The political capital has evaporated!  If a Republican candidate running scared any time Bush was in town wasn’t a clue, then the President and other naysayers are in for a rude awakening.

  

Oversight, checks & balances, and accountability may soon be restored in accordance with the shifting balance of power.  The key will be not to over indulge as the Republicans did with the Clinton scandal in the late 90’s.  For instance, a careful balance must be struck between clearly identifying problems with the Iraq war and politicizing the war to further damage the Republican Party.

There have clearly been misuses of power including, but not limited to: no-bid contracts and lost funds (measured in billions of dollars in Iraq), the promotion of clearly faulty intelligence, and the manipulation of the public’s fear of terrorism.

Profit margins for government contractors in Iraq are obscene, if not outrageous.  The hazards of a war zone do mandate a greater return given increased risks, but 1000% increases are completely wasteful.  Democrats need to internationalize the effort in Iraq, and reduce the human and economic impact.  There has been no effort by Republicans to mitigate the overwhelming impact of the war.  A step in the right direction would be to open contracts up to international business, in exchange for military or civil support.  International support needs to be significant, and not ceremonial like the current support levels.  International troops will not be perceived as an occupying force, but rather a peacekeeping force with some bite (don’t just stand there and get shot at).

Many oversight hearings will also be held, particularly regarding the Iraq war.  It will be revealed that Bush and others in the administration knew that the intelligence community was not sold on the evidence on weapons of mass destruction.  Further, the administration will be held accountable for their illegal torture tactics.  Weatherboard anyone for more than 10 minutes, and they will admit to being a terrorist, or offer a signed confession to any crime.  The message we send the world needs to be a positive one, and a model for other growing democracies to follow.

Finally, the culture of fear must be converted into a culture of hope and inspiration that can spread to other nations. Too often, Bush has used his color coated fear meter to dictate how the public should behave, and how fearful we should all be.  The threat level was increased shortly before the 2004 election, and as we found out afterwards, it was based on old intelligence.  Fear has been used as vehicle to mandate any change that the Bush administration sees fit.  This includes overstepping presidential powers on many occasions.

The next two years will be very interesting, but the Democrats need to make sure they don’t appear as vindictive in their efforts and not fall into old stereotypes (“tax and spend liberals”).