...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Friday, May 21, 2004
      ( 8:25 AM )
Lame Duck Walking

The president met with Republican Congressional leaders yesterday to try and quell their fears about what is obviously chaos theory taking hold in Iraq. But no amount of comforting from Bush is going to keep reality from continuing to invade these Republicans' so-far happy existence. In yesterday's Guardian, we read among other things:

"I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss," General Joseph Hoar, a former commander in chief of US central command, told the Senate foreign relations committee.


Larry Diamond, an analyst at the conservative Hoover Institution, said: "I think it's clear that the United States now faces a perilous situation in Iraq.

"We have failed to come anywhere near meeting the post-war expectations of Iraqis for security and post-war reconstruction.

"There is only one word for a situation in which you cannot win and you cannot withdraw - quagmire."


"Anyway you look at this, outside the most extreme optimistic assessments, we end up weaker," a senior Republican international strategist said.

But Iraq isn't Bush's only worry. With Kerry's call for Bush to step in and assign a federal mediator to the labor dispute that could lead to the loss of 1300 jobs in Ohio's Timpken plans (where Bush spoke last year touting his "jobs" plan, and whose owners are HUGE republican donors), Bush is now faced with either sticking with his supporters (management) and losing all the votes of the soon-to-be unemployed workers, or appointing a federal mediator, which would lend credibility to the union's battle with management, but perhaps save jobs (losing him the money from his supporters). Rock, meet Hard Place.

Those are just two examples, one on the foreign affairs front, and one one the domestic front, that show how little power Bush is now weilding from his office.

But this isn't all about Bush faltering and losing. This is also about Kerry stepping up and winning. Kerry has to make some bold moves; the onus is on him to show that there is a better way. He can't survive merely by criticizing Bush. He must present a bold vision and he must energize the country and empower the people to believe that true, positive change will come. To that end, I've joined Move On's push to encourage Kerry to Go Big. This movement arose out of the joint efforts of Ariana Huffington and Joe (jedi knight) Trippi and Huffington's "New Contract for a Better America":

1. Achieve Energy Independence (developing new energies would not only increase our technology base, create jobs and lower energy costs, it would free us from our dependence on an area of the world that only causes us trouble)

2. Prescribe a Cure for the Health Care Epidemic (universal health care would not only provide for all Americans, but would lower costs for employers, thus creating more jobs in the US)

3. Treat Lost Jobs as a Social Calamity, Not a Lagging Economic Indicator (losing jobs in this country means that our society becomes more and more frail. It is about making us strong, not just making Wall Street happy)

4. Truly Leave No Child Behind (sure they don't vote and they don't pay taxes, but unless children are our top priority, we'll never progress in this country)

5. Break Down Barriers and Create New Opportunities in Education (what if we actually invested in ALL public schools to make them better, not just try to shuffle children to the next-least bad one? What if everyone could afford to go to college?)

6. Call a Truce on the Drug War (this is a crucial issue we must face: the distorted values that have arisen out of this war have not helped our country at all. We need to pull back from the brink and take stock of what this war has cost, not only in money but in lives, in the corporate development of prisons, etc.)

7. Secure the Homeland First (duh)

8. Be a Leader, Not a Bully (duh, again)

9. Restore Integrity to the Political Process (basically, get the big money out of it)

10. Put People Above Corporate Profits (this is something the Mama always talks about - the fact that this country cannot survive unless we begin to see Human Beings as our greatest asset - as long as corporations have more benefits, more assistance, more power and more influence, this country will not progress to be an enlightened leader in the world, but will digress into a crass crone that survives only by eating itself from the inside out.

Come on, John Kerry. Step up to the plate. Bush is a lame duck already. Time to take the victory and make it real for Americans.

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