Monday, September 24, 2007

You Bought It, You Own It

Austin Cline over at The General’s place has this just about right:
Every Republican running for office, no matter what the office, should be judged, at least in part, on the record of George W. Bush personally and the Republican control of the government generally. They should be expected to answer for it and defend it if they want to run as Republicans, promoting the Republican and conservative philosophy of government. If they want to promote some other philosophy of government, they should stop calling themselves Republicans — as some have had the courage to do, recognizing that what it means to be a Republican has changed in recent years.

Republicans have carried water for President Bush for the past six years, letting the government listen in to our phone calls and find out what books we’re reading, funding a war to the tune of $12 billion a week while cutting Section 8 housing grants and other services to the poor for fiscal reasons--all while claiming to promote a “culture of life.” It makes my head spin.

Yes, some Democrats have voted for these things too. And what conservatives refer to as the "far left wing" of the Democratic Party is forcing these candidates to answer for this support. Hillary Clinton has been dogged by anti-war activists for her pro-war votes at nearly ever campaign stop. There are “anti-DINO” campaigns all over the lefty blogosphere.

But Republicans have rubber-stamped everything Bush has done, and now they think they can run away from an unpopular president:

How candidates handle the 800-pound elephant in the room now could have implications beyond the primary. Privately, Republican strategists agree their nominee will lose next fall if the general election is a referendum on Bush. They say GOP candidates are wise to distance themselves from the president now, given his unpopularity among the public at large.

But facts are facts. It is hypocritical to deny active-duty troops more R&R time while claiming you support the troops. It’s hypocritical to say you don’t have the money for low income housing while billions of dollars go unaccounted for in Iraq:

Paul Bremer, meanwhile, had a slush fund in cash of more than $600 million in his office for which there was no paperwork. One U.S. contractor received $2 million in a duffel bag. Three-quarters of a million dollars was stolen from an office safe, and a U.S. official was given $7 million in cash in the waning days of the CPA and told to spend it “before the Iraqis take over.” Nearly $5 billion was shipped from New York in the last month of the CPA. Sources suggest that a deliberate attempt was being made to run down the balance and spend the money while the CPA still had authority and before an Iraqi government could be formed.

The only certified public-accounting firm used by the CPA to monitor its spending was a company called North Star Consultants, located in San Diego, which was so small that it operated out of a private home. It was subsequently determined that North Star did not, in fact, perform any review of the CPA’s internal spending controls. Today, no one can account for billions of those dollars or even suggest how the money was spent. And as the CPA no longer exists, there is also little interest in re-examining its transparency or accountability.

The above is from a 2005 story in the American Conservative, not really the “liberal media.” Paul Bremer received a medal of freedom along with George Tenet and Tommy Franks. Where is the Republican outrage over this fiscal irresponsibility? Every GOP candidate, be it for President or Congress, should be asked about this outrage and many others.

Are these conservative values? Is this the Republican Party? Why have you remained silent? Why aren't you doing anything about it? How can we ever trust Republicans to run the government, to be in charge of American foreign policy, when you got us in this mess to begin with?