When You’ve Lost The Sportswriters…

8 comments January 24th, 2007at 09:48am Posted by Eli

Mike Lupica takes some delicious whacks at the preznit again:

It was a historic State of the Union that just felt like one more manufactured event from this President, George W. Bush acting as if he wanted to talk about almost anything else before getting to a war he and his people manufactured.

The more he tries to defend his conduct of this war, the more he continues to stumble this badly and ask the rest of us to help prop him up, he really does the last thing anybody named Bush should ever want to do: gift-wrap the Oval Office for a Clinton.

“You understand that the consequences of failure [in Iraq] would be grievous and far-reaching,” he says again last night, and acts as if it was some other President who didn’t consider those consequences before picking this battle – and this battleground.

He tried to give us some grand, bipartisan vision of the future last night, about the economy and the environment and energy and even immigration. But the war would not go away. The war never goes away. It was as if there were some huge video screen behind him and all you could see was a constant loop of the escalating violence in Baghdad, as bad now as it has ever been. It is why the whole thing just sounded like more excuses in the end, from what has become such a sad excuse of an administration.

(…)

The longer this President stays in office, the better everybody in the game looks. That includes his predecessor and his wife.

To the bitter end, Bush tries to sell us an al-Maliki government that he clearly doesn’t trust and an Iraqi Army that no self-respecting soldier anywhere would trust. Only no one is buying. Finally the Republicans have figured out that Bush might be taking them down with him. He gave away the House because of his stubborn handling of this war, he gave away the Senate. Now he is trying to give away the White House with both hands.

Sen. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are supposed to be the front-runners of their party the way Sen. Clinton is the front-runner of hers. You tell me how either one of them beats her or anybody else if people continue to see them carrying the President’s coat on the war.

Sen. McCain served this country bravely and proudly. If he thinks continuing to align himself with this President, on this war, is some kind of brilliant move toward higher office, he should ask a distinguished soldier like Gen. Colin Powell how that worked out for him.

“Our coalition has learned from our experience in Iraq,” George W. Bush says in his State of the Union. “We’ve adjusted our military tactics and changed our approach to reconstruction. Along the way we have benefited from responsible criticism and counsel offered by members of Congress of both parties. In the coming year, I will continue to reach out and seek your good advice.”

Those words are from the State of the Union address he delivered one year ago. Bush’s approval rating was at 42% that night. Now CBS has him at 28%, though others have him slightly higher. When Watergate was at high tide, seven months before Richard Nixon resigned, his approval rating was 26%.

One year ago George W. Bush talked about working with the Congress when it was still controlled, all of it, by his own party. Last night he talked about reaching out to Congress again. Yet when he makes the unilateral decision to send more troops to Iraq, when he sends a number that wouldn’t have been enough back in the summer of 2003, when we still had a fighting chance over there, he doesn’t want to hear from anybody. Then his outgoing vice president, Cheney, goes on television and says that you can’t run a war by committee.

Sometimes it is the entire Bush presidency that seems manufactured, one that keeps getting rewritten like his State of the Union. Now he proposes a “special advisory council on the war on terror, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties. We will share ideas …”

Now he wants to share ideas, after he sends another 21,500 American soldiers over there, and don’t try to stop him. Now he wants to “cross the aisle when there is work to be done.”

Now he wants to bring the country together in something other than this one shared idea: that the President has no idea himself how to get us out of Iraq, despite passionate rhetoric we have heard from him before.

“In the end,” the President said of Iraq last night, “I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance of success.”

You wonder what course of action finished second.

I just love it when he does that.

I think he’s right about the Republican front runners having serious problems, but it’s not just the war. With Bush singlehandedly destroying the Republican/conservative brand, the Republicans are going to have the kind of purity vs. electability dilemma that the Democrats had in 2004. Their best course is to find a stealth candidate like Bush in 2000 – someone who looks moderate and reasonable, but is really a hardcore pro-religion, pro-business, anti-Constitution conservative.

McCain possibly could have been that candidate, but his enthusiastic support of the war (we need more of it!), coupled with his age, has mortally damaged his electability , and all his pre-2004 maverick posturing for the middle destroyed the Republican base’s faith in his purity.

Giuliani is probably closer, but I think he just has way too much baggage to get elected, regardless of ideology. Plus I just can’t picture the Republican base voting for someone who’s appeared in drag and lived with gays.

I suspect Mitt Romney might be a pretty good bet in terms of stealth electability – he’s a governor, he’s from a blue state, and most people don’t know much about him. I’m not sure how big a deal the Mormonism will be, but I would look forward to a lot of “First Ladies” jokes.

As for Condi – even if you ignore her total lack of competence or experience, and the implausibility of the Republican base turning out for an unmarried black woman of uncertain sexual orientation, there remains the unfortunate fact that she has negative charisma. I know she’s not really a stealth candidate candidate, I just wanted to point this out.

Other stealth candidate possibilities:

Mike Huckabee is a fairly unknown southern governor, but if he goes with “I Heart Huckabee” as his campaign slogan, he’s toast.

Chuck Hagel is generally conservative but vocally anti-war, and he used to run ES&S, the country’s largest manufacturer of electronic voting machines, which could come in handy…

Sam Brownback is not real well-known, but is too obviously conservative to be electable in today’s political climate.

Ah, who am I kidding. The Republican base is going to call the shots like they always do, and then it’ll be up to Rove and his dancing media bears to put lipstick on the pig. Hell, better slather on some pancake makeup and rouge while they’re at it.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Media,Politics,Republicans,Sports

8 Comments

  • 1. Glenn  |  January 24th, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Brilliant. What more can anyone say?

  • 2. Eli  |  January 24th, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Is the Lupica2008 domain still available?

  • 3. flory  |  January 24th, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Now he proposes a “special advisory council on the war on terror, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties. We will share ideas …”

    Erm…Mr. Preznit? You already have a bipartisan “special advisory council”. It’s called the US Congress? You might’ve heard of them.

    The is a barefaced attempt to scam the Democrats into taking partial responsibility for this clusterfuck, and I really, really hope Nancy and Harry are smarter than that.

  • 4. Eli  |  January 24th, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Well, it’s basically going to be a bunch of Republican hawks… and Joe Figleaferman.

    Question is, do preznits need congressional approval to form such an “advisory council” if it’s not an official congressional committee?

  • 5. flory  |  January 24th, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Well, it’s basically going to be a bunch of Republican hawks… and Joe Figleaferman.

    Question is, do preznits need congressional approval to form such an “advisory council” if it’s not an official congressional committee?

    That would be ok. I think most Americans can see thru any pretense of ‘bipartisanship’ that involves only independent Joe. Especially now that he lost the Dem primary.

    And no, he doesn’t need approval. He can form all the advisory councils he wants without congressional authorization. Doesn’t have to put elected officials on it either. But he wants to, to suck Dems into making it their war.

  • 6. . . . and your little dog, too  |  January 25th, 2007 at 2:34 am

    Your new site is beautiful.

    Nothing to add to your great post.

  • 7. Eli  |  January 25th, 2007 at 7:37 am

    Thanks, littledog!

  • 8. Eli  |  January 25th, 2007 at 11:47 am

    And no, he doesn’t need approval. He can form all the advisory councils he wants without congressional authorization. Doesn’t have to put elected officials on it either. But he wants to, to suck Dems into making it their war.

    I just read a column by Bob Novak, of all people – he says Pelosi and Reid told Dubya to fuck off.


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