But the bottom line is that John Kerry is not up for election -- this is a referendum about George Bush and his policies as well as the Republican Party and their policies. The Republicans are the ones in power -- not us. So, we need to focus on what they say and what they do, not what John Kerry said or did. So, with that in mind, let's take what George Bush said in his interview on Rush Limbaugh and put him under the microscope.
First of all, I fully understand that here in Washington people are trying to proclaim the election over with, but I've had that experience before. That's what happened in 2004, and it's what happened in 2002. So one reason I'm optimistic is I trust the will of the people and not the national punditry.
There is a big difference between 2006 and 2002 and 2004 -- Bush is much lower in the polls than he was back then. The fact that the government, full of right-wing ideologues on a mission to strip away all governmental services, totally failed to rebuild New Orleans after Katrina and totally failed to capture Bin Laden, shows that it is not just a matter of Bush failing in his job as President; it is a matter of Conservatism as a whole failing to meet and address the needs of the American people.
This leads to one of the reasons I focus on Rush Limbaugh. In many parts of the country, he is the only connection to politics people have along with their church and the local rag. We must create a permanent Democratic majority in order to push the country in the right direction; that means taking away the Republican's greatest strength. And for better or worse, Rush has been influential in shaping political discourse over the past 15 years. Therefore, we must develop answers and develop our own vision for the country that is radically different and radically better than the one offered by the Republicans.
Secondly, I know that we're right on the issues -- and the issues, the two main issues, are low taxes and winning the war on terror and protecting the American people.
Low taxes have led to record budget deficits and have turned into the largest piece of corporate welfare in World History.
Secondly, I know that we're right on the issues -- and the issues, the two main issues, are low taxes and winning the war on terror and protecting the American people. So I believe if our candidates continue to talk about the strong economy, based upon low taxes, and an administration in a Congress that was willing to give professionals the tools necessary to protect them, we'll win this election.
"I know we're right...
This is exactly how Conservatism operates -- it looks for and finds answers and then develops the mentality of "I know I'm right." Therefore, it does not adapt when things go horribly wrong and problems like Katrina and Iraq arise that it simply can't solve. Conservatism is always about taking the easy way out rather than admitting there are no easy answers and that solving one set of problems will give rise to a new set of problems.
We don't claim to have all the answers. That is frightening for people who want to have certainty as much as possible. But what we do know is that everybody has a responsibility to help the community as a whole. The more people have, the more responsibility they have to contribute to the betterment of society. And since the government has the most resources, they have the most responsibility for helping to make life better for all.
As for the War on Terror, if that is true, then where is Bin Laden? If Bush is as sure of himself as he says he is, why is Bin Laden still at large after all these years? This is another example of the failure of Conservatism as an ideology -- the axiom of Conservatism is that government does not solve problems; government IS the problem. Even our wingnut congressman knows that is not the case based on the fact that he has gone around his district announcing federal money for various needed projects.
So, the logical thing to do is to do nothing and let others worry about catching Bin Laden. If he is not caught, Pakistan would be to blame.
And as for the economy, big deal -- we already tried Conservative do-nothing economics during the Hoover administration -- it led to the Great Depression. It leads to a nonstop cycle of boom and bust that destroys millions of lives. The only certainty that will occur if Bush continues on his path of stripping away the safeguards FDR and others have built into the system as a protection against a crash is that we will return to the cycle of boom and bust.
Every tax cut we passed, which has helped this economy grow, was opposed by the Democrat leadership. The people that would assume power are the very ones who oppose letting people keep more of their own money...
Bush is not credible when he talks about letting more people keep more of their own money. He can talk all he wants to about this topic. But when it comes time to actually do something about it, he opposes raising the minimum wage so that people can do just that. Raising the minimum wage would mean that people would bring home a lot more money in their pockets than any tax cut ever would.
So, if he is really in favor of letting people take home more money, then maybe he will support the minimum wage.
...and then when it came time to fighting this war on terror we had votes on whether or not we should be able to listen to al-Qaeda or an al-Qaeda affiliate making a phone call to the United States and the overwhelming majority of House Democrats voted against that bill.
Factual error -- we don't oppose wiretaps. In fact, we have a court system set up to do just that. What we do oppose is warrantless wiretaps, which are against our Constitution. Ever made a phone call to a loved one out of the country? What did you talk about? George Bush wants to know.
Or when it came time to question detainees that we picked up on the battlefield, the overwhelming majority of House and Senate Democrats voted against that bill. So there's just a different mindset, Rush, a different attitude about how to protect the American people. My attitude is to give the professionals the tools...
We are not against questioning detainees -- we are against torturing them and holding them indefinitely without charge or trial. If they were really as guilty as the President says they are, then he should charge them with a crime and bring them to trial. The fact that they are still detained without access to families, lawyers, or courts tells me that Bush has no case against them and that he is cutting and running from any kind of accountability.
...and to stay on the offense and fight the enemy wherever we find them and defeat them overseas so we don't have to face them here.
This has been debunked -- terrorists have struck in London and in Madrid and in Indonesia. The war in Iraq has not stopped terrorists from planning crimes against people everywhere.
(On the NYT Leak case) Well, I share the concerns of the people who wonder why there are leaks, which tells the enemy how we're conducting the war against them. Obviously as Commander-in-Chief, Rush, I'm deeply concerned about our secrets being made known. There's a Justice Department Task Force or Justice Department group that are in the process of gathering the information necessary to find whether or not they can find the leakers. But you talk about the fact that some people don't want to give us the tools necessary to fight the war.
Big deal -- people leak stuff to the press all the time. And Bush is guilty of selective outrage here -- he can talk about how he is against leaks all he wants. But his own people are guilty of leaking damaging classified information about our foreign intelligence activities for partisan political purposes. If he were credible when it comes to protecting against leaks, then he would be actively investigating to see who else was responsible for leaking Valerie Plame's name as an undercover CIA agent.
I know we're in a war, and I know there's an enemy that still wants to strike us. As a matter of fact, I spend a lot of time thinking about how best to protect the American people -- and the idea that, you know, some in Congress don't agree with me, I accept. But they should not deny the tools necessary to this government to do our most important job, and that's the fundamental issue in this campaign.
This is hypocrisy and projection at its worst. If he is really credible when it comes to giving people the resources they need, then maybe he will accept that he made a mistake when he didn't give people the resources they needed to protect people during the Katrina disaster. And if he were really credible when it comes to giving people the resources they need, perhaps he would support more body armor for our troops. And if he were really credible in giving people the resources they needed, perhaps he could have given Richard Clarke the resources he needed to capture Bin Laden.
(On the CNN tape of an insurgent shooting at soldiers) My thoughts are that we face an enemy that will kill innocent people. They murder to achieve their objectives, and they use propaganda in order to do two things. One: proclaim their might, and secondly to discourage us. Obviously the idea of their propaganda being displayed is something that bothers me in the sense that I don't want the American people to become discouraged. One: I want them to understand the stakes in this war; and, two, that we're going to win this war and not to be discouraged about the violence and the propaganda that they see. Obviously, some of the violence is not propaganda, but these tapes that they put out are all aimed at shaking our confidence.
Big deal -- that is nothing that George Bush wouldn't do -- Bush has routinely planted GOP propaganda disguised as news within the media in both Iraq and here. Recall the Armstrong Williams scandal.
Osama Bin Laden himself has said that it's just a matter of time before the United States loses its will and retreats. Give me a second here, Rush, because I want to share something with you. I am deeply concerned about a country, the United States, leaving the Middle East. I am worried that rival forms of extremists will battle for power, obviously creating incredible damage if they do so; that they will topple modern governments, that they will be in a position to use oil as a tool to blackmail the West. People say, "What do you mean by that?" I say, "If they control oil resources, then they pull oil off the market in order to run the price up, and they will do so unless we abandon Israel, for example, or unless we abandon allies.
Bush has already cut and run. He cut and run from Osama to invade Iraq to avenge his father. That is the key difference between us and them on terrorism -- we believe we should redeploy our resources so we can capture Bin Laden and break up his funding network. Then, we should use our resources to create alternative fuels and thus break the cycle of dependence we have on Big Oil. Bush believes we should cut and run from Bin Laden by embroiling ourselves in an endless occupation that has nothing to do with stopping terrorism.
So, by his own standards, he has pronounced judgement on himself -- he lost his will to find Bin Laden and he cut and run to Iraq.
You couple that with a country that doesn't like us with a nuclear weapon and people will look back at this moment and say, 'What happened to those people in 2006?' and those are the stakes in this war we face." On the one hand we've got a plan to make sure we protect you from immediate attack, and on the other hand we've got a long-term strategy to deal with these threats, and part of that strategy is to stay on the offense. Part of the strategy is to help young democracies like Lebanon and Iraq be able to survive against the terrorists and the extremists who are trying to crush their hopes, and part of the democracy is for a freedom movement, which will help create the conditions so that the extremists become marginalized and unable to recruit.
The rise of democracy in Lebanon did not happen as a result of the Bush administration. And Iraq is not a democracy at all -- it is an Islamic theocracy that is falling under the influence of Iran and their reactionary brand of Islam.
I am and I fully understand the nature of this enemy. One: they're great propagandists, and two: they truly believe they can cause us to retreat by inflicting enough damage, and three: they're lethal. But I also understand they have no vision; they have no ideology. I mean, they have an ideology, they just can't convince people that their ideology makes sense, and I also understand that we're inflicting damage on them.
Bush obviously does not understand the nature of the enemy or the occupation of Iraq would not be failing the way it is. If he really understood the nature of the enemy, he would not have began the occupation of Iraq in the first place and he would not have cut and run from Bin Laden.
Once again, Bush pronounces judgement on himself. He has no clear vision for the country, does not have an ideology that makes sense, and he does not understand that he has suffered lasting political damage from this fiasco of the kind that will permanently discredit Conservatism as an ideology.
That we're on the hunt, that we're bringing them to justice; that if you're al-Qaeda you know the United States of America is breathing down your neck, and we will continue to do so so long as I'm the president -- and Iraq is a tough fight. The recent debate here on Iraq, some say Iraq is a "distraction" from the war on terror. My answer to them is, listen to Osama Bin Laden who says: "Our objective is to defeat America, which will disgrace America, which embolden the terrorists," which will then enable them, them being al-Qaeda and extremists, to have safe haven just like they had in Afghanistan -- and we're not going to do let them do it.
Once again, he pronounces judgement on himself. Bush cut and run from Bin Laden -- this has not only emboldened him, it has emboldened our enemies such as North Korea and Iran. And Iraq was never a safe haven for terrorism before we began the occupation there -- it is now. And the quickest way for us to destroy the safe haven of Iraq is to end the occupation. The marriage between the insurgents and the foreigners is merely a marriage of convenience. The second we end our occupation of Iraq will be the second this marriage of convenience breaks up.
They can't beat us on the battlefield. The only way we can lose this is if we leave, and our troops are -- the other thing people say, "Well, you know, it's a long slug and therefore it's going to be hard to maintain morale in the military." One: it is going to be a tough fight, but I will tell you something. The morale in our military is high because these young men and women understand the stakes. Reenlistment rates are very high and recruitment rates are strong, which all says to me we've got an amazing country when we've got people who put on the uniform say, "Put me in. I want to go fight for this country."
Actually, that is simply not true -- in fact 72% of our troops want us out of Iraq. This is indicitave of a military in a state of low morale, not a state of high morale. And no wonder -- Bush cannot explain the noble cause for which they are bleeding and dying. We have stuff like Bush opposing an international effort to stop the proliferation of small-arms sales -- a move that would have kept deadly weapons out of the hands of these killers and terrorists.
We've got incredible people in our military, and they deserve full praise and full support of this government.
Which they are obviously not getting, given my fact above.
Secondly, what they deserve is a plan for victory, and we have a plan for victory. Our victory, as you know, is really to help the Iraqis win, to help the 12 million people, to help Iraq realize the dreams of 12 million people who voted. To help the political process and help the security process and help the economic process and we're doing just that. It's not easy work, because there's an enemy that still tries to derail the process. They're trying to foment sectarian violence, and on the other hand it's necessary work. My problem with many of the Democrat voices in Washington is they have no plan for victory.
The Democrats are not in power -- he is. Anybody from the most conformed right-wing Republican to the most left-wing pacifist would want to help the political and security and economic process of Iraq along. That is not a plan at all -- that is a vague generalization designed to cover up the fact that it is Bush who has no plan whatsoever.
This is an essential part of the war on terror, and I believe responsible leaders must come up with a plan for victory in order to achieve peace, and yet the only plan I hear is, one: let's get out of Iraq before the job is done -- which would be a disaster for a future generation of Americans. Getting out of Iraq, Rush, all that would do is embolden an enemy and dash the hopes of millions who count on the United States to help them secure freedom, and getting out of Iraq would make the country less secure.
And the only plan I hear from Bush is more of the same old failed politics as usual. It is clear from our recent confrontations with North Korea and Iran that this occupation has emboldened them because we do not have the resources to fight a war with them should it ever come down to that. Our resources are wasting away over in Iraq. All of this has made this country less secure.
And nowhere in this entire interview does he define what he means by getting the job done. We could, of course, stay until all of Iraq is pacified. But that would be impossible. To do so would require us to kill about 2/3's of the population -- something that could not be done in this day and age of International Law. Julius Caesar found this out the hard way when he was forced to kill millions of Gauls and sell millions more into slavery before he could pacify the whole region.
One of the interesting things about this war that is different from previous wars, is in previous wars you could leave the battlefield and the enemy would stay close to the battlefield. In this war, if you leave the battle, the enemy follows us home to America -- and that's one of the lessons of September the 11th, and that's one of the reasons why we will win in Iraq. I repeat: the only reason we could lose in Iraq is if we leave, and, therefore, we've got kids sacrificing in Iraq, and when they hear politicians say, "Get out before the job is done," that's discouraging to them, and it's discouraging to the Iraqis, and it's encouraging to the enemy. That's why my voice is so loud in saying to our troops: "What you're doing is noble and important and you're going to win and history will look back and thank you for your sacrifices."
Bush is operating under a faulty premise -- he is implying that Saddam is responsible for 9/11, which he was not. Bin Laden was responsible for that, and as a result, he is ready to strike again. The fact that he has not does not mean a thing -- he is a patient man and will do so again if it achieves his objective of damaging us.
The fact is that Bush cut and run on Bin Laden. History will judge us some day for that act of cowardice, when we could have finished the job by capturing him, but didn't. In fact, it already is -- people are already reverting back to supporting the Taliban people who sheltered him in the first place. If Bin Laden commits an act of terror on our soil, an act much worse than 9/11, people will look back to the day when Bush cut and run from him as the ultimate act of cowardice for which the whole world will have to pay.
I think that, yes, the news that North Korea wanted to come back to the six party talks is very positive. I want your listeners to understand this, that I made the calculation having watched what happened during the last attempt to have bilateral relations with North Korea, that if it didn't work then, it's not going to work now. The second part of my calculation was: It's better to have more than one voice saying to the North Koreans, "There's a better way forward than you attempting to have a nuclear weapon," and some of those voices are the voices of the Chinese, for example, or the Japanese and the South Koreans and Russians, obviously, and it's that combination of voice saying loud and clear to Kim Jong Il that there's a better way. It will make it more likely we can solve this issue peacefully and diplomatically and now the task is, when the North Koreans come back to the table, is to make it clear that our intention is to help them move forward so long as they give up their weapons in a verifiable way. Our objective is to rid the Korean Peninsula of any nuclear weapons threat. It was good news. The announcement of Monday was good news and we will pursue the opportunities ahead of us. But the key is to make sure that the North Koreans, when they sit at the table, look around and see more than just the United States. That they see other parties who can either help them succeed or cause them to become isolated.
The only way a six-party conference would resolve this crisis would be if all six parties were willing to buy into the strategy. But that is simply not the case. And that is the only thing consistent about Bush's policy; the rest, according to this analysis from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Bush policy towards North Korea has been a total disaster. He has constantly vacillated, first wanting to use force, and then deciding not to. And while he is talking about the need for a peaceful solution, his own UN ambassador, John Bolton, is saying that misbehavior from North Korea cannot be tolerated.
Any credit for North Korea coming back to the table would have to go to China -- they were the ones who persuaded them to come back -- not the Bush administration. They did quite a favor for the Bush administration, given the contempt demonstrated by Bush towards the Chinese leader at his recent White House visit and has subsequent patronizing remarks towards the Chinese people when he talks about the need for them to become more of a society of consumers. The implication is that Bush thinks he is the leader of the whole world -- not just President of the US.
By turning the focus of attention away from himself and on to John Kerry, he is covering up for the fact that he is the one in office, not Kerry. He is covering up for the fact that he cut and run from Bin Laden before the job was done in Afghanistan, he is covering up for the fact that his occupation of Iraq is a complete disaster, and he is covering up for the fact that thanks to his tax cuts, we are running up the largest budget deficits in our nation's history.