|Tom DeLay- Corporate Whore|
In any other year, Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) performance on "Meet the Press" this Sunday might have seemed strange. But 2003 was filled with such bitter rhetoric and misleading half-truths from the right wing that DeLay's nutty rantings actually provide fitting closure to the year. Let's take a look at some of his comments, as well as a recap of the year that was 2003.
Rep. Tom DeLay appeared on "Meet the Press" yesterday determined to end the year with a bang, not a whimper. He called the war in Iraq "exciting," and compared Democrats to morons, hippies and (gasp!) the French.
And then he started saying really ridiculous things. Check out this exchange between DeLay and host Tim Russert:
MR. RUSSERT: [President Clinton's] first budget submission which passed without one Republican vote, you'll give him no credit for that?
REP. DeLAY: None at all because it raised taxes and made it even more difficult for us to come back in 1995 and change his economic policies and get us back to balance.
MR. RUSSERT: As long as we have these $500 billion deficits, will you not introduce any more tax-cut legislation?
REP. DeLAY: Tax cuts will lower the deficit and bring us back to balance.
This represents by far the most ludicrous exchange during the interview. First DeLay attempted to take credit for the record economic expansion under the Clinton administration, and then he attempted to once again sell the idea that reduced revenue will actually lower the budget deficit. Besides being mathematically challenged, DeLay's faith-based economic theories are contrary to all the actual experience we've had with supply-side economics. After three successive years of massive tax cuts, the federal budget deficit stands at roughly $500 billion, the largest it's ever been - are we missing something here?
But DeLay wasn't finished. Watching him spew hateful rhetoric is like watching Picasso go to work on a blank canvas. Except instead of using oil on canvas, DeLay's preferred medium is verbal garbage on the public record. Which leads us to this bombshell:
REP. DeLAY: You know, the Democrats want to balance the budget by raising spending and raising taxes. The Soviet Union had a balanced budget.
Apparently sensing he hadn't gone far enough with his comparisons to morons, hippies and the French, DeLay kicked his rhetoric into a higher gear later in the show and compared Democrats to communists because they're pushing for a balanced budget. This statement is the "Guernica" of hateful political diatribes. What better way to cap off a command performance than some good old-fashioned red-baiting? This must constitute getting into the Christmas spirit for DeLay: calling Democrats dirty Greens and treacherous Reds. There is no word whether or not he spent the rest of his Sunday terrorizing the Whoos down in Whooville.
But employing false economic logic and engaging in bitter name-calling has been a hallmark of 2003. President Bush promised in his inaugural address to "change the tone in Washington," and he has - under the Bush administration, things have transformed from typical partisan bickering to outright political garbage-throwing.
Anyone who opposed the president's ill-planned rush to war was labeled a traitor.
Anyone who dared question the president's overstatements of intelligence information was labeled a traitor and a wimp.
Anyone who opposed tax cuts was labeled a tax-and-spend liberal. And a traitor.
And the list goes on.
Democrats in Congress were the most frequent recipients of such attacks, but by far the worst retaliation was administered against Valerie Plame, wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who dared speak out against the president's bogus yellowcake claim.
President Bush and other administration officials frequently overstated Iraq's WMD capability before the war, from the president's ominous State of the Union address, to Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to the UN shortly thereafter. And let's not forget about Vice President Dick Cheney's quote on "Meet the Press" that Iraq had "reconstituted nuclear weapons."
When Wilson finally called the administration on their elaborate charade, the Bush political team responded with a political whack job - they outted the identity of his wife, a CIA operative, by leaking it to conservative columnist Robert Novak. In the political non-surprise of the year, an investigation that is being conducted by Attorney General John Ashcroft's FBI has not found the source of the leak.
The Plame story stands out as a particularly savage tale, although it would stand out even more if there wasn't a near-constant barrage of political invective and misleading statements generated by the Bush White House. Quick bullet points cannot hope to summarize the president's atrocious record, but they will give an idea of how many ways the administration has failed the American people.
Economy: Treasury Secretary John Snow estimated that the president's plans would create a few hundred thousand dollars of jobs each month. It has not. Meanwhile, the deficit is at record levels, spending is up, and the administration still has not ruled out even more tax cuts.
Environment: President Bush backtracked on earlier promises to create strict mercury restrictions. The so-called "Clear Skies Initiative" significantly undermines the Clean Air Act, and national forests have been opened up to commercial logging interests. And Vice President Cheney's Energy Task Force continues to stonewall investigators searching for transparency in the nation's policies.
Foreign Affairs: Osama bin Laden is at large. Troops are stretched thin in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many are lacking basic provisions like bulletproof vests and fresh water. Meanwhile Halliburton's contracts have netted the company some $2.26 billion.
Medicare: President Bush and Congressional Republicans have touted the new Medicare bill as a significant step forward, and it is - for drug companies and the health industry that get over 61% of the money added directly to their profit margins. But our nation's seniors have been betrayed.
And there's more, much more. It's been a long year, and simply switching the calendar over to 2004 certainly won't be a panacea - after all, it's not like a huge tax cut or anything. But each new year does bring hope: after all, you never know what 2004 will bring. Happy holidays - we'll be back on January 5.
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