One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Ex-presidents write books?!?

Didn’t see this one coming:

Former U.S. President George W. Bush will write a book about some of the decisions he made during his eight years in office, which will be published by the Crown Publishing Group in 2010.

Let’s just hope that W.’s memoir proves to be more interesting than his wife Laura’s was predicted to be.


March 19, 2009 Posted by | Literature, U.S. politics | , | Leave a comment

State of emergency in the district

Panic in the District.

Panic in the District.

Fiji is not the only place to face a state of emergency.

It’s true, President Bush sounded alarms about Barack Obama during the campaign season. On Tuesday, Mr. Bush went one step further: He declared Mr. Obama’s inauguration an actual emergency.

This is a bureaucratic move, evidently, designed to secure more funding than the paltry $15 million that DC has been afforded from the federal government.  Odd as it sounds to say, declaring a state of emergency here is actually a fairly charitable gesture on Bush’s part — unlike his allegedly calling up former Australian Bush clone prime minister John Howard to stay in the Blair House so that the Obamas could not — to ease inauguration-related stress.  But if I wasn’t worried about the crowds in DC this weekend before, calling a state of emergency over it doesn’t exactly make me feel better.

(image from flickr user andrew.deci under a Creative Commons license)

January 15, 2009 Posted by | Washington DC | , , | 1 Comment

Thank you, dear leader, for screwing our ’08 chances

thank-you-cardToday I received an email from outgoing Republican National Committee chairman “Mike” Duncan asking to sign on to an online “thank you” card for President Bush’s eight years of “outstanding service and courageous leadership.”  My first thought was this: how could Republicans possibly think it was a good idea to go out of their way to laud a sitting president with approval ratings hovering in the 20’s, and whom they shunned so assiduously throughout the campaign?  But whatever.

My second thought, though, may provide a clue: could we ever imagine the post-Obama Democrats so urging their members to send a thank-you card for Obama’s (hopefully) eight years of service and leadership?  Maybe, but the enterprise seems more to me to embody the sycophancy typical of the Republican Party.  I don’t think there’s any doubt that, soon after Obama is inaugurated, liberals and progressive groups like will disagree with some of Obama’s decisions and initiatives.  Moreover, they will let their constituents know about these disappointments, and in a productive grassroots way, rather than merely griping, as disaffected Bushies seem wont to do.  The whole thing just seems like an unnecessary sop to the conservative plank of venerating the personality of the leader.  I just bet that, outside of that reliable hardcore fringe of unabashed W.-lovers, the RNC might wish that that leader was a different person right now.

(image from flickr user _Faraz under a Creative Commons license)

January 9, 2009 Posted by | Conservatives | , , , , | Leave a comment

133 reasons not to trust “recounts”

Trent England — of the ever-freedom-loving Evergreen Freedom Foundation — manages to write an entire op-ed warning that the Minnesota recount “recount” [adapted to the WSJ‘s scare-quotastic standards) might be a “sequel” to a previous electoral disaster without once mentioning the 2000 election in Florida. No, England’s bugaboo is Christine Gregoire’s 2004 election as governor of Washington — one engineered in a dastardly conspiracy of ACORN, the “far-left”, and…the number 133.

ballotBy the end [of Washington’s 2004 gubernatorial election], 3,539 votes more than the number of voters who voted were tabulated. Four other swing counties provided an additional 4,880 mystery ballots. Ms. Gregoire was the victor by a margin of 133 votes.

That margin — 133 votes — happens to be the same number of ballots that Minneapolis election officials are currently missing. The initial vote tally in one Democrat-leaning precinct counted 133 more ballots than officials have been able to find for the Senate recounts. [emphasis mine]

The solution, England suggests, is to put all the disputed ballots on the interweb and allow partisan mudslinging to erupt full-force over who Lizard People actually voted for. Because, really, it’s all about the Republicans people.

The democratic process is too important to be disregarded until a virtual tie forces us to pay attention. Regardless of which candidates win our elections, the voters — not the vote counters — should win every time.

Just like the voters “won” the 2000 election, and took home eight years of George W. Bush as their prize.

(image of a 2000 Florida “butterfly” ballot from flickr user Rory Finneran under a Creative Commons license)

December 31, 2008 Posted by | Conservatives, U.S. politics | , , , , | 2 Comments

“Bush Was No Unilateralist”…except for that whole Iraq war thing

It is astounding the extent to which partisan hacks Wall Street Journal columnists will bend over backwards to inflate their man’s President Bush’s legacy in these waning days.  The latest?  He was never a “unilateralist,” after all.  That whole “with us or against us” bluster?  Just talk.  “Go it alone?”  More like “go it with everyone!”

Well, at least on certain issues, and with a distinctly Bushian slant.  Kimberly Strassel talks with Paula Dobriansky, the State Department’s undersecretary for democracy and global affairs — responsible for important issues ranging from climate change to pandemic disease to “oceans” [that last one is particularly, um, expansive] — and concludes that, where it really counted the most, the Bush administration was the paragon of cooperation, but that dirty liberals just preferred to see otherwise.

One reason why [Ms. Dobriansky’s department’s] efforts haven’t been as noticed is that most aren’t the subject of “hard” foreign policy debates. When critics level their unilateralism charge against the Bush administration, they tend to focus on its tougher actions — the invasion of Iraq, or the refusal to directly engage with rogue leaders.

George W. Bush...the whole world's friend

George W. Bush...the whole world's friend

It’s not that the issues on which Ms. Dobriansky worked were not important; on the contrary, they are vitally important, and suffered all the more from a closed-minded, my-way-or-the-highway Bush approach.  On climate change, the refusal to submit Kyoto for ratification was not indicative, as Strassel outrageously suggests, of a “dramatically different view” that prioritized “medium and long term” efforts over the silly “short term” approach of signing a piece of paper…that committed countries to specific actions over the medium and long term.

Even Bush’s legitimately laudable AIDS work in Africa came with the crippling caveat that it be undertaken on his the religious right’s terms.  By supporting the global gag rule, by forcing abstinence down the throats of AIDS-inflicted societies, and by refusing to make condoms a central component of his policy, President Bush undermined his treatment efforts to the point that more people are getting infected with HIV/AIDS than his efforts are able to treat.

And with “oceans” — how can an administration that refused to sign the Law of the Sea Treaty, an accord that practically everyone in the world has agreed to; that enjoys widespread support on the left and the right, from oil companies and environmentalists, activists and politicians; and that would actually further U.S. interests, claim that it acted multilaterally?

The most serious critique of Strassel’s argument, though, deals with her mind-bogglingly bold air-brushing of this administration’s greatest accomplishments failure: the war in Iraq.  For a war that even conservatives acknowledge — and often praise — as the defining aspect of Bush’s years in the White House to be gruffly shunted to the side in favor of things like oceans management policy is plainly ludicrous.  And even if Bush’s presidency were a complete international love-fest multilateral (er, besides that little war in Iraq), that statement becomes practically meaningless as long as you exclude that little war in Iraq.

(image from flickr user Image Editor under a Creative Commons license)

December 13, 2008 Posted by | Conservatives, U.S. Foreign policy | , , , | 1 Comment

Ben Bernanke is hilarious

Economists’ idea of a joke (read to the end to get the full punchline!):

In June, 2005, Bernanke was sworn in at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. One of his first tasks was to deliver a monthly economics briefing to the President and the Vice-President. After he and Hubbard sat down in the Oval Office, President Bush noticed that Bernanke was wearing light-tan socks under his dark suit. “Where did you get those socks, Ben?” he asked. “They don’t match.” Bernanke didn’t falter. “I bought them at the Gap—three pairs for seven dollars,” he replied. During the briefing, which lasted about forty-five minutes, the President mentioned the socks several times.

tansocksThe following month, Hubbard’s deputy, Keith Hennessey, suggested that the entire economics team wear tan socks to the briefing. Hubbard agreed to call Vice-President Cheney and ask him to wear tan socks, too. “So, a little later, we all go into the Oval Office, and we all show up in tan socks,” Hubbard recalled. “The President looks at us and sees we are all wearing tan socks, and he says in a cool voice, ‘Oh, very, very funny.’ He turns to the Vice-President and says, ‘Mr. Vice-President, what do you think of these guys in their tan socks?’ Then the Vice-President shows him that he’s wearing them, too. The President broke up.”

Get it?  They were all wearing tan socks!  The only thing funnier (besides, well, anything) is that “the President mentioned the socks several times” in a forty-five minute talk, and that he asked Cheney’s opinion of the socks — proving, once and for all, who really wears the socks pants in their relationship.

(image from flickr user noricum under a Creative Commons license)

December 2, 2008 Posted by | Economics, Humor | , , | 1 Comment

Zero presidents is better than two presidents

No one's behind the desk...

No one behind the desk until January 20...

Eugene Robinson is frustrated that neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama seems to be doing much that is presidential (besides looking good in a Peruvian poncho, at least) to address the economic crisis.

Having two presidents is starting to feel like having no president, and that’s the situation we’ll face until Inauguration Day. Heaven help us.

Of course, we don’t have two presidents.  We have one president, which, given his eight year history of ineptitude and his proclivity since the election to fully embrace his lame duck status and keep as low a profile as possible, is still basically akin to having zero presidents.

Barack Obama has neither a political reason nor the constitutional authority to step on Bush’s presidential toes until January 20.  George W. Bush will certainly do his damndest to make the country worse before it gets better, but there’s not much Obama can do about that.  Heaven hasn’t helped us yet, and I don’t think it’s on its way now.

(image from flickr user stevegarfield under a Creative Commons license)

November 25, 2008 Posted by | U.S. politics | , | Leave a comment

Bush administration: we officially failed in the Middle East

From the “No Shit, Sherlock” Department:

The White House made it official yesterday: There will be no Middle East peace pact on President Bush’s watch.

Wait seven years to even try, then, with two months left, declare — officially — that it just isn’t possible.  The suspense was killing me.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Middle East | | 1 Comment

Numbers are inconsequential

FDL’s Blue Texan points out more inconsistencies of Peggy Noonan: whereas George W. Bush’s 50%-48%, one-state victory four years ago was “a big win,” Barack Obama’s 53%-46%, 364-173 squeaker means only that he still “has a significant portion of the nation to win over.”  When will the “media” learn…America is a center-right nation, no matter what the numbers say.

November 7, 2008 Posted by | Conservatives, U.S. politics | , | 1 Comment