Any reasonable person would have to conclude that as Leaders of the Free World, BushCo. took a beating this year -- Social Security privatization is a failure of Ishtar-like proportions, GWB's approval rating is nearly as low as his IQ, Baghdad is still burning and Terry Schiavo is still dead. So it all sounded a little mewling and pathetic when the GOP faithful were crowing about their legislative victories this week.
But as Krugman points out, this is what they really care about:
Let's start with the energy bill. Even the bill's supporters barely pretend that it will do anything to reduce America's dependence on imported oil. It's simply an exercise in corporate welfare, full of subsidies and targeted tax breaks.And the truly humiliating part of the article? I'd heard that the "global war on terrorism" had been downgraded to the "global struggle against violent extremism," but was I asleep when they announced that this policy was henceforth to be known as "gee-save"? So they've got, like, some middle aged neocon wiggers writing Pentagon slogans now?
Then there's the pork-stuffed highway bill. I guess we'll have to stop making fun of Japanese public works spending: now America, too, is building bridges to islands that have almost no inhabitants, but lie in the districts of influential legislators.
Finally, Cafta contains "free trade" in its title, but that's misleading. The administration rammed the bill through the House by, among other things, promising to limit imports of clothing from China; over all, the effect may well be to reduce, not increase, international trade. But pharmaceutical companies got measures that protect and extend their monopoly rights in Central America.
These bills don't have anything to do with governing, if governing means trying to achieve actual policy goals like energy independence or expanded trade. They're just machine politics at work, favors granted in return for favors received.
In fact, you can argue that the administration does a bad job at governing in part because its highest priority is always to reward its friends. Most notably, the Iraq venture would have had a better chance of succeeding if cronyism and corruption hadn't undermined reconstruction.
I'm not gonna be able to travel abroad until we do something about this. Really.
Painful. Just painful.
(thanks to Mollie for the excellent graphic -- I tried to say "dope" but it just isn't in me)