Saturday, May 06, 2006

GOP Needs More Lipstick

E. J. Dionne, Jr. of the Washington Post calls it "The Great Republican Rebranding." In an interview with conservative Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, he lists the left-leaning issues such as faith-based initiatives, AIDS funding in Africa, and help for the poor as "nontraditional Republican issues" he has championed. "I'm a Catholic....How many times did the nuns beat into your brains: the poor, the poor, the poor, the poor?"

He just wanted us to know. So he can be reelected.

I'm not buying it.

Let's face it, the Bushies faith-based initiatives were to please the GOP religious conservative base and Bush's messianic vision. The AIDS in Africa funding was targeted to please the African-American base. Support for the poor...such as the illegal immigrant labor force...pandered to the corporate base.

Of course, in an effort to also be hawkish on national security, Santorum helped to produce the now-shelved illegal immigration bill that was part of the catalyst for all of the illegal immigrant community uproar lately.

It's hard for a Legislator to know which way to lean these days. The nation has become vocal, demanding and in many cases, informed. And many Republicans think it may be dangerous in November to seem too Republican.

Speaking of illegal immigration. Many have speculated on why there has been a lack of will by the Bush administration to address the issues of the porous southern border and enforcement of our immigration laws. With this administration, whenever something doesn't make sense....look for big oil, big business or big church as the power drivers. Illegal immigration plays to all three. But big oil may be the key.

Former Bush speech writer, David Frum, was the author of the first "insider" book about the Bush presidency. He is the fellow who claims unrefutedly that he came up with the "Axis of Evil" term for the Bush speech justifying the push for the Iraq war.

In January of 2003, Frum released "The Right Man," widely regarded as favorable to Bush. In this book he wrote how Bush envisioned a Mexican border open to labor, trade and especially investment in energy.

Mexico banned foreign investment in its energy industry in 1938, and ever since Mexican oil production was controlled by the state. If Mexico opened itself to the exploration and development of its oil resources by U.S. entrepreneurs and technology, it would give the U.S. a source for oil which could possibly even displace Arab oil from its markets.

Frum writes: "For this energy 'quid,' Mexico would of course demand some equally valuable 'quo'-and in Bush's mind that 'quo' was immigration reform. Bush believed that immigration was valuable to the U.S. and praised it again and again in public speeches and his private conversations.

"So the Bush administration designed a system for regularizing the Mexican-US labor relationship-not an amnesty like that of 1986, but a grander system for enabling Mexicans to work in the U.S. temporarily and then to go home again."

If this was the plan, then obviously they lost control of the "go home again" part, and the coming in part too.

Since so much is not transparent with this administration, it is hard to judge what, if any, progress has been made with Mexico to convince them to release their grip on their oil production. Since 1995 private investment in natural gas distribution has been allowed, but the Mexico state-owned Pemex remains the sole controller of natural gas and oil exploration and production.

Is this why Mexico president Vicente Fox feels empowered to make outrageous comments and meddle in our country's immigration laws.....and Bush seems a spineless supplicant around Fox? Has the wily Fox kept the oil carrot just out of Bush's reach?

In the meantime, the GOP feels the need to remake itself to sugarcoat the peril in which the country has been placed by their disastrous policies and administration.

As Dionne so aptly puts it regarding the low approval poll numbers for Bush and Congress: "It's also a response to the failure of conservative policies and to the declining appeal of conservative rhetoric. Conservatives are trying to save themselves....."

I doubt that the majority of the electorate will be in any mood to throw them a lifeline in November.


Anonymous said...

Yeah there is certainly a lot of pandering, but AIDS isn't really as discriminatory as all that. It's kind of a public health issue particularly as we're globalizing.

The worst growth rate of the virus is actually in China and the former soviet union and what fiasco's they were... I'm not particularly convinced that communism and capitalism mix that well, it tends to create the weirdest types of entreprenurship, such as China's blood scandals.

Anonymous said...

*Rate as in the ratio of new cases v. old cases, not just new cases each year which tends to build more on volume of existing cases.

I mean 26% new cases a year in those regions of the world is kind of scary, no matter what your persuasion is.

Truth Hunter said...

Anon, You make good points. My point I guess is that AIDS in Africa was Santorum's focus. Thanks for expanding on the subject. TH