Living

What’s Left of the New Deal

by

WASHINGTON, D.C.-George Bush begins his second term as
President of the United States with audacious
domestic and foreign policies that aim to grind into
dust what’s left of the New Deal.

On the verge of institutionalizing the goals of
conservatives first put forth in the Reagan revolution
of 1980, Bush is determined to turn over a big hunk
of the Social Security system to Wall Street; his
conservative supporters are equally intent on getting
rid of the income tax, which they want to replace with
a flat tax. With the income tax out of the way, nobody
will have to worry whether tax cuts benefit the rich or
poor.

American foreign policy under Bush already has
been recast around the doctrine of the pre-emptive
strike. For conservatives, the United Nations will have
a steadily declining role in world affairs. Like it
or not, Bush is fully prepared to strike without
warning against Iran and Syria, as well as other Middle
Eastern nations—those nations his team views as
tyrannical—listed by his new Secretary of State
Condoleeza Rice and including Cuba, Burma, North Korea
and even Belarus, a last vestige of a Stalinist
state.

“We are led, by events and common sense, to one
conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land
increasingly depends on the success of liberty in
other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is
the expansion of freedom in all the world,” Bush
said. In other words, the U.S., its armies already
strained, will be expanding further across the world.

Bush and other top leaders of the administration
already have signaled they will not give in to
congressional oversight or criticism, be it from
Democrats or nervous Nellie Republicans. Condoleeza Rice
abruptly shoved aside any talk of an exit strategy for
Iraq and refused to admit Bush might have erred in foreign
policy during his first term. As for Alberto Gonzales,
he couldn’t remember his role, if any, in setting
forth guidelines that narrowed the definition of
torture, giving American forces more leeway in their rough handling of prisoners. Gonzales not
only could not remember his part in any “such
notes, memoranda, e-mails or other documents,” but
obtusely noted, “I have not conducted a search.”
Gonzales made it perfectly clear he had no intention
of pursuing the subject any further.