Republicans really are the party of obstructionism. That’s just what they’re good at, and the role they should continue to play in American politics. As the know-it-all jerks who keep telling everyone that they’re doing it wrong while continually babbling their simple-minded theories of “how it’s done”, in that annoying tone of someone who keeps forgetting that they’re the one who keeps turning out to be wrong. And that is somewhat of a necessary role in government, to help keep the real lawmakers relatively honest and on-task. After all, there’s nothing magical about being a Democrat, and everyone needs to have their powers checked.
And the evidence of this just keeps coming in, with the handling of Iraq being an ever-flowing fount of stupidity. I was just thinking about this while reading Juan Cole’s interview with Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who was the Washington Post’s Baghdad bureau chief from April 2003 to October 2004, and now serves as assistant managing editor for WaPo. In the interview, Rajiv gives the following passage from his new book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, in regards to the effort to privatize Iraq’s 150 factories:
'Even more significant at the time was a practical challenge. There was no way [Glenn] Corliss, [Brad] Jackson, and [Tim] Carney could do it by themselves. Financial records would have to be scoured, offers posted and evaluated, financing arranged. When the trio met with a team of Germans to discuss how factories in the former East Germany had been privatized, the CPA team was told that the Germans had eight thousand people working on the project.
“How many do you guys have?” one of the Germans asked. “You’re looking at all of them,” Corliss responded.
The German laughed and asked again. “No, how many people work for you?”
“No, this is it. Three people,” Corliss said.
“Don’t bother starting,” the German said. '
Needless to say, their plan didn’t work. They then devised a plan whereby they’d only work to save the best factories, and let outside companies pick-up the slack on everything else by building their own facilities. But with lousy security in Iraq and huge problems with infrastructure, that was a total bust too. And that isn’t to mention whether privatization was even a good idea, which it probably wasn’t. Maybe they felt like they had nothing better to do at the time, but hindsight seems to suggest that there were more pressing matters that they could have screwed up.
And as with so many other examples coming from the Iraq debacle, it goes to show how entirely simple-minded conservatives really are. They really do believe that if you just allow things to take their natural course, everything will work out. We don’t need government regulators. We don’t need environmentalists. We don’t need the stinking SEC or Social Security or anything else. And we certainly don’t need any so-called “experts” with their so-called “expertise”. Conservatives insist that government is a big waste of money, simply because they’re too dumb to understand why we created these things in the first place.
To them, government is a scam. That’s how they use it, and that’s what they think everyone else is doing. They don’t see a system of trial-and-error, of lessons learned and catastrophes avoided. All they see is a scam to milk money from the taxpaying cash cow. That’s what they’ve told us and that’s why they should never be allowed to control it. Because they really don’t see it as being anything else than a con job. And you know what? When Republicans are in charge, that’s all it really is.