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It will take years to undo what this administration has done


Fri, Sep 14th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

One question I get about my commentaries is: "How do you pick your subject?"

Most of the time I choose medically related subjects. It's not that I don't have strong opinions on other subjects. I suspect people will take me more seriously if they think practicing medicine for nearly forty years gives me some insight not available to non-physicians. I'm entitled to opinions on politics just like everyone else. But should I inflict them on anyone else?

This week's events negate all my plans for a commentary because Iraq sucks all the oxygen out of the room.

General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker are giving testimony to Congress as I write this. Bush has signaled for weeks that he is not going to change strategy. There have been so many leaks about the testimonies I expect there are no real surprises. Republicans and Democrats in Congress have all stated their positions. Nothing is going to change in Iraq policy. There is no Democrat majority to force change let alone to override a veto. There are 49 Democrats and 49 Republicans in the Senate; there are two Independents that caucus with the Democrats and one (Lieberman) votes with the Republicans on Iraq.

This stale mate will continue but in the meantime it produces a curtain that shields the administration and Congress from all the other things many of us would be irate about.

While trumpeting to the base of the Republican party about the need for a small federal government, Bush issued executive orders that make it almost impossible for the states to control a program passed by the Congress specifically to give states that right: the States Children's Health Insurance Program.

In defending the indefensible, the administration claims the Congressional bills in conference committee on the States Children's Health Insurance Program is the first step toward socialism or even communism. This while promoting permanent tax cuts that give over 50 percent of the benefits to people making more than a million dollars a year. He is also promoting "Medical Advantage" plans in place of regular Medicare. This costs 12 percent more than standard Medicare and will hasten depletion of the Medicare Trust. News today outlines failure of the administration to audit Medicare Advantage as required by statute resulting in millions in over payments.

The administration has trumpeted the economy as having produced 8 million jobs during the economic recovery and increases in home ownership as proof that tax cuts worked as in the "trickle down" of the Reagan years. It didn't work then and it's not working now. Home ownership is turning out to be a housing bubble that may drag down our and the world's economy. The recovery during the 8 years of Clinton's administration generated 21 million jobs. Bush has about 500 days to add 13 million jobs.

A new poll by the New York Times shows Americans believe the military will be the best bet to end the war in Iraq despite the almost constant barrage of news items and commentary that indicate there are only diplomatic solutions to the war and not a military solution! The same poll showed 33 percent of Americans still believe Hussein was directly involved with 9-11 despite this being disproved over and over again. An earlier poll showed almost 50 percent believe weapons of mass destruction were found. I find this incredible.

A new poll by ABC, the British Broadcasting Corp., and NHK a Japanese broadcaster, show a great disconnect between reports from Iraq by all American sources. Reports of the National Intelligence Estimate, the Government Accountability Office and the Independent Commission on the Security Forces in Iraq paint a gloomy picture compared to leaked Petraeus' testimony.

Not nearly as gloomy as this poll from face to face interviews with Iraqis'. They claim only 11 percent of Iraqis' feel more secure since the "surge". Sixty percent feel less secure. In 2005, 69 percent of Iraqis' felt life would be better in a year. March 2007, only 40 percent felt that way and 23 percent in August 2007. As a Congressperson once said, "everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts".

Tony Fratto is reported to have said it was "reprehensible" for a Congressperson to question General Petraeus' objectivity. I have opinions, you have opinions, the Congressperson has opinions, and General Petraeus has opinions.

We have to keep our eyes on Iraq and the politicians. We can't allow Iraq to befog the other problems that we face. It's my opinion the administration is working under the radar to implement policies that will take years to undo and will damage many of the ideals mainstream Americans are too distracted to defend. This is just a partial list.

If you have the time or inclination let me know what you think.

Robert Sauer is from Preston. He can be reached at r.sauer@mchsi.com

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