Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Keep Digging

To be fair, there's very little that Joe Lieberman could do about either of the Democratic resolutions to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq that would help him in any way. If he voted for the resolutions, he'd be a flip-flopper. If he voted for them, he'd be continuing to bury his head in the sand where Iraq is concerned.

He's going the head-in-the-sand route--sort of:
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., plans to vote against both Democratic amendments calling for a troop withdrawal from Iraq.
...
Votes are expected Thursday. One resolution would call on the White House to begin phased redeployment of troops from Iraq this year, and to submit a plan to Congress by the end of the year for "continued phased redeployment."

The other measure, which is expected to gain little support even among Democrats, would have President Bush pull all troops out of Iraq by July 1, 2007.

Lieberman is expected to say he believes the U. S. cannot stay indefinitely in Iraq, and cannot write a blank check for its support. But, he plans to say, withdrawal of troops must be based on conditions on the ground, not fixed dates. (Lightman)

Much as I hate to admit it, he's actually right. As plans go, these are lousy ones. We could endlessly debate the pros and cons of a fixed date for withdrawal, but that sort of timeline won't help Iraq or, in the long run, the United States. The best the Democrats could come up with, I suppose.

Lieberman is sticking to his guns, sort of, despite the obvious backpedaling away from the Bush Administration and his earlier stances. If he really wanted to be the independent-minded statesman he so desperately desires to be, he could take a leadership role on the whole Iraq debate, and come up with some bold new directions besides just "stay the course" or "get us out of here now!"

Like, for example, doubling the number of troops, investing heavily in rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure and economy (a Marshall Plan for Iraq), and re-assuming some of the functions of Iraq's obviously inept central government until they can get back on their feet.

These ideas may not work. But they're a better direction than the two major parties are offering us. Positive action--any positive action--is better than either changing nothing or pulling up stakes and leaving a broken country to its fate.

Senator, they're yours for free. Take them and build on them. Lead, if you're capable of it. Put all that bipartisan capital you've supposedly been building up to work, for once! Get the moderate Gang of 14 who can still control the Senate behind you, and accomplish something history will remember you for. Show us why you ran for President.

Unless you can't. Maybe you're too wrapped up in saving your own butt here at home to risk the shreds of power you have left on helping to resolve a nasty overseas mess that you helped to create. Maybe you've been in Washington too long to act in anything but your own self-interest. Or maybe you really do think that things are going fine in Iraq. I don't know.

All just a fantasy, of course. No one is going to propose a better plan for Iraq. We won't pull out, the Democrats will get smeared as cut-and-run wussies, and in the end nothing will actually change. Maybe someday we'll have real leaders again. I can dream.

Source

Lightman, David. "Lieberman To Vote Vs. Troop Withdrawal." Hartford Courant 21 June, 2006.

42 comments:

LitchfieldAngelina said...
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Genghis Conn said...

Nah. All hat, no cattle. The guy talks big, but never takes responsibility for his actions.

LitchfieldAngelina said...
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Real Democrat said...

You guys are joking of course... whether you believe the war in Iraq was the right thing to do in the first place (i do not) everyone should agree that we ought to get out. We have no business there and we can not become a permanent police force for Iraq. A deliberate phase down is the only way we'll get out. The alternative would be to wait until the Government is capable of maintaining order -- a goal which may never occur!

This will be a political disaster for Joe Lieberman. Standing alone with the Republicans on this issue will end his chances for victory in a primary and significantly hurt his popularity among unaffiliated voters as well. Connecticut residents want our troops out of Iraq and Ned Lamont will represent that view alongside Chris Dodd in the US Senate.

LitchfieldAngelina said...
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Chris MC said...

Just returned from the Kevin Phillips booksigning up in Litchfield. Very well-attended event.

Phillips' new book, American Theocracy lays out the nexus between the pursuit of oil, the atrocious deficit spending, and the dependence of the GOP on religious zealots for their hold on power.

The conversation was pretty good, and yours truly asked him his opinion about the Senatorial race. He understandably avoided taking sides, but did say that Sen. Lieberman was an "atypical Democrat" and didn't see this as having national implications. He is an Unaffiliated voter. A hint at his real feelings: he can't stand GWB.

Afterward, and this is a bit off topic, I was chatting with an individual who attended a fundraiser with Howard Dean the other night. Dean told him that Hillary really hasn't decided if she will run, but that he thinks she can run as her own person.

She really is sucking all the money out of the race, so it is difficult for me to see anyone challenging here unless they've got an alternative source of meaningful dough.

Chris MC said...

Angelina -

GWB has been a superb leader? That is absurd. Even the life long Republicans who voted for him twice that I talk to think he is a joke as an executive. Furthermore he is clearly clueless about the increasingly weak strategic position his bizarre economic policies are putting this country in.

And he thinks God speaks through him. He said God told him to invade Afghanistan. He said God told him to invade Iraq. He's a hair's breadth this side of Pat Robertson for chrissakes.

LitchfieldAngelina said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

Chris MC said... " he can't stand GWB."

Most anti-semites, morons, etc. can't; just surf over to davidduke.com and see for yourself.


Not too surprising.

GMR said...

Angelina: Need I say more than Harriett Myers. What was he thinking when he did that?

Chris MC: we've had several quarters of strong GDP growth and low unemployment and low inflation. I think the tax cuts have largely worked, and we're now collecting more revenue than ever. During the late 1990s, revenues were up significantly due to the dotcom boom. (Individual taxes still are below 2000 levels, but corporate taxes are higher).

What Bush hasn't done is control spending. Congress ultimately controls spending of course, but Bush could have used more political capital to try to stop spending so much.

I don't think that Bush is unprincipled. But the great communicator he isn't. He's not great at selling his strategy.

As far as the pursuit of oil is concerned, what do Democrats want? High prices or low prices? There's a lot of demand for oil by the general populace for cars, heating oil, etc. Republicans tend to be in favor of more drilling, expanding supply. What are the Democrats for? They seem upset about high prices, but they don't seem to like opening up new sources of supply.

Real Democrat: you say that the Iraqis may never be able to maintain order. Does this mean that you think Iraqis are incapable of governing themselves? If so, then shouldn't we install some ruthless dictator and pull out, lest they eventually install another ruthless dictator who isn't in our pocket? Or is it simply a question of the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds not being able to live with each other, and therefore we should split Iraq? If this is the case, then is it true that multiculturalism doesn't really work?

What I would like to know from those who advocate an immediate withdraw or a total withdraw by some date, what happens to Iraq then? What happens to the US? Does the rest of the world just figure that we don't have what it takes to stay until the end?

Hopewellian_Magi said...

Lieberman just inspired me to make a donation to his campaign. I'll send Department of Defense military enlistment forms, one each with the names of his kids and grandkids on it, so that he can sacrifice them to his war god in Iraq.

Anyone who still supports Bush's "stay and die" policy in Iraq, I suggest you get your behind over to the nearest army recruitment center and demand to be sent to Iraq. Don't worry, cannon fodder for the Bush-Cheney wars can be of any age and gender.

BRubenstein said...

ACR..you really think Chris or kevin phillips is an anti-semite? Even for you that is a new low....If i were Chris or kevin id be ripping mad to have you equate their positions with anti-semitism

Chris MC said...

ACR -

That is pure horsesh*t. Not everyone who thinks the neocon project is an ivory tower disaster is an antisemite. I'm certainly not.

And not everyone who opposes GWB, whom Phillips arugues is primarily a captive of the evangelical (christian), pentacostal (christian), fundamentalist (christian) right, no, its leader, is an antisemite. Your accusation is utterly without basis and you should save it for those who truly are antisemitic. Disgraceful comment.

disgruntled_republican said...

GO GMR!!!!

Wow, what a powerful and thought out post.

As GWB, I voted for twice. I don't agree with everything he says or does and he certainly has made mistakes. Harriet Myers is one of them. But as GMR points out, the economy is relativly health and unemplyment is down. Spending in Congress drives me up the wall and the costs of the war aren't helping either (and no BR, we shouldnt be spending that money on social programs, we should be paying down the deficit and giving it back to the people) but when you consider ALL ASPECTS of a presidency, GWB has done a rather good job. And oh, by the way, like him or not, he accomplished something Billy never could...over 50% of the vote,

Chris MC said...

Chris MC: [huge snip]...
What Bush hasn't done is control spending. Congress ultimately controls spending of course, but Bush could have used more political capital to try to stop spending so much.


That speaks to the point about the debt. Here is the dirty secret about so-called supply-side economics, Reaganomics, and the current Administration's "thinking" about "economic policy":
It is all bullsh*t.

What you have is a Government engaging, as Reagan did, in a version of Keynesian expansion via deficit spending. In other words, you agree with me, but you either don't see it yet, or don't want to admit it here.

Chris MC said...

I don't think that Bush is unprincipled. But the great communicator he isn't. He's not great at selling his strategy.

I don't think it is as innocuous as that. He is an intellectual lightweight. There are people posting on this blog who are more capable than he is intellectually. That is a serious problem.

Secondly, he was and is an inexperienced man who doesn't learn well. Even after nearly six years, he doesn't grasp what the hell is going on in the world. You can make excuses for a guy not being able to "get it", but not the President, not the office.

But perhaps most importantly, it isn't that Bush lacks principles. It is that he has bizarre principles, like "God is speaking to me". Step back a second - if that comes out of the mouth of a vagrant, instead of the scion of a powerful political dynasty, guys like Rubenstein want him to get free psych care. You think he should be running the world?

disgruntled_republican said...

I dont agree with you Chris. Spending is out of control. But the deficit is largely growing due to the war.

The tax cuts have worked. If they haven't explain the strong economy and low unemployment. That is not to say that tax cuts are the reason for them but the numbers on that front certainly wouldn't be as strong without them.

And newsflash...Reagan was the most popular President of our time...guess he had no idea what he was doing, did he?

You said in a previous post,
"Futhermore he is clearly clueless about the increasingly weak strategic position his bizarre economic policies are putting this country in."

I am curious to know what position that is.

And finally (in this post) last time I checked the "religous wackos" that voted for GWB are just as much American as the lefty wackos that voted for Kerry.

Genghis Conn said...

disgruntled_republican,

You've hit on the main problem I have with both of the last two presidents: they were polarizing figures. Bush is more polarizing than Clinton, and I don't think Clinton was ever as deliberate a polarizer as Bush, but the fact remains that both inspired a very significant group of people who absolutely despised them, and saw them as somehow illegitimate.

Unity '08 is starting to look good after 16 years of partisan stalemate.

Chris MC said...

DR: a lot to address in that post.

the deficit is largely growing due to the war.
What do you suppose would happen if the "President" said to the American people - "everybody's going to have to pay in current dollars for this war"?
1. No war, we don't want to pay for it.
2. Through the bums out, we don't want to pay for it, yielding Democratic control of the Congress.
3. Economic contraction, not enough consumer spending and easy money to fund the "expansion" (and I am using the term very colloquially here).

Those are your alternatives. Pick one.

The tax cuts have worked. If they haven't explain the strong economy and low unemployment. That is not to say that tax cuts are the reason for them but the numbers on that front certainly wouldn't be as strong without them.

This is a veeeeery long one. The short answer is that we are exporting manufacturing and other value-added factors in an effort to squeeze as much capital out of the relatively low-growth US economy as possible to redeploy it in the higher growth economies of the pacific rim, particularly China. We lack valid measures of the real state of the American economy, the ones we have are at best esoteric abstractions that almost nobody really understands, and provide no real insight into the economy.

The source of the "strength" in these numbers has to do with the fact that the government is spending in excess of receipts, and "employment" as, say, an Assistant Retail Store Manager making peanuts is treated roughly the same as, say, an executive in a small manufacturing and exporting outfit earning five times the retail job's salary. Pretty misleading statistic.

And newsflash...Reagan was the most popular President of our time...guess he had no idea what he was doing, did he?

Reagan, subsequently published research has shown, actually did author his own material which he broadcast on the radio prior to running for President. He clearly was a major political figure, and the country voted him into office twice with large margins.

Unfortunately, the economic theories he subscribed to, according to people like Richard Darman, didn't work. Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but this is not a newsflash.

You said in a previous post,
"Futhermore he is clearly clueless about the increasingly weak strategic position his bizarre economic policies are putting this country in."


Our debt is being held by overseas interests, competitors, who see it in their interest to have a currency to rival the dollar. There are any number of different ways, in addition to this, that a country holding our debt could use it to cause, or threaten to cause, real trouble for us economically. It is a strategic error that your party is making with the economic security of our country.

And finally (in this post) last time I checked the "religous wackos" that voted for GWB are just as much American as the lefty wackos that voted for Kerry.
And your point there would be?

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

BRubenstein said...
ACR..you really think Chris or kevin phillips is an anti-semite?


Visit David Dukes website and see for yourself.

Certainly if I found myself on the same page as that bigot I'd change the page.

If it walks like a duck........


When someone make snide cracks regarding Bush's faith (but would never dare to the same regarding Lieberman (What! and admit to their own prejudice?)) Opposes the war in Iraq (thus, the defense of Israel) they are probably a bigot - they are certainly a fool.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

Chris MC said... "
He is an intellectual lightweight"


Odd, he had a higher grade average at Yale than Kerry.

Chris MC said...

ACR -
When someone make snide cracks regarding Bush's faith (but would never dare to the same regarding Lieberman (What! and admit to their own prejudice?)
Rather pathetic. I of course have never made a "snide crack" about Bush's "faith". What I said - scroll on up and read it - is that he has bizarre beliefs like God told him to invade Iraq. If you want to defend that, I've no idea how you can but, be my guest. Stop calling me names I don't deserve.

Opposes the war in Iraq (thus, the defense of Israel) they are probably a bigot - they are certainly a fool.
I don't accept your linkage of Iraq and Israel. Nobody is suggesting, as far as I can remember, that we not defend Israel. As for foolishness, your last couple of posts place any other fools around here in good company.

Chris MC said... "
"He is an intellectual lightweight"
Odd, he had a higher grade average at Yale than Kerry.

Insipid argument. Do better.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

Chris MC said... " Stop calling me names I don't deserve."


Stop aligning yourself with David Duke.

cgg said...

GWB's "relationship" with god is what scares me the most. He seems to think that his presidency is some sort of divine right. That's before we even get to how vile I find the man's politics and values.

GMR said...

The deficit did indeed increase under both Reagan and Bush. However, contrary to popular opinion, it wasn't because tax cuts caused tax revenues to be lower. Rather, the problem was with spending. Revenues went up, but spending went up more.

While Republicans like to claim that Democrats spend spend spend, Republicans have proven to be good spenders as well.

In 1980, the US government collected $244.1 billion in taxes from individuals and $64.6 billion in taxes from corporations. In 1989, after Reagan's tax cuts, the US collected $445.7 billion in individual taxes and $103.3 billion in corporate taxes.

In 2000, when people were still collecting large salaries and option payouts from dotcom companies, the US collected $1.004 trillion in individual taxes and $207.3 billion in corporate taxes. After the Bush tax cuts, in 2005, the US collected $927.2 billion in individual taxes and $278.3 billion in corporate taxes. Now, individual taxes are down, but 2000 was an anomaly. 1999 was $879.5 billion, 1998 was $828.6 billion.

The problem is that the Republicans have spent spent spent. Between 1980 and 1989, the Democrat-controlled congress and Reagan increased defense spending from $134.6 billion to $304.0 billion, and between 2000 and 2005, defense spending increased from $295.0 billion to $493.6 billion.

Yes, China and the pacific rim countries have higher growth rates. That's because they're much smaller per capita, so they've got a lot of room to grow. Just like the corner Deli can double sales from year to year while Walmart can't.

Yes, we have lost some manufacturing jobs, mainly the more labor intensive manufacturing that is much cheaper to do elsewhere. Market economies are filled with this Creative Destruction to use a term coined by Joseph Schumpeter.

However, overall, the economy is growing, tax receipts are up, inflation is low and unemployment is low. In our knowledge-based economy, there's a significant amount of creative destruction going on, but that makes new opportunities and trying to stop innovation would be disastrous.

We need to slow down spending, stop building bridges to nowhere and silliness like that (I know the bridge wasn't the reason for our deficit, but it's a symbol that many Republicans are experts at wasting money, and that's not something that just Democrats can do).

An aside: Joe Lieberman advertisement is on TV now during Leno (am watching channel 30, cannot stand the local news on channel 4 out of NYC).


Source: http://www.cbo.gov/budget/historical.pdf

Weicker Liker said...

Has anyone heard from Miriam Masullo?

Don't we deserve to hear from her regarding her views on Iraq???

Is anyone EVEN aware there is a Congressional Primary in the 1st Congressional District on August 8?

turfgrrl said...

I can't believe that any one can say the tax cuts worked. By all economic measures there is something seriously wrong when 40% of tax revenue, that's your income taxes, go to pay off debt. Bush inherited a balanced budget and surplus. We our now a teetering Enronesque economy, with wages stagnant, energy and other commodities outpacing normal inflation. Hedge funds, arbitrators of risk of what's to come, are investing in foreign markets. Tax cuts, as has been proven by most economists, do not stimulate the economy.

disgruntled_republican said...

turfgrrl-

ou said, "Bush inherited a balanced budget and surplus."

WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!

Not in either of our lifetimes (guessing, not sure of your age) has their been a surplus. Their may have been in a fiscal year but even then it isn't true. Same goes for a balanced budget. Clinton balanced the budget with Social Security.

GMR said...

Disgruntled:

FY2000 had a surplus. The budget surplus was $86.4 billion; Social security contributed an additional $151.8 billion surplus. 2001, the last Clinton budget, had a budget deficit of $32.4 billion.

2000, and to some extent 1999 and 1998, were anomolies due to the dotcom boom. There was no way that was sustainable. It did, however, contribute significant incomes to the treasury due to options being exercised.

I haven't seen any studies to this effect, but I imagine the dotcom boom is still having a negative impact on tax receipts. When you're a business, or a venture capitalist, and you lose money, you can apply those losses to offset future profits. So if I am a venture capitalist, and invested in a dotcom company in 2000, the people at the dotcom company got wealthy by cashing out their options. I lost money. But if I'm making money now, I'm not paying any taxes, because I'm using the losses accumulated back then to offset the profits now. Of course, many "NOL Carryforwards" would have died with the bankrupt companies, but I'd be interested to know how much there still is in investor and corporate NOLS out there.

disgruntled_republican said...

GMR -

Thanks...I was off a bit but my point stands.

Good stuff!

BRubenstein said...

ACR...I went to the David Duke website and cant find where Chris McCa and Kevin Phillips allign themselves with " anti-semitism" As A jew myself id be interested to know...could you tell us where they allign themselves on the David Duke webpage?

BRubenstein said...

GMR...no one has done more to promote " big government" then GWB...under his incompentant leadership we have spent more money then at anytime in hisotry and under him the government has gotten much bigger then ever before...Clinton was a piker next to him. Furthermore, thank him for loading your kids and granchildren with debt.

disgruntled_republican said...

BR -

The hell with him loading them debt, look at social security which they pay into but never collect from...seems fair to me.

Chris MC said...

cgg -
He seems to think that his presidency is some sort of divine right.
In fact, he has said that God wanted him to be President.

BRubenstein said...

Disgruntled...younger folks pay into Social Security and are at risk of not collecting and..have a huge debt on their collective backs as well...while the very wealthy get huge tax breaks and the politicians want to avoid estate tax for the very wealthy, by doing away with the estate tax...all of the aforesaid would lead us to a society in which there would be definite class lines without much chance of upward social mobility unless one has a special talent.The premise of the founders of the country was that a poor person would have the chance for upward social mobility and what the politicians of both parties seem to be doing would obviate that founding premise.

Derby Conservative said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris MC said...

GMR -
The deficit did indeed increase under both Reagan and Bush. [snip] Revenues went up, but spending went up more.
Nobody said that tax receipts went down, that simply misses the point. Pork and Defense spending went up, inflating the economy as the additional tax receipts _plus_ deficit spending pumped up the numbers. Tax receipts went up, but the mix of who was paying skewed to the right of the bell curve. Fewer, wealthier people were paying more in tax dollars, but their wealth was increasing at a faster rate. This windfall came at the expense of the middle class in this country.

In 2000, when people were still collecting large salaries and option payouts from dotcom companies, the US collected $1.004 trillion in individual taxes and $207.3 billion in corporate taxes.
You're buttressing my point here, if the data you present is to be accepted at face value. The gains you refer to were paper gains, not structural gains in productivity, not the kinds of gains that strengthen the middle class. The fact that tax receipts increased is misleading if it is viewed as an economic indicator. This is the fatal flaw in your entire argument.

Just like the corner Deli can double sales from year to year while Walmart can't.
An excellent example of false logic. This is an apples and oranges comparison. Not only is a doubling in size of the corner deli dependent on fundamentally different circumstances than those that effect WalMart's growth, but WalMart is a structural element in the exporting of manufacturing of consumer goods to China, while the corner deli is one of the likely casualties of the WalMart juggernaut.

Yes, we have lost some manufacturing jobs, mainly the more labor intensive manufacturing that is much cheaper to do elsewhere.
Wrong. Just flat wrong. The impact of the financializing of business has been to devastate core competencies of our economy. Closest to home is the machine tool industry, the injection molding industry, and metal fabricating industry. And the issue, again, with your argument is that you equate everything to abstract numbers, which do not account for what they do not account for. For example, as the machine tool industry disappears, the knowledge of how to do things evaporates as the older generation retires, just as their equipment goes on the scrap heap for pennies on the pound - and this can _never_ be gotten back. That is, the ability to _create wealth_ vanishes, and is never reflected in the numbers you cite.

Market economies are filled with this Creative Destruction to use a term coined by Joseph Schumpeter.
It isn't creative destruction.

The distribution of the ability to create wealth, and the destruction of the middle class in this country are the real problems with Republican policies, and your argument fails to address that core reality.

Chris MC said...

can you cite a specific quote here
Yes, there is a quote. I'll try to find it, but I am not making this up.

What the hell difference does it make if President (notice no facetious quote marks there) Bush is an evangelical Christian? He’s a man of great faith and believes he has a personal relationship with God.
Even people in Washington have expressed concern about his having a messiah complex or words very close to that. It isn't a matter of personal faith _to_him_. He believes God is telling him what to do. That's wierd. It is even weirder that he talks about it.

It certainly doesn’t make him an anti-Semite as you alluded in a comment here last night.
I never said anything of the sort - please go back and read that exchange, you are wildly off the mark on this point.

Nobody said anything about christians versus jews.

Derby Conservative said...

Chris, you are correct that I misread your earlier statement so I removed my post. I still disagree with your claims about a messiah complex...that would go against everything that Christians believe. If you could find the quote, I may give you a point.

bluecoat said...

DC: now that Garofalo is gone is Staffeirri going to clen up downtown and dump Cerruzzi for a more first class plan??

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

BRubenstein said... "
could you tell us where they align themselves on the David Duke .."


The entire site is "get out of Iraq" with a variety of slaps at Bush.

Pretty much the same tripe we read constantly from the Lamont people.


It's pretty clear to me, seeing as Saddam was funding Hamas suicide bombers to the tune of $50K a pop that a primary objective for intervention was and is to protect Israel.

I have no problem with that as if Israel were to defend themselves they probably would have been forced to use a nuclear option. I wouldn't have blamed them either.

Pulling out prior to stabilization of the region could very well re-open the door to that option which would be messy.

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