Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Republicans--Saw This Movie Before

It's tempting to say it's deja vu all over again, except that everyone says that again and again.  But it does seem that the Republicans in Congress, as illustrated in the recent debt limit "debate," are doing a re-make of what  California Republicans have done in the State Legislature in the last 10 to 15 years. 

The state legislators have made a striking transition from a reasonable, responsible opposition party with an impact on governance to an often strident, uncompromising, increasingly marginalized party that can occasionally throw a huge wrench into the process but does not share in governing on an ongoing, consistent basis.

When I first got involved in California politics in the late 70's, and pretty consistently for the next 20 years, the California Legislature was controlled by Democrats but included a solid, effective, constructive  Republican minority.  It consisted of conservatives and moderates, and even an occasional liberal by the standards of the day. 

The Republican legislators advocated and largely stood by their principles, and they did just vote "no" on many occasions.  However, on a good number of other occasions they criticized and argued, often strenuously.  But, then, after obtaining some, but often not all, of the changes they wanted, they voted "yes." 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Silence Is Not Always Golden

In an effort to convince the military junta that now runs Egypt not to withdraw its ambassador, and to otherwise maintain diplomatic relations with this key Arab nation, Israel expressed its regret for accidentally killing three Egyptian soldiers in its response to the terrorist attack that killed eight Israelis, including civilians.  This is an entirely appropriate and decent gesture to make in light of the unfortunate unintentional deaths of the Egyptian soldiers.

One wonders if it will occur to the Egyptian leadership to express its regret for not fulfilling its reponsibility for keeping order in the Sinai and for preventing the breaching of its border with Israel that allowed the terrorists to commit the murder of innocent Israelis.  One wonders if it will express regret for virtually abandoning control of the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, thereby allowing terrorists to more easily obtain the types of arms used in such murders. 

We know the reason why the U.N. Security Council did not condemn the murders:  the Lebanese government, dominated by Hezbollah, would not allow it to do so.  However, one wonders why the Egyptian military junta, who so adamantly demanded an expression of regret for the unintentional deaths of its three soldiers, has not issued a condemnation of the murders of Israelis that its security failures helped cause.  For that matter, one wonders why Palestinian President Abbas has not condemned murders.

The silence is deafening.  Unfortunately, it is not surprising.