MoonDawg's Den: Una Pregunta

MoonDawg's Den

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Una Pregunta

I'm still catching up with life after my time away, so I'll just post a short debate question.

Is the Republican Party of today truly conservative? Are they for small government, fiscal responsibility, state's rights, etc.?

On the flip-side, are the Democrats truly liberal? Are they for government assistance programs, social justice and fairness, and more federal control of issues?

The reason I post this is that I feel politics are pretty messed up right now. Things are defined as pro-Bush or anti-Bush, not conservative or liberal. Is this type of bickering over one president healthy for the country? What can be done to stop it?

I'm interested to hear your thoughts.


MI RESPUESTA: Is the Republican party truly conservative? I believe the GOP's core platform espouses traditional conservative ideas. Whether leading Republican politicians truly adhere to these ideas is a separate question, however.

Is the Democratic Party truly liberal? Their agenda outlines lofty social progress goals associated with liberalism, but is murky on the details. What specifically would they do differently than the Repubs (besides raise my taxes and bolt from Iraq)? Some clarity here might help.

The focus on Bush is to be expected, I think. A President, for better or worse, is the leader of his party, and the primary face of his party. However I don't agree that it is as simple as "pro-Bush/anti-Bush", at least on the "pro" side. Many conservative bloggers I read are lukewarm on Bush at best (myself included). But the vitriolic hatred of Bush by the "anti" side is remarkable (some would say his detractors have become unhinged).

What can be done to stop it? It'll stop in January, 2009 - when President Bush leaves office. Until then, it's probably good for Repubs that Dems are so focused on Bush. Otherwise, they might direct their energies towards coming up with viable plans for defense, the economy, etc - then they would actually win some elections.



  • Garry,

    First, I'll start with where we agree. I don't think that the current Republican leadership espouses true conservative values, and I believe that it's a problem for them.

    I disagree with you (go figure!) on a few of your other points. I do think that the Democrats have a specific plan. In fact, the link that you posted shows a very specific plan, but you have to click on each individual issue to get to the specifics.

    For instance, on education (a subject near to my heart), the platform says, "We want to meet our responsibilities to America's children by ensuring that our schools have the resources they need to help our kids meet high standards.

    Democrats will also help expand educational opportunities for college by providing relief from skyrocketing college tuition, increasing the size and access to Pell Grants and supporting proven programs that encourage more young people to attend and succeed in college."

    I'll admit that there aren't loads of specifics here, but it's just a short summary. However, providing relief for college students, adequately funding schools (instead of cutting the ed budget like the repubs), and supporting programs to help get kids into college seems like a step in the right direction, with some specifics in the mix.

    As for raising taxes, the Dems plan is very specific. They will roll back the tax cuts on the wealthiest 2% of Americans. We are naive to think that we can continue to cut taxes and increase the deficit. The bottom will fall out eventually. The biggest problem with our tax code is that the rich can get out of paying taxes. The burden then falls on the middle class. Bush's tax cuts have made that burden greater, not smaller.

    On Iraq, the only specific solution for our problems there that I have heard come from representative Murtha, a Democrat. What is the Republican's plan for ending the conflict? Talk about lack of specifics. "Stay the course" is a cliche and has no specific goal for ending the conflict. Whether you agree with Murtha or not, at least he has a plan.

    Anyway, I've probably pontificated enough. I'll just say one last thing. For Michelle Malkin to call someone unhinged is insane. She supports detention camps for all Muslims in the US and is anti-immigration even though she herself is the child of immigrants. I could go on, but I think you get my drift. She and Ann Coulter (Coulter is far worse, however) are two of the most unhinged pundits in the world.

    My two cents,

    By Blogger Jeff, At 12:23 PM, March 01, 2006  

  • One last thing (I promise!), you say that "Many conservative bloggers I read are lukewarm on Bush at best (myself included)." What exactly are they challenging him on?

    I know that many disagree with Bush's economic plan and with his overspending, but how are any Republicans challenging him? They all raise a huff for a minute and fall in line. It is the same with every issue.

    Can you name an issue where bloggers and republicans in general have challenged Bush and changed one of his policies? They have the strength to do it, as they did with Harriet Miers (okay, I just gave you one example). Where is another? I think that most of the opposition from with in the party is just lip service to moderates. The party base always just falls in line.

    As for the dems' focus, we'll see how popular it is in November. I'm predicting a fairly dramatic change.


    By Blogger Jeff, At 12:29 PM, March 01, 2006  

  • Sorry to filibuster. :-}

    By Blogger Jeff, At 12:29 PM, March 01, 2006  

  • "For Michelle Malkin to call someone unhinged is insane. She supports detention camps for all Muslims in the US and is anti-immigration even though she herself is the child of immigrants."
    Ummm, neither of those statements are true. Even though she absolutely is anti-ILLEGAL immigration. So am I.

    By Anonymous Alex, At 1:39 PM, March 01, 2006  

  • Alex,
    I don't know enough about Malkin to really opine, so I probably should have left it out. I do know that she is in favor of some strange things, like profiling, and that she supported the Japanese internment in WWII and suggested that a similar strategy be adopted in the War on Terror. How far that suggestion goes with her I don't really know. I haven't read her book.

    As for her views on immigration, I'm against illegal immigration too, so maybe she and I agree on something.

    Anyway, I apolgize for not getting my facts straight before I ran my mouth.


    By Blogger Jeff, At 2:12 PM, March 01, 2006  

  • No worries about filibustering, isn't that pretty much what bloggers do? lol

    To respond to your points:

    Regarding education: "ensuring that our schools have the resources they need" is Dem-speak for "throw money at the problem". "Relief" from high college tuition means more taxpayer subsidies - funding for Pell Grants has jumped 70% since 2000, but for Dems there's always more money to be spent.

    Regarding taxes: soak the rich is hardly a new and exciting Dem idea. You think "biggest problem with our tax code is that the rich can get out of paying taxes" and the burden "falls on the middle class"? It's simply not true. The top 10% of all wage earners pay nearly 70% of all income taxes even though they account for only 37% of all income (2003 data, the latest year available). In fact the share that the top 10% paid has increased since the Bush tax cut, from 67.7% in 2000 to 69.6% in '03. Meanwhile your poor downtrodden middle class pays only 4.6% of all income taxes - some "burden".

    Regarding Iraq: The administration does have a specific strategy for Iraq: elect a legislature to write a constitution (done), hold a national referendum to ratify the constitution (done), elect a government under the new constitution (done), repair the country's economic infrastructure (in progress), and, lastly, turn over security functions to the new Iraqi military and police forces (in progress).

    Fools like Murtha would have us totally withdraw U.S. forces before the Iraqis are ready to take over - which would suit al-Qaeda just dandy. The better solution is the one we are already persuing: a gradual drawdown as Iraqis take over key positions. Already we have reduced total U.S. forces in Iraq by two brigades, and Georgia's own 48th BCT will be coming home in just a couple of months. From what I hear, we will reduce our presence to just a handful of brigades by the end of next year, with operations mainly limited to close air support and rapid response. These can eventually be based outside of Iraq, as Murtha wants - but now is way too soon.

    As to issues where bloggers and Repubs have come out against Bush, you yourself touched on one last week - the UAE ports issue. 90% of the conservative blogs I read are opposed to the deal, and Repubs in congress are mostly against it (Rep. Peter King from NY has been especially vocal in opposition to Bush). Another issue where conservative bloggers and many Repubs break with the White House is on border security. Indeed, I recently had a post about the fed's poor response in this area.

    By Blogger Garry, At 4:03 PM, March 01, 2006  

  • Garry-

    "for Dems there's always more money to be spent."

    Do we need to compare the budgets of Bush and Clinton to see who spends the most money? How can Republicans still claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility?


    By Blogger Jeff, At 4:51 PM, March 01, 2006  

  • One more thing, you talk about the port deal as repubs opposing Bush, but already many are coming back into line. Bill Frist was adamant in his opposition and now says the deal is fine. I have a feeling most of the other dissenters will fall in line as well. The NSA case is a good example: republicans like Lindsey Graham and Arlen Specter were completely opposed, but they soon fell into line.

    I would imagine the port deal will be the same, and Bush will get his way--again.

    As for border security, what significant changes have come from the right's opposition to Bush? None. The problem is that the right has the power to fight Bush on these issues and win because they are the majority. It's just not happening. They (congressional Republicans) pay lip service to people who raise concerns, but they never fix the problem. Then, they complain that all the Democrats do is point fingers. I believe that they are doing the same.


    By Blogger Jeff, At 5:01 PM, March 01, 2006  

  • "Do we need to compare the budgets of Bush and Clinton to see who spends the most money?" Well fortunately Clinton had a Repub congress that kept spending in check - but now congressional Repubs have become addicted to pork spending, and Bush has implemented huge new entitlements. But some Repub legislators are starting to turn things around (see the link above the "Porkbusters" image on my blog). I can credibly hope that one day Repubs will once again be the party of fiscal responsibility. I hold out no such hopes for the Dem party.

    As to Frist, he hasn't said the deal is "fine", he merely agreed to await the outcome of a new 45-day CFIUS review before making a final judgement - and he is still persuing Senate committee hearings on the matter. However I do think that Repubs (and many Dems) will eventually fall in line - but on the merits, not because of party fealty. Ditto the NSA issue.

    On border security, I would argue that significant legislative changes are starting to happen, and that it is Bush who is coming around to the congressional view, not vice versa. It's about bloody time...

    By Blogger Garry, At 5:50 PM, March 01, 2006  

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