Faced with sinking domestic support, the Bush administration seems driven by an unwise zeal to produce visible results in Iraq -- such as a ratified constitution -- however problematic they may be. [WaPo editorial]
The Iraq war has been based upon deceiving the public with the most vile form of politics I have ever witnessed in my time. I search history for something that rivals the low level of planning and respect for the American citizens' collective sense of intelligence. Someone recently called this moment in time Bush's "Lincoln moment." This is not to say he is a uniter who leads a nation, even when it means war. Instead, it means war based on lies and fake benchmarks for political gain - and through it all, he has not fooled all the people all the time. As a matter of fact, he has fooled only a few - some so blindly partisan that they would fall off a cliff if Bush led them...and Bush is leading them.
If the protesters visiting Washington this weekend succeeded in forcing a quick U.S. troop withdrawal, the bloodshed in Iraq, and the damage to the United States, would grow far worse.
I see the logic in this statement. Emotions tell a different story. Only President Bush and his administration can rectify this problem of public perception. Only they can turn this around to make the war a global effort to bring Iraqis to the table and to convince them it's a sincere effort for the peace - and not a race for control of their energy resources or some kind of an imperial stampede or holy war. I have no confidence that they will ever change the course to make the Iraq war a success. If you think that doesn't concern (and perhaps frighten) millions of Americans, I'd have to say you aren't paying close attention. Who wants to wind up with an Iraq that no one will have an interest in defending?
Political Correctness Will Not Serve Progressives Well
Ruth Rosen fears that liberals are accepting a Conservative reframing of the problem of poverty - namely the National Review's Rich Lowry's naming of the root cause of the poverty exposed by Hurricane Katrina as "the breakdown of the family." She says:
With amazing gall, conservatives have shredded the safety net and then blamed unmarried mothers for their own neglect-the-poor policies.
Ms. Rosen includes NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof and former Sen John Edwards in this analysis, and I'll tell you where I think she's not being fair.
We progressives tend to cling to the belief that the Bush domestic policy (which has shredded the domestic safety net) is such an obvious perversion that it, on its own, it is a strength and a surefire strategy for the electability of Progressives in 2006 and 2008. We've been proven wrong on that belief before, and we could very well be proven wrong again. We cannot rely on mere disgust for the Bush agenda for political success. We need ideas - good ideas - ideas that work in the reality-based community.
Stating the fact that more teen pregnancies can be prevented by advocating for new economically healthy/federally-funded social programs is surely not a turn toward conservatism. It speaks of a reality that anyone can clearly understand and it supports social democracy by creating ideas for programs that work when properly funded and administered.
Ms. Rosen quotes New York Times reporter Jason DeParle, who concluded in his book "American Dream" that "it is poverty itself — not a lack of personal responsibility—that is the main reason for single-parent families."
If that is true, and it well may be, I would hope that Ms. Rosen and other progressives would embrace the hard truth that it's still wrong to bring into the world a child for whom the parents are not ready to take responsibility. We need to continue to pull young girls out of their abject poverty by strengthening them with education and opportunity. I don't believe it's a liberal sin to speak about the reality that is right before our eyes.
That is not to say that a single woman cannot be responsible for a child when she makes a conscious decision to bear one. Responsibility is the key word.
In a speech last week at CAP (The Center for American Progress), I heard Sen Edwards say that if given the opportunity, he'd lead many young men who've fathered children (and have abandoned them) to more responsibility by creating welfare-reform opportunity for them and mandating them to pay child-support in the participatory process. That is part of what could be a new democratic society by federal design, and it isn't a conservative idea. It's progressive - and it's realistic.