Do you ever wonder how stupid politicians, and their highly paid consultants, think we are? Think about it.
Take Milwaukee County as a case study. Milwaukee County is approaching bankruptcy, if you listen to the neocon county exec and former legislator, Scott Walker. He wants to close county-owned swimming pools, sell Mitchell International Airport, sell the county parks to developers, and expand vouchers. He is toying with a Bradley Foundation idea to turn over fiscal control of the county to a private board. I guess he thinks Halliburton and the boys did so well in rebuilding Iraq and New Orleans, the private sector should run the show in Milwaukee.
How would the private board handle uninsured kids or high unemployment among African-American men? How would the public have input on decisions? Could the board be recalled? Don't ask. Apparently, private is just better than public.
Look at the campaign rhetoric. We know things cost more today than they did last year. Gasoline for state and county cars, salaries, schools, insurance. Everything. But, we are told, Wisconsin can do more with less money despite rising costs and an increasing list of problems.
Nearly all candidates for governor and the Legislature tell us the state of Wisconsin can work magic. (We are, of course, the land of La Follette but also Harry Houdini. I think Houdini is winning.) No new taxes, no increase in old taxes, no need to close loopholes, no major cuts in needed services.
We can build and fill more jails and prisons; we can maintain our University of Wisconsin faculty; we can improve our schools and freeze tuition without more revenue; we can take care of special needs kids. Wow! I am impressed. Yes, siree! And snake oil and ethanol will cure all our problems. Conclusion? Truth is in short supply.
Speaking of truth at the state level, how about the federal level, where the National Intelligence Estimate was completed in April but hidden from view until Sunday, when the New York Times broke the story? And what a story it is. And the incredible conclusion of all 16 spy agencies is that "the invasion and occupation of Iraq have given rise to greater global terrorism. The Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse."
President Bush, Karl Rove, Vice President Cheney and presumably favored candidates for office have known about this report for months. Ah, but Bush has been telling us for months that things are better, we are safer, democracy is flourishing. He must think we are really stupid.
John McCain, on "Face the Nation," provides clear evidence that he thinks we are stupid. He stumbled and bumbled for 15 minutes trying to duck questions about the administration misleading (aka lying to) the nation again. They lied to get us into war, lied about rebuilding and democracy, and now even their own report tells us we are the cause of increased terrorism while the president ignores the report and tells us we are safer, for heaven's sake.
We are more at risk now than in March 2003.
Rather than explain how the administration has been selling "woof tickets," McCain tried to change the subject. I'm not kidding. He called for more troops in Iraq!
"We need a larger Army and Marine Corps. We need 30,000 more troops in Iraq. We need a larger Army because of Iraq and things are not so good in Afghanistan and pending problems with Iran."
Whoa, Nelly! Pending problems with Iran? Are they about to take our gaze off Iraq with a pre-emptive attack on Iran? What does McCain know and how long has he known it?
"If this trend continues, threats to the U.S. at home and abroad will become more diverse and that could lead to increasing attacks worldwide." Who said that? Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin or Russ Feingold? How about Veterans for Peace? Nope. It was a quote from the current director of the CIA.
One can anticipate that the administration will raise hell that we learned the truth. Put the New York Times reporter in jail! Breach of security! They have jeopardized our national security by telling the truth about this fiasco.
Here is the problem. Who can we trust to tell us the truth? If those running for office lie about increasing services while freezing spending, and if the administration keeps the truth from Congress and the people, where do we turn? We need leaders who will lead who will tell the truth even if it costs them an election. More leaders like Feingold, Kennedy and Harkin. This is no time for caution. Our planet is at risk, our country is at risk. Our kids and grandchildren are at risk. It is, in a word, time for leadership, not campaign rhetoric.
Copyright 2006 The Capital Times