Sunday, November 11, 2007

Misreading the Mandate

For at least the last four years I hoped that President Bush would remove Karl Rove from his position in the White House. I believed Rove was not part of any solution and was the focus of the problem with the Bush Presidency and the acrimonious relationship between Congress and the Executive Branch.

I was thrilled to see Rove finally go.

But today I must strongly recommend that all my fellow Democrats and especially the Member and Leaders of Congress carefully study and read Karl Rove's Op-Ed piece in the Wall Street Journal,
"A Failure to Lead."

Never in my long life have I seen Congress so thoroughly misread their election victory and the mandate they received from a public anxious for change in Washington. And I believe the real problem in Congress today rests with Nancy Pelosi and especially the politically deaf Harry Reid, the most embarrassing Senate Majority Leader in history.

Just reading Rove's essay is bitter medicine for any Democrat. "A tough pill to swallow" is an understatement!

But Democrats had better do more than just read. They must understand that Rove is spot on correct, not necessarily in his specific programs (which, of course, lean way too far right), but in his evaluation of the performance of the Congress, its ethics, its discipline and its results.

Key (and edited) Rove comments follow:

This week is the one-year anniversary of Democrats winning Congress. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid probably aren't in a celebrating mood. The goodwill they enjoyed after their victory is gone. And Congress's approval rating has fallen to its lowest point in history.

The problems the Democrats are now experiencing begin with the federal budget. Or rather, the lack of one. In 2006, Democrats criticized Congress for dragging its feet on the budget and pledged that they would do better. Instead, they did worse. The new fiscal year started Oct. 1--five weeks ago--but Democrats have yet to send the president a single annual appropriations bill. It's been at least 20 years since Congress has gone this late in passing any appropriation bills, an indication of the mess the Pelosi-Reid Congress is now in.

Even worse, the Democrats have made clear all their talk about "fiscal discipline" is just that--talk. They're proposing to spend $205 billion more than the president has proposed over the next five years. And the opening wedge of this binge is $22 billion more in spending proposed for the coming year. Only in Washington could someone in public life be so clueless to say, as Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi have, that $22 billion is a "relatively small" difference.

Beholden to and other left-wing groups, Democratic leaders have ignored the progress made in Iraq by the surge, diminished the efforts of our military, and wasted precious time with failed attempts to force an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. They continue to try to implement this course, which would lead to chaos in the region, the creation of a possible terror state with the third largest oil reserves in the world, and a major propaganda victory for Osama bin Laden as well as for Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.

After promising on the campaign trail to "support our troops," Democrats tried to cut off funding for our military while our soldiers and Marines are under fire from the enemy.
For 19 Senate Democrats, this was simply a bridge too far, so they voted against their own leadership's proposal. Democrats also tried to stuff an emergency war-spending bill with billions of dollars of pork for individual members. Now the party's leaders are stalling an emergency supplemental bill with funding for body armor, bullets and mine-resistant vehicles.

Democrats promised "civility and bipartisanship." Instead, they stiff-armed their Republican colleagues, refused to include them in budget negotiations between the two houses.....

They refused a bipartisan compromise on an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, instead wasting precious time sending the president a bill they knew he would veto. And they did this knowing that they wouldn't be able to override that veto.
Why? Because their pollsters told them putting the children's health-care program at risk would score political points. Instead, it left them looking cynical.

The list of Congress's failures grows each month. No energy bill. No action on health care. No action on the mortgage crisis. No immigration reform..... Congress has not done its work. And these failures will have consequences.

Democrats had a moment after the 2006 election, but now that moment has passed. They've squandered it. They have demonstrated both the inability and unwillingness to govern.

Now that Democrats have the reins of congressional power... ...the public doesn't like what it sees.

The Democratic victory in 2006 was narrow. They won the House by 85,961 votes out of over 80 million cast and the Senate by a mere 3,562 out of over 62 million cast. A party that wins control by that narrow margin can quickly see its fortunes reversed when it fails to act responsibly, fails to fulfill its promises, and fails to lead.

There is a valuable lesson to be learned right here in my home state of Mississippi and our neighboring state of Louisiana. Republican Haley Barbour easily won re-election last week during a year when virtually every incumbent has been tossed out. Why? Because he got results!

Barbour managed both the relief and reconstruction after Katrina with efficiency, candor, honesty and speed. He compromised with our Democrat controlled House and our Democrat Attorney General to get the right relief and right support in the right places. He got results, not gridlock.

Compare Mississippi's amazing recovery with the disaster that still blocks virtually all the millions of federal dollars from reaching anyone in Louisiana and you see why you have a new REPUBLICAN replace the incumbent Democrat in the governor's seat without even a runoff.

You know what America really wants? A partnership between the parties for results and not more political grandstanding.

1 comment:

Vigilante said...
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