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Monday, June 26, 2006

Cut the crap and Run the Gummint

The Bush plan for Iraq -- "More of the same, whatever that is" was stubbornly defended in the Senate last Thursday. Or rather Democrats were vigorously attacked for recommending a phased withdrawal. Majority leader Bill Frist issued a pastiche of Rove-isms, sometimes even forgetting where to put the period.

It turns out that a similar plan was run up to the White House by the generals where it got a more hospitable reception. The policy-by-campaign-need likes the prospect of a reduction in troop strength in a few months, along with the "news" that the Iraqis are taking over. Bush and Rove have seen the light -- the headlight of the November elections, that is.

In the media timing category, the Saturday news shadow seems to be a convenient place to announce US casualty information these days. Data on deaths from last week was delayed until nobody was looking.

The most prominent "more of the same media-driven policy" is Immigration. This has been carefully selected for its media and campaign value, being one of the few issues where Republicans have an even approval rating. It plays on fears and jingoism and self-righteousness, and even offers an opportunity for scapegoating if the economy turns down toward election time. "Jobless? Not our fault. It's them Mexicans. And we're on the job to keep them out."

One suspects in the back room discussions some reactionary voices mentioned the big mobilizations of immigrants this spring. And of course, a wall and a military response will be just the right stuff for corporate sponsors to peddle the latest in night vision goggles and laser scopes and other high tech gear in outfitting the pennies per hour National Guard troops. Gotta catch them dangerous immigrants before they get in and empty some old lady's bedpan.

Not of interest is the environment or global warming. These critical parts of our future have Republicans skimming single digits in the polls. Better find another issue. The Economy? No. Too much debt and not enough confidence. Health care? Don't even mention the words.

Also notably absent is any effort to address Delay-style corruption. The Republican Congress is playing dumb with lobbying reforms long promised, but which will never arrive.

Cut the crap, Run the government.