November 15, 2004

Watch where you spend it, Mr. President

It has been almost two weeks since 51% of American voters decided to give George Bush a second term as President of the United States. Bush not only won the election with a majority; he picked up support across a wide range of demographics when compared against the 2000 election. In addition, the Republicans not only won the White House, they picked up four seats each in the House and Senate, while deposing Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. Liberalism may not be dead, but the public issued a strong admonition against it.

In this charged political atmosphere President Bush and the Republicans feel they have earned some political capital, and they say that they intend to spend it. Let's just hope they decide to spend it on the right things. From what I've seen so far, President Bush has good ideas that his capital is worth investing in, if it doesn't get wasted upon issues with the potential to be costly mistakes.

Gay Marriage Amendment
Quite frankly, this stands to be a Pyrrhic victory, at the very best, and could cost President Bush dearly while stoking the fires of his liberal obstructionist opponents. Most Americans don't feel comfortable with the proposition of a Constitutional amendment that seems to have the sole purpose of limiting the rights of a group of American citizens.

The Republicans need to remember that they did not win the election because of the Religious Right. No, the Republicans won because of moderate voters, Democrat, Republican and Independent, that thought the more conservative values of the traditional Republican party trumped the liberal extremism being displayed by Democrats. If the GOP lets the extremists of the far right drive this amendment, they can expect to lose the popular support that have steadily been gaining over the past few elections. This should be a state's rights issue, and the GOP would be wise to step away from this on the federal level if they hope to pick up more seats in the 2006 elections.

Border Security/Illegal Immigration
The elephant in the room that neither side wanted to discuss during the campaign. The popular excuse has always been that the Republicans don't want to take away cheap labor from Big Business, and Democrats were silent because they tend to consider new immigrants (legal or otherwise) "money in the bank" for a variety of reasons on Election Day. That mindset should have changed in the wake of September 11, 2001.

The 9/11 Commission Report and ongoing intelligence operations show that our borders are exceedingly porous, an unforgivable sin considering what we know and what we suspect may be coming into the country. Bush's response so far has been anemic at best, and embarrassing at worst. We need stronger border security, not amnesty for lawbreakers. Bush's current lackadaisical attitude on the subject may have fatal consequences that could not only cripple his second term, but replicate or exceed the human tragedy of that day in September three years ago.

These are two issues where many of us voted for you despite your position, Mr. President. Don't make us wonder if we wasted our capital on November 2.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 15, 2004 04:04 AM