Can the public make its will felt through Congress and start the difficult process of bringing closure to the Iraq War? Although the voters spoke last November, the administration has seen no need to listen. But the prospect of another defeat in 2008 may motivate enough Republicans in Congress to break with the administration on the war -- and by acting strategically the war's opponents and the Democratic leadership can help make that happen.
It's dead on arrival in Congress. It penalizes workers and families with good health benefits. It won't significantly reduce the number of uninsured. And it will do little, if anything, to slow down rising health care costs.
So should we just bury Bush's proposal, unveiled in last night's State of the Union address, to convert the tax exclusion of employer payments for health insurance into a flat, $15,000 deduction? No. Anyone with a long view of the struggle for universal health insurance ought to be in favor of it.
Before I bring down a chorus of disapproval, let me explain.
Would leaving Iraq mean "surrendering" to the enemy and "losing" the war? That is how the war's supporters have cast the alternative of a phased American withdrawal. But at a time when the Taliban are gaining strength in Afghanistan and have seized control over a substantial area in northern Pakistan, it is important to remember what the United States legitimately sought to accomplish after September 11 and why the Iraq War needs to be brought to a prompt conclusion based on realistic and limited aims.
MONSTER SUCCESS. Now that O.J. Simpson is publishing his quasi-confession If I Did It, I'm looking for a forthcoming memoir by former Rep. Mark Foley that ought to be called My Back Pages. It's no longer true that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. The last refuge now is the best-seller list.
Republican government during the past six years has been a study in dissipation. No, I'm not referring to the Mark Foley scandal. I mean the dissipation of American power and influence in the world -- the latest consequence of which is North Korea's
explosion of a nuclear weapon. Rather than deterring Pyongyang from going nuclear, Bush's policies gave it both motive and opportunity to proceed.
How has the administration dissipated the nation's power? Let us count the ways.
The Iraq War has consumed American military resources -- indeed, stretched them so thin that the war has emboldened Iran and North Korea.