Charles Krauthammer is getting pissy because Democrats dare to question Bush's $87 billion check for Iraq.
The Democrats are not quite prepared to say that we should not be spending any money on Iraq, and they all line up for the $66 billion earmarked for "protecting our troops" (although, as their own Dennis Kucinich points out, the best and cheapest way to protect troops is to bring them home).
But when it comes to the other $20-odd billion for infrastructure, the Democrats have had a field day blasting the administration. The universal theme is: Why there and not here?
Sen. John Edwards gave the usual formulation: "This is the same administration who says we can't afford a real prescription drug benefit, we can't afford to invest in our public schools, we can't afford to address the serious health care crisis in America, but the American taxpayer can afford to pay for everything that's happening in Iraq right now." Rep. Rahm Emanuel is more pithy: "[For] Iraq, $2 billion to the electric grid; [for] America, a blackout."
But Krauthammer very carefully peels every bit of context away from the issue in order to make Democrats look bad. To regain some sense of the bigger picture, let's look at what Krauthammer had to say last week in Time, when he was trying figure out just what it is that makes us "Bush haters" so mad.
The President's unilateral assertion of U.S. power has redefined America's role in the world. Here was Bush breaking every liberal idol: the ABM Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, deference to the U.N., subservience to the "international community." It was an astonishing performance that left the world reeling and the Democrats seething. The pretender had not just seized the throne. He was acting like a king. Nay, an emperor.
On the domestic front, more shock. Democrats understand that the Bush tax cuts make structural changes that will long outlive him. Like the Reagan cuts, they will starve the government of revenue for years to come.
So, while trying to get to what it is that bothers us about Bush, Charles Krauthammer pretty much lays out the case against the man and the very reason why his numbers need to be checked and rechecked (and no, Charles, very few of us are really all that pissed about Florida anymore): Bush's management of the our country has proven to be completely incompetent. Look at what Krauthammer wrote again.
Add to all that the fact that millions of Americans are now out of work, our budget deficit is spiraling out of control and our soldiers are dying on a daily basis, and I think it's obvious that Krauthammer's full of shit. The issue isn't whether or not Bush will get his money. Democrats know we have to finish the job over there or create a new center for terror. The issue isn't whether or not people hate Bush. The issue is this: People who love their country don't want to want to see it led into grief by incompetents. So, like giving a child his allowance, Democrats will make sure Bush gets the money for Iraq, but they just want to make sure it isn't contributing to his further delinquency.
Update: The Poor Man says we should read Jonathon Chait's article in The New Republic. I've pretty much given up on that magazine, but any article in which the author basically says, "Yeah, I hate George W. Bush" and then explains exactly why ought to be read.
And: Jeanne at Body and Soul wants to know how we could be expected to trust Bush with $87 billion. She, it seems, wouldn't trust him much less.