MoonDawg's Den: An Epistolary Response to Garry (Epistolary in length, not in inspiration)

MoonDawg's Den

Friday, April 21, 2006

An Epistolary Response to Garry (Epistolary in length, not in inspiration)

This got way too long to go in the comment section, so I'll post it here. It is a response to Garry's response of my last post.

Garry,
I just spent quite a bit of time wading through all of your links. I feel like I have information overload although some of the links were quite informative. As for me asking a lot of questions, I believe that the biggest problem in politics (mostly political discourse) is that people don’t discuss or debate things. And, if they do, they only do it to roast the other guy, not to come to some sort of consensus. We need to be much more willing to debate and compromise on the issues.

That being said, I’ll start with where we agree. For the most part, I support the Patriot Act. I do wish that some of the amendments proposed by Democrats during the renewal process would have passed to help protect civil liberties, but overall it’s a good thing. However, the Patriot Act was far from a Republican initiative. It has had bi-partisan support (the renewal passed in the Senate with an 89-10 vote) since its inception. Even Dems who have taken issue with it have only opposed 2-3 parts of it (access to library records, for instance). I believe that even with a Democratic congress, the Patriot Act would have still been passed into law--admittedly with a few adjustments.

As for the SCOTUS nominees, I’d say he got one good one--Roberts; one decent one, but a little bit scary with his views on the Unitary Executive--Alito; and one unknown, but probably bad--Miers. More like a .500 batting average (counting Alito as half), which still ain’t too bad. I thought Bush could have picked someone more moderate for the O’Conner seat and for some of the Circuit court seats, but that’s his prerogative. I really believe that the court should be all moderates. People like Scalia and Ginsberg are bad for the courts. Despite Bush’s rhetoric, they are both “activist judges, who legislate from the bench.”

To avoid making this a 10,000 word rebuttal, I’ll just mention one more thing I agree on--the President definitely “displays a certain tone-deafness when it comes to dealing with bipartisan demagoguery.” He is far from the “uniter” that he promised to be during the 2000 campaign. That is one of my biggest criticisms of him.

Now, to my disagreements. First, the info you supplied on the tax cuts was unconvincing. Maybe it’s because I see economic growth differently than you do, but the tax cuts have only aided investors and owners of capital, not workers. As reported in the NY Times last year, “as the economy grew, incomes stagnated last year and the poverty rate rose”; “the census's annual report card on the nation's economic well-being showed that a four-year-old expansion had still not done much to benefit many households”; “the rising cost of health care benefits has also eaten into pay increases”; “it looks like the gains from the recovery haven't really filtered down”; “the gains have gone to owners of capital and not to workers"; and “the poverty rate rose last year for working-age people, those ages 18 to 64.” So, while investors and corporations have done well, the working classes have suffered from higher health care expenses, increasing fuel costs, and stagnant wages. Some have even said that the Bush Administration has declared war on the middle class. Now, I know that conservatives and liberals measure economic success differently, and that is probably why we evaluate the tax cuts differently.

One other beef I have with the tax cuts is that we are falling farther and farther into debt as a country. Furthermore, much of that debt is to China and Saudi Arabia, which is hardly a way to keep the country safe--at least economically--from potentially hostile dictatorships. Passing massive tax cuts shortly before allocating $87 billion for a war makes little common sense. But, that is the “borrow and spend” attitude of Republicans that started in the Reagan administration.

Now, to your last point--national security. I’m definitely not a “single-issue voter” like you are, but I do agree that national security and Islamic terrorism are huge issues and huge concerns as does everyone in America. To say that liberals--except for Lieberman, who’s a conservative for all intents and purposes--are “utterly unserious about confronting threats to our national security” is insulting and wrong. The problem is perspective. Most liberals, myself included, do not believe in the concept of pre-emptive war, nor in a purely military solution to the terrorism problem.

From what I understand--and I guess I’m far from an expert, but I read a lot--the Democratic strategy to dealing with terrorism is to strengthen port security and border security, which the Bush administration has ignored; strengthen diplomatic ties with our allies and the U.N. in order to apply diplomatic pressure on terrorist groups and rogue states like Iran; find a suitable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is extremely complicated and delicate; end our dependence on foreign oil; lower our trade deficit with troublesome nations like Saudi Arabia and China; continue to improve our intelligence gathering capabilities in order to avoid attacks (I actually would give Bush a pretty high grade on this, except for the domestic spying); craft a strategy for troop withdrawal in Iraq within a year (our presence there is a catalyst for violence and terror recruitment); give proper benefits to veterans and active duty troops to help with recruitment drops (Bush gets an “F” on treatment of vets); and strengthen the middle class of our economy in order to foster less cynicism toward the government. I apologize for not giving links to all of these, but that would take me forever. I’m an avid reader of liberal blogs, congressional websites, and news articles that deal with this issue, and these are the things being discussed there.

The problem Republicans have with these solutions is that they are not military solutions only. There are other ways to deal with terrorists instead of killing them. The War on Terror is a war of ideas, much like the Cold War, and it should be fought and won much like that war was, using all of our resources (including the military).

No leader in this country, Republican or Democrat, will sit back idly and watch us get attacked again. That would be criminal. However, allowing the Republicans to destroy our domestic welfare and freedoms just because they talk tougher is just as criminal. Thank God most voters are starting to see that.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety..” --Ben Franklin

Cheers,
Jeff

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