Democrats & Liberals Archives

More Troops Finally... To What End?

Surging troops. That’s what we’re hearing nowadays. While I have long advocated raising the number of troops, I’ve never been one to shy away from the hard reality of the problems involved in bulking up our forces, which is why I’ve also advocated force increases and a possible draft to go along with that. My record is clear, and I have little reason not to stand by it. However, Bush’s approach, his impending increase of soldiers, brings problems.

To put it plainly, this should not be an army in search of a battle to fight. What I had in mind was a specific set of missions, aimed towards sitting on problem areas and ending the cycle of battles won today, ground lost again tomorrow. I have no interest in putting more people in harms way simply to refresh the supply of moving targets for training jihadists.

Our current readiness presents us with a problem: we are close to breaking our army, to having put so many units in the field, and not brought them back, that our army can't properly refresh, redeploy, and maintain our current commitments. This is the real world, not a video game, and armies don't come in infinite numbers, instantly trained, endlessly endurant of their situation. The gears in this engine are human, and at some point, we're going to start stripping gears running this army the way we are.

The other situation is precisely the problem that most Republicans used erroneously as an objection to withdrawal: namely that our enemies are going to wait us out and sharply escalate their violence when our storm of force blows out. We can't do a short surge, our increase has to be lasting.

I don't mind us increasing our presence, but it can't just be done so we don't have to admit defeat in a current policy, and it can't simply be directed towards increasing the ferocity of this war.

What are we doing? What are the Iraqi's willing to do?
This is where my support for any increase in force in Iraq becomes qualified, rather than unconditional. In the end, the picture has to look like this: The Iraqis, running their own country, keeping their own peace, defending their own borders, running their own economy, etc. The end of this war requires the end of our involvement. Americans will rightly not wait forever for this. We'd rather not leave a ragged stump of our hand in that country, having to leave in haste. We don't want to turn on the news and see one last helicopter lifting off from an embassy roof.

What killed the nation of South Vietnam was the dependency of their country on our support to exist. From the beginning, the Administrations approach to this war should have been a realistic plan of reconstruction and rehabilitation that would get Iraq on its feet and not leaning on us as soon as possible. It should have been Iraqi companies doing the reconstruction, Iraqi armies keeping the peace, the bureaucrats who knew what they were doing running things rather than a small, overworked, disorganized central government, be it American or Iraqi. We have done far too much to keep Iraq reliant on us, dependent on us to survive.

Iraq's existence cannot simply become indefinitely parasitic on our own. We cannot simply flood Iraq with soldiers to be their nannies forever. We've got to be in this war to get out the right way.

Think of it as investment. If an investment plan is failing, the money's not to blame; you simply don't know how to spend it properly. We pay for success in any war with blood. We've become very good at risking little but gaining much. Not here. Not in Iraq. Iraq, under Bush, has become the very definition of a bad investment. the Soldiers aren't to blame; Bush just simply hasn't shown the capacity to use them well.

If we are to invest more soldiers in Iraq, we must do so with a plan that's capable of generating the number of soliders need, capable of getting them to where their strenght will count, and capable of getting our investment back profitably.

We literally cannot afford to invest more soldiers in a bad strategy. It is up to Bush now to figure out now how to convince the rest of us that this is a wise idea. No more bad investments. If he want's America's support, he must demonstrate that our purpose in raising the stakes is to relieve the pressure of the problem, to solve it rather than continue the cavalcade of error we've been forced to endure over the last several years.

Our troops are worth a lot. They should not be spent carelessly.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at December 28, 2006 10:17 PM
Comments
Comment #200720

Stephen
You do not seriously expect Bush to come up with a brilliant plan at this point do you? Pigs cannot fly,no matter how hard they try.

Posted by: BillS at December 28, 2006 11:19 PM
Comment #200722

It’s all a matter of what kind of questions he has to answer to get what he wants.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 28, 2006 11:34 PM
Comment #200728

In the past, in late 2003 or early 2004, we had a window of opportunity and the resources to increase the troop levels sufficiently to secure Iraq. That window is closed. The civil war now requires far more troops and resources to quell than we have at our command, without opening windows of opportunity to our enemies in other places in the world.

Alternatively, we had the opportunity to leave Iraq after Saddam and his sons were apprehended and killed, in which case, we could have claimed the honor and victory we now seek. That window too, is closed.

Iraq, cannot be salvaged in the way we wish to see it salvaged, Stephen. Every American life taken or damaged in Iraq now, is wasted on the failures already committed.

A rapid force withdrawal over the next 12 months is the only responsible and moral course of action for the American people and our soldiers, leaving a contingent in Kurdistan and perhaps Saudi Arabia as a stark reminder that reinvasion will be imminent should the Iraqi people lose control of their government to forces hostile to U.S. security interests.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2006 6:32 AM
Comment #200729

David R. Remer-
I can only hope that somebody can redeem at least some of the failures of this war, however they do it, but I admit it’s only a hope.

I’m in favor of a withdrawal, but not a rapid one. A Rapid withdrawal can be bad for both our soldiers and those they’ve been protecting. Better to give people the opportunity to prepare for us to leave, than do it precipitously and create both a collapse and a dangerous situation for our soldiers.

However, we should have a plan ready, just in case. God knows we screwed the pooch trying to occupy without a plan. If we’re forced to speed up our departure by events, we don’t want to have to improvise.

It’s sad for me to be even discussing this. Bush is the only president in my lifetime who has waged a losing war, who has waged a war so incompetently.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 29, 2006 8:03 AM
Comment #200731

Stephen said: “Bush is the only president in my lifetime who has waged a losing war, who has waged a war so incompetently.”

Your reaction is shared back across time to those of who were adults in the 1960’s and early 1970’s with the Viet Nam War.

This invasion of Iraq did not meet the test of national interest vs. cost, which Pres. Ford so eruditely defined for Bob Woodward, - and that was evident on the facts given to the public BEFORE the invasion - the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

Choosing a candidate based on political party can lead to terrible consequences. The voting public must accept the responsibility of choosing the president based on his agenda and his record for living up to his promises to represent all, or at least the majority, of the people who elected him. Bush had no such record as governor of Texas or as a private business owner.

He was elected on party affiliation and name recognition, and those are horrible criteria for selecting a president of all the nation’s people.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2006 8:36 AM
Comment #200735

David R. Remer-

He was elected on party affiliation and name recognition, and those are horrible criteria for selecting a president of all the nation’s people.

Truer words could not be spoken.

Or written. ;-)

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 29, 2006 8:46 AM
Comment #200752

Stephen & David,
What is the point of waiting to withdraw? Even 12 months is too long.

Iraq represents the most grossly mismanaged foreign policy debacle in the history of the country.

And that is saying a lot. During the War of 1812, James Madison fled Washington while the British burned the White House. That was pretty bad.

We are all familiar with what happened in Vietnam.

But for sheer incompentence, corruption, cronyism, and misguided ideology, Iraq takes the cake.

Will withdrawal make the situation worse? Maybe. Maybe not. As has been the case throughout this debacle, the previous debacle in Vietnam offers some lessons.

The domino theory did not come to pass in Vietnam. The countries immediately embroiled in that conflict, namely, the former members of French Indochina, consisting of Vietnam, Laos, & Cambodi, suffered terribly in the aftermath. However, the suffering did not extend beyond French Indochina.

It is distinctly possible that the Iraq civil war will not spread beyond the members of the former colony Mesopotamia. There is a good chance the suffering will be restricted to the former members of Mesopotamia, namely, Kurdistan, Shia Iraq, & Sunni Iraq.

The US taints the weak national government of Iraq with its support. With the exception of the Kurds, Iraqis overwhelmingly want US troops out of their country.

And rememeber. It is their country. Not our country.

There are no good choices. But at this point, it is time for us to leave, and it is time for the Iraqis to make their own choices. Who knows? With US troops no longer the catalyst for Sunni insurgents, the situation might resolve itself more quickly & with less bloodshed than we imagine.

Posted by: phx8 at December 29, 2006 11:51 AM
Comment #200754

phx8, there are forces in Iraq which would overthrow the current government if given half a chance. Our withdrawal must be orderly maximizing the Iraqi’s opportunity to secure their government as best they can in a reasonable period of time. In addition, our withdrawal must be accompanied by a general understanding by all (which will take some time to thoroughly disseminate and make believable), that our forces will remain in the region poised for the kind of reentry witnessed in the initial invasion should the democratically elected government become threatened by overthrow.

That scenario gives both our security interests in seeing Iraqi government remain out of the hands of terrorist organizations, and the Iraqis interest in an orderly phased stepping up of their resources and strategies for holding the government intact during and upon our final withdrawal.

Finally, a massive one time exodus from Iraq will expose our troops to greater risk than a phased and orderly departure over a reasonably short period of time.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2006 12:12 PM
Comment #200755

David,

“Finally, a massive one time exodus from Iraq will expose our troops to greater risk than a phased and orderly departure over a reasonably short period of time.”

We also must make accomadations for those that have supported us.
As we leave their lives will be at risk, the same as those we left behind in Vietnam.


saying,

As far as waiting to see a plan, there hasn’t seemed to be one so far. What could make anyone believe Mr. Bush will do a 180, and pull victory from the “jaws of defeat”?

Posted by: Rocky at December 29, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #200761

David,
Even an “immediate” withdrawal would take a minimum of three months, and a time frame of six months or more would seem reasonable.

I wish Saying was right, and that the next SOTU address offered some hope. But I am pessimistic enough to call it nothing more than a “wish.”

Unfortunately, we are no where near the point of withdrawal right now; in fact, just the opposite. We have built permananent bases (the ISG suggested they be called “temporary” without actually changing their nature), and we continue angling for Coalition Big Oil to obtain favorable contracts for Iraqi oil.

What a mess.

Posted by: phx8 at December 29, 2006 12:30 PM
Comment #200763

saying,

“Rocky if G.W. pulls our troops out before total Victory in Iraq then he should be Impeached!”

Please, for the edification of all of us, define “total victory” in Iraq.

Posted by: Rocky at December 29, 2006 12:41 PM
Comment #200764

phx8, the neo-cons and the realists are debating before the President as I understand what is taking place. But, I think the outcome is predictable. Bush, will not recant his vow to remain in Iraq for as long as he is president. The simple reason is, as Bush said, victory will take many years if not decades, and his legacy would be devoid of anything positive should he leave Iraq before that elusively defined word “victory” can be achieved.

Saying obviously argues there is no price too high for victory. When he goes and gives up his life in Iraq, I will give a moment’s consideration to his argument, out of respect for his dedication to his belief, before discarding it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2006 12:41 PM
Comment #200769

Stephen,

Good article. Something that’s really been eating me is the media’s obvious effort to avoid use of the word ESCALATION! “Surge” my butt, it’s escalation!

I originally read in the AP yesterday that many of our troops are not wild about the idea of a “surge”:

“U.S. troops mostly oppose added help”
http://www.connpost.com/localnews/ci_4916778

I imagine that everyone has see this:
http://www.appealforredress.org/php/pressroom.php

I quote, “As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.”

Considering that appeal comes from members of an all volunteer military I’d say it speaks loud and clear. And I’d like to know the truth about just how badly our military is “stretched thin”. Certain facts such as increases in the duration of deployment, repeated deployments (3rd and 4th for many) and the use of what can only be called a “backdoor draft” tell me a hell of a lot.

As David R. Remer points out, many windows of opportunity have now closed. In many cases our troops are now at the “beck-n-call” of Iraqi political leaders. The right thing to do would have been to implement a true “Marshall type” plan of occupation and gradually handing over the governance and responsibility to the Iraqi people.

That could only have been achieved by reinstating the draft so we could have deployed several hundred thousand troops in Iraq for a very long time. That ship has sailed now. Whatever is done now must be done by the Iraqi government.

Whatever help we continue to provide must be shared equally by every American family. The draft should be reinstated, the war costs must be included in the defense budget, and taxes must be raised accordingly. Bush and the Neo-Cons built us a great big shit sandwich and it’s time for everybody to take a big healthy bite.

Maybe the aftertaste will cause us to be less cavalier in future ventures of conquest.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 29, 2006 1:41 PM
Comment #200772

The Iraq War was a huge mistake and the faster we get out of there the better. It’s immoral to send more troops to be killed for no good reason.

How we exit should be determined by military people, but we must exit. We can dress it up as a success - this can’t hurt - but we must get out of there.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at December 29, 2006 2:12 PM
Comment #200775

I think everyone would find this to be an interesting read:

“Fort Riley equips advisers to train Iraqi troops”
http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/state/16342454.htm?source=rss&channel=kansas_state

Posted by: KansasDem at December 29, 2006 2:32 PM
Comment #200776

Gee. Why do I see a massive influx of Iraqi immigrants commimg to the US(ala Cubans, Vietnamese).I just hope they settle near Saying. That should give him nightsweats.

Posted by: BillS at December 29, 2006 2:36 PM
Comment #200777

saying-
By your own standard, we have been progressively moving away from victory since we got there, and moreover, with your own support.

As for Pentagon advisers, the irony here is that Bush disregarded many of them, and still does. What I discuss, I discuss having read and heard from them, from people who saw much of our problems coming, but were forced by political circumstance to keep their mouths shut.

As for parts of New York and Los Angeles being more dangerous than Baghdad, let me present you with a cold, hard fact: more people are killed in a couple of weeks, sometimes even one week, than are killed all year in these comparably sized cities. So, if you define danger in terms of risk to life and limb, you’re flat wrong.

As for total victory in Iraq? It was never possible. Total victory would have been finding the WMDs and the terrorists already there in droves, with evidence to convict Saddam of Conspiring with them.

Even if we defined total victory in terms of the secondary objective of bringing peace to Iraq, and rehabilitating it, the trouble is that conditions have changed so much on the ground that it’s simply not feasible. We will have to settle for something less than total victory.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want anything but the best outcome we can garner. That result, though will not come simply by America shoving in more troops. How you use soldiers is as important as how many you use. Think Thermopylae.

What’s also important is that we understand that the best victory for us has always required that we prepare the place for our eventual departure. You, like many other Republicans, have raised high the standard of staying until the job’s done. But little has surfaced to indicate that you fellows know how to achieve this. You seem to trust that the grinding and attrition of our forces on theirs will eventually achieve this. However, even if we did have the insurgents under control, which we don’t, the question would still remain what becomes of Iraq once we leave.

If your aim is to create an independent Democracy, you can’t stay forever. You must let the burden fall on people. The longer we stay, in fact, the longer we accustom our allies to having our support. Let me tell you, that did wonders for the South Vietnamese. In the end, we can’t win this war for ourselves. The Iraqis must do so. That’s why we can’t win militarily. The victory must be political, and it must come from the Iraqis.

Bush’s failed policy has contributed to this being a huge problem. With necessary infrastructure compromised, with law and order in tatters, with sectarian violence and illegal militias out in the open, the hope that people can cool their heads and not simply engage in bloody battles for control are dim.

Those who have blamed the media miss this aspect of the problem. They and you see the problems of a guerilla war in terms of the effect on morale and willpower. What is missed is the overall effects of friction on real world efforts crucial to bringing about the political, economic, and military successes needed for the ultimate victory. Our shortfalls in this war are less about what we won’t do, and more about what we can’t do because of interference by the insurgents, militias, and terrorists.

They have denied us major portions of our objectives. Unfortunately, Bush and folks like you have been more concerned with keeping up appearances. That is a losing game, when the enemy aims at the underlying realities that support those appearances.

It would have been nice to deal with it at an earlier juncture, but Bush was too busy trying to avoid blame to reorient himself to taking on the real world problems. To admit his strategy had failed would have been to dim the lustre of his political star.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 29, 2006 2:41 PM
Comment #200793

I’d like to see someone on this side of the house start an article on what Pelosi and the democrats mean when they say no “new” deficit spending.

Does that mean that deficits are over? The democrats who have never balanced a budget in our life time in congress will run a balanced budget from day one?

Or are they promising to maintain the old levels of deficit spending forever and spinning it to make it sound as if they are going to eliminate deficit spending.

Also, if they are moving the old budget forward for 100 hours while they deal with other things..doesn’t that mean they continue deficit spending for the first 100 hours? Isn’t that breaking their promise to not have any deficit spending?

Now that the democrats have both houses…where do we set the bar? High? Balanced budgets? or low….deficit spending forever?

Quite frankly, given the fact that they have not balanced a budget in my lifetime….I have a low bar here. I think they promised to end deficit spending but lied….and now that they have control they will continue deficit spending.

Anyone of you folks brave enough to start a thread on that conversation?

http://democraticleader.house.gov/press/releases.cfm?pressReleaseID=1936

Follow that link and read Pelosi’s libs. No New Deficit Spending. What does that mean. What’s the difference between no NEW deficit spending and defficet spending forever? Is that a promise to MAINTAIN deficits spending levels? What good is that, that means our debt keeps increasing. Where are the balanced budgets? Why can’t democrats udder the words “Balanced Budget” any more?

Posted by: Stephen at December 29, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #200794

By the way, to get off the deficit spending agenda of Pelosi and the democrats and back to the main thread here.

I agree with the title, more troops for Iraq? To what end. Bush has got to have a hell of a speech to unite those who hate him and move America forward.

If we are sending in more troops after all these years, I want to see the end game.

My basic concerns remain. Iran and N Korea are making nukes and they will not hesitate in my opinon to slip them to a terrorist to strike America. WE have never faced that before.

And Pakistan has essentially surrendered to the Taliban and Al Qaeda promising not to bother them in the areas of Pakistan they control if they stop attacking the Pakistani government. What’s next? Will the Taliban then take over Pakistan? Who will Al Qaeda buy it’s first nuke from? And who will it use it against?

I think the future could be very ugly, particularly if we let surrender monkeys dictate our foreign policy. We need a way forward not a way to run away.

Posted by: Stephen at December 29, 2006 5:41 PM
Comment #200797

Saying-
Afraid to win? No. Afraid to lose? To some extent, yes. But not so much that I will not admit a minor loss so that I can work to preventing a greater one.

Your attitude towards war seems to be faith-based, not practical. War, unfortunately for you, is a practical affair. You can’t kill a man’s brother one month, then show up the next month expecting his help right off the bat. You can’t fail in your promises for months on end, and expect new ones to get people excited. You can’t change the past, or ignore it; in war, you can only Add or Subtract from what’s already there.

And what’s already there? Failures to build infrastructure; A compromised national government that has to cater to a religious zealot; A deeply rooted insurgency we’re unlikely to undo ourselves; and of course a civil conflict with Sunnis and Shia’s killing each other, kicking each other out of different places.

Whatever you do has to start us from this place. I don’t see signs from this administration that they’ve truly engaged this reality. Those who don’t engage reality while they formulate plans will typically screw things up.

The truth is, BillS and I are not on the wrong side of history. We’re just on the side of it you don’t like.

Stephen-
They’re already talking about ending the tax cuts. since 60 something percent of our deficit is due to them, that’s a step in the right direction. On the other Thirty percent, we will have to see. I hope to God they do, because that will certainly do wonders for Democrats, and finally drive a stake through that awful spendthrift line your people talk about.

I think the real issue is that some Republicans neglect the possibility that Democrats could be as willing to be responsible spenders as Republicans were willing to be the opposite kind. If Republicans can break character and be drunken sailors, we can break the standard Republican image of us to do the right thing.

As for balanced budgets? I hope we can get on the road to it. I took a while for us to achieve it last time. If we can do it quickly and safely though, I’m all for it.

As far as your second post goes:
I’d worry less about the speech, and more about the end game. If Bush can offer something that makes sense, then Bush supporters can make headway selling it to the public. Years of browbeating, have resulted in fewer people, not more people supporting the war. This endgame should have been in place, actually, before we even started this war in the first place. it’s absence is the source of our current troubles.

Will Iran and North Korea slip Nukes to terrorists? North Korea, until it refines its weapons, is out of the running for that. It’s kind of hard to slip people a multi-ton device, especially one that tends to fizzle. Iran might be able to better refine things, but the government’s semi-rational enough to recognize one cold, hard fact: nuclear weapons can be traced, and if the United States is attacked, whoever did it faces nuclear retaliation.

I have no problem in depriving them, though, of that dilemma. We certainly could do well to prevent them from creating a nuke. However, we’re better off taking the diplomatic track. We don’t have the resources to fight another war at the moment, no matter what the brainiacs under Cheney say about there being no chance of retaliation if we launch airstrikes against them.

So, we’re going to have to get creative.

As for letting surrender monkeys dictate future policy?

Gee, I wonder who you’re referring to.

All in all, I don’t see the good in taking this mentality of winning at all costs, because at some point, if you take the philosophy to its logical conclusion, all costs means losing in the effort to win. That’s why they have a phrase for an overly costly win: a “Pyrrhic Victory”.

All victories take a certain investment, like I said above. If we don’t have the right end game, we’ve got no business wasting the resources that we could fight the other battles in the War on Terror with trying to force the situation. If we don’t have a good chance of winning under Bush’s plan, a graceful exit is better than leaving in a bloody shambles.

And yes, that will seem like weakness to our enemies. Because this war, and the bad choices made by our President have in fact weakened us. It’s foolish to try and deny that folks already know of our degenerated position. Our best bet now is not to remain in such a position that things remain that way or get worse. We have a responsiblity to the Iraqis, one we took on when we invaded and destroyed the former government, but our first obligation is to the interests and security of this country.

America comes first. That doesn’t mean isolation for me. It means letting the War come to an end, and then taking the opportunity to recoup our strength before we get any other bright ideas.

We will have to face other threats, win other wars. We can either let Iraq be a hard lesson, partially redeemed, or we can let it be a fatal mistake that puts the future of our country and its interests in doubt. I will chose the path that maintains our strength, in my opinion.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 29, 2006 6:46 PM
Comment #200803

You appear to like to set up straw man beliefs for me. A “faith based” attitude toward war?

You attitude to me appears to be appeasement based. a deeply routed belief in radical political correctness which dictates that we are all Racists in america and therefor to blame..for anything. And we dare not “dictate” to N. Korea or Iraq that they don’t build nukes.

As far getting us on the road, Bush already claims he has us on the road with the increasing tax base and the declining growth in deficit spending.

I’d love to see a thread devoted to what exactly Pelosi means by “No New Deficit Spending”. Does that mean last years deficit spending was OLD and that there year there will be no deficit spending at all? Does it mean that last years deficit spending is the max she will allow? And we may spend at the level forever? What is the differerence between no NEW deficit spending and NO deficit spending in Pelosi’s mind? Is she promising balanced budgets? I heard many dems including yourself say that the democrats are the “responsible party” that will give us balanced budgets. Something they have never done in YOUR life time. So your understanding of that appears to have evolved.

But I think we have no moved from fantasy democrats that were going to “balance the budgets” to real world democrats who are going to maintain defict spending, avoid balancing the budgets, and call spin it as “responsible”.

As to the surrender monkey approach….It’s surrender real and certain. There are UGLY consequences to surrender that are far greater than your spinning it as some sort of an “image” issue. There could be very very grave consequences for millions if we just walk away.

I prefer a way forward that does not envolve surrendering to Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Posted by: stephen L at December 29, 2006 7:24 PM
Comment #200812

Stephen L

The federal government has had balanced budgets twicw. Both under Democratic administartions. Once under Jackson,a founder of the Dem Party and Clinton. The Clinton economic plan,passed through congress without one Rep vote was responsible. If you look at the numbers you will find the Dems,although not great,are better at budgeting than the Reps. You may not want to believe it but the numbers are not subject to spin.

Posted by: BillS at December 29, 2006 8:17 PM
Comment #200816

BillS

Let me give you a few facts you don’t seem to know.

Presidents do not create a balanced budget…congress does. The constitution gives the power of the purse to the congress.

You see bill, that’s why congress is so important. And you also may have missed this…it was the REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED CONGRESS that balanced the budget…not the democrat congress. Clinton and the DEOMCOCRATS ran DEFICIT budgets.

Newt Gingrich came to power with the republicans on the PROMISE to the America people that they would balance the budget. And they did. Clinton submitted deficit budgets and was angry at Newt for pushing for a balanced budget. Clinton declared that the republicans were only “blancing the budget to defeat” his spending promises.

After about 6 months of opposing the balanced budget that was Newts bill…Clinton finally realized that if he vetoed it….it would be overridded and he would go down as the president who opposed the balanced budget and was defeated…so he wisely finally agreed to sign the REPUBLICAN balanced budget.

You may not want to hear this Bill, but Clintons only legacy was a dirty blue dress, selling pardons, selling the Linconln bedroom, paying blackmail to N. Korea, violating campiagn finance laws, and committing a felony while in office…..lying under oath.

Facts are Facts, Bill. A democratic party controlled congress has not passed a balanced budget in our life time. Only the republicans have done that.

More important than the democratic parties history of failure…is what can we expect going forward? Will democrats balance the budget in 06? Will democrats balance the budget in 07? Will Pelosi even say that she is interesting in a balanced budget?

What does she mean by “no new deficit spending”? Didn’t she just say she’s going to use the old budget going forward for the first 100hours? Isn’t that old budget full of EVIL REPUBLICAN DFICITS? Didn’t she just break her promise of new deficit spending? seems to me money spent this year is NEW and that makes deficits she creates witht hat spending NEW.

Does “no new deficit spending” mean No Deficit Spending? Will Pelosi run deficits as high as the Republicans? What does she mean? What will she do? I have to tell you, I’m hoping she does the right thing….but I think it sounds more and more like she intends to spend and to spend heavily to try and buy the 08 elections.

And watch out….those higher taxes she wants to let through will kill the economy.

I’d love to see you libs start a thread on your side of the divide to honestly debate what Pelosi means and what you think she will do. It appears to me that pre election promises of democrats balancing the budgets are fading rapidly. It’s very disappointing.

It’s also sad to see them with no history of balancing a budget so they need to steal credit from Newt G and the Republican congress that DID balance the budget.

Posted by: Stephen at December 29, 2006 8:35 PM
Comment #200818

“I prefer a way forward that does not envolve surrendering to Al Qaeda in Iraq.”

stephen L,

Does that include reinstating the draft? Or increasing taxes as neccessary to fund the troop increases and additional equipment?

Or are you still just implying that we need to stay the course?

Posted by: KansasDem at December 29, 2006 8:47 PM
Comment #200821

KansasDem,

You are asking what I mean by a way forward that does not surrender to Al Qaeda. But you seem to be ecompassing it with failures of the past. Or situations that you find politically unatractive.

I think what needs to be done is that all parties in Iraq have to go back to the table. That the US has to get the present elected leaders to sit down with those who really have the power in Iraq, the religious leaders and those who rule in the north and to talk about what they will accept. People we do not like and do not support must come to the table and might have to have their way.

The present government has failed, we need to let all Iraqi people including the religious leaders know we will help them fight off the foreign fighters but we are on our way out. They must agree to a way forward and must stop killing us and each other or they will be abandoned.

We want to see a way forward that stabalizes Iraq and keeps it out of the hands of Al Qaeda. we will stay but only if we can put them in a room and they can immerage with a plan they all can live with. We in turn can work with them on a short time line to achieve their plan. A plan their relgious leaders agree to would succeed.

I think that’s a way forward. Let them tell us what they will make work. Then lets help them make it work and give them a deadline after which they are on their own.

To me this is a way forward. The present government has failed, they control nothing, they sit in the green zone and let the religious leaders form armies and run the country and battle it out. We have to get political and religious leaders in the room to agree to a new way.

It may not be democracy…so what. It’s better than civil war and a nation torn apart and supporting Al Qaeda. It may be three new nations, it may be three separate states united loosely, it may be a singel, united government….it’s up to them. We might see three different nations, one supporting terrorists and two not.

I do not view being a surrender moneky as the correct approach. I think we would live to regret it and regret it MASSIVELY.

In my opinon just saying we are leaving and getting out in a year is surrender to Al Qaeda and possibly surrenduring Iraq to chaos.

We would regret it, we might even be forced to go back in and fight. We would be much better off to abandon what has failed and sit the Iraqi people down in a room and let them find the new way forward. We have to start by admitting we failed in bringing Iraq together and need a total change in direction. Not surrender, just a new way forward that works for Iraq.

As I think about what is the way to go, I hope the president sees it my way. “Staying the course” with this failed government in my opinon doesn’t have much chance of working.

Posted by: stephen L at December 29, 2006 10:16 PM
Comment #200853

Stephen, your comment is wrong, because your facts are wrong. You may want to research deficits. The Republican controlled Congress has run huge deficits every year they have had control.

Democrats did not lose control of the Senate until after Bush was elected. Ergo, it was a divided Congress that produced the balanced budget under the last year of Clinton’s term. Reagan also ran up, with the help of a Democratic Congress, huge deficits. Deficits and Republican Presidents are like peas in a pod since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

So, far the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is the former tax and spend like there is no tomorrow, and the latter borrow and spend like there is no tomorrow.

The rate of growth of the national debt was very small between the end of Reagan’s deficits and the end of Clinton’s terms. Bush the first tried to hold the line on deficits by raising taxes, which caused some Republican voters to abandon him.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 30, 2006 8:17 AM
Comment #200855

Stephen L-
If you’ll note, I was responding to Saying, and his rather unrealistic notion of how things were going to go down in Iraq in the next few years.

My attitude is very similar to yours, if you would just read what I actually wrote. I don’t state it in terms of surrender, though. I state it in terms of our obligation to fix things up before we go. That is why I favor withdrawal over time, rather than simply a quick pull out.

What I think is happening here is that we are paying the price for the presupposition that Democrats don’t want whats best for both Iraqis and Americans. That’s far from the truth. However, Bush and others have encouraged an attitude of resentment and fear towards us in this regard, because they thought this benefited himself and others politically. If you think we’re all surrender monkeys, you’re going to flock to those who you think aren’t.

The time has come to recognize that the reason most people are prepared to leave sooner rather than later right now is frustration at the policy, and despair that Bush and company will ever let us turn from that particular direction if they have their druthers.

Withdrawal reflects a commitment to leave, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, since the requirement for any kind of victory is that we can leave. A Plan of Withdrawal- you can call it an exit strategy if withdrawal sounds too wimpy- is a plan that allows us to put all our chips in the game, rather than have to consider years down the line. We can concentrate our efforts, and give their forces time to take their predicament seriously. We can perhaps get those who just wanted us to leave to start supporting the systems in place rather than oppose them.

We were never going to have any win, no matter how long we stayed, unless we started thinking and planning for our absence. As far as al-Qaeda in Iraq goes, I think we can make a great deal more headway in taking them out of the equation if we’re going. The Sheiks in Anbar province tolerated them because they fought us. If we make it clear that we’re going, and that turning on the al-Qaeda members means we’ll be going sooner rather than later, we could engineer the demise of al-Qaeda in Iraq. We aren’t the only ones who have alienated folks; we’re not the only ones who can or should suffer for such carelessness. I think many of the fearmongers on your side of the aisle underestimate just how insufferable some people find al-Qaeda members in the Muslim world. Many of them, if not most, find them no more sympathetic than many Americans find Pat Robertson or Jerry Fallwell, and for much the same reasons: why would you be sympathetic to somebody who was calling you an atheist, an apostate, wicked and depraved.

al-Qaeda is only popular to the extent people think they’re fighting a worse enemy. When they start becoming too violent towards fellow Muslims, or start trying to impose themselves, they can lose that sympathy. I’d say, lets do our best not to fulfill the worst expectations of our people that al-Qaeda sets up. Let’s realize that half of defeating al-Qaeda is draining it of support, and half of that is keeping true to our values. We gained very little by support torture. When we fight al-Qaeda, we have to do our concerted best to make sure that they or whatever enemy are the folks who get blamed for the fighting, not us.

Bush is too focused on fulfilling a video game model of defeating al-Qaeda. We need to do better than that. We need to make them villains to their people as well as our own.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 30, 2006 8:21 AM
Comment #200874

Stephen L,

Much of what you’re describing is encompassed in the BIDEN-GELB PLAN FOR IRAQ:

1. Keep Iraq together by giving its major groups breathing room in their own regions. A central government would be left in charge of common interests like defending the borders and distributing oil revenues.
2. Secure the support of the Sunnis — who have no oil — by guaranteeing them a proportionate share of oil revenue.
3. Increase, not end, reconstruction assistance but insist that the oil-rich Arab Gulf states fund it and tie it to the creation of a massive jobs program and to the protection of minority rights.
4. Hold an international conference to enlist the support of Iraq’s neighbors and create a Contact Group to enforce regional commitments.
5. Begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces this year (timeline must be adjusted due to the inaction of Bush & co.) and withdraw most of them by the end of 2007, with a small follow-on force to keep the neighbors honest and to strike any concentration of terrorists.

You can read more here: http://planforiraq.com/

I’m not altogether sure that the window of opportunity hasn’t closed on this option though. It’s almost as though those in charge have followed Nero’s model of “fiddling” while Rome burned. Many window’s of opportunity have closed on us. While it’s convenient to blame the “liberal voice” for the weakening of the public will to continue this war I think the administrations failure to plan for a post-war strategy is much more responsible.

What appears to be an almost certain “surge” (I hate using that word) in troop levels I fear could leave us vulnerable to any number of “unknown” or emerging threats. The global threat of militant Islam, whether Al-Qaeda or any number of Jihadist off-shoots, is quite real and it’s growing. It’s important to remember the origin of many of the most notorious terrorists of our time.

Terrorist groups could just as easily be planning a new attack in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, any number of Europian countries, or in the house across the street from either of us. This is the threat we face and we must always be prepared for the next 9-11. Scarey? Yep, but it’s more scarey to think that the chicken-hawks have ignored grandmas warning and put all our eggs in one basket.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 30, 2006 11:48 AM
Comment #200898

David R. Remer


David, thank you for correcting me on a few things.

But lets be real here. Newt and the Republicans took control of the house of representitives using their “contract with America”. This is FACT. Newt Promised America if they gave control to the Republicans they would create a balanced budget….FACT. And Newt and the Republicans eventually forced Clinton to come to terms and accept the republicans balanced budget.

It was a Republican house led by Newt that forced the government to accept a balanced budget….a balanced budget that Clinton and democrats OPPOSED and FOUGHT but Newt won in the end.

But you are correct, Newt was able to pass his balanced budget facing opposition not only from a democratic controlled Whitehouse, but Senate as well. It had long been my understanding that Newt and the Republicans had control of both houses….in fact they only had control of one. Thanks for setting me straight.

So it would be fair to say, Neither party balanced the budget in our life time when they controlled both houses of congress. I think it factually remains that it was Newt and the Republican revolution that created the balanced budget, but it’s disappointing to think that democrats get any credit at all.

What does this say about what happens going forward. If the democrats have never balanced a budget in our life time when they controlled both houses of congress. If the democrats opposed Newt and fought him on his balanced budgets….what can we expect, based on past history, from this democratic controlled house and senate? I’m expecting the worst. Continued deficit spending in an effort to buy the 08 presidential election.

There was a pre 04 claim that democrats were more fiscally responsible than Republicans…but look around today, no where is any democratic party leader talking about a balanced budget.

Posted by: Stephen at December 30, 2006 2:48 PM
Comment #200901

KansasDem,

Biden and I are miles apart. I don’t like the Biden plan.

I would not dictate the terms that Biden wants to dictate. Doing what Biden is doing, telling them what the shape of their peace shall be is simply making the same mistakes all over again and doomed before it starts.

For instance. Biden cannot assure the sunnis that they will get oil money. If the Sheites feel that the US is imposing on them the oil sharing…that is the first thing they would discontinue after we leave and the entire deal would fall apart and Iraq would break down. Oil revenue sharing must happen only because the Sheites allow it, only to the level they allow it, and only because they negotiated it themselves. Anything seen as happening because of US demands will break down in the end. Haven’t we learned that by now?

I say that we must now step back from telling them what their nation will look like, how the oil money will be handled, if Iraq shall be whole or divided. It’s time to get them together, thats the most important thing we can do and perhaps the only thing we can do. Simply gather them together, call the meeting for all who wield power except Al Qaeda and foreign fighters. Tell them to come up with a plan to save their nation, then walk out of the room.

We must make a point of letting them know they run the show, they make the plan, we aren’t even going to be at the meeting. They will announce to the world the shape of Iraq to come and we will provide any assistance they request in the way of security as long as it is reasonable. We will support anything that is reasonable and humane, and then we will leave their country.

It’s up to them to create the plan, declare a truce, implement the plan. Biden wants to dictate too much. Let them decide what they want. If they can’t reach an agreement and intend instead to continue their civil war, give them a date certain when we will leave because they failed to come to an agreement at the peace table.

We need victory in the form of a peaceful resolution or failure in the form of realization they must have their civil war now and we wont stay in between them.

I think they deserve a last chance, the chance we should have given them at the start…to make a nation their way, with their religious leaders at the table laying it out….because in the end, it’s the religious leaders that will determine this by peace or by force.

I think Bidens conditions are simply another way to fail.

Posted by: Stephen at December 30, 2006 3:04 PM
Comment #200918

Stephen-
If your notion about the Republicans and the budget were right, Bush would have been even more effective at keeping things in shape. They didn’t, for the simple reason that much of that balanced budget talk for them is just talk.

I hope my people do better. I hope they put us on the road to fiscal recovery. If they don’t, they’ll hear from me. I will not sit around and let my fellow Democrats validate that obnoxious propaganda about our spending habits.

Fact is, you don’t stop deficit spending all at once. Even if you do give credit to the Republicans for the balanced budget, you have to acknowledge they didn’t do it all at once either, and apparently, given their behavior under the Bush administration, not on their own.

Also, they had control of both houses from 1994
to 2000, and then got control back in 2002.

As for Biden’s plan? It makes sense. It’s not good enough to let things chips fall as they may. We have to invest each side in keeping the peace. Giving the Sunnis oil revenues ensures that they have incentive to let the Shia exploit the resource. I mean, why take money out of your own pocket. The key is to intertwine interests, to get each side into a position where they harm their own interests in breaking the peace.

That is what Republicans fail to understand, with their excessive focus on any incentives as being appeasement. Sticks aren’t enough. People have to have something positive to lose by breaking their agreements, not merely force them into partial degredation under you under the threat of total degradation.

Also, the more reasonable you act, the less unreasonable behavior can be justified by your enemies. The key is to make any trouble from them their doing, not a valid reaction to your own actions. That’s the game of diplomacy in confronting enemies. Make it your problem, not yours. Make it Saddam who has to prove himself right, not you. Make it your enemy who has to defend himself on charges of atrocities, not you.
Cast yourself as the light of civilization to the world, and give your enemies the choice to either compromise towards, or bear the consequences of isolation from the world.

Unfortunately, Bush has watched too many westerns, and considers it smart to actually seek out a position that is simultaneously isolationist and drenched in imperial objectives.

That, I think, is a big problem with Bush His tactics are too ruthless for his own people, and yet not ruthless enough to use the full potential of their brutality. We work best when we work according to our strengths as a beacon of Democracy. We didn’t defeat the Soviet Union by being more brutal, we defeated them by being better on almost every front that counted.

The fact is, if we withdrew our troops tomorrow from Western Europe, the nations would pretty much stay the same. When Russia withdrew the Red Army from Eastern Europe, it was the end of the Soviet Bloc. That speaks to why we won: we didn’t rely on force to keep our allies, we relied on persuasion, economic relationships, and constant cultural exchange to triumph. It worked remarkably well. Yet the neocons sneer at such “soft” power. They don’t realize that the power to draw people in to your sphere of influence is the fundamental measure of real power.

The key, ultimately, is not looking at every problem as a nail to be hammered, just because you like that particular tool. War is more direct than other means, but it is by no means more certain.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 30, 2006 5:50 PM
Comment #200921

Stephen Daugherty,

You are too myopic. My note about Newt G and the repulicans taking control of the house on the promise of delivering a balanced budget is right. What does that have to do with Bush? How does Bush of today invalidate what actually happened in the past?

Newt G and the Republicans took control of the house on a promise to balance the budget. It’s not “IF” it’s right…that’s history, the contract with America…black and white….that’s what they said, and what they did. That tells us nothing about Bush or any other republican in the future.

I still beleive that if we are ever to once again get balanced budgets, it will be another group of republicans who do it, bringing a new contract with America as opposed to democrats.

What say you about this group of democrats? When will THEY balance the budget? They have both houses. Someone on this end should start an honest thread discussing Pelosi and the budget. What has she said, what does it mean, what will they actually do. Do they have any intention EVER of balancing the budget….and if so why can’t they talk about it?

The fact that Bush and the present day Republicans walked away from the balanced budgets created by Newt and the Republicans of the past does not invalidate past history or mean we should pretend that it was the democrats who created the contract with America or pretend that the democrats created the balanced budget…or pretend that the Republicans didn’t sweep them out of office. Don’t forget, Democrats disparaged the contract with America. They denied the need to balance the budgets, they refused to balance the budget…then they lost the house and started paying attention.

As far as a plan for Iraq….the only plan that “makes senese” is not your plan, nor Bidens, nor Bush….it’s the plan that the Iraqi people themselves decide to follow. And that’s my point. Lets stop raming our plans down their throats and let their true leadership sit down and come up with their own plan. And that means that the religious leaders must sit at the table with a full and equal voice…..and we should not be at that table. Bidens plan to redistribute their wealth is a non starter. Forget it. Let the Iraqi people determine what they will do with their wealth. Haven’t we had enough of bungled American plans?

I don’t know how many westerns Bush has watched, and neither do you. I seriously doubt that President Bush makes his decisions based on cowboy movies and have to question why you should think I would beleive that nonsense.


As far as Bush being “ruthless”….now you are wandering off into laa laa land.

Posted by: Stephen at December 30, 2006 6:38 PM
Comment #200935

“that means that the religious leaders must sit at the table with a full and equal voice”

Stephen,

They haven’t been able to agree on anything (other than joining in the hatred of mutual enemies) since their disagreement over Abu Bakr who ruled after Muhammad from 632–634. While Sunnis regard him as Muhammad’s rightful successor (the first of four righteous Caliphs). The Shi’a insist that he violated Muhammad’s direct orders and orchestrated a coup d’état.

Not one more drop of American blood should be shed to settle that feud.

FYI, I researched that here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Bakr

Posted by: KansasDem at December 30, 2006 10:46 PM
Comment #200966

Stephen-
What invalidates the Contract with America, is that once they had all the branches under their control, they just went hogwild. It’s only logical: If Republicans were inherently better at this, they would have maintained their discipline, perhaps even done better under the Bush Administration.

What I think is that both sides can be tempted towards fiscal indiscipline. What I think is that both Democrats and Republicans of the rank and file ought to be vigilant, and not make excuses for the fiscal foolishness of their politicians. The Republicans of the rank and file failed to make it clear that fiscal indiscipline would not be tolerated. Because the Republicans felt they could get away with it, they did it, and because the rank and file did not punish them, they felt no need to moderate their foolishness.

You can’t get fiscal discipline by simply putting one party or another in charge. It doesn’t work that way. They have to see an insufficient matching of revenue and spending as unacceptable.

I’m not going to bother making pie in the sky predictions. I’m just going to make damn sure over the next six years that the Democrats put us on the path to replicate the balance budget we enjoyed before Bush got into office. If we do better, by all means, lets do so. I want my party to permanently put that Democrats can’t balance budgets B.S. to rest.

As for Iraq? I think all sides need to recognize that simply letting things slide down the path of least resistance will do nobody any good. We have ourselves going down that path right now. We need something better than that. We don’t need the sunnis attacking their neighbors and sabotaging their oil equipment out of envy of their wealth. We need them to feel that preserving that wealth and allowing that extraction is in their interests.

It doesn’t have to be all our game, but the parties all have to come to an agreement that makes it in their interests to preserve the peace.

As for the characterization of ruthlessness, it was about his policies, and I was emphasizing that this problem was that both he and the American people did not have the stomach for the kind of all out sort of tactics that we could dominate people with. What they want, they can’t get or force by the means they are currently willing to go for. The problematic aspect is what happens if we keep on pushing things.

As for Westerns, what I’m talking about here is Bush’s tendency to follow the High Noon model of things, where one moves to confront evil, even as everybody else decides to stand off to the side. The real problem can be that one’s ego keeps one from accepting other folk’s help, simply because they won’t take your uncompromising vision to heart. You have to remain reasonably conscious of the fact that your people are not the only good people out there, that people can disagree for morally good or morally neutral reasons. The unfortunate thing is that for the Bush administration, every cause is a moral crusade, and everybody who disagrees is lacking in moral character, and must be disregarded.

Such a sensibility is a recipe for failure.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 31, 2006 11:27 AM
Comment #200983

stephen,

I’m wondering why the left is afraid to start a thread about a balanced budget. Why the left is afraid to even talk about Pelosi and if she will or will not balance the budget.

It sounds as if democrats outraged about deficit spending only a few months ago now think deficit spending is great if democrats do it.

What’s needed is for people ON THE LEFT to demand that Pelosi stop deficit spending.

A good start might be a discussion of what democrats promised. You don’t want to “predict” what they will do, but before the election you were PREACHING what they would do.

My my, how shy the left is about deficit talk now that any deficits will be THEIR deficits.

Pelosi should wake up ever single day knowing that the Internet, the blogo sphere, is talking about her deficit spending and why she should stop it.

Didn’t you tell us that democrats were going to bring BALANCED budgets? Wasn’t you who told me that the democrats were the RESPONSIBLE ones? Really? then why this pussyfooting around and making excuses for out of control democratic party spending.

I agree, they haven’t had day one yet. But what do we know? Pelosi has indicated that she will now spend at last years rate for the 1st 100 hours. Gee, what a surprise, deficit rate spending. Isn’t that BREAKING the blanced budget promises they made? Wait, did they make a balanced budget promise?

Oh that’s right, we aren’t going to talk about the deficit and budget promises that the democrats made during the campaign. We aren’t gong to talk about the need for spending restraint and balanced budgets now that DEMOCRATS are in power.

I’m not at all surprised. Look out everyone, here comes the IRRESPONSIBLE DEMOCRATIC PARTY DEFICIT BUDGETS!

Posted by: Stephen at December 31, 2006 1:20 PM
Comment #201013

Stephen,

“I’m wondering why the left is afraid to start a thread about a balanced budget. Why the left is afraid to even talk about Pelosi and if she will or will not balance the budget.”

And I’m wondering why you feel the need to hijack two separate threads to advance your agenda.

Why isn’t somebody on the right starting a thread?

Better yet, why don’t you become an editor and start your own thread?

Posted by: Rocky at December 31, 2006 4:47 PM
Comment #201016

Stephen-
First, we known that Democrats are going to repeal Bush’s tax cuts, at least for the rich. That means much of the structural deficit his ill-advised tax cuts caused will simply go away. Second, we know that we’re going to see the medicare program drug supplement reengineered so that the government can bargain for lower prices. Third, we intend to finish the war. Most likely, we’ll also take a look at the spending at the Defense Department, and try to take the waste out of that department.

Fourth, the spending bills that the Republicans were supposed to finish this year were never supposed to get kicked to our first year. That was a going away present from your party. You got a lot of nerve blaming us for your party’s spending decisions.

Fifth, I’m not going to bother to predict what they will do because me, and other Democrats will not passively wait around for our plans to unfold, like the Republicans have for the past half-decade, we’re going to make sure it gets done. Predicting is for folks who want others to make things happen for them.

You know, the thing is, your party talked for years about how it was the party of fiscal discipline. Yet it pulled the same crap as the Congress before it. When the barrier of Democratic opposition went away, it was drunken sailor time, and you folks showed hardly any remorse about it. Worse yet, you trotted out the classic deficit spending excuses that Democrats used in the past. The intellectual dishonesty of the Republicans concerning fiscal issues is simply breathtaking.

The Democrats have no such room for such dishonestly. Many of their new recruits are deficit hawks, and the party has absorbed the sensibilities of Clinton on the issue, which is running a better fiscal ship is beneficial for Democratic Party politics. The people who can run government well and spend wisely have greater latitude to create the kind of government programs they want.

I think the truth is, you want to get a headstart on blaming us for your party’s fiscal stupidity, so you can slough off the years of responsibility your people had for that mess. Your party promised less government and government intereference, and managed to create more. It promised to undo the entitlement system, and not only managed to create more of it, but created a bureaucracy that the word “bureaucratic” doesn’t even begin to describe. It promised to maintain balance budgets, and went on the most massive deficit spending spree in US history, to the point where we might find ourselves in permanent fiscal crisis because of it.

Before you start to dump on us for what you expect us to do(but haven’t done yet), why don’t you spend some time contemplating what exactly Republicans in Congress have done, and what Republicans in the rank and file have allowed to happen? We’re going to spend a long time paying off the fun your party’s had the last six years. It’s just ironic you expect us to manage this tax not only on our next budget, but on the one before it which YOUR party neglected to finish.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 31, 2006 5:15 PM
Comment #201187

I’m still waiting for Democrats to start talking about Balanced budgets, to give us an explanation about what “no new deficit spending” means. About why Pelosi has no decided to continue deficit spending rates for the first 100 hours. Then how much more after that? At what point will the democrats face up to deficits….or admit, they are now the party of deficit spending?

Posted by: Stephen at January 2, 2007 2:08 PM
Comment #201188

Stephen,

The contract with America is not invalid….America still wants balanced budgets. That “B” word that democrats don’t seem to want to talk about AFTER the elections.

What does Pelosi’s promise mean? What has SHE promised America? Democrats seem to be running away from that one before she even takes office. I’d say SHE seems to be running away from it.

And now we openly hear democrats declaring MORE TAXES MORE TAXES….what a surprise. Spend more, Tax more, and whatever you do….don’t talk about Balanced budgets.

Do you know what’s coming….I’d say you do, you are defending it already…deficit spending in the democratic party budgets.

Posted by: Stephen at January 2, 2007 2:11 PM
Comment #201239

Stephen-
Your argument is semantic sophistry. You practically do a solo square dance trying to turn a lack of specific emphasis on budget cutting and deficit reduction into an inevitable failure to balance the fiscal books. You’d convict a person of murder before they’ve even bought the murder weapon at that rate.

Your argument is that the Democrats WILL fail to balance the budget or move towards that. My argument is that your party HAS failed this, despite being on the record consistently FOR fiscal conservative, FOR smaller government, fOR a billion little things. Things of the past are fact, things of the future are opinion.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 3, 2007 12:31 AM
Comment #201264

Stephen-
As for what no new deficit spending means, it means we promise not to do what your people have been doing for the past six years: making things worse at every opportunity. I know you folks have this absolute phobia about raising taxes, but if you’re funding all sorts of new programs and running a war for the love of all that’s good, and you have no plans to reduce your spending, its the only responsible thing to do. It’s bad to unnecessarily raise government spending. It’s worse to do it without planning to pay for it here and now, so that it’s not a drag on the economy. Screw supply side theory. It’s zero for three in offseting deficits; it never worked. Pay as you go. That’s our promised operating principle. We’ve got no rational reason, given what we ran on and against, to repeat Republican mistakes.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 3, 2007 8:13 AM
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