President George W. Bush’s response to the 9/11 attacks by launching two open-ended wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus the sustained Republican assault on government domestic spending, have contributed to a decline in safety and health at home and abroad, reports Michael Winship.
Perhaps it was inevitable in America’s self-absorbed culture that the tragedy of 9/11 would be politicized and counter-politicized, forged into a weapon by ideological forces to wield against their enemies in the never-ending “culture wars.” But Michael Winship laments how that process has tarnished the memories and heroism of those who died.
Unlike Hurricane Katrina on George W. Bush’s watch, FEMA stayed on top of Hurricane Irene rushing help to flood-stricken Americans, from North Carolina to Vermont. But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and right-wing Republicans are demanding spending “offsets” from other federal programs, as Michael Winship notes.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the new Republican presidential frontrunner, touts the “Texas Miracle” as a model for the nation. But his vision of a free-market paradise, thriving without the nuisance of government spending, doesn’t match the reality, writes Michael Winship.
Ironically, just as government-spurred technology opened up prospects of greater wealth for all, an anti-government movement took hold, making sure most benefits went to the rich while leaving millions unemployed and the economy a wreck. Michael Winship lists ideas for putting some jobless back to work.
One enduring lesson of the Reagan administration is that it makes no sense to negotiate with hostage-takers; they only take more hostages. That is a lesson that President Barack Obama and the Democrats must learn in dealing with the today’s right-wing Republicans, writes Michael Winship.
Over the past several decades, the Right has convinced millions of Americans that Government is the source of all problems, that Corporations must have near-total freedom, and that the Rich must enjoy low taxes. The consequence has been a devastated middle class and fiscal chaos, writes Michael Winship.
The Tea Party crowd idolizes the America’s Founders along with today’s corporate titans, whose taxes must be kept low so they can be the great “job creators.” But the contrast is striking, since the Founders risked everything for the country while today’s rich won’t even take the chance of hiring some extra workers, Michael Winship writes.
Right-wing judges now dominate the American legal system, from the state level where corporate donations help elect them to the U.S. Supreme Court where ideologues tip the scales in favor of big business. To Michael Winship, that’s the true scandal in the administration of justice, not a few high-profile instances where juries make unpopular rulings.
Rep. Michele Bachman, a rising Republican presidential aspirant, is notorious for bungling key facts of U.S. history – like starting the Revolutionary War in New Hampshire – but she also misses key points about Canada’s more robust economy. It benefited from strong banking regulation and single-payer health insurance, Michael Winship notes.