Republicans Set to Lose Congress on the Heels of Bush's Colonial War in Iraq
Presidential elections are about foreign policy and mid-term elections are about domestic and economic policy. Bush is trying to make the war in Iraq dominate the mid-term elections as a tactical ploy because the voters trust the Republicans more on defense issues, while on the domestic economic issues of employment and prosperity, the administration is in deep, deep trouble.
The nation is in its third consecutive year of stock market declines. Bush's much touted tax cuts have failed to re-ignite the economy and have brought back huge budget deficits. Unemployment is rising. Wall Street is rocked by scandals, many involving close associates of George W. Bush from the oil and gas industry. The polls show that voters currently prefer the Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives by a margin of 49 - 41. The Republicans are going to get slammed.
During the Cold War, it was said that the church in captive nations of Eastern Europe assumed the role of the political opposition in the absence of real opposition parties in the political arena. In the wake of the stolen 2000 presidential election, the United States is in a similar situation. However, in a capitalist society it is the financial markets rather than the church which can assume the burden of political opposition.
The decline of the financial markets is a sign the United States is in a political, rather than an economic crisis. It will become an economic crisis if the voters do not give the Democrats a workable majority of both houses of Congress in November. (And may still, even if the Democrats win.) At the moment, the markets are moving inversely to Bush's success. The better he does, the worse the markets do. When Bush is on the ropes, the markets surge. It is a political analysis of the markets, rather than an economic analysis, that is required at this moment.
During the Russian Revolution of 1917, hundreds of thousands of troops were deserting the front. When asked about the support of the soldiers and peasants, Lenin replied that they were "voting with their feet." Similarly, in the wake of the fraudulent American election, people are voting with their wallets.
War and the Economy
If there is war in Iraq, when people look back on the resulting world economic collapse, scholars will be able to identify September 12, 2002 as a missed warning sign. On the day after the first anniversary of 9/11, on the day of Bush's bellicose speech to the United Nations pushing for war with Iraq, the stock market indices fell broadly across the board.
This is a warning sign that war is not good for the economy. Once the regime is changed in Iraq, it will fall to the American taxpayers, not only to billet troops and pay for the bombs, but to pay for the reconstruction of Iraq after two punishing wars and 10 years of genocidal sanctions. The voters and investors understand this, although the leaders refuse to acknowledge these obvious facts. And this analysis omits the loss of life that will occur on both sides, although it will be significant.
Even the threat of war has a harmful effect on the economy because people can not be expected to buckle down go deeply into debt to start a new business venture when the future is fraught with uncertainty. During Reagan's presidency, one pundit said you can not threaten people with nuclear annihilation one day, and then expect them to go out and make long term investments, capital purchases and plans the next.
There are other obvious facts absent from the public discussion on Iraq. George W. Bush's father, President Bush, was United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Now, his son seeks to start a war and end run the world body dedicated to peace. For years, the United States was billions of dollars behind in its dues to the UN. Now, Bush accuses the body of being ineffective. Maybe if the United States had in the past paid its bills on time, the United Nations would have been a more effective body.
Bush's entire logic on the war in Iraq is specious from the outset. Iraq is intolerably in violation of United Nations resolutions. True. But what about Israel which indisputably has weapons of mass destruction (Israel abducted Mordecai Vanunu from Rome and tried him in secret for giving information about Israel's secret atomic weapons program to a British newspaper) and also has been in violation of UN resolutions for over 50 years.
Oh, Israel is different. Israel is our friend (even though it attacked the Liberty during the 1967 war and killed dozens of American sailors.) It is a democracy where Arabs are not allowed to serve in the Army and Palestinians, under occupation for 30 years, were not allowed to vote.
Iraq is in violation of UN resolutions, but at least it has never assassinated a high UN official as the Israelis did to Count Bernadotte. The hypocrisy of Bush is beyond belief, but consistent with someone who believes in double standards. After all, most politicians believe they have to win the election to take power. Not Bush. There is one set of rules for himself and his friends and another set for everyone else.
This primary season has been unkind to candidates who inherited their political power from their families. Andrew Cuomo, son of 3 term New York Governor Mario Cuomo, was forced to drop out of the race for Governor of New York.
Bill Simon, the Republican candidate for Governor of California and son of William Simon, a former Secretary of the Treasury, is trailing badly in the polls. Simon was nominated on the back of a campaign financed by the Democratic Governor, Grey Davis, to destroy the candidacy of Republican Los Angeles Mayor Bill Riordan, who could have, and probably would have, defeated Grey Davis.
This trend in both parties, to cross over and try to get the weakest possible candidate nominated by the opposition party (and then exclude the independent and minor candidates from the debates, and news coverage) means that the public officials being elected in the United States are getting worse and worse.
Florida is another example where Republican money financed the campaign of the opponent of Janet Reno, so that a sure loser would squeak to victory and Jeb Bush would be assured of another term in Tallahassee, a term that will include his oversight of the election machinery during his brother's re-election campaign. What this means, in effect, is that the United States is becoming a one party state, where the political leaders of both parties decide who will win and the elections are just window dressing, just like in places like Pakistan. When the world-wide depression hits, the collapse of the two party system, free and fair elections, and democracy in the United States and France, to name two, will be the real cause.
One exception to the inherited power curse is in New Hampshire, where Congressman John Sununu, the son of the former Governor, just defeated incumbent Republican US Senator Bob Smith. Smith ran briefly for President as an independent in 1999.
Seeing as the national voting pool is about 25% Republican, 25% Democratic and 50% independent, it makes no sense to punish Republicans with independent leanings. But the Republican Party is no longer a party, but an instrument of personal power for the Bush family, like the Congress Party in India is for the Nehru family or the Baath Party in Syria is for the Assad family or the Baath Party in Iraq is for the Takriti clan of Saddam Hussein.
In November, Governor Jeanne Shaheen will defeat Sununu, the inheritor, thus making it almost impossible for the Republicans to regain control of the Senate.
But before any of this takes place, there will be elections in Germany on September 22th where the fortunes of Gerhard Schroeder will have a bearing on the future of the war in Iraq. If Schroeder wins re-election, it will be much harder for Bush to wage his colonial war in Iraq.
Bush is basically trying to undo the Middle East foreign policy of President Eisenhower, which is fitting and proper for a combat shirking coward who inherited the office of president from his dad by not counting the votes in the state where his brother is Governor. Is the United States really in a position to pass judgment on the government in Iraq, or anywhere else?
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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf