5 comments April 25th, 2007at 05:51pm Posted by Eli

How you like your Deciderer now?

The disconnect that is destroying what’s left of the Bush presidency was clear in an image from the Oval Office this week. President Bush was sitting warily in his chair, pursing his lips as if he had just eaten a bad radish, as a reporter asked about the performance of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in recent congressional testimony concerning the firing of U.S. attorneys.

Prominent Republicans had criticized Gonzales’s testimony as evasive and inadequate. But Bush responded blandly that his attorney general had given “a very candid assessment and answered every question he could possibly answer . . . in a way that increased my confidence in his ability to do the job.”

Now, say what you like about Gonzales, but only a visitor from another planet would describe as “very candid” the responses of a man who, by one count, repeated 64 times during his testimony the phrase “I don’t know” and similar variants. It was as if Bush didn’t know or care that everyone in Washington had watched Gonzales duck questions before a Senate committee a few days earlier.


Something’s got to give. That’s the sense around Washington this week as the news from Baghdad worsens and the president defiantly continues an Iraq policy that many military leaders question. Unfortunately, what’s giving way right now is the national interest….


If you want to hear despair in Washington these days, talk to Republicans. The Democrats are exulting in their newfound political power and are eager to profit from Bush’s difficulties. But Republicans voice the bitterness and frustration of people chained to the hull of a sinking ship.

I spoke with a half-dozen prominent GOP operatives this past week, most of them high-level officials in the Reagan and Bush I and Bush II administrations, and I heard the same devastating critique: This White House is isolated and ineffective; the country has stopped listening to President Bush, just as it once tuned out the hapless Jimmy Carter; the president’s misplaced sense of personal loyalty is hurting his party and the nation.

“This is the most incompetent White House I’ve seen since I came to Washington,” said one GOP senator. “The White House legislative liaison team is incompetent, pitiful, embarrassing. My colleagues can’t even tell you who the White House Senate liaison is. There is rank incompetence throughout the government. It’s the weakest Cabinet I’ve seen.” And remember, this is a Republican talking.


When a presidency is as severely damaged as this one, the normal drill is to empower a strong and politically adept White House chief of staff to make the necessary changes….

The current White House chief of staff, Josh Bolten, needs to mount a similar salvage mission, argue several prominent Republicans. They question whether he’s politically adept enough. But most of all, they question whether Bolten or anyone else can break through Bush’s tight, tough shell and tell him the truth. What’s starting to crack isn’t the obdurate Bush, but the country.

Fascinating stuff. The Republican Party is becoming increasingly dismayed as they realize just how large and putrescent is the dubyatross that hangs around their necks.

Better yet, they have yet to show the will to cast him off, and after marinating in his stink for the past six years, they will find it very difficult to wash themselves clean in time for next year’s elections. And if they think Dubya smells bad through their Rove-issued clothespins, he smells even worse to the rest of us.

Of course, the downside is that Dubya is so oblivious, and so committed to his stubborn=resolute, loyalty=competence theory of governance, that he will never ease up on the accelerator as he drives this country towards the edge of the cliff.

The question is, is the cliff more than 21 months away? Will Dubya’s (hopefully) Democratic successor have enough time to hit the brakes or swerve away? Will the corporate media and congressional Republicans let him (or her)?

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Politics,Republicans


  • 1. LJ/Aquaria  |  April 25th, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    Eli, honey, you know the answer to that last question. The corporate media is gonna party like it’s 1998. They’ll suddenly remember how to be a “watchdog” and “investigative” and question everything that a Dem president does. “You wanted us to start holding a President’s feet to the fire, right? RIGHT?” “You screamed bloody murder because we let Bush get away with too much. Now you’re complaining that we’re being too hard on a President? You hypocrites!” And so forth.

    I’m curious about who the GOP Senator is who blasts the Bush White House as incompetent, pitiful and embarrassing.

    My guess is John Sununu, John Warner, or Chuck Hagel.

    Sununu seems the likely party. The quoted person phrases things in a way that sounds like someone who has been in a White House looking out. He’s the only one that qualifies.

  • 2. charley  |  April 25th, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Whatís starting to crack isnít the obdurate Bush, but the country.

    i’m glad that you saw that.

    Will Dubyaís (hopefully) Democratic successor have enough time to hit the brakes or swerve away?

    i’m not sure 2004 wasn’t the break point. sadly, i think it was.

  • 3. Eli  |  April 26th, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Wrong Sununu, LJ. The Senator’s his son, and only 42, which is maybe a little too young to make a statement like that. Warner or Hagel could certainly work, though. Lott might be a possibility as well.

    The pushback on the media should be that we will continue to call them on investigations that are *bullshit*, which is what they’ve been doing to the Democrats all along, regardless of whether they’ve been in power or not.

    iím not sure 2004 wasnít the break point. sadly, i think it was.

    I dunno. I’m not sure how we would even recognize when we passed the point of no return, but returning Dubya to office will be remembered by history as a truly disastrous moment.

  • 4. LJ/Aquaria  |  April 26th, 2007 at 4:28 am

    Didn’t know the Sununu was different from the one I remember (don’t keep up with NH politics). Sorry about that. My bad. I just remember the John Sununu from way back when.

    :::going to corner and flogging self for stupidity:::

    Still… I don’t rule him out, if he has Daddy’s ear, which he probably does. All that stuff sounds like someone who’s been inside would say; it’s not improbable that he’s regurgitating what Daddy tells him. 42 is old enough, anyway, to know how things are in the world–or in the upper echelons of power, especially if he grew up around it.

  • 5. Eli  |  April 26th, 2007 at 9:17 am

    No problem. I think I only knew about Sununu Jr. because we went to the same college.

    I really don’t think it’s him; that’s the kind of statement you have to be a lot older to make. When a 42-year-old guy says this is the worst administration he’- ever seen in his whole life, it just sounds kind of silly. Now if it was Warner or (ha) Stevens or the ghost of Strom Thurmond, now that would be something. I wonder if it could be my buddy Arlen Specter, but he usually makes sure his criticisms are on the record, and keeps his facilitation quiet…

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