Monday, October 13, 2008

What If Dems Win It All?

Consider This: We don't have to turn back the pages of history very far to vision how one political party rules when it owns the presidency and both houses of Congress. The first six years of the Bush administration, maligned mostly by 9/11, saw a budget surplus plunge to a multi billion dollar deficit, revenue spending a drunken frenzy, lobbyists writing our energy policy and Congressional oversight virtually abandoned. Some of the most obscene laws shoved down our throats by the Republican-controlled executive and legislative branches was the violation of constitutional rights in the Patriot Act, domestic anti-terrorist surveillance and the Farm Subsidy Relief Act. The moderate-to-liberal U.S. Supreme Court was stacked by a moderate-to-conservative chief justice and an ultra-conservative associate justice. As the political tide appears now, voters on Nov. 4 could elect a Democrat president and veto-proof Democrat House and filibuster-proof Democrat Senate. Our leadership would be passed to Barack Obama, voted the most or second most liberal in the Senate by conservative watchdog groups, and the two bonafide liberals in Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The tag liberal does not translate into a socialistic republic which is the major fear of conservative idealists. It does mean a growing role our government plays in our lives. There is a fine line between government as the peoples' benefactor and government as an intrusive, fumbling despot.

A New World Order: With the global financial markets in the tank, an Obama administration inherits never-before seen direct government partnership in our major financial institutions in which a failed policy could bankrupt taxpayers. It's a risky policy aimed at the short-term goal of infusing cash to banks to unfreeze credit and longer-term gamble to stabilize housing prices. Obama is in the process of spelling out how he will tweak the process now being instituted by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Several moves are apparent. Democrats will pass another economic stimulus package, ask bankruptcy judges to renegotiate home mortgage rates with lenders and extend unemployment benefits. How Obama will prioritize his domestic spending programs remains a mystery. Without tax increases, his options are limited. What can be expected is a new energy policy strong on renewable and clean air programs, matching funds for rebuilding roads, bridges, sewers and electrical grid transmission lines and college loans in exchange for two years of public service. A national health care program will be introduced but not pushed seriously until the economy improves but still sometime during the first four years of the Obama administration. Defense spending could take a hit if the U.S. pulls out of Iraq. Although more troops will be reassigned to Afghanistan, Obama has said during the campaign that more emphasis will be placed on diplomatic than military force in dealing with the Middle East problems. It all really depends on how far and how long the economy is submerged in a recession if not global depression.

McCain's Misguidance: John McCain's strategy to play the underdog may fit his maverick image but it is not resonating with voters. He's all over the map trying unsuccessfully to portray Obama as an unknown liberal with character flaws of judgment based on his lack of experience and naivety. The daily news of a tanking economy is overwhelming his every move with even conservatives scratching their heads wondering why he's spending so much time attacking Obama over his relationship with former domestic terrorist William Ayers. The guilt-by-association attacks didn't work for Hillary Clinton and they're equally ineffective for McCain and his campy running mate Sarah Palin. What they should focus on is an Obama presidency with the unpopular Pelosi and Reid as his chief lieutenants carrying his water bucket in Congress. That is a scary scenario even in the minds of many moderates.

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