Froomkin’s Festival Of Wankery

February 1st, 2007at 07:40pm Posted by Eli

Just too much blood-boily goodness in White House Watch today, so I’m going to try to hit multiple highlights here:

It’s become accepted journalistic shorthand to say that the previous NSA [warrantless] spying program no longer exists, having been replaced by a new program that meets court muster. But as I first noted in my January 19 column, that’s certainly not the way Bush himself sees things. In an under-the-radar broadcast interview, Bush put it this way: “Nothing has changed in the program except for the court has said we analyzed it, it is a legitimate, it is a legitimate way to protect the country.”

And yesterday, in an interview with members of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Bush continued in that vein.

Today’s lead Wall Street Journal editorial states that “we’ve been critical of Mr. Bush, notably on his decision to abruptly change gears and subject his NSA warrantless wiretap program to judicial review. So we asked why he had made that decision after 13 months of insisting that those wiretaps were a Presidential prerogative?

“‘Scrap the program’ is not accurate,’ he insisted. ‘The program exists. And now we’ve had a program ratified by the judiciary which is going to make it easier for a future President to have this program in place. . . . It had nothing to do with diminution of Presidential authority. It had everything to do with getting a second branch of government to support that which I have done.'”

Wow. So not only does Dubya basically say that the top-secret FISA court ruled that wireless wiretapping was cool with them, so he can keep on doing it, but the Wall Street Journal actually scolds him for even letting them rule on it in the first place. Just amazing. This is probably a good time to mention once again that those warrants can be obtained retroactively 72 hours after the initial wiretap. The only way the warrant requirement can be a hindrance is if you have no grounds for one.

Okay, moving on… From an interview on Fox News with Neil Cavuto:

Cavuto asked: “How do you think the troops would feel about a President Obama?”

Bush: “Oh, I don’t know. He ain’t — look — he hasn’t got elected yet. He ain’t even got the party’s nomination either. He’s an attractive guy, he’s articulate, I’ve been impressed with him, I’ve seen him in person, but he’s got a long way to go to be president.”

Okay, I can maybe let the “articulate” thing slide as not provably a racist codeword here, because the fact is that Obama is not just “articulate for a black guy” – he’s the best speaker in the Democratic party this side of Bill Clinton, and it would be strange not to make some mention of that. But as if to underscore the point, the Leader Of The Free World, the Most Powerful Man On Earth, uses “ain’t” not once, but twice in the two sentences immediately before it. Makes you right proud, don’t it.

But this, I think this is my favorite of them all, the Wanker Di Tutti Wankers moment:

Asked about federal disaster response by Cavuto, Bush had this to say:

“I think the federal bureaucracy responded pretty quickly for Katrina — and New York. We set up the funds, we put people in place, the monies were spent, the monies were distributed.” He shrugs. “And where there is — I mean, I’m confident there’s some places where the money’s been slowly spent, and we’re constantly listening to members of the Congress to make sure that we are able to free monies that the bureaucracy is, you know, withholding money or slowing up the expenditure of money.

Yes, that’s right, it’s all the mean ol’ bureaucracy’s fault. The Mighty Decider wants nothing more than to move heaven and earth to restore New Orleans and Trent Lott’s porch to their former glory and then some, but that damn bureaucracy keeps getting in the way. (Hey, remember that time when he charmingly dismissed that EPA global warming study as “that report put out by the bureaucracy”?) You can practically see the little Grover Norquist imp perched on his shoulder when he spouts this crap. Side note: How long before he “accidentally” “mispronounces” the name of his opposition as “the Bureaucrat Party”?

Unfortunately, I’m still not done…

U.S. News reports that “Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly concerned that President Bush will order air strikes against targets in Iran in the next few months or even weeks. . . . Democratic insiders tell the Political Bulletin that they suspect Bush will order the bombing of Iranian supply routes, camps, training facilities, and other sites that Administration officials say contribute to American losses in Iraq. Under this scenario, Bush would not invade Iran with ground forces or zero in on Iranian nuclear facilities. But under the limited-bombing scenario, Bush could ask for a congressional vote of support, Democratic insiders predict, which many Democrats would feel obliged to endorse or risk looking like they weren’t supportive of the troops. Bombing Iran would also take attention away from the troubled situation in Iraq and cause a rally-round-the-president reaction among Americans, at least for a while.”

Attention Democrats: Voting in favor of starting a second third, even bigger war and occupation when we can’t even handle the ones we’ve got would be, um… what’s the word I’m looking for here… stupid. Half of you got railroaded into okaying the invasion of Iraq, and now you own a piece of that fiasco, to the point where the Lamont Uprising had to shame you into even making it a campaign issue last year. What possible reason would you have to want to own any piece of a war against Iran, which is far larger and more powerful than Iraq? You don’t seriously believe that it’s going to be a glorious victory you wish you had endorsed, do you? Not with this gang of incompetents in charge, commanding a broken army.

Skim skim skim… Surge… Libby… Aspens… A-ha!

Michael Abramowitz and Lori Montgomery write in The Washington Post: “President Bush acknowledged Wednesday that there is growing income inequality in the United States, addressing for the first time a subject that has long concerned Democrats and liberal economists.

“‘The fact is that income inequality is real — it’s been rising for more than 25 years,’ Bush said in an address on Wall Street. ‘The reason is clear: We have an economy that increasingly rewards education and skills because of that education.'”

Yes, of course. CEO’s make a gajillion* dollars a year solely because of their superior education. Everyone who doesn’t make a gajillion dollars a year must be uneducated and stupid. Like me.

And since no Festival Of Wankery would be complete without the Second Family, here we have Mary Cheney explaining what a baby is:

Katharine Q. Seelye writes in the New York Times: “Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, for the first time yesterday publicly defended her decision to become pregnant and asserted that same-sex couples were equally capable of raising children as heterosexual couples.”

Cheney “gestured to her middle — any bulge disguised by a boxy jacket — and asserted: ‘This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. It is my child.'”

Okay, fine, whatever. All I want is for your baby and your sexual orientation to get the exact same level of respect from conservatives and Republicans as they give to all other gay couples and their children. My preference would be for them to embrace and accept all gays as full and equal citizens under God and the law, but failing that, they should at least be consistent.

*All dollar figures in metric gajillions.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Democrats,Iran,Katrina,Politics,Wankers

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