Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Political Arcade

Another terrific article by Victor Davis Hanson reflecting on the frustration and lack of strategery of the Left:

Presidents frustrate the sale of political rhetoric.
by Victor Davis Hanson
Tribune Media Services

Bill Clinton frustrated Republican critics. He passed welfare reform, waged a preemptive war against Slobodan Milosevic without either the approval of the Congress or the United Nations, and reined in federal spending. And so anguished conservatives had a hard time proving that, despite these accomplishments, he was a tax-and-spend bleeding heart.

Instead, they finally charged him with being a lothario who lied about his sexual antics. But he ended up with higher approval ratings than the Republicans who impeached him.

In the same sort of way, a detested-by-the-left George Bush has driven Democrats even crazier.

Take the economy. In Bush's first term, the president ballooned the federal deficit. But that red ink wasn't because of too little money coming in. In fact, the ensuing growth of the economy produced more annual adjusted revenue for the Treasury than had been produced before the Bush tax cuts. This year there has been a whopping 14.6 percent increase in federal income over last.

So how does a big-government Democrat score points against a president who outpaced Bill Clinton 3 to 1 in increasing the rate of federal spending?

Democrats have tried the "tax cuts for the wealthy" approach. But, then, how is it that almost every American got some tax relief — and that most in the upper brackets still pay over 50 percent of their salaries when federal, state, local and payroll taxes are considered altogether? Furthermore, unemployment and interest rates remain low, while consumer spending and the gross domestic product soar.

The Democrats face the same sort of dilemma in regard to Iraq, even though the war is currently unpopular. They are not traditional Lindberg isolationists who want to stay home. To their credit, most aren't grim realists who believe we should worry only how thugs abroad treat us, rather than how they treat their own.

So, privately, Democrats concede that, while going to war may have been naive or widely idealistic, it was not done simply out of self-interest.

Read the whole thing at VDH Private Papers

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