Sunday, May 14, 2006

Newt on MtP: 2006 election

Newt Gingrich's interview on this morning's Meet the Press continued onto the subject of the 2006 elections, and the strengths and weaknesses of the Democrats and Republicans.


[Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean] can’t be clear what they would do—raise taxes, create more big bureaucracy, have a much weaker system of defending America. I mean, just go down the list.
Utter bullshit. Will the Democrats raise taxes if they retake the Congress? You damned well better bet they will, but the Republicans will have to raise taxes if they keep the Congress. There is no magic formula for ending our ruinous deficit spending that doesn't involve raising taxes; it cannot be done. Will the Democrats create more big bureaucracy? Just look at the record: the number of federal government employees shrank under Clinton by 7%. Bush, on the other hand, created major new bureaucracies (Homeland Security and the National Intelligence Directorate) and an enormous new entitlement program (Medicare Drug Benefit). So it is laughable to say that the Democrats would create more big bureaucracy than the Republicans have in the last 5 years. As for the system of defending America, nothing could possibly be weaker than what we have now. The Democrats want to take a sensible approach to problems, instead of just throwing around a lot of laser-guided cruise missiles. It's a sign of weakness, not strength, to reach for the launch button every time you're confronted with a threat to the nation.
[Newt Gingrich, quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer] said there had been a series of blunders under Republican rule, from failure in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to mismanagement of the war in Iraq. He said the immigration bill passed by the House was unrealistic and too harsh toward undocumented immigrants. He called congressional efforts to regulate lobbying 'much too weak,' and said the government had squandered billions of dollars in Iraq.
The last 5 years of Republican rule has been very nearly a non-stop series of blunders, but yes, Katrina and Iraq top the list. The immigration bill won't reduce, much less eliminate, illegal immigration; it will only divert more money to bureaucratic waste and prison cells for non-violent offenders. The main answer to the illegal immigration problem is a broad, sustained, nationwide crackdown on large employers who knowingly hire illegal workers. We should start by enforcing the laws we already have, rather than passing a draconian measure that will be unevenly enforced. I don't have the whole answer on lobbying, but the Republicans have taken at best a baby step when a full-grown marathon is needed. The situation in Iraq is deplorable, and thoroughly symptomatic of the evasion of personal responsibility that is the hallmark of the Bush administration. By Gingrich's own figures, $16 billion of the $18 billion in economic relief for Iraq was wasted. That's not exactly the businesslike efficiency we were told to expect from our first M.B.A. President.
When you look at Katrina and you realize that we, we—the United States government paid $1.75 to a general contractor who paid 75 cents to a contractor who paid 35 cents to a subcontractor who paid 10 cents to put the blue tarp on that was the temporary roofing, you know something has to change.
Bingo. The Republican "culture of corruption" is inextricably woven into the contracting process in the Bush administration. In order to get something done, we have to pour a heap of gravy onto the middlemen who have paid off the Bushies. Ninety-four percent overhead is not an acceptable cost of doing business. Back on the subject of illegal immigration, Gingrich points out that the U.S. government received $6.4 billion just in Social Security payments to accounts that do not exist. Shouldn't it raise a red flag if an employer is making payments to Social Security numbers like 660-45-5432 or 960-45-1234?
If you ask me is America safer with Saddam in jail than it was with Saddam in charge of the government, I think we’re much safer today than we would have been, because it's very clear from United Nations reports, and as you know I co-chaired with Senator George Mitchell a task force on, on reforming the U.N., it's very clear from the United Nations information that sanctions were breaking down.
Is America safer with thousands upon thousands of new terrorists gaining battlefield training in killing Americans than it would be if Saddam were still in power? No way in hell! America is far worse off as things turned out than we were with Saddam still in control of Iraq. Certainly there were problems with the U.N. sanctions, and with French, Russian, and American companies helping Saddam evade the sanctions, but a full-scale invasion wasn't the only option to address that problem.
But, by the way, remember Saddam was paying $25,000 dollars to the family of every suicide bomber. Saddam had a direct relationship with al-Qaeda, and if you read the recent joint forces command report, which is declassified and has been published, which goes through all the information we’ve learned from the Iraqi generals, it’s very compelling that this was a dangerous dictatorship and that we had a very good reason to be worried about it.
First of all, Saddam was paying $25,000 dollars to the family of every Palestinian suicide bomber — not al Qaeda. You can't lump the Palestinian terrorists in with al Qaeda just because they're all Muslims. Secondly, we know that Saddam had NO direct relationship with al Qaeda. Yes, Newt Gingrich told an absolute 100% pure bald-faced lie. In reality, Saddam and al Qaeda were mortal enemies. The bottom line is, Saddam Hussein posed no proximate threat to the United States, to Kuwait, to Saudi Arabia, to Iran, or to U.S. interests in the Middle East. He was not a "clear and present danger" to the United States, as the Bush administration would still have us believe he was. He was a "clear former danger" and a "possible future danger," but not a "clear and present danger."

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