Opinion

Government reeks of Republican failure

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif. and the first woman who has filled that important position in Congress), in a recent CNN interview, stated rather bluntly: “President Bush has been a ‘total failure’ in everything from the economy to the war to energy policy.”

She responded to the president’s criticism of the Democratic-led Congress that there are only 26 days left in the legislative session (when the president made his statement) and not one single government spending bill has been passed by Congress. In the past, Pelosi has attacked the president’s policies, but this is the first time she has attacked him. She further stated in response to his criticism that “you know, God bless him, bless his heart, President of the United States, a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject.” She then criticized Bush “for challenging Congress when we are trying to sweep up after his mess over and over and over again.”

Pelosi’s counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has been critical of the president as well.

Contrary to what President Bush has stated, our economy has major problems, all of which occurred during his watch. Inflation is currently at 5.7 percent (and rising) with three months to go (like it was in the 1970s). The subprime mortgage crisis is causing home foreclosures, failing banking institutions and many new homeowners being forced out of their homes because they have no equity in their homes (due to falling home values) and cannot make the mortgage payments. Rising energy prices which has adversely affected all aspects of our economy from $4-plus gas prices, food prices rising at alarming rates to forcing companies to layoff thousands of workers to remain solvent. An increased number of Americans are filing for bankruptcy because they are living on plastic (credit cards), making minimum payments with excessive interest rates with no option to refinance using a home equity line-of-credit because of falling home prices.

On the positive side, the rising energy prices will finally force Detroit’s automakers to start manufacturing fuel-efficient vehicles (something they should have done years ago) and with Americans forced to cut back on travel (which unfortunately, adversely affects the tourist industry), it helps fight global warming. Right now, there are a lot of gas-guzzling SUV owners that wish they had not purchased their vehicles because they can’t afford to use them due to the high gas prices, and the only way to dispose of those vehicles is sell them at a loss because there is no market for them.

The unpopular war in Iraq and Afghanistan has cost our country billions of dollars (not to mention the lives of thousand of our soldiers) that could have been better spent on strengthening our economy, providing better education to our children, better health care to our seniors, etc. Instead, it has just added to our multi-trillion dollar national debt for your children and their children to deal with. In case you have forgotten, President Bill Clinton (a Democrat) had a government surplus during his administration (something Republicans cannot relate to).

Neither the president nor Congress has much of a leg to stand on. President Bush has one of the lowest approval ratings (28 percent, or about one in four Americans). There are probably a lot of these very same Americans who wish they hadn’t voted for his second term of office in 2004.

On the flip side, Congress has an even lower approval rating (18 percent or one in five Americans), a drop of 5 percent in the past month alone. Furthermore, only 16 percent (less than one in six Americans) of those surveyed think our country is moving in the right direction — so what does that tell you about the leadership of our president and Congress?

The bottom line is, because this is a presidential election year, Congress will, at best, pass only one or two appropriation bills and continuing resolutions (funding the government at its present level) until January 2009 when the Democrats hope Senator Barack Obama will be the new president.

Regardless of whether John McCain or Obama wins — and it should be a very interesting (and possibly tight race) to watch — the Democratic Congress feels that dealing with either McCain or Obama will be much easier than dealing with Bush.

Gary Robertson is a Federal Way resident.

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