13 July, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Put down any drinks, swallow any food, remove all sharp objects from your immediate vicinity, and make sure your computer is secured before reading this:

The WaPo’s Dan Eggen and Paul Kane make the case today that “the decider has become the compromiser.” Yes, apparently we’re supposed to believe that George W. Bush, arguably the most rigid and obstinate figure in American public life, has suddenly discovered the virtues of concession and conciliation.

President Bush has racked up a series of significant political victories in recent weeks, on surveillance reform, war funding and an international agreement on global warming, but only after engaging in the kind of conciliation with opponents that his administration has often avoided.

With less than seven months left in office, Bush is embracing such compromises in part because he has to. Faced with persistently low public approval ratings, a Democratic Congress and wavering support among Republicans, he and his aides have given ground on key issues to accomplish broader legislative and diplomatic goals, according to administration officials, legislative aides and political experts.

You may be wondering if the proper response is to laugh, cry, or howl with outrage. Yes to all three.

On “surveillance reform,” it’s probably not quite right to suggest Bush helped bring a bill to his desk through compromise. He threatened to veto any legislation on intelligence gathering that neglected to include exactly what he wanted. Republicans then sat down with House Majority
Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to work on a bill. The result? Sen. Chris Bond (R-Mo.), who negotiated the alleged “compromise” legislation,
told the NYT, “I think the White House got a better deal than they even they had hoped to get.”

On war funding, Bush had to swallow hard and accept an expanded GI Bill, but that wasn’t the result of give and take; it was the natural result of Bush losing a fight. Once there was a veto-proof majority backing the Webb-Hagel measure, the president gave up. But it’s not as if White House officials and congressional Dems sat in a room to work out a deal — Dems just picked up enough votes for Bush to back down.

Carpetbagger has more, but you get the picture. The only thing Bush has ever compromised is America's integrity, laws, and standing in the world.

And the culture of corruption he created knows no bounds:

Fundraising for a presidential library has always been controversial, in part because, unlike contributions to U.S. political campaigns, donations to libraries can come from foreign sources, and are easier to conceal.

But this kind of corruption is striking, even by the Bush administration’s standards.

The Sunday Times reports Stephen Payne, a Bush pioneer and a political appointee to the Homeland Security Advisory Council, was caught on tape offering access to key members of the Bush administration inner circle in exchange for "six-figure donations to the private library being set up to commemorate Bush’s presidency.”

In an undercover video, Payne is seen promising to arrange a meeting for an exiled leader of Krygystan with Dick Cheney or Condoleezza Rice. (Not President Bush because “he doesn’t meet with a lot of former Presidents these days,” Payne says. “I don’t think he meets with hardly anyone.”) All it will take for him to arrange this high-level meeting, says Payne, is “a couple hundred thousand dollars, or something like that.”

Specifically, Payne tells a Kazakh politician he knew as Eric Dos that Payne would come up with “the exact budget,” which would be “somewhere between $600,000 and $750,000, with about a third of it going directly to the Bush library.” The contribution would “be a show of ‘we’re interested, we’re your friends, we’re still friends.’”

In the same video, Payne asks the Kazakh politician, “Who does he want to meet with in Washington?” When Dos mentions Bush and Cheney, Payne responded, “I think that some things could be done…. I think that the family, children, whatever, should probably look at making a contribution to the Bush library. It would be like, maybe a couple of hundred thousand dollars, or something like that, not a huge amount but enough to show that they’re serious.”

So, was Payne basically selling access to top Bush administration officials? It sure sounds like it.

I only wish this was unbelievable. This is what happens when you don't punish infantile Presidents early and often for breaking the fucking law. They get into habits.

Of course, it's not like Bush listens to anyone. He gets an idea in his head, he runs with it, no matter how bad that idea is or how devastating it will be for the country. Take, for instance, his pathological fascination with starting wars. He wants another one, and ain't nobody gonna stop him:

The Times of London reports that President Bush “has told the Israeli government that he may be prepared to approve a future military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if negotiations with Tehran break down, according to a senior Pentagon official”:

Despite the opposition of his own generals and widespread scepticism that America is ready to risk the military, political and economic consequences of an airborne strike on Iran, the president has given an “amber light” to an Israeli plan to attack Iran’s main nuclear sites with long-range bombing sorties, the official told The Sunday Times.

Amber means get on with your preparations, stand by for immediate attack and tell us when you’re ready,” the official said. But the Israelis have also been told that they can expect no help from American forces and will not be able to use US military bases in Iraq for logistical support.

Can anyone else hear the resounding "yet" at the end of that last bit? I can guarantee you, if Israel strikes Iran, the next thing we'll hear out of Bush's mouth is a batshit insane plan for sending as much military support Israel's way as he can manage.

The country can't afford this fuckwit anymore. The world can't afford him. And unfortunately, he has several months left in which to maximize the damage. He'll leave as much destruction in his wake as he possibly can.

Mark. My. Words.

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