Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Gene Lyons, Arkansas Gazette: False Impressions or Falsehoods?

Gene Lyons
August 13, 2003

False Impressions or Falsehoods?

Al Gore and Sen. Joe Lieberman spoke out about the Bush administration
last week. What they said reinforced for many Democrats two important
lessons from the 2000 campaign: first, that Gore's inability to combat
the Washington celebrity press's relentless attacks upon his character
and personality cost him the presidency; second, that a big factor in
that failure was picking the sanctimonious Lieberman as his running

Seemingly chosen to convey disapproval of President Clinton's sexual
antics, Lieberman brought little to the campaign except the lukewarm
approbation of Washington insiders. His debate performance against Dick
Cheney resembled a timorous insurance agent trying to mollify an angry
customer--appropriately enough for a politician long-devoted to keeping
Connecticut's insurance industry happy. Lieberman's pussyfooting helped
Cheney masquerade as a teddy bear, resulting in an administration in
which the relentlessly aggressive vice-president and a phalanx of
neo-conservative ideologues dominate a feckless and unaccountable

Anyhow, "Smokin' Joe," as Republican editorialists at my hometown
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette call him, made a thinly-veiled attack on his
two New England rivals for the presidency, Howard Dean and Sen. John
Kerry, in a speech at the National Press Club. "A candidate who was
opposed to the war against Saddam," he said "who has called for the
repeal of all the Bush tax cuts, which would result in an increase in
taxes on the middle class...could lead the Democratic party into the
political wilderness for a long time to come."

As opposed to today, Senator? Snoozin' Joe appears to think that the
presciption for taking on Bush in 2004 is Republican Lite. A surer
formula for disaster can hardly be imagined. No matter, because the
hapless New York Mets have a better chance of winning the World Series
than Lieberman has of securing the Democratic nomination. Polls showing
otherwise are an illusion based on name recognition.

Al Gore wants to fight. If only, many Democrats said last week, he'd
spoken as cogently and passionately in 2000 as he did at New York
University. The contest wouldn't have been close enough for Bush's
Florida cronies and the Supreme Court to steal.

Gore's theme was that the Bush administration governs through a weird
mix of cronyism, ideological certitude and sheer dishonesty previously
unseen in our national life. "The direction in which our nation is
being led," he said "is deeply troubling to me not only in Iraq but also here
at home on economic policy, social policy and environmental policy.
Millions of Americans now share a feeling that something pretty basic
has gone wrong in our country and that some important American values
are being placed at risk."

Gore enumerated a list of "false impressions" that led the U.S. to
invade and occupy Iraq: that Saddam Hussein was partly reponsible for
9/11 and conspiring with al Qaeda; that he threatened to help
terrorists launch poison gas and germ attacks against the U.S.; that he was
acquiring enriched uranium and building a nuclear arsenal; that Iraqis
would welcome US soldiers with open arms and make a quick, easy
transition to democracy; and that allies who opposed the war would be
only too happy after a painless victory to send soldiers and money to
finish the job.

"Now, of course," Gore said "everybody knows that every single one of
these impressions was just dead wrong."

Almost the same thing, he said, has happened in the economy: "The
country somehow got lots of false impressions," he said "about what we
could expect from the big tax cuts that were enacted, including: (1)
The tax cuts would unleash a lot of new investment that would create lots
of new jobs. (2) We wouldn't have to worry about a return to big budget
deficits--because all the new growth in the economy caused by the tax
cuts would lead to a lot of new revenue. (3) Most of the benefits would
go to average middle-income families, not to the wealthy, as some
partisans claimed."

"Unfortunately, here too," Gore continued "every single one of these
impressions turned out to be wrong. Instead of creating jobs...we are
losing millions of jobs--net losses for three years in a row. That
hasn't happened since the Great Depression." Hence too the biggest
budget deficits in U.S. history, and "the most dangerous we've ever had
for two reasons: first, they're not temporary; they're structural and
long-term; second, they are going to get even bigger just at the time
when the big baby-boomer retirement surge starts."

From fighting terrorism to global warming, Gore said, what we get from
Bush is the same on every issue: "a systematic effort to manipulate
facts in service to a totalistic ideology that is felt to be more
important than the mandates of basic honesty."

Gore says he's not running in 2004, so the press downplayed his speech,
but millions of Democrats heard him loud and clear.


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