08 January, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Richard Perle tries to redefine reality, fails miserably:

Over the past few weeks, many Bush administration officials have begun rewriting history in an effort to burnish President Bush’s legacy. Following suit, neoconservative war hawk Richard Perle has taken the opportunity to polish his own record during the Bush years — mainly on Iraq.

In the latest issue of The National Interest, Perle devotes 4,600 words — not to congratulate President Bush for invading Iraq — but to wipe his, and the whole neoconservative movement’s, hands clean of the whole affair. In the essay, he categorically denies that both he — and neoconservative ideology in general — had any influence on the Bush administration in its decision to go to war:

I have been widely but wrongly depicted as deeply involved in the making of administration policy, especially with respect to Iraq. Facts notwithstanding, there are some fifty thousand entries on Google in which I am described as an “architect,” and often as “the architect,” of the Iraq War. I certainly supported and argued publicly for the decision to remove Saddam, as I do in what follows. But had I been the architect of that war, our policy would have been very different. […]

But about the many mistakes made in Iraq, one thing is certain: they had nothing to do with ideology. They did not draw inspiration from or reflect neoconservative ideas and they were not the product of philosophical or ideological influences outside the government.

Perle is right. He strongly advocated publicly for the invasion of Iraq, especially after 9/11, even making claims that Saddam Hussein had links to Osama bin Laden (an assertion he later claimed he never said). But in fact, Perle had direct access to top administration officials during the run up to the war. Former CIA director George Tenet recalled that shortly after 9/11, Perle told him that “Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday, they bear responsibility.”

Moreover, the neoconservative influence on the Bush administration, particularly regarding Iraq, has been well documented. For Perle to claim otherwise is beyond absurd.

"Beyond absurd" is, of course, a Con specialty. Just observe how they're attempting to redefine FDR's wildly successful New Deal:

In keeping with the recent trend, Fox News personality Brit Hume became the latest in a series of conservatives to demonstrate bizarre confusion about the Great Depression. Hume insisted this morning that "the New Deal -- everybody agrees, I think, on both sides of the spectrum now, that the New Deal failed." He added, "President [Franklin] Roosevelt waged what could only be called a jihad against private enterprise."

The right has been repeating similar nonsense for a couple of months now. It's demonstrably ridiculous, but that's not stopping them.

David Sirota has written a couple of excellent items lately, responding to the absurd Republican talking points related to FDR and the Great Depression, but yesterday, to his credit, MSNBC's David Shuster did an entire segment on the patently false conservative argument.


It's easy to mock Fox News and the rest of the Republicans for pushing obvious nonsense, but I'm afraid the economic conditions are so dire, the right's ridiculous sense of history is actually kind of dangerous. Americans, I hope, know better, but I'd feel a whole lot better if there wasn't an organized campaign from conservatives trying to convince Americans to reject the lifesaver while the nation drowns.

Trying to convince Americans to go against policies that will actually help them is also a Con specialty.

You know how Bush had teensy little glimmers of sanity here and there? You know how once in a great while, he'd do something mildly decent that, while in no way outweighing the epic fail of the rest of his presidency, at least made it something less than a total loss? Yeah, well, even those miniscule successes are actually failures:

During the debate over the 2007 energy bill, one of the Bush administration’s chief demands – besides opposing strong renewable energy goals – was raising fuel efficiency standards to 31.8 miles per gallon by 2015 and 35 mpg by 2020. The administration repeatedly trumpeted their goal:

BUSH: My proposal at the State of the Union will further improve standards for light trucks and take a similar approach to automobiles. With good legislation, we could save up to 8.5 billion gallons of gasoline per year by 2017, and further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks.

DANA PERINO: While the president’s alternative fuel standard and CAFE proposal would have gone farther and faster we are pleased that Congress has worked together on a bipartisan way.

The White House’s recently released “Highlights of Accomplishments and Results” document also touts the new fuel efficiency standard: “In 2007, the President called for modernizing fuel economy standards and increasing alternative fuels.”

But the President can no longer stake claim to even this mild environmental achievement. Bush “won’t finish implementing new vehicle fuel-economy rules,” leaving it up to Obama to finalize the guidelines.


The move is particularly ironic. While it is designed to lift a burden off Detroit, the auto industry is criticizing it. “Any delay in finalizing the regulation will make finalizing future manufacturing plans more difficult,” said Charles Territo of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “We had expected that these rules would have been finalized last year.”
Is there anything this man can't fail at? Yeah, I didn't think so.

I wonder if abject embarrassment is what's leading so many Cons to abandon their party at the worst possible time?

With a caucus down to just 41 members, Senate Republicans need to keep retirements to a minimum in order to conserve campaign resources and maximize likely victories.

And yet, a surprising number are already exiting stage right.

Sen. Kit Bond, the senior Republican from Missouri who sits on powerful Senate committees, announced Thursday that he will not run for reelection in 2010, giving Democrats a shot to pick up a seat in a state that has emerged as a major battleground. [...]

Missouri has emerged as a battleground state, after Claire McCaskill (D) defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Talent in 2006 and Barack Obama lost the state by less than 5,000 votes to John McCain in the 2008 elections. And Missouri voters just elected Jay Nixon, a Democrat, as their next governor, signaling that Bond could face a tough challenge if he ran for a fifth term.

Perhaps most notably, Bond is the third incumbent to announce their retirement in advance of the 2010 cycle, following Mel Martinez (Florida) and Sam Brownback (Kansas), while Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) is planning a gubernatorial campaign that will create a fourth Republican open-seat contest. At least three of these four were likely shoo-ins for re-election.

What's more, with four more Republican incumbents likely to face major challenges next year -- Burr in North Carolina, Gregg in New Hampshire, Specter in Pennsylvania, and Voinovich in Ohio -- Bond's announcement makes the 2010 cycle that much more difficult for the GOP.

Breaks my heart, that does.

Okay, your right. It doesn't. It actually makes my heart hum a happy little tune.

So does this:

Norm Coleman is now a Senate un-person.

Mother Jones reports that the updated Senate phone listings have just been printed out -- and Norm Coleman's name isn't in them.


Think about this, Norm: Joe Biden is going to resign his seat within the next two weeks, and even he's still in the Senate phonebook.

Ha ha ha, snap.

1 comment:

Woozle said...

"Over the past few weeks, many Bush administration officials have begun rewriting history in an effort to burnish President Bush’s legacy." Oh yeah, tell me about it... my Con-sympathetic paterfamilias recently sent me a Wall Street Journal piece by ol' Turdblossom:

"Mythmaking is in full swing as the Bush administration prepares to leave town. Among the more prominent is the assertion that the housing meltdown resulted from unbridled capitalism under a president opposed to all regulation.

"Like most myths, this is entertaining but fictional. In reality, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were among the principal culprits of the housing crisis, and Mr. Bush wanted to rein them in before things got out of hand."

Although the neocon reality inversion may be greatly threatened by Obama's ascendancy, its fundamentals appear to be strong.