17 January, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Sorry we're late. I'm hosting Auntie Flow, and she's been... demanding... this month. Almost as demanding as the constant parade of stupidity that hits my computer screen like the offerings of a flock of birds who've gotten in to the Exlax.

Let us begin with a case study of the Democratic party versus the Republicon party:
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, answered questions from Americans on a new YouTube video released yesterday. Kaine fielded a question from a life-long Republican who voted a straight Democratic ticket in 2008, and who wants to know if the party will continue to make him feel welcome. Kaine responded:

"I've been a Democrat my whole life ... but this is a time in our nation where the challenges are huge and not all of the monopoly on wisdom is with any one group or any one party. So, we were able to be successful in November, both in Virginia and nationally, by attracting independents and moderate Republicans, and I think we need to try to do that as we move forward.

"I think both the president-elect and me believe that we should stand strong and be firm as Democrats, but we should articulate basic values of solving problems and unifying people in a way that will be attractive to those [non-Democrats] who came with us in 2008. We want to keep them on board."

Now, contrast that with the perspective of a leading candidate to be the next chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Katon Dawson, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, promised in a new a YouTube message to be Obama's "worst nightmare" and said it would be the party's mission for the next four years to "expose" the Democrats for what they "want to do to this country."

"I can assure you that Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will understand that Katon Dawson will become their worst nightmare," he says in the video. "We will expose them at every turn for what they are doing to the American public."

Dawson defended his tough talk as the duty of a party leader.

People who aren't regular political observers often wonder why nothing gets done in Washington. It's because the Cons don't play well with others. They want it all their way, or they're going to throw a screaming tantrum. The few Republicans in Congress who actually are interested in ensuring the country functions, even if that requires - gasp - compromise, end up drowned out by the shrieking chorus of stupid.

I will lay you odds that either Dawson or Blackwell ends up in charge of the RNC, because the Republicon party overall seems to have this irresistible fascination with assclowns. I enter into evidence George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. I don't need to go on, do I?

I can hardly wait to see what inanity they come up with over the next several years. But right now, we've got 61 hours left of Bush, and I just want to take the opportunity to beat the son of a bitch bloody with the Smack-o-Matic before he is, thankfully, no longer our president.

As Bush goes out the door, he's attempting to flush embarrassing bits on the way:

Just five days before the end of his term, Bush's DOJ has dropped all charges against Andy Card's cousin--Susan Lindauer--whom they had accused of being an unregistered agent for Saddam Hussein's Iraq. By dropping the charges at this time, the Administration:

  • Prevents Lindauer from proving at a trial that she was an intelligence asset working on behalf of the United States (though she says she'll sue for damages)
  • Declines to try to prove that she was working on behalf of Saddam--and not the US--when she warned against invading Iraq
  • Succeeds in preventing embarrassing information (both because of the link to Card, and because it included solid warnings against Iraq) from coming out while Bush was still in office

Basically, this appears to be a story about an intelligence op that got too emarrassing, so the Administration first accused Lindauer of working for Saddam, and then, when she talked about her ties to US intelligence, they accused her of being crazy and got her committed. And now, they are attempting to avoid a public trial in which she could prove her case.

You should really go read the letter she sent. No wonder they were embarrassed - she not only predicted 9/11 right down to the year and the season, she predicted just about every horrible consequence of invading Iraq, and was saying she could negotiate just about every concession from Iraq that their little hearts desired. But they didn't want concessions. They wanted war. So they threw the woman into prison for psychiatric evaluation for seven months, and did their level best to pretend she was the delusional one.

It's nice to see her determined to bring this to trial. Reacting to the news charges had been dropped, she said, "They think that they have defeated me by denying my day in court. It could not be more wrong. If we can't have a criminal trial, we're going to have a civil trial for damages."

This should get fun.

To fill in the time before all those embarrassing bits come roaring out in public during a civil trial, why not amuse yourselves with a list of some of the insanely stupid, evil people Bush filled our government with?

Next week, “change is coming to America,” as President George W. Bush wraps up his tenure as one of the worst American presidents ever. He wasn’t able to accomplish such an ignominious feat all by himself, however; he had a great deal of help along the way. The ThinkProgress team heralds the conclusion of the Bush 43 presidency by bringing you our list of the top 43 worst Bush appointees.
Among the top ten are, of course, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Bolton. Because the list only had room for 43 fucktards (I don't have to spell out the reason why, now, do I?), but the Think Progress team was so spoiled for choice, they tagged on some extras:
Dishonorable Mentions: Bush appointees who didn’t quite make the list included a child pornography aficionado, a patron of hookers, a shoplifter, a mail fraudster, an operator of an illegal horse gambling ring, and a CIA official who took bribes in the form of prostitutes.
I include this because it's such an instructive snapshot of the kinds of criminal, incompetent, or criminally incompetent dumbshits Bush saddled this country with.

A couple of names in the Justice Department didn't make the list. This may be why they think they're welcome to stick around:
As we learned in quite a bit of detail a couple of years ago, U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, and leave their posts when the White House changes hands.

But Scott Horton reports that there are two controversial prosecutors, known for being loyal Bushies, who are aware of the process, but don't want to leave.

Two U.S. attorneys appointed by Dubya are refusing to leave the Justice Department when Obama takes office. Their explanation: they've got too many corrupt Democrats to prosecute!

An internal report issued this week by the Justice Department brought attention to the Bush Administration's efforts to "burrow" partisan ideologues deep in career civil service positions at the department. But even a few of Bush's political appointees at Justice are giving the new Obama administration trouble. Though their lease may technically run out on January 20, U.S. Attorneys Mary Beth Buchanan of Pittsburgh and Alice Martin of Birmingham are resolved to stay in their posts. The Daily Beast has learned that both are arguing to the Obama transition team that their efforts to convict Democrats should guarantee them an extended stay into the Obama presidency. [...]

Buchanan and Martin seem to be bucking for a fight. Do they want to be fired? So far, it looks like they're daring Obama to fire them. The fireworks may last beyond Inauguration Day.

Maybe they believe that because Obama's all post-partisan and stuff he'll welcome them aboard. Something tells me that the woman who was directly involved in the US Attorneys firing scandal and hired Monica Goodling (who made it to 20 on the list of 43), and the woman responsible for the Don Siegelman witchhunt, will end up out on their ears. Obama's not pro-incompetence, y'see.

So after eight years of Bush's lies, lawbreaking, warmongering, economy-slaying, incompetence, idiocy, and general all around dumbassitude, what's the verdict? He's been polishing up the ol' legacy this past week - did he snow enough people to get a passing grade on his exit poll? Not so much:
He goes out with a whimper, not a bang:

President Bush will leave office as one of the most unpopular departing presidents in history, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing Mr. Bush's final approval rating at 22 percent.

Seventy-three percent say they disapprove of the way Mr. Bush has handled his job as president over the last eight years.

Mr. Bush's final approval rating is the lowest final rating for an outgoing president since Gallup began asking about presidential approval more than 70 years ago.
He finished out 10 points lower than Truman, in the end. Even 6% of the 28-percenters abandoned him. It's pretty fucking bad when you lose the support of the people who stuck with you through very nearly the whole parade of fuckery.

Those numbers probably are not going to help him in this economy:
George W. Bush will join the ranks of the unemployed in about 71 hours. And while presidents often enjoy lucrative opportunities after leaving office, Daniel Gross notes that this president might have a much tougher time.

For many of President Bush's critics, the fact that he is now seeking work in the worst job market in a generation is poetic justice. As Bush noted in his farewell press conference, he is too much of a Type A for "the big straw hat and Hawaiian shirt, sitting on some beach." (He might want to reconsider: Thanks to the recession, tropical resorts are running great promotions.)

Given recent history, Bush probably expects to profit from ex-presidency. Bill Clinton reported income of more than $90 million from 2000-07. But Bush is very unlikely to earn Clintonian numbers. Ex-presidents peddle image, presence, and experience. In Bush's case, each is tarnished. To aggravate matters, many of the industries in which ex-presidents make easy money are a) doing poorly, and b) based in the Washington-Boston corridor where Bush hostility runs deep.

Bush almost certainly won't be able to cash in with a book deal. It's hard to imagine him commanding huge fees on the speakers' circuit (Gross talked to various agents, and all "expressed little interest in Bush"). Joining corporate boards has historically been an easy way for former presidents to make quite a bit of money, but this is far from an ideal option for Bush -- after Sarbanes-Oxley, board members now have to do some real work, and are burdened by actual responsibilities.

Well, he's already shown how he handles responsibility, so I guess that's right out. Maybe he should see if Joe the Plumber's hiring.

And he'd better do it soon:

1 comment:

Woozle said...

Wow, that Lindauer link was... quite a doozy. Here we have:
* further confirmation that the Lockerbie bombing was falsely prosecuted (for which there was other, unrelated evidence)
* yet another blatantly ignored/suppressed (and very specific!) warning about 9/11
* someone with credible knowledge on the ground saying what seemed pretty obvious to me (even from my position very far outside of events) from the beginning -- i.e. our invasion of Iraq was exactly what the 9/11 attackers hoped to achieve: "...if you go ahead with this invasion, Osama bin Laden will triumph, rising from his grave or seclusion. His network will be swollen with fresh recruits...".
* that same someone stating that "U.S. pre-war intelligence was proactive and effective, not a popular view at that time." We knew there weren't WMDs, but the president didn't want anyone to know that we knew.

Bush wanted 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq, and pulled out all the stops to make sure it happened. Show me I'm wrong, please; I'd much rather believe in stupidity than malice.