Blue Dogs howl 

 Blue Dogs howl

Blue Dogs in the Arkansas congressional delegation complain that President Obama is too hasty in seeking health-care reform and other progressive legislation. Move forward slowly, they say (this after the country sped backward for eight years), and be sure to mollify the statesmen of the opposing party.

The Dogs are stuck in the politics of 60 years ago, when their spiritual predecessors were saying that Harry Truman was rash in his pursuit of adequate health care for all Americans. He wasn't; Obama certainly isn't. But the Dogs' advice would have had some validity in the Truman era. There were reasonable Republicans in those days, some even statesman-like — Eisenhowers, Rockefellers, Dirksens et al. None such now.

Moderates have been ejected from the Republican Party. The Party leaders of today aren't even elected officials, they're in the media and the right-wing churches. Rush Limbaugh. Pat Robertson. Rupert Murdoch and his subordinates in the Fox Gang. (“The Blue Dogs shall lie down with the Foxes” … Is that biblical?) They're extremists, and they encourage extremism in their followers. Already there's evidence that some of these volatile disciples have been moved to murder by the leaders' inflammatory rhetoric, yet the leaders show no remorse, give no sign that they will temper their attacks on liberals and centrists and old-fashioned conservatives.

In short, there's no reasoning with this bunch. Obama has found that out for himself, the hand he held out to the Republicans slapped away. Any further efforts would be a waste of time. Instead, Obama must hope to win the support of the Blue Dogs, the conservative Democrats. That will be hard enough, judging from their comments. Maybe constituents can move them.


Ugandan, go home

“The Associated Press reported Sunday that a commission investigating waste and fraud in wartime spending has found serious deficiencies in training and equipment for hundreds of Ugandan guards hired to protect U.S. military bases in Iraq …” What's wrong with this picture? Just about everything. There was a time when America didn't hire mercenaries from impoverished countries to fight our wars. Torture was something America didn't do either, until the Bush administration came along and renounced traditional American values. The private contractors who employ these Ugandan soldiers are good businessmen, if nothing else. They've long used American mercenaries to protect their Iraqi investments; evidently they've now discovered that Ugandans will work cheaper and complain less. And they don't have families in the states to call attention to casualties. It's a shameful enterprise, this war. Profitable, for some, but shameful.


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