocide in the former Yugoslavia. I appreciated his sharp mind and eloquence. So it took me a while before I had to admit that Clinton was also a self-indulgent, self-distructive putz.
Now it's your turn to make that painful journey. It's not about disloyalty. It's about patriotism. It's not a reflection on you, but him. You voted for Bush because you believed him, believed he was, like you, a compassionate conservative. Believed that he was against thrusting America into highfaluting international nation building adventures. Believed that he was, as you are, a fiscal conservative who would fight government waste and fraud. Believed that he was strong on defense and would strengthen America's armed forces.
I don't know if he lied to you or just failed to live up to his stated standards. We can argue about that, but it's a waste of time. The fact is he has failed to deliver on each and every one of those promises. Six years later:
* America is deeper in debt than ever in our history, and getting deeper by the second.
* America's armed forces are over-extended, under-manned and nearing exhaustion.
* Fraud, waste and abuse has become institutionalized as hundreds of billions of dollars in no-bid contracts flow to administration-connected firms like Halliburton.
* America is involved in the biggest nation building effort since the Mashall Plan.
* The sleaziest of sleazy lobbyists (like now-indicted Jack Abramoff,) were welcomed within the highest administration offices.
* And now the top two administration officials, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby are under federal investigation.
Now don't get your backs up. I am not making fun or jabbing or taking pleasure in your pain and disappointment. I am just asking that you do what I did when the shoe was on the other foot. You have to let it go. Let go of the Bush you wish you had and come to terms with the Bush you got.
Once you are over that hump we can bury the hatchet and get down to work -- together. We have three more years to muddle through before we can pick a new leader. I'm not asking you to become Democrats. (Hell, I'm not even sure I want to be one myself any more.)
What I am asking is that we try to work together between now and then to steer our respective representatives in useful directions. To force them to begin cleaning up some of these messes, or at the very least staunch the hemorrhaging of lives and treasure and trust until this guy is safely back at his Texas ranch.
So, are you ready now to apply the high standard you rightfully imposed on Bill Clinton? I know it's tough. Believe me, I've been there so, dare I say, I feel your pain.
You begin by first admitting mistakes where made and then apply the first rule of Holes, (You know, "When you discover you've dug yourself into a hole, stop digging.")
We need to stop digging in Iraq, stop digging ourselves into debt giving money we don't have to the already wealthy, stop digging the graves of American labor by making it more attractive for companies to send jobs overseas than keep them here at home.
Then whether we elect a Republican or Democrat president next time, he/she will not be taking charge of a complete basket case.
Thanks for listening. Stay in touch.