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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Culture of incompetence

By George Dienhart
Now I’m sure that there are people who think it would be wrong to blame the majority party for high gasoline prices. We hear that the prices are a combination of several “perfect storm” elements: low value of the dollar, not enough refining capability, and supply and demand constraints brought on by increased demand out of Asia. Certainly this all makes sense, and it would be just plain wrong to blame the majority party of Congress for high gas prices. Ask any Democrat, and you will hear how it is not Congress fault, and we really should not blame poor Speaker Pelosi- after all, she’s made no promises. Except for the following press release:

Monday, April 24, 2006
Contact: Brendan Daly/Jennifer Crider, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on President Bush’s, Speaker Hastert’s, and the Republican Congress’ empty rhetoric on gas prices. Key facts on the Majority's failure to address gas prices follows Pelosi’s statement.
With skyrocketing gas prices, it is clear that the American people can no longer afford the Republican Rubber Stamp Congress and its failure to stand up to Republican big oil and gas company cronies. Americans this week are paying $2.91 a gallon on average for regular gasoline – 33 cents higher than last month, and double the price than when President Bush first came to office.
“With record gas prices, record CEO pay packages, and record oil company profits, Speaker Hastert and the Majority Congress continue to give the American people empty rhetoric rather than join Democrats who are working to lower gas prices now.
“Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices by cracking down on price gouging, rolling back the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks and royalty relief given to big oil and gas companies, and increasing production of alternative fuels.”
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So, it’s okay for Democrats to blame Republicans for this mess, but Democrats won’t take responsibility for growing the mess to epic proportions over the course of less than 2 years? With this in mind, I thought it might be a good time to check in with the six for 06 promises. The rather vague (unlike the Contract for America) promises were:

  • National security- "We will protect Americans at home and lead the world by telling the truth to our troops, our citizens and our allies. We believe in a strong national defense that is both tough and smart, recognizing that homeland security begins with hometown security." This was a back handed slap at he president, and a nice way of saying isolationism, with out saying that they would withdraw the troops. I believe the troop level is higher now than it was when they made this promise. So, to summarize, they tried to say that they would pull out of Iraq, without saying they would pull out of Iraq. This “promise” was a failure on so many levels. This promise was a failure to take a stand, a failure to follow through and a failure to be honest about what they were promising.
  • Jobs and wages- “We will create jobs that stay in America and restore opportunity for all Americans, starting with raising the minimum wage, expanding Pell grants and making college tuition tax deductible. We also believe in budget discipline that reduces our deficit.” They did pass a higher minimum wage, then the current economic slow down started. Could this be the result of additional pressure put on the small businesses that drive the economy? Probably, but the MSM will bury that story. Congress has made no progress on the deficit.
  • Energy independence- “We will create a cleaner, greener and stronger America by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, eliminating billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop energy alternatives, and investing in energy independent technology.” There are currently no new energy alternatives, and relying on the corn crop for ethanol has caused food riots around the world. Way to go Dems- your green policy is starving the world.
  • A healthcare system that works for everyone- “We will join 36 other industrialized nations in making sure everyone has access to affordable health care, starting by fixing the prescription drug program and investing in stem cell and other medical research”. Best I can tell they did absolutely nothing here.
  • Retirement security- “We will ensure that a retirement with dignity is the right and expectation of every single American, starting with pension reform, expanding saving incentives and preventing the privatization of social security.” Well, Social Security was not privatized, but that effort had already died. Nothing else came of this.
  • End the “Culture of Corruption”- We will end the Republican culture of corruption and restore a government as good as the people it serves, starting with real ethics reform". From Wikipedia:
    o New Jersey former State Senator Joseph Coniglio (D-NJ) indicted for abusing state grants, mail fraud and extortion(2008)
    o New Jersey State Senator and former Newark Mayor Sharpe James (D-NJ) James is accused of numerous corrpution charges including, mail fraud, conspiracy, wire fraud and using city money to boost his salary and pension and to pay for his numerous sexual affairs. (2007)
    o New Jersey State Senator Wayne Bryant (D-NJ) pension padding, no-show jobs, mail fraud, wire fraud and bribery (2007)

Apparently, the word didn’t get out to New jersey, or for that matter, New York. Or Detroit. Or California.
o John Burton (D-CA) former California Senate Pro Tempore - accused of sexual harassment by a female employee at his charity organization (2008)
o Kwame Kilpatrick (D-MI) Detroit Mayor - extramarital affair with his Chief-of-Staff, Christine Beatty. Racy text messages between them uncovered by the press contradicted their sworn denials of an affair. Also alleged to have stayed at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC with a woman named Carmen Slowsky, who was not his wife (2008)
o Eliot Spitzer (D-NY) New York Governor - went through a prostitution service called Emperors Club VIP where he allegedly met with a prostitute in a Washington, DC hotel. He was linked to the prostitution ring by a wiretap of his cell phone.(2008)

Just curious- any of you Democrats feel burned? Is this the kind of Change you are looking for? Feel free to discuss amongst yourself…