Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The What If Speech

Alex Castellanos wrote a great piece for CNN yesterday. He put the idea out that the President might just be a one-term President. The odds are against this, but he suggests that if the President had suggested in October his current strategy and plans….that most Americans would have never voted for him. The speech that Alex suggests?

"My fellow Americans, if you elect me president next Tuesday, I propose to grow our government to unprecedented size, increase federal spending to never-imagined levels and double the debt in our country. I will support $1.3 trillion in new taxes even as our recession deepens. I will take advantage of the crisis to expand federal control of health care, the energy industry, banks, Wall Street and the car business, fire GM's CEO and sign a stimulus bill with nearly 9,000 earmarks.

"I will undo much of Bill Clinton’s welfare reform by giving 'tax cuts' to non-taxpayers. I will propose a crushing tax on energy, making it more expensive to drive to work or cook dinner. I will choose men who have not paid their taxes as my key economic advisers and will have no one in my Cabinet who can fairly be called a 'businessman.' I will shrivel the deduction charities count on for over 40 percent of their contributions.

"I will propose an omnipotent czar with the power to regulate, sanction and, ultimately, seize any business we judge could threaten the economy of this country. My Treasury Department will enable $165 million in bonuses to failed financial industry executives, and then I will give that industry an additional trillion-dollar bailout, indebting middle-class Americans to buy their toxic assets. All this I will do in my first two months, before April Fools' Day."

I read the speech twice over and found it to be interesting. If you lined up one hundred pro-Obama voters in October of 2008….and read this speech….twenty of them would have skipped the election or voted for McCain. The truth is….McCain himself would have likely done at least half of the things that President Obama has accomplished in this period….IF not more. So you wouldn’t have avoided much of this mess.

The problem will be in 2012….as election fever hits the public….and some people start to add up what has happened over four years. Promises made in 2008….probably will have gone by the wayside. UAW members will compare what was given to the bankers and not to the car companies. Special interest groups will remember what was supposed to happen in four years but never did. It’s a difficult forecast because we are barely 100 days into this new period….and one has to have hopes that things settle out in the end.

The New Afghanistan Strategy: Our Civilians

From Defense News (30 Mar), there is a crafted strategy laid out over US Civilian Response Crops. This is the team that will be sent into Afghanistan over the coming months to revamp the whole atmosphere there. The general feeling is that the US needs to approach economic, developmental, diplomatic and political events in Afghanistan.

Hundreds? I’m betting on a group of civilians totaling somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 by the end….when you count real players and the support staff behind them. All sitting in Kabul and faraway districts within Afghanistan. You can see a thousand different issues here.

None of these guys will be there long term. If they last twelve months….they will be lucky. So enthusiastic players will come….and go. Relationships will be built and dissolve. Good programs will be built, then downsized, then revamped, and then rebuilt.

Protection for these guys? Don’t count on a lot. In two years….there will be a fair number of guys brought back via Dover and it won’t be a positive trend for the entire program.

Toss in the fact that it’ll be volunteers….and not necessarily the best of the best who end up going there.

Then add the fact that most will stay comfortably and safely within their compound….refusing to go anywhere in the region that they are supposed to be developing.

So this US Civilian Response Corps will likely be proclaimed a absolute success in 2012, and likely be dismantled by 2014….with little success in terms of the original strategy.

A World That Doesn't Turn

So the boys out in Afhganistan....our friendly Taliban dude insurgents announced today that they are absolutely rejecting the U.S. offer of "honorable reconciliation."

I wasn't very would have been a shock if they asked about meeting any member of the Obama government.

Adding to the intelligent discussion from the Taliban......was a comment calling this entire suggestion....a "lunatic idea". Then the boys said that nothing would be discussed until all foreign troops left...which is pretty much what anyone should expect.

The issues here? Well...after years of war....just to have a new "Joe" looking at you and wanting to talk....doesn't really make much difference. At the end of the discussion...there is this problem of Bin Laden....which you can't avoid. Then you consider the fact that Afghanistan is like a lab area for the Taliban...if they can breed their form of Islam there....then it can spread. Then you have all those dead Taliban leaders who were killed in Pakistan....which some folks aren't likely to forget very soon.

So the new game plan to get people to the table to talk? Its anchored pretty good and we can just about forget about this angle. Course, maybe we can still use this suggestion on the nomination package for Nobel Prize for Peace....maybe.