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The next presidential election is still a long way off but it’s already beginning to intrude on America’s consciousness. We’ve already had a series of debates, with candidates from both parties going at one another in their respective forums, and the nightly news programs carry a steady tale of political potshots and hot shots.
After seven years of the Bush presidency, Americans are tired of the Iraq war and have been listening to an endless litany of complaints about George Bush since he was inaugurated in 2001. That takes its toll.
Bush hasn’t made things better for himself, either, by fumbling a number or areas, most noticeably in his intermittent and often indecisive public responses to the incessant charges leveled against him. He’s routinely blamed for just about everything, from Global Warming to global anti-Americanism and from Hurricane Katrina to the latest rash of raging brush fires in southern California. It’s all Bush’s fault, the Democrats incessantly intone and a largely sympathetic national media turn up the amplifier to get that message out. After seven years of this stuff, it’s not surprising Americans seem ready for a change.
In 2006 they showed this by voting out enough Congressional Republicans to hand Democrats the majority in both houses. Democratic majorities in Congress now combine to keep the pressure on the administration by keeping the investigations simmering, by starting up new ones at the drop of a hat, and by constantly scurrying about in search of some big administration scandal that will finally bring the Bush presidency down.
The Democrats learned this game back in the Watergate years (when Richard Nixon self-destructed under the fire of Congressional hearings). After trying and failing to get a full court Watergate replay during the Reagan years, via the Iran-Contra investigations (Reagan’s presidency, unlike Nixon’s, survived), Congressional Democrats kept at it during the one-term presidency of the elder Bush.
During the Clinton administration, Republicans embarked on their own get-the-president crusade, trying to gin up the same kind of hearings and investigations against Bill Clinton that their Democratic predecessors had turned loose on Reagan and Bush. In this they had plenty of help from Clinton himself, of course, a seemingly inveterate womanizer with a penchant for sweet-talking the American public and triangulating his politics.
Republicans eventually built a Congressional majority for themselves, however, more through Clintonian missteps than their own cleverness; the evidence for this is found in the miserable way GOP lawmakers comported themselves when they finally won the majority. With one of their own, George W. Bush, in the White House, Republicans proved no less capable of spending taxpayers’ money than the Democratic majorities they had supplanted. In so doing, they opened a pathway to the Democratic resurgence we ultimately saw in 2006.
Now, with Americans tired of President Bush’s clumsy locutions and awkward grins, and of hearing about how bad he is (despite the remarkably strong economy his low taxation policies have nurtured and facilitated and which the mainstream media rarely deign to remark on), Americans seem set to turn the page, glad to be able to choose anyone but the hapless George Bush.
Whom will they choose? The Democratic candidates have the inside track, to be sure, and Sen. Hillary Clinton has the advantage among the Democrats. On the Republican side it looks like it’s coming down to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Arizona Senator John McCain, and former actor and former senator Fred Thompson. But so far none of them can boast a commanding lead.
Looking forward, Hillary Clinton brings a lot to the race, whoever her opponent turns out to be. She’s smart and has an experienced political machine behind her with plenty of dough. Moreover, Democrats have been longing for a restoration of Clintonian dominance in Washington since Al Gore lost to George Bush in 2000, and Hillary can give them a Clinton at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue again. Indeed, she can provide two Clintons for the price of one, as Bill put it in his first campaign when he famously promised American voters that they could “buy one; get one free.”
Not every voter finds this appealing, however. Though Bill Clinton presided over a relatively peaceful and prosperous period in the country’s history, it was on his watch that our military preparedness rapidly deteriorated and Al Qaeda, our self-declared mortal enemy, grew big enough to do us real harm.
About the Author: Stuart W. Mirsky is a Queens-based writer and columnist for several local papers. He is the author of the historical novel "The King of Vinland's Saga," about Vikings and Indians in eleventh-century North America, and "A Raft on the River," the true story of a 15-year-old girl's escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II.
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Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.
Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?
To defeat parasites-the hosts of terrorists-we need to deny them new people, potential terrorists
Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t
There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.
Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.
Since the passing of the Governance bill legislation on March 11, 2014, new alignments have become to appear in Israeli politics.
Israel has some wild places left; places to reflect and think, to get lost, to try to find ourselves
The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.
Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.
Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.
Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians
Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists
In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site
The shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, along with federal judge John Roll (a Republican appointee) and numerous others, including a nine year-old constituent of the Congresswoman, resulting in the deaths of six (including the judge and the little girl) and brain injury to the congresswoman, prompted the usual ruminations.
While it’s not too early for Republicans to start feeling optimistic, they need to realize this kind of resurgent mood isn’t unlike the ebullience of markets bouncing off a bottom. As market pundits like to say, even a dead cat will bounce when it’s tossed from a great height. After having fallen so low in public esteem during the last days of the Bush administration, it only makes sense Republicans’ spirits would surge at an impending reversal of fortune.
A friend of mine came to this country from China back in the eighties. China had little opportunity for people like him he tells me, especially after Chairman Mao had destroyed the country. To get anywhere you had to know people and pay them off. Everything, he adds, was corrupt and there was no freedom. America looked better and so he emigrated, married and raised a family here.
With the outgoing and endlessly embattled Bush administration showing signs of exhaustion in 2008 and the onslaught of an unforeseen financial crisis, Democrats won the U.S. presidency while gaining an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives and 60 veto-proof seats in the U.S. Senate (thanks, in part, to a disputed Minnesota election putting TV comic Al Franken over the top in his state and the inclusion of Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders and Connecticut Independent Joe Lieberman).
It’s no secret these days that the Obama administration leans left.
On every crucial issue, from dealing with al Qaeda and the threat of terrorism, to the environment, to health care, to the administration’s handling of our overseas adversaries, the president and his advisers have come down hard on the left side of the political divide.
Nearly thirty years ago, this country underwent a paradigm shift when Ronald Reagan swept into the presidency, defeating Jimmy Carter after a single term. Along with Carter, Reagan displaced an entire way of thinking that had informed our politics since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Reagan was a transformative president.
Well, it’s finally over – and about time, too. After two years of seemingly endless campaigning and eight of partisan bickering and recriminations, the country appears to have turned a historic corner.
Nothing is certain except death and taxes — but a few things come close. One is that, come November, either Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain will emerge as the next president. When that happens we’ll be turning the page on eight years of rancorous political partisanship.
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