28 July, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Something tells me some Republicons are awfully embarrassed to be seen in their party's company:

A few months ago, Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican and former chairman of the NRCC, told the WaPo, “The House Republican brand is so bad right now that if it were a dog food, they’d take it off the shelf.”

Has the GOP “brand” improved since? Apparently not.

Nine of 12 targeted Republicans running in the most competitive Senate races this fall are either skipping the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., or have not decided whether to attend.

Among those who will not attend are Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, who is not close to presumptive presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona, and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who is a McCain loyalist. Stevens and Collins will use the convention week to focus on their campaigns.

Also sending regrets is former Rep. Bob Schaffer of Colorado, running for the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Wayne Allard.

Six others — Sens. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, John Sununu of New Hampshire, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina and Gordon Smith of Oregon and challengers John Kennedy of Louisiana and Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico are still on the fence. Their spokesman offered responses ranging from “there are no plans yet” to “no decisions have been made.”

Now, I can understand these vulnerable Republican incumbents not wanting to be photographed alongside George W. Bush. I can even understand some of them, particularly those in traditionally “blue” states, not wanting to be seen delivering speeches at the Republican

But these guys don’t want to go to their party’s quadrennial gathering at all? Do they think voters might forget which party they belong to if they steer clear of St. Paul altogether?

Apparently they do. Good luck with that.

They have plenty to be embarrassed over. Bush has been an enormous failure who broke every promise he made. Observe:

By one count, the president has publicly vowed to “solve problems, not pass them on to future presidents and future generations” upwards of 400 times.

As the clock starts to run out on Bush’s presidency, we know, of course, that the opposite is true. Global warming, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, a weak economy … not only is Bush passing monumental problems onto his successor, he’s created new ones that didn’t exist when he got there.

This is especially true when it comes to the federal budget. Bush inherited the largest surplus ever recorded ($128 billion), but his fiscal legacy is a painful one.

The White House on Monday predicted a record deficit of $490 billion for the 2009 budget year, a senior government official told CNN.

The deficit would amount to roughly 3.5 percent of the nation’s $14 trillion economy.The official pointed to a faltering economy and the bipartisan $170 billion stimulus package that passed earlier this year for the record deficit.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said Bush “will be remembered as the most fiscally irresponsible president in our nation’s history,” adding, “If they gave out Olympic medals for fiscal irresponsibility, President Bush would take the gold, silver and bronze. With his eight years in office, he will have had the five highest deficits ever recorded. And the highest of those deficits is now projected to come in 2009, as he leaves office.”

He's also leaving a legacy of legal nightmares for his successor:

Remember Monica Goodling, Kyle Sampson, and the team of Bushies who blatantly politicized the employment practices at the Justice Department? Including the selection of judges? In case there were any lingering doubts, the Bush gang’s conduct was apparently literally criminal.

Former Justice Department counselor Monica M. Goodling and former chief of staff D. Kyle Sampson routinely broke the law by conducting political litmus tests on candidates for jobs as immigration judges and line prosecutors, according to an inspector general’s report released today.

Goodling passed over hundreds of qualified applicants and squashed the promotions of others after deeming candidates insufficiently loyal to the Republican party, said investigators, who interviewed 85 people and received information from 300 other job seekers at Justice. Sampson developed a system to screen immigration judge candidates based on improper political considerations and routinely took recommendations from the White House Office of Political Affairs and Presidential Personnel, the report said.

Goodling regularly asked candidates for career jobs, “What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?” the report said. One former Justice Department official told investigators she had complained that Goodling was asking interviewees for their views on abortion, according to the report.

If this sounds familiar, there’s a good reason. The Justice Department’s inspector general is releasing the results of a lengthy investigation in four parts, and this is the second. The first was released about a month ago, and documented six years of illegal hiring practices relating to the Justice Department recruiting new attorneys (those with “liberal-sounding resumes” were barred from employment). Today’s report documents the allegedly illegal conduct from Goodling and Sampson (among others). Still to come are reports on hiring problems in the civil rights division and the dubious purge of nine U.S. attorneys.

That said, today’s report, which is online (.pdf), is a doozy. The Bush gang wasn’t just involved in blatantly criminal acts, their conduct had consequences for the nation.

And that conduct will continue to have consequences, for many years to come. Cleaning up after Bush is going to be a task akin to cleaning up after a herd of two-year olds on crack.

My sincerest sympathies go out to the next president. Unless, of course, it's McCain, who's proven himself too addled to clean up after himself, much less the two-year old terror that is the Bush regime.

I weep for America.

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