Stock Research Ė Republican Congress in hot seat
If the Republican Party is able to hold onto its majority in both the House and the Senate in the coming elections, it will be because of the ineptness of the Democrats. The Democrats have become a party without ideas, with an ideology that hasnít worked in years, and I am not hopeful that it will work in the immediate future.
At the same time we must recognize the notion of ACCOUNTABILITY. In my work managing money, I have to go back decades to understand certain companies and their institutional cultures. The same thing is true in politics. Yes, we have had scandals before. I remember vividly Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Baker, and John Kennedy and his German mistress who supposedly worked for the East German secret police, the Stasi.
Thereís something about POWER. The historians tell you that ďPOWER CORRUPTS, and ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELYĒ. The greatest compliment you can pay our country is to recognize that we settle things in the voting booth. When the voting booth canít settle it as in the Presidential election in 2000 in Florida, the courts settle it. In the 2000 contested election, it was the Supreme Court of the United States that settled it. In most countries of the world, they settle things with a gun, or several guns, or better yet, the military settles things with a coup. Our way is far superior, always has been, always will be.
There is something in the air thatís different this time. I am a conservative by nature. I have been since Barry Goldwater ran for the Presidency in 1964. I believe in minimizing government intervention in peopleís lives because I believe that the government contributes very little in the end to the human condition. They take, but create nothing. They do very few things well, and overpay vastly for what they do provide. An example is 5 per day, per soldier, to Halliburton to feed our troops in Iraq. You and I can eat in the finest restaurants for that amount of money. Only a government can spend money like that.
What I am mostly disturbed by is the vanity, conceit, and complete disregard for the rest of us that this government has shown. We have a President that needs to spy on its own citizens in the name of national security, but finds no requisite need for oversight. The key here is OVERSIGHT. I happen to know that there are federal judges who sit in the FBI headquarters every day, whose sole job is to sign off on the governmentís need to record conversations. The same procedure could very easily be implemented by the CIA, and NSA, but nobody wanted it. They obviously thought of it, but didnít want it. When governments work in secret, the tyranny we seek to end overseas visits us right here. Our founding fathers fought against it and so should we.
We have a war in Iraq where we are all part of the dance NOW. The President has put forth no objectives for determining when we can get out. Is it a national police force of 150,000 Iraqis before we can get out, or an army of 300,000 Iraqi troops before we can go? We are now stuck in a war without end, without even the hint of an end, and we are suffering a slow death attrition to our troops.
Itís just the kind of thing that Americans HATE, a war fought without objectives, just sucking up money, resources, and the flower of our youth. Itís all in the name of nothing really. I say this because you either have clearly defined objectives in war or you have chaos. This President has chosen chaos. Sometimes I think this is Vietnam all over again, doesnít anybody ever learn from history? Bush has degrees from Yale and Harvard, and didnít learn a dam thing apparently, except how to spend money. You know, I couldnít wait for Clinton to get out of office, and now I wonder if his wife isnít such a bad idea.
The Congress spends billions likes its play money, and doesnít even tax the citizens to do it. Instead they borrow the money, spend it and then owe the debt to Europeans, Japan, and China by continuing to build up the national debt. I havenít checked this number in years, but I would be willing to bet that between 80% and 90% of the total national debt has been built up by the Republicans who call themselves the party of fiscal responsibility.
Maybe I am just getting older, but I am getting far more cynical as the years go by and more liberal too, but itís not the liberalís definition of liberal. Barry Goldwater taught me that abortion rights are a womanís decision, not 9 old people sitting on a Supreme Court. There should be a separation of church and state as provided by the constitution. If deeply religious people in this country want to vote, than they absolutely should vote and participate in the political process, just like everybody else. Recognize that this country was founded by good hardworking people who left their rigid religious societies for something a lot better. We call it America.
Now when I sit back and look at this Republican dominated Congress, I find it pathetic. The majority leader Tom Delay had to resign in disgrace. The House Speaker, Denny Hastert is totally asleep at the switch over information he received, didnít received, received, and then didnít receive over the gay Congressmanís escapades. Why is it that itís all right to be a gay Democratic Congressman (aka Barney Frank), but you canít be a gay Republican Congressman (aka Mark Foley). Republicans are in the closet about it, and Democrats are screaming it out loud.
The Democrats should be running on one issue and one issue only, ďHAD ENOUGHĒ, forget about itís time for a change. Itís time for a revolution. I could very easily see the Republicans getting wiped in this election, losing both houses in fact, and then in essence making this current President impotent. How much more damage can President Bush do if he faces a hostile Congress. He could propose whatever he wanted to propose but if the Democrats control the Congress, and wonít FUND IT, the game is over.
This scenario would not be much better than the horror show currently on stage, but you must hold the politicians in power ACCOUNTABLE, and nobody has done that in six years. Maybe I was better off when my party was on the outs, and I could at least fantasize how much better things would be when, and if we got into power. My fantasies have turned into a nightmare with these people in office who are not MY REPUBLICANS, and then thereís Donald Rumsfeld, but thatís another story.
About the Author: Richard Stoyeckís background includes being a limited partner at Bear Stearns, Senior VP at Lehman Brothers, Kuhn Loeb, Arthur Andersen, and KPMG. Educated at Pace University, NYU, and Harvard University, today he runs Rockefeller Capital Partners and StocksAtBottom.com
Value Investing at StockAtBottom.com