Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bush Hates Republicans--II

You have to wonder why President Bush and VP Dick Cheney hate the Republican Party so much. Today, David Kurtz of TPM argues that the Bush administration is spinning out the surge in such a way that there still be 150,000 American troops in Iraq when Bush and Cheney leave office in January 2009. In other words, the Bush/Cheney end game is to keep the war going at all costs even though they know longer believe they'll achieve any strategic goals. Kurtz concludes by quoting a TPM reader as claiming that Bush and Cheney will then be "spin [the Iraq invasion] for all it's worth the rest of their lives."

Of course, there is a sense in which that would be a "victory" for President Bush. He would have been able to keep the war going despite pressure from a Democratic Congress and public opinion and he could say that he "stood strong" although his only purpose in "standing strong" was to "stand strong."

But it's a recipe for disaster for the Republican Party in 2008 and beyond and George Bush has enough political sense to know it. Disapproval for the war and support for mandatory withdrawal deadlines are over 60%, Republicans are nervous about the 2008 election, and dissatisfied with the current group of GOP presidential candidates. By pushing the surge out through November 2008 and forcing GOP candidates to pledge allegiance to the Iraq War, Bush is practically guaranteeing a Democratic landslide.

Which makes you wonder what he has against the Republican Party.

What About Rush Limbaugh's Massages?

Randall L. Tobias, "director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)," resigned yesterday when he was connected with the Pamela Martin escort service in Washington.

Like Ted Haggard last December, Tobias claimed he was getting massages from the "gals" at the escort service.

What a guy!

Maybe Rush Limbaugh needed viagra for the massages he was getting from Dominican prostitutes as well.

Bad Poll Numbers for Confronting Bush

LAST NIGHT, CBS put out some interesting numbers on the battle over the troop withdrawal deadline.

THE GOOD NEWS: The American public is breaking strongly in support of troop withdrawal with 64%-32% now supporting the deadlines in legislation just passed by Congress. The Democrats have won the deadline debate.

THE BAD NEWS: A 56%-36% majority also wants Congress to fund the war anyway. In other words, about 24% of the public would rather have a failed war than a bitter confrontation between Congress and the President over war funding. I've always suspected that a big chunk of the American public WANTS the Democrats to be the less aggressive alternative to the foaming-at-the-mouth types in the Bush administration and the right-wing.

WHAT SHOULD THE DEMS DO? Personally, I believe the Democrats should let the issue play out for a couple of months to see whether public opinion continues to break against the Bush administration. Public opinion has moved a long way toward opposing the war since the eleciton last Novemeber. Perhaps more people will start supporting confrontation with Bush.

Friday, April 27, 2007

George Tenet Should Have Resigned in 2003

Who knew? A couple of the right-wing students in my classes are carrying around a book entitled Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies by Gregg Jackson. But more and more people are coming out as leftists. Today, it's George Tenet, former director of the CIA, who reveals in At the Center of the Storm that he was a leftist the whole time he was heading up the CIA. I'll just mention a couple of instances

Before the Iraq invasion, people on the left were arguing that an invasion would spur al-Qaeda recruitment in the Arab world.

Guess what! The CIA was also concerned about “a surge of global terrorism against U.S. interests fueled by deepening Islamic antipathy toward the United States.” In other words, the CIA didn't buy the delusion that the invasion would be cost-free any more than the left.

Anti-war types like I discussed the consequences of occupying Iraq at enormous length. It turns out that George Tenet was just as worried about “'anarchy and the territorial breakup” of the country. "

Amazing. I wonder if Tenet is a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

Like every anti-war person in the U. S., I thought Dick Cheney was lying about Iraq. So did Tenet even though Tenet puts the issue in bureaucratese when he claims that "Cheney . . . stretched the intelligence to serve his own belief that war was the right course."

Even though he was CIA chief, George Tenet did not believe the whole mendacious campaign to justify the invasion any more than a common liberal like myself.

But here's the difference. When people on the left decided that the invasion was an extremely bad idea, they wrote articles, started blogs, posted on the internet, organized marches, and started campaigning to get their views heard by the media.

To the contrary, George Tenet sat right behind Colin Powell as he was making his crucial and crucially deceptive presentation to the UN Security Council. Tenet writes that his position behind Powell "was about the last place I wanted to be."

In fact, Tenet shouldn't have been there at all.

He should have resigned from the Bush administration as soon as he realized that they were misusing intelligence to justify a potentially disastrous war.

That's what I would have done.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Do Hillary and Obama Need to Tear Each Other Apart?

MISSED THE DEBATE. I didn't see the Democratic debate tonight. Too many senior seminar papers that had to be read by tomorrow.

But I can see a problem.

THE MISSING FIREWORKS: Over at Salon, the headline on Tim Grieve's debate article was "front-runners make nice." But shouldn't Clinton and Obama make nice. Clinton and Obama largely agree on most things. They have a lot of reasons to see the other as talented politicians. Likewise, whichever one wins, they are going to expect a lot of help from the other.

BUT WHY GO NUCLEAR? There's no intra-party feud to go nuclear about. Hillary doesnt' represent a moribund establishment protecting its turf. Obama is not an irresponsible challenger representing a newly ascendant reformist wing. Just as the 1980's neo-liberal challenge to liberal Democracy, so is the current liberal counter-attack against neo-liberals like Joe Lieberman types.

The Democratic contest will come down to who can seem to have gone against their personal style the best. Obama soars but could stand to be more grounded. Hillary is grounded but needs to do a better job of soaring. I'm on the side of being grounded but I don't see any reason why Hillary and Obama can't campaign on their own positive qualities and leave the slashing and burning until the general election campaign.

The Surge Makes the Enemy Stronger

It's a bad sign for the Bush surge strategy in Iraq is that Joe Lieberman has an op-ed in the Washington Post saying how well it's going. Lieberman's credibility has been falling to Bush-like depths since he came out as a full-throated neo-conservative after he got re-elected last November. Today, Lieberman makes the extremely thin argument that the surge is succeeding on two fronts--that Sunnis are joining the government cause in Anbar province and that the Shiite militias have been suppressed.

Of course, the Shiite militias have not been oppressed. The militias themselves decided to stand down rather than fight the new American arrivals in January. They may still decide to fight or they might decide to wait out the surge in the hope that the U. S. will wipe out the Sunni insurgents.

Unfortunately, that's not happening.

Lieberman mentions the 170 people killed by car bombs last week and blames the attacks on al-Qaida. But al-Qaeda only has 1,200 or so fighters in Iraq. The rest of the Sunni insurgents are an extremely diverse group of Sunni nationalist fighters, local guys, fundamentalist patriots, and relatively unaffiliated foreign fighters from the rest of the Arab world, Bosnia, and Chechnya.

And the Sunni insurgents have gotten stronger since the beginning of the surge because they no longer have to contend with the Shiite militias defending Shiite neighborhoods or Shiite death squads invading Sunni neighborhoods. During the 9 months of sectarian warfare after the bombing of the Samarra shrine, the militias got the upper hand on all the Sunni insurgents. But now that the Shiite militias have stood down, the Sunni insurgents are stronger and much more free to act than they were before the surge.

The surge is just like the original invasion. It's making the enemy stronger.

If It Were Only Half a Glass

I WANT MORE! I've always been annoyed by the optimism question of whether you see a glass as half empty or half full. Why be satisfied with half a glass!

BUT TODAY IS DIFFERENT. I'd be kidding myself if I claimed that I'm even at half a glass. There's one foul up to correct, two final exams to make up, three classes to give, four senior seminar papers to read--five golden rings. But today is probably my last hell day for the semester. So, I'm going to look at the glass as 10% full rather than 90% empty.

There's optimism for you.

MY NEIGHBOR IS A TURKEY. There was the usual cacophony of bird singing when I went down to get the newspaper this morning. But I could hear a distinct "gobble-gobble" on the other side of the holler. A couple of years ago, I saw a turkey running back into the woods, but it's pretty clear that a gobbler has taken up permanent residence in this area. Very cool!


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm Not Outraged at Giuliani

It's important for people on the left to not get actually "outraged" at the outrageous comments made by the right.

Case in point: Rudy Giuliani's proclamation on Tuesday that the U. S. would be safer with a Republican president.

Of course, that's nonsense. For people to be safe, we need an administration that's willing to do the hard work of making planes, ports, bridges, tunnels, and airspace secure.

To the contrary, what the Republicans are concerned about is talking and looking tough. To use a bodybuilding analogy, the Republicans like to look at a mirror and brag about how "ripped" or "cut" they look, but don't actually like to work out.

But, heh. Giuliani is a Republican candidate for President. He has to say something good about being a Republican. So I'm not getting as worked up as the people at DailyKos who point out:

"Yes. If a Republican is elected, they can "anticipate" terrorist attacks. You know, perhaps because staff members with their "hair on fire" are warning them of the high risk of terrorist attacks. Perhaps because staff members are trying to educate them in vain about a recent ongoing history of terrorist attacks. Perhaps because somebody practically staples a memo to the Republican President's forehead dramatically entitled, in a large and bolded font, "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S." MAYBE SOMETHING LIKE THAT. "

I don't think there's quite a need anymore to yell at Giuliani like that. The Republican record of incompetence almost speaks for itself. The key thing is to tie Giuliani arguments about Republican competence back to Bush in a detailed way.

The Weenie Boys of the Right

What Weenie Boys Do. New York Times political writer Adam Nagourney owns up (via Glenn Greenwald) to being the conduit by which the Bush administration made public its characterization of John Edwards as a "Breck Girl" in 2004. Nagourney flails himself for not insisting that "anonymous" Bush officials allow their names to be used for the story. He also mentions that other Democratic candidates were starting to focus on Edwards' looks as a campaign issue.

But Nagourney completely ignores is the extent to which the Bush administration and the right in general devote their energy to developing clever personal put-downs of the Democrats, liberals, and Democratic proposals. It started with Lee Atwater's nicknaming of Michael Dukakis as the "shrimp" in the 2008 campaign and has continued onward through the sneering at John Kerry for being "French," the characterization of the Iraq Study Group as the Iraq Surrender Group, and labelling deadlines for withdrawal as "surrender deadlines." Ann Coulter is the acknowledged master of these kinds of put-downs and I've seen a lot of right-wing posters on Slate's Fray devote considerable energy to mastering put-down techniques.

As somebody who writes about Bush administration and Republican campaign strategies, Nagourney should have noticed that one of the key strategies of the Republicans is to "frame" their personal attacks on the Democrats by coming up with new nicknames.

The Dems Don't Get It. Glenn Greenwald is focused on the extent to which writers like Nagourney advance the Republican agenda through their uncritical reporting of these kinds of Republican talking points. That's certainly a real problem especially when the media becomes an endless conveyor for the GOP point of view in the way that CNN has for the Republican response to Harry Reid. What's been worse is that Democrats themselves have bought in to Republican characterizations of us as the party of the effete and disconnected for so long.

I'm particularly aggravated by this crap because I was a hard-hitting, cheap-shotting linebacker in football (ejected from two games), hard-fouling guard in basketball (fouled out of six games in one year), and big-throwing shotputter (at 49', 8") during my high school years. I've never given the Republican memes about the Democrats as "soft," "illogical," focused on "feelings" the time of day. And I've never heard anything indicating that union guys or African-Americans acknowledge these insults either. But it's been clear for years that many white liberals, especially white media types, secretly agree with right-wing put-downs of themselves and envy the right-wing mastery of the put-down idiom. That's where the phrase "self-hating liberal" comes from. Reporters like Adam Nagourney are picking up on the self-perceptions of a significant part of their white liberal audience when they communicate right-wing put downs. Thus, Nagourney's white liberal audience will have to become more self-respecting and intolerant of the Republican language of abuse if anyone expects him to change his writing.

The Weenie Boy Way. What's particularly annoying about the white liberal acceptance of right-wing put downs is that liberals never consider the source. The Bush administration and the right-wing in general is full of guys who are physically inept (Bush), are afraid to come out of their rooms (Rush Limbaugh), sound like Tinker Bell (Alberto Gonzales), have the dough-faced look of someone who got picked on a lot in high school for being ugly (Karl Rove, Kyle Sampson, etc.), are so tiny they can barely be seen in a room of normal people (Scooter Libby), have no social skills (Douglas Feith), or belong to bizarre academic cults like Straussianism (Wolfowitz, Feith, William Kristol, etc., etc.). You have to wonder if any of these guys who didn't have a lot of money ever got a date in high school.

Personally, I have no objections to these kinds of qualities. Given that Mrs. RSI is 5' 2", I'm especially fond of the height-challenged and I hung out with musicians and grade grubbers as well as the jock clique. However, I'm going to follow the right-wing example and describe this whole group as "weenie boys" and want to emphasize that the "weenie boys" of the Bush administration and the right were often inept at all the sports and dating kinds of things associated with conventional masculinity. Rush Limbaugh is especially famous for spending most of his adolescence holed up in his room. Not exactly showing huge potential for masculinity there.

And they're still not very well-connected to conventional masculinity. Karl Rove was revolted when Sheryl Crowe touched him. I can tell you from the bottom of my guy heart that I wouldn't go "don't touch me" if Sheryl Crowe grabbed my arm. Likewise, George Bush is in love with Alberto Gonzales and Rush Limbaugh prefers his sex with a dose of viagra and Dominican prostitutes.

What the "weenie boys" of the right have done though is to perfect the hyper-masculine political gesture. Worshipping masculinity but locked off from conventional masculine achievement, all the weenie boys can do is work on talking tough.

People on the left should show them the contempt they deserve.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Nancy Pelosi on Iraq Funding Bill

This is a report from MyDD on a blog conference call given by Nancy Pelosi to a group of about 20 bloggers about the Democratic view of the battle over war funding legislation.

Speaker Pelosi: "We have to end this war."
by kid oakland, Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 08:55:29 PM EST

I received an email in my inbox earlier today inviting me to participate in a last-minute conference call with Speaker Pelosi and some fellow bloggers on the subject of Iraq.

I wanted to share the thrust of that conference call with the readers here and spell out the best I can what the Speaker of the House had to say.

Speaker Pelosi was very clear and echoed a point she made on the Huffington Post last November 17th following the election that made her Speaker of the House: "We have to end this war."

Let's me elaborate on that...

Speaker Pelosi was no-nonsense, direct and, from my point of view, did not pander to the twenty or so of us on the conference call. It was pretty clear that what Speaker Pelosi said to us, she would say to anyone.

Jumping onto the call, Speaker Pelosi wasted no time in addressing the conference report on the Iraq supplemental. Before I elaborate on what she had to say, let me address, briefly, the legislative process the Speaker was talking about so that we're all on the same page:

The Iraq Supplemental

From time to time, Congress votes on a budgetary supplemental to cover funding of expenditures not included in the main budget; the President has consistently, and deceptively, chosen to put funding for the war in Iraq into that supplemental, and, hence, the current Congressional supplemental bill has been called "the Iraq supplemental."

Paul Kane at the Washington Post, has an elegant and straightforward summary description of the current state of affairs in regards to the Iraq supplemental here:

The battle over the supplemental spending bill for the Iraq war can be boiled down into a five-act play, heading toward a climactic showdown at some point next month. The first two acts have already been completed, with the House and Senate passing versions of the supplemental and setting differing withdrawal dates from Iraq next year.

The next act is playing out now, as the two chambers are hashing out the differences between their bills in order to send a compromise version to the White House for a likely veto -- which would be the fourth act. And the final act will be in May as the two sides figure out how to fund this ongoing war in Iraq while placing some restrictions on it.

Speaker Pelosi, then, was calling to address the state of the Conference Report for the Iraq supplemental...or act three in Kane's description. If you'd like to read more about the Iraq

Paul Kane has a summary of the break down of the vote in the House: House votes on the supplemental.

This is the WaPo report on the vote in the Senate.

Here is some discussion by Chris Bowers and the community at MyDD

You can find discussion by Markos and the community at dkos here and here
and, lastly, the Iraq supplemental was covered on TalkLeft here and here.

Speaker Pelosi's Comments

In a nutshell, here's what Speaker Pelosi had to say. (This is my best attempt to report the gist of the Speaker's statements...but using, for the most part, my own words.)

Speaker Pelosi emphasized that it is critical to force the President to either "sign and honor" the bill sent to him by Congress or "veto and differentiate" himself from the voters who sent the 110th Congress to Washington. That choice must be laid before the President. He will have to explain his veto if he chooses to go down that path. That is the first step, according to Pelosi, we must take in ending this war.

Further, Speaker Pelosi emphasized that the bill that Congress presents to the President will clearly call for a "paced redeployment" of our troops from Iraq with benchmarks applied to the Iraqi government. If the Iraqis meet those benchmarks, the United States will begin redeployment in October and the withdrawal will take place over 180 days and meet the March 2008 timeframe suggested by the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group. If the the Iraqis fail to meet those benchmarks, redeployment will begin in July of this year. Those will be the goals expressed in the Conference Report.

It is critical, Speaker Pelosi reiterated, that the President face a bill that lays out a framework for "paced, responsible redeployment" of our troops in Iraq, not the "no strings attached" funding bill that President Bush is seeking. There are two main consequences here.
First, a veto of such a bill, even if it uses the "goal" language and, hence, eschews the hard and fast deadline in the House version of the bill, would make clear to the American public that President Bush is "blinded" by this war in Iraq and stuck on a strategy out of sync with the American voters and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Pelosi suggested that if the President vetoes a bill with "goal" language, he will be taking an extremely isolated political position. Per the Speaker, the public at large is much more receptive to "goal" language at this point than "deadlines," hence, using goal language, which seems the way this is going, makes it extremely politically isolating for the President to veto this bill even if that language makes it to some minds a much weaker bill.

Second, and Speaker Pelosi was most emphatic on this point, this bill will also define under law that the President does not have the authority by any Act of Congress to continue his chosen course of action unfettered in Iraq. The President has assumed, since 9/11, a very aggressive stance regarding his ability to do whatever he wants as Commander in Chief; in some ways Bush acts as if Iraq attacked us...and Bush, under the War Powers Act, is free to do whatever he wants.

Speaker Pelosi emphasized that Congress must reassert itself and say, and I'm paraphrasing here, when Congress defines the limits of the authorization in Iraq, that is the law. The bill that Congress sends to the President, veto or not, goal language or not, will be an important first step in the process of putting Congressional limits on the President's authority in Iraq and, hence, ending this war.

The impression conveyed by the Speaker was this: more important than any particular wording of the bill that emerges out of conference, are the legal and political ramifications that will attain when the 110th Congress defines limits on what the President is authorized to do under the law in Iraq. A bill that defines funds for a "phased redeployment" in Iraq with timelines and benchmarks and goals has a clear legal meaning that the President cannot avoid. Even, or especially, if the President vetoes this bill, something will have changed in the political process and under our law.

The Speaker was quite clear. The important thing is for Congress to reassert itself. When asked what she would do if the President chose to sign this or a future bill with a signing statement that rejected the clear meaning of the bill that Congress had passed, Speaker Pelosi said, "We can take the President to court."

When asked about the waiver on "Troop Readiness Standards" that makes them a "guideline" and not a "hard and fast" rule, Speaker Pelosi said this was a case in point. Ike Skelton put the guideline language in the bill to avoid a charge that the bill will micromanage the President. At the same time, Speaker Pelosi reiterated, under that language the President will have to come to Congress and justify any instance of accelerated deployment of forces to Iraq. When the President sends troops to Iraq who don't meet the readiness guidelines laid down by Congress, he has to come to Congress and explain why. That will be the law.

In sum, the Speaker holds that sending this Conference Report to the President is the beginning of a political and legal process that will both constrain the power of this President and bring an end to this war.

Politically, Speaker Pelosi sees this process as an ongoing step by step movement that will involve the American people, Democrats and members of the Republican Party in Congress. We are going down a path, according to Speaker Pelosi, of a series of votes that will make "staying the course" in Iraq "too hot to handle" for the President. Putting a bill that calls for a "paced redeployment" before the President will unify the Democratic Congress and bring, more and more, as time wears on, Republicans onto the side of voting to end the war.

The Speaker was clear. The American public, as a whole, opposes the President's policies on Iraq. We must hang together through this process and see it through. Speaker Pelosi spoke in no uncertain terms: "We have to end this war."

Other topics:
Speaker Pelosi is proud of the other componets of the budget supplemental: among them Katrina aid, a Children's health initiative, and a Veteran's health supplemental.
The Speaker is adamantly opposed to impeachment and will not bring it up within Congress. Simply put, she states that there is too much else that is too important to do. (My reading of her statement, however, was that she understands that citizens are free to advocate for impeachment and oppose this President as they wish. Impeachment is however something that she strongly disagrees with bringing up in Congress.)

Vis a vis the discussions and debate within the Democratic Party and the Democratic caucus the speaker said that "the perfect can't be allowed to be the enemy of the good here." She sees building support for the Iraq Supplemental on the right and the left as an incremental process. Pelosi has a clear message to members who are considering voting against the Conference Report Bill: we will need every vote we can get in the event of a veto, if you are with us in opposing the veto of the President you should join with us now in the passage of this bill.
The Speaker conveyed an aggressive legislative calender for 2007 that will take on: energy, the economy, education/technological innovation, defense, care for children, the environment, and governmental transparency and fiscal responsibilty. Her goal is to have the Democratic Congress use this legislation to rebrand the word "Democratic" so that it is a powerful force for victory in the 2008 elections.

I have tried to refrain from adding my own spin to the Speaker's words. If there's anything I take away from this "blog conference call" from my own point of view, it's this:
A) Speaker Pelosi is very serious about a responsible and speedy withdrawal of our forces from Iraq and bringing an end to the war.
B) Now is truly the time for those who oppose this war in every Congressional District in the U.S. to get active, to get informed and to communicate your views to your Representatives and Senators, whomever they might be.

The overwhelming sense one gets from Speaker Pelosi is that she is on a mission that she takes very seriously. It is clear that she sees this process as involving the entire nation in an evolving national debate.

She did a "blog conference call" to reach out to us in the netroots. I didn't get the sense that she had any objection to the idea that not everyone would agree with her. I guess, in light of that, and this historical moment, I would suggest that now is maybe a time to shake off our cynicism, roll up our sleeves, and dig into this process with strength and hope. It's a long road from 2003 till now, but it seems to me that what Speaker Pelosi is talking about might be called, if we work at it, the beginning of the long road home from Iraq.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tired of Failure

I saw a notice tonight that former Pres. Bush was saying that Jeb could not run for president this year because of "Bush fatigue."

It's more like Bush failure fatigue.

Al Gonzales: Not Just a Liar, A Falsetto Liar

Not having television, I had never heard Alberto Gonzales' voice until I saw a YouTube clip of last Thursday's Senate hearing. What a high pitched squeak! He sounds a heck of a lot more like Michael Jackson than he sounds like John Wayne or Gary Cooper in High Noon. What a disappointment he must be to Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin!

I'm surprised that the writers who ridicule Democrats for not being macho enough haven't been piling on Gonzales. Or comparing Mezzo Soprano Al unfavorably to the iron-jawed prosecutors like David Yglesias that he fired. Or comparing George Bush to Alan Ladd, the famously short actor who spent his career devising strategies to make him look taller. Bush seems to be all about making himself look more "manly" in the John Wayne/Gary Cooper mode. He surrounds himself with women (Harriet Miers, Karen Hughes, and Condoleeza Rice) , dough-faced weenies like Karl Rove and Kyle Sampson, and guys like Al Gonzales who sound like little girls.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Vive le France!

Yesterday, the French had the first round of their presidential elections and there's a lot of things to like about the French political system.

In France, the winner of the popular vote becomes president as opposed to the cumbersome electoral college system that gave the election to a second-place finisher like George Bush in 2000 and almost did the same thing again with Kerry in 2004.

Presidential run-off are another good idea. Whatever the outcome of the Sarkozy/Royal run-off, France will have a president who gets a majority of the votes in the second round. To the contrary, the U. S. has had several recent elections where the winner did not get a majority of the votes (1992, 1996, 2000). American presidents would have more democratic legitimacy if we also had a presidential run-off.

The substance of French politics is even better. French conservatives are more to the left than the Democrats while the Socialists are a genuine left-wing party. Like most European countries, France skews much more to the left than the United States. At the same time, there were major political candidates from the right and the center. Thus, everyone in France had a real choice and everyone had a real reason to vote. Maybe that's part of the reason why 84% of eligible voters voted in France compared to the 60% peak in the U. S. That makes France a much more democratic and representative government than the U. S.

Not that I would want the French to invade us in order to bring "real democracy" to this country.

One more thing. The French right clocked in at 11% of the vote and looks to be a declining force as Jean-Marie Pen gets into his upper seventies. Right-wing politics in France has never recovered from the double blow of right-wing collaboration with the Nazis during WWII and the brutal, pointless colonial war in Algeria.

Unfortunately, it's probably going to take more than our embarrassing failure in Iraq to take the American right down that low.

But we can always dream.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I'm a Lucky Guy

I'm a lucky guy to even know Mrs. RSI let alone be married to her. Tonight, she and I visited the home of some friends who have been having financial problems and were moving into a new house. To help out with the move, Mrs. RSI cooked some turkey, baked a cake, and brought a six-pack of beer. Then, we sat around for an hour and a half and mostly talked about the new house while the kids watched 50 First Dates. It was all Mrs. RSI's idea and it was only one instance of the endless stream of everyday good will that makes Mrs. RSI such a wonderful person. Bless her!

Is George Bush Trying to Destroy the GOP?

It certainly looks like it. President Bush seems to be formulating his approach to both the war in Iraq and the Alberto Gonzales scandal to do maximum damage to the Republicans in 2008. The unpopular and ineffective surge policy was designed originally to be effective for an 18 month period between February 2007 and August 2008. In addition, all the Republican candidates have pledged themselves to support the war in the face of more than 60% public disapproval. That's a recipe for Republican disaster.

ALBERTO UBER ALLES. President Bush's diehard support for Alberto Gonzales isn't helping the GOP either. Today on Meet the Press, Tim Russert emphasized that it was Republican Senators like Lindsey Graham and Tom Coburn who really grilled Gonzalez while the Democrats were willing to let the scandal continue to "drip, drip, drip." If Bush keeps backing Gonzales, the scandals in the Department of Justice will still be percolating during the 2008 election campaign and still be dragging on Republican campaigns everywhere.

BUT MAYBE IT'S NOT A CONSPIRACY. Perhaps Bush isn't thinking about destroying the Republican Party in 2008 even if he's acting like it. Maybe Bush just doesn't care. Still, you have to wonder what Bush has against the fellow Republicans who have been nurturing him, promoting his presidency, and defending his policies so energetically. Because Bush's not caring about the Republican Party is almost as damaging as specifically trying to destroy them would be.