Thursday, January 29, 2009

Iranian Pipsqueaks

On occasion, this blog has taken intellectual swipes and partisan shots at Mr. Clifford May, the director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative think tank whose main objective seems to be drumming up an imaginary threat that the country of Iran poses not only to the West but the whole world. That is the topic of Mr. May’s essay for January 29, which readers may read for themselves here, while I take it upon myself to address his points.

In this particular bromide, Cliff May rambles about how terrible it is that the Iranian Revolution can celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. While that may not be something worth celebrating for anyone in our hemisphere, May’s piece is worth reading because in his rationale, one can find all the reasons for exactly why there does not need to be a war with Iran.

First, May cannot stop talking about the dangers the Iranian regime presents to the West, i.e. Israel and the United States. But his article begins by reminding the readers that it has been 30 years since the U.S.-installed shah was deposed. Why, in 30 years of supposed wrangling with the U.S., have they made zero verifiable or substantial threats toward us (hostages held in their country and one mention by a figurehead president with no army, air force, or nuclear weapons, of wiping the United States off the map do not count as real threats)? 30 years of avoiding war with a supposed enemy is a success that borders on the Cold War success of not fighting Soviet Russia if one wants my opinion.

Next, the author attempts to drum up fear in the reader by telling them that the revolutionary leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, wanted to install a Muslim heaven-on-earth by organizing a jihad against the West because of their power, laws, freedoms, and decadence. The call went nowhere. Once the reviled shah was gone, there was nothing left to keep the revolutionary factions together and so, the jihad could not get off the ground.

Mr. May cites Iran’s proxies Hezbollah, Syria, and Hamas as evidence that the regime is dangerous. He obviously regards their financial banking of Hezbollah and Hamas as proof that they cannot be tolerated. Yet, both of those terrorist organization are fundamentally weak.

Israel, in 2006 in their war in Lebanon and their recent war in Gaza, utterly blew their opponents away. In the recent conflict, Israel inflicted casualties over 100-to-1 and in spite of that, we are supposed to believe that Iran is an existential threat. If that is what we are told is an “existential threat,” then we certainly have nothing to worry about regarding Iran’s ability to be a menace outside its own borders. Israel was the big military winner in both conflicts.

Then a staple of Mr. May’s writings comes forth: unless something is done (war, anyone?) then Iran will be able to attempt a genocide or nuclear attack on Israel. (On a brief tangent: another staple of May’s is that questioning the wisdom of these foreign ventures is irrational because if we don’t do what we’re doing now, then there won’t be journalists or historians in the future to second-guess these decision. Note the last line of his December 18, 2008 piece).

For Clifford May, a genocide is always right around the corner and unless something is done, poor, weak, little Israel will be facing its own existential threat. Well, in the cases of Lebanon and Gaza, Iran can provide only a paltry little sum of money to support their causes. What makes anyone think that a country without an air force or army can mount any sort of concerted attack on a country with a fast military in Israel with overwhelming firepower, as we have seen. He is right that Iran has a very few number of missiles, but that capability has been proven to be overblown.

But Clifford May stays on message right until the very end. His whole article leads up to advice for the new president who himself is sounding a lot like the old one on how the world “cannot allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. . . . And I will do everything that’s required to prevent it.” It is Mr. May’s advice that there needs to be a war in Iran. No, he does not come out and say those exact words, but he says that the new administration “still has time to limit its final death toll.”

If the war and occupation of Iraq proves anything, it is that even more deaths can result through a well-intentioned occupation than from the original regime that was deemed to evil to be allowed to exist. So he admits that yes, the regime in Iran is terrible, but military action would stop those deaths. News flash: Even more people die when there is military action, Clifford.

Also evident in the “there is still time” line is his presentation to us of a ticking time bomb scenario. Iran is fast on its way to having a nuclear bomb, he clamors. This alone is suspect. Approximations range from the National Intelligence Estimate which declared that Iran abandoned its nuclear program in 2003 but for people who want more rationale for war with the destitute nation, there are places like the International Institute for Strategic Studies that claims Iran could have the bomb by the end of this year.

There are still too many unknowns to make a case for war, but Clifford May and his ilk are determined to get another war.

In addition to preventing them from obtaining a nuclear weapon (which, at the very least, means intervening in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, something we would certainly object to), Mr. May encourages President Obama to make good on his desire to place an embargo on incoming oil to Iran as well as telling the new president to tell the Iranian people that their rulers are the reason for their misery. I may be some crazy, right-wing, antiwar loon, but I have a hunch that if an embargo is placed on an already starving Third World nation, it will only empower the rulers, especially when the people know for certain that some of their misery can be traced back to the Americans.

And there you have a brief commentary and dissection of the writing of Clifford May: neoconservative, warmonger, and rouser.

There are a lot of items of America’s foreign policy plate right now: working on a way to get out of Iraq sooner than 2011, the doubling of the number of American troops in Afghanistan, and launching air strikes into Pakistan. If we wish to avoid another unnecessary war, step number one should involve identifying countries that have made actual threats or strikes at us and ignoring people like Clifford May.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dubya's Swan Song

Now in the final hours of his administration, President George W. Bush seems to be receiving some final well-wishes, even from many of his harshest critics while his few remaining supporters seem intent on supporting him blindly while seemingly refusing to acknowledge his deficiencies. So ends the odd and sometimes insuffrable Bush years.

The failure of the administration of the 43rd president is not that he invaded Iraq, was apparently asleep at the wheel when Hurricane Katrina hit, sided with Ted Kennedy on education and immigration, flubbed his initial Supreme Court choice of Harriet Miers, or grew government at LBJ speeds. It was all of this that derailed him. It was the liberalism of the first Republican president of the 21st century that caused his failure.

The conservatism embodied in Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan died during the past eight years. It was not merely that the president was liberal when we thought he was conservative, but he had legions of followers on the Right who followed him too blindly. After an election where conservatives and Republicans bemoaned the cult of personality surrounding our incoming president, we should be reminded that an idol was made out of the most recent occupant of the office. Conservatives followed a failed president off the cliff. The wreckage lies at the bottom.

Despite all that, even his biggest mistake, Iraq, is not uniquely Mr. Bush’s fault. His enablers came from both parties. Democrats and Republicans to this day continue to funnel American tax dollars into a Middle Eastern black hole.

Many people (yes, liberals) desired to see Saddam Hussein deposed but only when a humanitarian war went south did they begin to denounce it. The war of national security to remove weapons of mass destruction, that likely existed at one time, became a war of ideology (democracy) and a clash of civilizations. I have stubbornly clung to the belief that the President did not lie in making his case to the nation about the war with Iraq (in fact, I have far more contempt for the neoconservative advisors who, like they did for many others, duped the president about the threat of Hussein‘s Iraq), but regret his refusal to correct an obvious mistake.

Some of the remaining supporters of the president are taking these final hours to harangue his critics who gave him nothing but grief from the very beginning. External obstacles, by and large, did not ruin the presidency of Mr. Bush. It was mainly the ones he set for himself: Iraq, the bureaucratic nightmare of Katrina, his incompetent presiding over a corrupt party, that is what made George W. Bush a failed president and a tragic historical figure.

There is little doubt that George W. Bush’s time in office will be judged by his decision to go to war in Iraq. He will be fortunate if the economy turns around and the recession manages to avoid becoming a depression as the plummeting economy is considered by many to be the final tragic legacy Mr. Bush is leaving to his country.

It was his liberalism that ruined the president’s two terms. Even though Mr. Bush’s successor promises to be different, he appears poised to keep doing more of the same. Instead of Iraq, Mr. Obama will ratchet up the American presence in Afghanistan, a country perhaps impossible to pacify, that could ruin his presidency as the former country ruined Mr. Bush’s. The government grew at an alarming rate under this Republican president and the incoming Democratic president, with stronger majorities than his predecessor ever had, is prepared to explode the government to new and more invasive depths. Did we really learn nothing from the Bush years?

These last few days have filled me with regret. It serves little purpose now to get angry with George W. Bush. After all that has happened over the past eight years, I feel a little sorry for him. Yes, he has been a failed president, but his failure was not inevitable. If he had kept his 2000 campaign pledge of a humble foreign policy and kept his promise to get government out of the people’s way, he would have avoided some of these massive disasters.

Alas, it was not. History is not written by what could have been or what should have been, but what was, and the 43rd president was as an abject failure. Mr. Bush leaves the White House tomorrow and returns home to Texas, which is a site I believe everyone, including the president himself, is happy to see.

Goodbye, Mr. President.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ahistoric Election

*I composed this several weeks ago but hesitated about publishing it. The recent thoughts of a friend of mine got me to reconsider.


Everytime I see that ridiculously sanctimonious commercial telling people to buy these specially-made coins commemorating the “historic” election of Barack Obama, I get sick to my stomach. I do so because I can’t figure out anything historic about his election other than the fact that Barack Obama is the first person to ever be elected 44th president of the United States and that he has a darker shade of skin than any previous president, and nothing to do with anything he has accomplished before in his life.

Readers of this blog (if any exist) have probably noticed that I continually refer to our newest president as the “Mulatto Messiah.” For anyone too dense to figure it out, I do that because columnists, commentators, and talking heads of both parties make it a point to ram it down our collective throats that our first black president has been elected. Since millions were inundated with the notion that a black man might be elected in “the most racist country in history” I feel it is necessary to remind people, who are so concerned with a particular man’s race, that he is not actually black, but a mulatto, a mix, a hybrid. The president-elect has a long-forgotten white mother. But that does not fit into the narrative of electing a black man, in a country that has supposedly moved past race.

If you don’t believe that this society is still consumed with race, I ask you to please reflect on how many times in the past two years that you encountered news stories on TV, radio, print, or internet, that called attention to Mr. Obama’s race.

That this country is still preoccupied with race proves that the millions of people who voted for Mr. Obama because of his race made a grave mistake in believing that this man’s election would heal this country’s “racial wounds.”

I make this conclusion based largely on what one caller to the Rush Limbaugh program declared on Thursday, December 18, 2008. A black man called from Detroit who informed the King of Talk Radio that while the caller was pleased with the outcome of the election, the host was unhappy because the color of the victor’s skin was brown. Never mind that Mr. Limbaugh consistently denounced Mr. Obama’s evocations of socialism, but take this is an example of minorities still thinking (or being brainwashed) into believing that any opposition to “one of their own” is equal to racism. It’s an entitlement that strangely resembles the entitlement racist whites exercised over black Americans for years. The only difference is that the roles are gradually being reversed.

We should have figured this out during the primaries. Bill Clinton, “the first black president,” was branded a racist because he said it was a fairy tale that Mr. Obama’s Iraq position has been consistent. While I agreed with Bubba’s assessment at the time, the former president has been more than proven right as Mr. Obama has certainly waffled on his Iraq position ever since he clinched the nomination. What this means is that race and the race racket won’t let any vestige or hint of racism die. It’s too lucrative and powerful of a political issue. There is no better way to shut up a critic of the Mulatto Messiah than by calling them a racist.

Do not be fooled into thinking that Barack Obama’s election alone will do anything to solve racial problems in this country. Dissent will be hard to come by during an Obama administration. It will be muzzled when the president’s sycophants begin circulating that the opposition the president is facing has "a tint of racism to it." Just wait and see how much grief President Obama will receive when a potential political opponent is implied as a racist.

All of this should serve as lesson in human nature and the imperfectability of man. If people look down on others because of their different race or support someone only because of race, one election will not change them.

Voting in favor of someone because of race is just as bad as voting against them because of race. Race is still the guiding factor of why someone voted for this particular person, it's just from the other side of the argument.

And does this attitude not cheapen Mr. Obama's electoral victory? Millions voted for him because he is "black" without regard to any of his political convictions. How is it any different compared to someone who voted against him because he is black, without regard to any of his political convictions?

Racism runs deeper in a person than who they cast their ballot for. In his book The Revolution, Ron Paul calls racism a “disease of the heart.” It takes prayer and the power of ideas to cure someone of racism. It takes time and it takes persuasion. And if Mr. Obama's election and adminstration would heal our racial wounds, how would he do that if some people still have a hatred of others in their hearts?

Perhaps it's just the old racist within me, but since we're still talking about the color of this man's skin, it appears we might not have really gotten over race, it's just not in the way we thought.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

They Never Learn

Since 2006, when neoconservatism and the Republican Party of the George W. Bush years were thoroughly discredited, I began to realize that the GOP is like the Bourbons, the royal family deposed during the French Revolution, and fully restored after Napoleon’s final defeat. When Charles X became King of France in 1824, he ignored the liberals (not liberals in the current sense) and remained loyal to the royalist factions. Talleyrand, the distinguished diplomat, said that the “Bourbons had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.” So it would also seem with the Republicans and especially the neoconservatives.

George W. Bush squeaked his way to reelection in 2004 but the victory was short-lived. His second inaugural address was skeptically received due to its unfounded and ahistorical vision about “eliminating tyranny from the earth.” As if Afghanistan and the only-beginning to burn Iraq were not enough, the president seemed to think that America had the might and mandate to eliminate tyranny from the world and turn every other country into another America - at the point of a gun, that is.

In 2005, violence ratcheted up in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina hit, and the president was quickly becoming an abandoned man. The shabby response to the hurricane signaled a failure of government, or at least the bloated bureaucracy. The president was painted as a man who did not care about the plight of the New Orleanians displaced by the storm. It has been said that that was the beginning of the end for a positive Bush legacy.

Iraq descended into civil war in 2006 and every Republican faced an uphill battle in the midterm elections that year because almost all Republicans had steadfastly and unconditionally supported the president on his war that the country was souring on. When those election results returned, Democrats, who promised they would end U.S. involvement in Iraq, gained 31 House seats and the majority.

So how have the Bush Republicans and neoconservatives learned nothing and forgotten nothing? Even though they have been abandoning the president in droves, many of the neocons are only abandoning the man and none of the ideas that led to the failure of his presidency.

When presidential nominees began announcing their intentions in early 2007, the automatic frontrunners for the Republicans were Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Both were fervent supporters of a war the American people had already decided they were tired of. No one in the entire Republican field, except Ron Paul, would admit that going to Iraq was a mistake. They only had differences with the way President Bush handled the war.

What is more, nobody would ever actually mention President Bush’s name because he had become such a pariah. But nobody would ever actually depart from the philosophy that led to Bush’s ruin: neoconservatism. There was no discussion about whether Iraq was the right course or not, only how it could have been done better, or whether we have any business beginning to bomb Iran, as if engaging that country militarily would prove any better for our country than engaging Iraq or Afghanistan have been.

The philosophy has not changed and the Republicans seem ready to continue losing elections and influence in the country.

This past Tuesday President-elect Barack Obama had his now-famous dinner at the home of George Will, who was hosting, among others, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, one of the main theorists for American intervention in the Middle East. The meeting has been called, “Obama breaking bread with conservatives.” However, there is nothing particularly conservative about any of the people the new president dined with (besides Kristol, there was Rich Lowry of the formery conservative National Review, New York Times "conservative" David Brooks, and The Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer, another main theorist of American interventionism around the globe.

What is odd about this is that Mr. Obama spent his entire presidential campaign complaining about the path George W. Bush led us down and how we can’t afford any more of it.

So why was he meeting with several of the people who either planned or vociferously defended this disastrous presidency? As I have commented before, it is not as though the president-elect met with those on the Right such as Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, or Joe Sobran, who opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, as Mr. Obama claims he had done. Is it possible that the "Change" president isn't going to change much of anything at all?

Despite his occasional antiwar rhetoric about the Iraqi quagmire, he seems intent on escalating the quagmire in Afghanistan. Escalating any war is sure to make any neoconservative or anyone pro-war on the Right delirious, so they are naturally gravitating toward him.

Even though this ideology of perpetual war for perpetual peace has crashed and burned during the Bush years, many of these people are still intent on preserving it for some time in the future.

A word of confession is required here: I was an Iraq war supporter from around 2003-late 2004. I didn’t understand too much of the war or the region, but supported it because I wanted to support my country and my president. But as I expanded my reading and my reasoning matured, I discovered that perhaps this war was not in the nation’s best strategic interest and may actually hurt us. I admit that I was wrong and have changed my mind. I maintain that it is not a flip-flop; I do maintain that I have gotten smarter than I was when I was 19/20 years old. Not to blow my own horn, but I believe it’s a shame others are still blinded by their own ideology of imperialism that they rationalize that it fails not because it is a fallen, sinful world where no ideology can work the way it does in one’s mind, but because the current executive was too incompetent to make it work right.

This policy of imperialism will fail with Barack Obama, too, but it doesn't look like he, nor anyone around him, will learn that before it is too late.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The New Fission

Following the inception of the conservative magazine National Review in 1955, one of its most salient writers, Frank Meyer, proposed a theory of “Fusionism.” The Fusion was between previously disparate political factions that included conservatives, libertarians, constitutionalists, and hawkish Democrats who, despite their varying differences, managed to work together to provide an intellectual framework for a coalition to defeat the Soviet Union.

The coalition went through some strains, the John Birch Society and the Randians were effectively expelled from the ranks of the conservative movement, but largely managed to stay together to the end of the Cold War. The strain reached a breaking point in victory, when the Soviet Union dispersed and Russia was just another country, and the United States was at its “unipolar moment” : the only superpower in the world and threatened by no one.

The Gulf War marked the first major rift in the coalition. President George H. W. Bush, seeing Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait akin to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, plunged the United States into a war that was diametrically opposed to John Quincy Adams’ sage advice to avoid going “abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” The Libertarians largely opposed the operation and Pat Buchanan became the icon of the right-wing antiwar movement. Mr. Buchanan warned that involvement in the Middle East and an unnecessary war would lead to a series of wars in that volatile region.

So coalitions crumble. Mr. Buchanan attempted to run for president three times but became a virtual pariah among "mainstream" conservatives because he opposed interventions in Iraq by both Presidents Bush. Mr. Buchanan’s brand of conservatism, versus the neoconservatism found on the current pages of National Review, The Weekly Standard, and on talk radio, has been broadly termed “paleoconservative” from the late 1980s to today.

Another rift in the previously-more-united conservative movement was very well-illustrated a couple weeks ago in an exchange between the paleoconservative Tom Piatak of takimag.com and libertarian Thomas J. DiLorenzo of lewrockwell.com.

One may trace their opinions through the respective websites. Dr. DiLorenzo, an economics professor whose Lincoln Unmasked I am currently enjoying, is a libertarian whose adherence to free trade is clearly articulated in all of his writings. So naturally, Mr. DiLorenzo is appalled by the government bailouts of the banking industry as well as the automotive industry. He illustrates it as such by calling anyone who buys a new Ford, GM, or Chrysler car a “fascist” and encourages everyone to reading to give a middle finger to everyone they see driving one of those cars.

Tom Piatak, whose eloquent writings are always worth reading, was a supporter of the bailout of the automotive industry, but not Wall Street one. Mr. Piatak reasons that the collapse of the American auto industry would be calamitous to the American economy, so it needs to receive a government loan, even one that Pat Buchanan reminded his readers was only “2% of the Wall Street bailout.”

Mr. DiLorenzo fired back by stating his “middle finger” comment was tongue-in-cheek and that Mr. Piatak was basically too stupid to get the joke. If one reads the whole back-and-forth, they will be able to see one of the main reasons libertarians and conservatives are having a difficult time getting together these days, despite much of the overlap they share. And if they read the whole exchange, then they can make the determination on who is the voice of reason.

The answer lies in the libertarian devotion to the free trade doctrine of the late Milton Friedman that may well work best in theory. And such is the downfall of those who strictly adhere to any ideology, whether it be socialism or free trade.

As Russell Kirk wrote, ideology is a false religion that believes this world can be turned into a “terrestrial paradise” through their new laws. The problem with ideology, any ideology, is that it is based on an ideal, which cannot exist in a fallen world, completely corrupted by sin. Free trade may very well be the best business decision in theory, but businesses do not operate in a perfect world, because one does not exist. Any academic theory may work sometimes but never all the time and the case is likely also true for protectionism.

Libertarians are completely beholden to the doctrine of free trade as if it was the solution to all of the country’s woes. Such thinking is na├»ve and not rooted in the world in which we all live. As Mr. Piatak refutes Mr. DiLorenzo's charges of heresy, he accurately reminds everyone that his opponent has merely put the problem into an ideological box.

Conservatives, by and large, believe in the fallen world as described in the Bible. Everyone from Genesis 3 to 2009 sins and sins constantly. There is a need for government, not excessive or abusive government, because we are sinful. Had Adam and Eve not freely given up their Edenic paradise, there would likely be no reason for government today. But that is an “if” of history and faith. Therefore, ideologies, whether on the Right or Left, are bound to fail.

Both the paleoconservatives and libertarians can agree on the principle of non-interventionism that Founding Fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson implored. They, however, cannot agree on the issue of free trade versus protectionism (I am an agnostic when it comes to free trade and thus cannot take an intelligible stand for either side because I have not yet researched the sides well enough).

A libertarian ideologue like Professor DiLorenzo believes that free trade is the concrete, inviolable answer and any deviation at any time is heresy. That makes Mr. Piatak’s plea to help Americans, rather than subscribe to a theory, an unrepentant sinner against Milton Friedman and Adam Smith. His plea also reminds us that putting America First also means putting Americans first.

If libertarians and traditionalist or paleoconservatives wish to make a dent in the corrupt two-party system, there needs to be less demonization and more discussion.

Has the Fusionism of Frank Meyer been replaced with a new fission?

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Dallas Cowboys and the Federal Government

No, “America’s Team” is not about to be bailed out over their miserable failures, but they do provide a good parallel for what happens in our federal government.

In good years and bad, the Dallas Cowboys receive more media attention than any other professional football team. In years where success is highly anticipated, the sports media begin asking, “What are the Cowboys chances of winning the Super Bowl this year?” This was especially true in the summer of 2008 when teams were reporting to training camp, and the Cowboys were coming off a 13-3 regular season in 2007, only to lose their first playoff game - a squeaker to the eventual-champion New York Giants. During the off-season, the team roster remained mostly the same: Golden boy quarterback Tony Romo and glitzy wide receiver Terrell Owens were the anchors for a team loaded with stars. In fact, they even added talent to the team with the addition of troubled but talented defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones. In other words, the team was primed to set the football world on fire. The Cowboys were a cinch to make it to the Super Bowl.

But reality set in. The Cowboys head coach, Wade Phillips, a squishy and affable man, but not the authoritarian required to police million dollar egos, proved himself to be nothing more than a figurehead and the team was without a real leader. The owner is oilman Jerry Jones, who has just finished construction on a new $1 billion stadium set to open in 2009 and who routinely overpays players and has no problem with players frequently arrested (Mr. "Pacman" Jones has never been convicted of any crime, but has been arrested in the double-digits).

The team began the season well, three wins in their first three games, but once they hit a little turmoil: injuries and the usual bickering between teammates that occurs during a long season, the team began to fall apart.

So how does all this relate to the federal government? Well, like the government, the Cowboys get all the attention anyone could ask for, but continue to deliver lackluster results. In what was supposed to be a Super Bowl year, the team ended up with 9 wins, 7 losses, and lost their spot in the playoffs. In a slap in the face to Cowboys fans everywhere, when the team walked off the field after the regular season loss (44-6, a win that gave their opponents in that game, the Philadelphia Eagles, a playoff berth) that eliminated them from playoff contention, players were seen trotting off the field, some having a chuckle amongst themselves. Instead of mourning a busted season, they did not let their failure get the best of them.

Again, what does this have to do with the federal government? Try this on for size: They have a hated and incompetent boss (owner Jerry Jones), promised ones who don’t deliver when it matters most (Romo and Owens), people who are more about ego than their job (Owens), criminals fill their ranks (the oft-arrested Adam Jones), untold millions spent on a product that ultimately fails (expectations of a Super Bowl but a 9-7 season with no playoff berth), and when it all fails, no one gets replaced.

That’s right, after only two seasons as the coach, and two seasons that ended as remarkable failures considering the expectations, the Cowboys organization announced that it would be keeping Mr. Phillips on as the head coach. The organization has also reported that they will be making “big changes” to the team, but none have been made yet and none have even been suggested.

Does this not sound like our federal government? Barack Obama ran a two-year campaign in which he repeatedly claimed that things were going to be different, that the corruption and embarrassment of the Bush administration would be forgotten, appears poised to do exactly what the Bush administration spent eight years accomplishing.

In the spring of 2008, President Bush touted a $152 billion economic stimulus package, in money borrowed from China, that was erroneously called a “tax rebate.” Economic conservatives bemoaned the passage of the act because, while it may have seemed like it would help the economy, it would only have to be paid back later, with interest.

So, considering how that economic stimulus did not have an impact on the economy, and did nothing to stop the calamities of Fannie, Freddie, Citigroup, etc., doesn’t it make sense for President-elect Obama to want an even bigger stimulus package to help the economy? If some didn’t work, then more must work, according to that logic. Yeah, about $850 billion.

Or does anyone remember how Mr. Obama deplored the course taken by President Bush in invading Iraq, a helpless country that did not attack us? He told us he wanted an orderly withdrawal within 16 months of his inauguration. It’s one of the main reasons Mr. Obama won the Democratic nomination. So what does the new president plan to do? Not withdraw troops from Iraq, but shift 30,000 of them to Afghanistan, bringing the total to approximately 60,000 soldiers in a theater that has already been lost.

What Mr. Obama seems to be saying is that it is wrong to invade a country like Iraq, that did not attack us, but it is right to continue an invasion of another country, that did not attack us, Afghanistan. Orwellian and counterproductive indeed.

Could this be the Cowboys template? If it doesn’t work, don’t fix it!