On the April 30 edition of XM Radio’s The Bob Edwards Show, Washington Post columnist David Broder asserted that it was “really doubtful” President Bush would be able “to salvage something that would look like a victory in Iraq.” Broder made this statement four days after he attacked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for what he called Reid’s “ineptitude,” because of, as he wrote in his April 26 Postcolumn, Reid’s assertion that the Iraq war “is lost.” As Media Matters for Americanoted, in that column, Broder pointed to Reid’s “war is lost” remark to compare him to embattled Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and accuse him of engaging in “inept discussion[s] of the alternatives in Iraq” and of not being “a man who misses many opportunities to put his foot in his mouth.”
Yes, that’s right – Broder thinks Harry Reid is a bumbling buffoon for saying something that Broder agrees with. I guess he didn’t say it civilly or deferentially enough or something.
I know I should be amazed that people as bad at their jobs as Broder, the punditocracy, and the Republicans manage to stay employed, but I’m not. After too many years of watching the Republican party trash our country and the world, and the media make excuses for them, I have come around to the conclusion that the media and the Republicans’ true job is not to inform or serve the public interest, but rather to perpetuate and consolidate Republican power, and to facilitate the ongoing looting of the treasury by cronies and corporate interests.
Although, come to think of it, they haven’t been performing all that well on the whole perpetuate-and-consolidate front lately, and it’s only going to get worse. Maybe they’ll finally get fired after all.
The political problem of the Bush administration is grave, possibly beyond the point of rescue. The opinion polls are savagely decisive on the Iraq question. About 60 percent of Americans wish the war ended – wish at least a timetable for orderly withdrawal. What is going on in Congress is in the nature of accompaniment. The vote in Congress is simply another salient in the war against war in Iraq. Republican forces, with a couple of exceptions, held fast against the Democrats’ attempt to force Bush out of Iraq even if it required fiddling with the Constitution. President Bush will of course veto the bill, but its impact is critically important in the consolidation of public opinion. It can now accurately be said that the legislature, which writes the people’s laws, opposes the war.
Meanwhile, George Tenet, former head of the CIA, has just published a book which seems to demonstrate that there was one part ignorance, one part bullheadedness, in the high-level discussions before war became policy. Mr. Tenet at least appears to demonstrate that there was nothing in the nature of a genuine debate on the question….
But beyond affirming executive supremacy in matters of war, what is George Bush going to do? It is simply untrue that we are making decisive progress in Iraq. The indicators rise and fall from day to day, week to week, month to month. In South Vietnam there was an organized enemy. There is clearly organization in the strikes by the terrorists against our forces and against the civil government in Iraq, but whereas in Vietnam we had Hanoi as the operative headquarters of the enemy, we have no equivalent of that in Iraq, and that is a matter of paralyzing importance. All those bombings, explosions, assassinations: we are driven to believe that they are, so to speak, spontaneous.
General Petraeus is a wonderfully commanding figure. But if the enemy is in the nature of a disease, he cannot win against it. Students of politics ask then the derivative question: How can the Republican party, headed by a president determined on a war he can’t see an end to, attract the support of a majority of the voters?….
The general makes it a point to steer away from the political implications of the struggle, but this cannot be done in the wider arena. There are grounds for wondering whether the Republican party will survive this dilemma.
And our old friend Bobo weighs in on the bold and resolute Republican response to this crisis from the NYT Green Zone:
The Democrats have opened up a wide advantage in party identification and are crushing the G.O.P. among voters under 30.
Moreover, there has been a clear shift, in poll after poll, away from Republican positions on social issues and on attitudes toward government. Democratic approaches are favored on almost all domestic, tax and fiscal issues, and even on foreign affairs.
The public, in short, wants change.
And yet the Republicans refuse to offer that. On Capitol Hill, there is a strange passivity in Republican ranks. Republicans are privately disgusted with how President Bush has led their party and the nation, but they don’t publicly offer any alternatives. They just follow sullenly along. They privately believe the country needs new approaches to the war against Islamic extremism, but they don’t offer them. They try to block Democratic initiatives, but they don’t offer the country any new ways to think about the G.O.P.
They are like people quietly marching to their doom.
Bobo then laments that all of the Republican presidential candidates are hiding their lights under bushels, trying to be like George Allen, only without all that racism stuff (I think).
The big question is, Why are the Republicans so immobile?
There are several reasons. First, there are structural barriers to change. As it has aged, the conservative movement has grown a collection of special interest groups that restrict its mobility. Anybody who offers unorthodox tax policies gets whacked by the Club for Growth and Americans for Tax Reform. Anybody who offers unorthodox social policies gets whacked by James Dobson.
Second, there is the corrupting influence of teamism. Being a good conservative now means sticking together with other conservatives, not thinking new and adventurous thoughts. [snort!] Those who stray from the reservation are accused of selling out to the mainstream media by the guardians of conservative correctness.
Third, there is the oppressive power of the past. Conservatives have allowed a simplistic view of Ronald Reagan to define the sacred parameters of thought. Reagan himself was flexible, unorthodox and creative. But conservatives have created a mythical, rigid Reagan, and any deviation from that is considered unholy.
Fourth, there is the bunker mentality. Republican morale has been brutalized by the Iraq war and the party’s decline. This state of emotional pain is not conducive to risk-taking and free and open debate.
In sum, Republicans know they need to change, but they have closed off all the avenues for change.
Change could, miraculously, come soon. But the odds are it will take a few more crushing defeats before Republicans tear down the self-imposed walls that confine them.
Let’s hope those crushing defeats give the Democrats enough time to start fixing everything the Republicans broke. And that they’ve learned a lesson other than “We need to be more ruthless and sneaky.”
2 commentsApril 30th, 2007 at 04:52pmPosted by Eli
Since you have based your presidential campaign almost exclusively on your reaction to terrorist attacks on New York City, and since you have recently accused Democrats of being on the defense against terrorism and therefore guilty of inviting more casualties, I have one question for you: Where were you on terrorism between January 31, 2001, and September 11th?
The first date was when the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century issued its final report warning, as did its previous reports, of the danger of terrorist attacks on America. The George W. Bush administration did nothing about these warnings and we lost 3,000 American lives. What did you do during those critical eight months? Where were you? Were you on the defensive, or were you even paying attention?
Before you qualify to criticize Democrats, Mr. Giuliani, you must account for your preparation of your city for these clearly predicted attacks. Tell us, please, what steps you took to make your city safer.
Until you do, then I strongly suggest you should keep your mouth shut about Democrats and terrorism.
You have not qualified to criticize others, let alone be president of the United States.
(co-chair, U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century)
P.S. You might ask these same questions of George W. Bush while you are trying to find a better reason to run for president.
It’s an interesting pattern, isn’t it? Democrats warn Republicans about threat of terrorism. Republicans ignore warning. America gets hit by terrorists. Republicans continuously accuse Democrats of being soft on terrorism while actively facilitating it.
9 a.m. — (POLITICS/CIVILITY/BOEHNER/LIEBERMAN) CONFERENCE — The American Enterprise Institute, the University of Pennsylvania and the Brookings Institution sponsors a conference titled “Civility and American Politics,” to discuss “how incivility affects our political system and our ability to tackle the problems of twenty-first-century life.” Location: 902 Hart Senate Office Building
Maybe if they talk about right-wing hate radio and the genocidethirsty conservative blogosphere or, really, anything other than Those Terrible Uncouth Liberal Bloggers Who Swear ALL THE TIME, maybe then I’ll take them seriously.
I think I have finally figured out why Bush hates NOLAso much. It’s not because it has so many poor black people, or because it’s mostly Democratic – those only explain his callous indifference.
New Orleans destroyed his presidency. That was the turning point where everyone who was not hopelessly hooked on the Republican Kool-Aid realized that Dubya’s strong-leader-who-will-protect-us-all pose was a total sham. And everything went downhill from there.
He can’t salvage his presidency, but by God, he can make New Orleans pay for not getting out of the way of that damn hurricane, and for not sitting down and shutting up and pretending to be grateful for whatever superficial days-late photo-op charity he saw fit to bestow upon them.
The history books will unanimously wonder what we ever saw in this cretinous lizard.
2 commentsApril 30th, 2007 at 01:04pmPosted by Eli
As the winds and water of Hurricane Katrina were receding, presidential confidante Karen Hughes sent a cable from her State Department office to U.S. ambassadors worldwide.
Titled “Echo-Chamber Message” — a public relations term for talking points designed to be repeated again and again — the Sept. 7, 2005, directive was unmistakable: Assure the scores of countries that had pledged or donated aid at the height of the disaster that their largesse had provided Americans “practical help and moral support” and “highlight the concrete benefits hurricane victims are receiving.”
Many of the U.S. diplomats who received the message, however, were beginning to witness a more embarrassing reality. They knew the U.S. government was turning down many allies’ offers of manpower, supplies and expertise worth untold millions of dollars. Eventually the United States also would fail to collect most of the unprecedented outpouring of international cash assistance for Katrina’s victims.
Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Some offers were withdrawn or redirected to private groups such as the Red Cross. The rest has been delayed by red tape and bureaucratic limits on how it can be spent.
The struggle to apply foreign aid in the aftermath of the hurricane, which has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $125 billion so far, is another reminder of the federal government’s difficulty leading the recovery. Reports of government waste and delays or denials of assistance have surfaced repeatedly since hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck in 2005.
In one exchange, State Department officials anguished over whether to tell Italy that its shipments of medicine, gauze and other medical supplies spoiled in the elements for weeks after Katrina’s landfall on Aug. 29, 2005, and were destroyed. “Tell them we blew it,” one disgusted official wrote. But she hedged: “The flip side is just to dispose of it and not come clean. I could be persuaded.”
And while television sets worldwide showed images of New Orleans residents begging to be rescued from rooftops as floodwaters rose, U.S. officials turned down countless offers of allied troops and search-and-rescue teams. The most common responses: “sent letter of thanks” and “will keep offer on hand,” the new documents show.
Overall, the United States declined 54 of 77 recorded aid offers from three of its staunchest allies: Canada, Britain and Israel, according to a 40-page State Department table of the offers that had been received as of January 2006.
But wait, there’s more. Consider this story from September ’05:
The Ministry of Defence in London said last night that 400,000 operational ration packs had been shipped to the US.
But officials blamed the US Department of Agriculture, which impounded the shipment under regulations relating to the import and export of meat.
The aid worker, who would not be named, said: “This is the most appalling act of sickening senselessness while people starve.
“The FDA has recalled aid from Britain because it has been condemned as unfit for human consumption, despite the fact that these are NATO approved rations of exactly the same type fed to British soldiers in Iraq.
“Under NATO, American soldiers are also entitled to eat such rations, yet the starving of the American South will see them go up in smoke because of FDA red tape madness.”
The worker added: “There will be a cloud of smoke above Little Rock soon – of burned food, of anger and of shame that the world’s richest nation couldn’t organise a p**s up in a brewery and lets Americans starve while they arrogantly observe petty regulations.
“Everyone is revolted by the chaotic shambles the US is making of this crisis. Guys from UNICEF are walking around spitting blood.
“It is perfectly good NATO approved food of the type British servicemen have. Yet the FDA are saying that because there is a meat content and it has come from Britain it must be destroyed.
“If they are trying to argue there is a BSE reason then that is ludicrously out of date. There is more BSE in the States than there ever was in Britain and UK meat has been safe for years.”
Bush. Hates. NOLA.
4 commentsApril 29th, 2007 at 01:53pmPosted by Eli
President Bush’s unpopularity and a string of political setbacks have created a toxic climate for the Republican Party, making it harder to raise money and recruit candidates for its drive to retake control of Congress.
Some of the GOP’s top choices to run for the House next year have declined, citing what Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) called a “poisonous” environment. And Republicans’ fundraising edge, an important advantage over the last five years, has dwindled.
The problems can be seen in such places as Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, which hugs the coast north of Fort Lauderdale. Republicans held that House seat for a quarter-century. But since losing it last year, the party has had trouble finding a top-tier candidate for it.
Two of the GOP’s choices, both state legislators, declined to run. A third, Boca Raton’s mayor, said he was weighing whether a Republican had any hope of retaking the district.
“You have to sort of lay a bet down now on what will be the environment in 18 months,” said Mayor Steven Abrams, who must leave his current office because of term limits.
Though Republicans have recruited many solid candidates in their effort to retake Capitol Hill – and they have more than 18 months to improve their fortunes – the environment could get worse.
Damaged by ethics scandals in 2006, the GOP in recent weeks has seen FBI raids at businesses or homes connected to two of its congressmen. A federal agency last week began an investigation into Bush advisor Karl Rove’s political operation, and congressional panels authorized a flurry of subpoenas related to White House political activities and the run-up to the Iraq war.
Three-term Rep. Rob Simmons of Connecticut, who lost his seat last year by 83 votes, said he turned down an appeal from the GOP to run again in 2008, partly because of the dismal political climate. In a district dominated by Democrats, he said, it has become impossible for even a moderate Republican like himself to win – especially since he voted to authorize the war in Iraq. Republicans in recent days said they had found a solid candidate to run in Simmons’ place: the former commander of the area’s naval base.
In Colorado, Republican Sen. Wayne Allard’s decision not to seek reelection set the stage for one of the nation’s most competitive 2008 races. But the top choice of party leaders, former Rep. Scott McInnis, has taken a pass, citing family reasons. McInnis had nearly $1 million stockpiled for the race.
I guess the GOP will have to start lowering their recruiting standards and taking candidates with low IQs, mental health issues, and/or criminal records. Or has that ship already sailed?
ABC News’ Brian Ross revealed tonight that the list of customers of an alleged Washington-based prostitution service includes White House and Pentagon officials as well as prominent attorneys.
“There are thousands of names, tens of thousands of phone numbers,” Ross said. “And there are people there at the Pentagon, lobbyists, others at the White House, prominent lawyers – a long, long list.”
Ross… asked Tobias in a telephone interview “if he knew any of the young women, their names. He said he didn’t remember them at all. He said it was like ordering pizza.”
Would that be by the slice, or, um, the whole pie? And can I start calling Tobias “Papa John”?
Most of the entertaining spam I get is amusing because of the abrupt shifts between the various narratives that have been jumbled together to make the spam look like, well, something other than spam. But lately I’ve been getting spams which are basically a single sentence, but very… evocative. My three personal favorites, like some kind of spam haiku:
The tiller seat was empty.
The Death of Rats poked its nose out of the saddlebag.
The look didn’t really suit Hagrid at all.
Several groups and countries had their funding cut due to the policy. Brazil lost $40 million for “one of its most successful anti-AIDS strategies, persuading sex workers to use condoms or other measures to stop spreading the disease.”
During an “Ask the White House” online chat in 2004, Tobias defended the policy, saying the U.S. was “partnering with communities” to begin “fighting sex trafficking and prostitution, while still serving victims of these activities.” Tobias added that he was overseeing several “highly successful” relationship programs “aimed at men and boys to help them develop healthy relationships with women.”
Henry Waxman’s Government Oversight Committee has invited George Tenet to testify before the Committee on May 10th regarding the Niger/uranium claims and other blurred intelligence questions. (H/T to TiredFed for the link.) With a book to sell, this could get quite interesting from Tenet.
On the other hand, the fact that he has a book out means that the Republicans can run their standard “Don’t believe a word he says; he’s just hyping his new book, plus he’s a pedophile and serial killer” playbook.
Although… Why didn’t Tenet say anything until his book came out? He resigned in July 2004; he could have saved this country, and the entire world, a whole lot of grief if he had spoken out then.
2 commentsApril 27th, 2007 at 01:19pmPosted by Eli
Americans in large bipartisan numbers say the heating of the earth’s atmosphere is having serious effects on the environment now or will soon and think that it is necessary to take immediate steps to reduce its effects, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds.
Ninety percent of Democrats, 80 percent of independents and 60 percent of Republicans said immediate action was required to curb the warming of the atmosphere and deal with its effects on the global climate. Nineteen percent said it was not necessary to act now, and 1 percent said no steps were needed.
Recent international reports have said with near certainty that human activities are the main cause of global warming since 1950. The poll found that 84 percent of Americans see human activity as at least contributing to warming.
Dubya has a 32% approval rating in this same poll. Which means that even a big chunk of his dead-enders believe in global warming as a serious threat. Let’s hope the Democrats can make some hay with this against the Republican deniers in 2008.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl doesn’t remember the last time Pittsburgh was rated No. 1 in the country by “Places Rated Almanac.” That was in 1985, and he was only 5.
But he grew up in “America’s Most Livable City,” and last night said he was glad to hear that the latest edition of the almanac has again put Pittsburgh No. 1.
David Savageau, who has been compiling the “Places Rated Almanac” since 1981, said he was hoping that this year’s edition would have a surprise No. 1 that might create the kind of buzz the 1985 rankings did.
Mr. Savageau continues to use the same formula to rate the 379 metropolitan areas he surveys. There are nine categories: housing affordability (cost of living); transportation; jobs; education; climate; crime; health care; recreation; and ambience (museums, performing arts, restaurants and historical districts).
The seven-county area that makes up Pittsburgh failed to finish in the top 20 in any of the categories, ranging from a competitive 21st in recreation and 29th in education to a less-than-stellar 111th in housing and 135th in climate. But when the numbers are added up, the one that counts is the final total.
“To tell the truth,” Mr. Savageau said, “I was rooting for New York. It’s a city, like Pittsburgh, that has a lot of predispositions against it. But I found New Yorkers to be among the nicest people in the whole country, and there’s such an incredible number of things to do there. But it has liabilities, such as the cost of living.”
This is the seventh edition of the “Places Rated Almanac,” and Pittsburgh hasn’t always finished first, dropping as low as 14th in 1997 and 12th in 1999, the last year that the listings were done. But the city is the only one to finish in the top 20 every time.
That’s… kinda cool. Although as a transplanted New Yorker, I would have been perfectly happy if New York had placed first…
If there’s one thing that the last six years have taught me, it is that George W. Bush can always find a new depth to sink to:
The New Orleans City Business has an article on Louisiana’s effort to pressure Bush for the waiver. Though such a waiver is in the Iraq Supplemental bill which Bush will veto, we learn from the article that…
Bush also vows to veto any new funding or legislative attempt to waive the 10 percent match.
Here’s the White House justification…
The White House maintains $1 billion was provided for the 10 percent match in the $10.4 billion in community development block grants already awarded to Louisiana.
In other words Bush is saying give us back a billion of the aid we gave you and you’re good to go. Nice trick. But here is a major problem even with that…..
Bush ignores a major problem with using CDBG funds for the 10 percent match, said Landrieu spokesman Adam Sharp.
“It ignores the greater paperwork issue,” Sharp said. “Right now, each of the more than 20,000 public assistance projects require two different sets of paperwork – one for (the Department of Housing and Urban Development) to confirm that you are allowed to use CDBG funds to pay the 10 percent, and one for FEMA to confirm that disaster funds can be used for the other 90 percent. The paperwork can take months, if not years, to complete, per project. The red tape alone is enough to strangle recovery.”
Louisiana’s congressional delegation, Democrats AND Republicans alike, say they will continue to push for the waiver. Landrieu thinks the votes are there to over ride Bush’s vetoes ….
“I feel confident because the Democratic Congress is going to make sure that that happens even if the White House will not,” she said. “He can veto it. If that ever happens, I think we’ll have the votes to override him.”
I really hope Landrieu is right. I would love to see Bush show his true colors and then get overridden anyway. I can’t find the words to say how much this disgusts me. What an utter tiny-minded, petty, vindictive little bastard.
If there are any smart literary agents around these days, one of them will copyright the title… “The Breaking of the President” for the next big series of nonfiction best-sellers. It is becoming more obvious with every passing day that the men and the movement that broke Lyndon B. Johnson’s authority in 1968 are out to break Richard M. Nixon in 1969.
The likelihood is great that they will succeed again, for breaking a President is, like most feats, easier to accomplish the second time around. Once learned, the techniques can readily be applied as often as desired – even when the circumstances seem less than propitious. No matter that this President is pulling troops out of Vietnam, while the last one was sending them in; no matter that in 1969 the casualties and violence are declining, while in 1968 they were on the rise. Men have learned to break a President, and, like any discovery that imparts power to its possessors, the mere availability of this knowledge guarantees that it will be used.
There is still a vital distinction… to be made between the constitutionally protected expression of dissent, aimed at changing national policy, and mass movements aimed at breaking the President by destroying his capacity to lead the nation or to represent it at the bargaining table.
The point is quite simple. Given the impatience in this country to be out of that miserable war, there is no great trick in using the Vietnam issue to break another President, you have broken the one man who can negotiate the peace.
But… what if the president was already broken when he took office? And what if he considers “negotiate” and “peace” to be synonyms for failure?
Atrios also links to a Begala column with some additional perspective on Broder’s rampaging wankery.
5 commentsApril 26th, 2007 at 07:32pmPosted by Eli
In between calls for relaxed concealed-carry laws, those sensitive and compassionate Republicans asked that we wait some respectable and decent interval to let the forgetting healing begin before we start talking about gun policy.
By now, the logic is almost automatic. A shooter takes innocent lives, and someone says that if the victims had been armed, this wouldn’t have happened. The only solution to a gun in the wrong hands, it seems, is a gun in the hands of everyone.
That’s the state of the debate over gun control today. The National Rifle Association and the gun lobby have silenced every legislature in this country. Instead of stricter laws, tighter controls and better background checks, the gun lobby proposes more guns. And what the gun lobby proposes, lawmakers deliver.
Seung-Hui Cho bought his guns illegally, though with the appearance of legality. He slipped through a loophole, through a disconnect between the way Virginia defines a disqualifying mental incapacity and the way the federal government does. After the fact, the loophole is self-evident, and it’s tempting to believe that now political leaders will work harder to keep people who are dangers to themselves from becoming dangers to others by buying guns. But the laws are as fragile and imperfect as they are because that is how the gun lobby wants them – and it is paying good money to keep them that way.
Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund… mentioned that since the murders of Robert Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, well over a million Americans have been killed by firearms in the United States. That’s more than the combined U.S. combat deaths in all the wars in all of American history.
“We’re losing eight children and teenagers a day to gun violence,” she said. “As far as young people are concerned, we lose the equivalent of the massacre at Virginia Tech about every four days.”
The first step in overcoming an addiction is to acknowledge it. Americans are addicted to violence, specifically gun violence. We profess to be appalled at every gruesome outbreak of mass murder… but there’s no evidence that we have the will to pull the guns out of circulation, or even to register the weapons and properly screen and train their owners.
Those who are interested in the safety and well-being of children should keep in mind that only motor vehicle accidents and cancer kill more children in the U.S. than firearms. A study released a few years ago by the Harvard School of Public Health compared firearm mortality rates among youngsters 5 to 14 years old in the five states with the highest rates of gun ownership with those in the five states with the lowest rates.
The results were chilling. Children in the states with the highest rates of gun ownership were 16 times as likely to die from an accidental gunshot wound, nearly seven times as likely to commit suicide with a gun, and more than three times as likely to be murdered with a firearm.
Only a lunatic could seriously believe that more guns in more homes is good for America’s children.
Maybe Herbert should have provided some statistics on how many fetuses get shot to death; those appear to be the only deaths Republicans care about.
7 commentsApril 26th, 2007 at 11:54amPosted by Eli
Here’s a Washington political riddle where you fill in the blanks: As Alberto Gonzales is to the Republicans, Blank Blank is to the Democrats — a continuing embarrassment thanks to his amateurish performance.
If you answered “Harry Reid” give yourself an A. And join the long list of senators of both parties who are ready for these two springtime exhibitions of ineptitude to end.
[C]onsider the mental gyrations performed by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as he rationalized the recent comment from his majority leader, Harry Reid, the leading light of Searchlight, Nev., that the war in Iraq “is lost.”
On “Fox News Sunday,” Schumer offered this clarification of Reid’s off-the-cuff comment. “What Harry Reid is saying is that this war is lost — in other words, a war where we mainly spend our time policing a civil war between Shiites and Sunnis. We are not going to solve that problem. . . . The war is not lost. And Harry Reid believes this — we Democrats believe it. . . . So the bottom line is if the war continues on this path, if we continue to try to police and settle a civil war that’s been going on for hundreds of years in Iraq, we can’t win. But on the other hand, if we change the mission and have that mission focus on the more narrow goal of counterterrorism, we sure can win.”
Everyone got that? This war is lost. But the war can be won. Not since Bill Clinton famously pondered the meaning of the word “is” has a Democratic leader confused things as much as Harry Reid did with his inept discussion of the alternatives in Iraq.
Most of [Reid’s] earlier gaffes were personal, bespeaking a kind of displaced aggressiveness on the part of the onetime amateur boxer. But Reid’s verbal wanderings on the war in Iraq are consequential — not just for his party and the Senate but for the more important question of what happens to U.S. policy in that violent country and to the men and women whose lives are at stake.
Instead of reinforcing the important proposition — defined by the Iraq Study Group— that a military strategy for Iraq is necessary but not sufficient to solve the myriad political problems of that country, Reid has mistakenly argued that the military effort is lost but a diplomatic-political strategy can still succeed.
The Democrats deserve better, and the country needs more, than Harry Reid has offered as Senate majority leader.
Funny that Broderella only has a problem with Reid when he actually pushes back against the administration and the Republicans. He doesn’t say a word about all the times Reid has rolled over without a fight (Alito confirmation, Military Commissions Act), or his inexplicable and inexcusable support for the noxious Joe Lieberman. No, the only times Reid is an Incompetent, Bad Opposition Majority Leader are when he’s actually… opposing.
And oh-by-the-way, there’s nothing wrong with saying the war is lost. The war has been an unwinnable fantasy from Day One. If Schumer wants to try to spin and dodge that fact, that’s his problem, not Reid’s.
The fact is, I’m not wild about Harry, but for the opposite reasons from Broder. I don’t think he makes these kinds of “gaffes” (apparently defined as comments embarrassing to the Bush administration) enough.
2 commentsApril 26th, 2007 at 07:34amPosted by Eli
The beginning of this investigation marks an unlikely course of events in a long-running saga in which President Bush has been trying to purge Special Counsel Bloch, his own appointee. Just a year ago, Bloch looked like he was the one sinking, about to be removed from office, maligned among prospective employers, and perhaps even prosecuted. But all of the sudden, it is the White House in hot water, and Bloch may be untouchable.
Bloch first ran into trouble shortly after arriving in the administration. His decision to change the department’s website to reflect the statutory language on sexual orientation and discrimination in the federal workforce — replacing what he viewed as the overreaching, pro-homosexual policies of his predecessor — was what caused the burst of rage against him. He was subsequently accused of just about every misdeed possible in his position — including incompetence and discrimination against his own employees. All indications are that the office is run well, however. This controversy is complicated and probably far less significant than all the attention it received would suggest. But because it touched such a hot-button issue, it became a symbolic battle and there was no turning back. Congressional Republicans bowed to Democrats’ wishes — especially those of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) — in exercising oversight and holding hearings on Bloch, but he performed well under the scrutiny — no one could pin anything on him.
The liberal groups stoking the controversy reportedly did not expect any of their complaints to go anywhere, but they did not count on White House officials’ championing their cause and attempting to purge Bloch — who refused to go quietly. Not only did the White House not come to Bloch’s defense, it initiated a full investigation into his official conduct, demanding an exorbitant amount of money from his agency’s budget in order to do so. Clay Johnson, Bush’s Texas friend, even demanded Bloch’s resignation, and referred the matter to the inspector general for the White House Office for Personnel Management (OPM).
Quite frankly, this smells like a pre-whitewash whitewash to me. The OPM investigation is not being pursued aggressively, and I think Novak is just being a good little Republican tool and trying to establish Bloch’s bona fides as an independent operator. Check out this Mother Jones story that Christy linked to and tell me if this guy sounds like a rebel to you.