I tried

 Posted by at 21:49  Politics
Jan 312006

Did you catch George’s talk tonight? I tried to watch. I really did. I just could not take that lying, smirking face for more than 30 seconds at a stretch.

He got to the funny part early…

In a system of two parties, two chambers and two elected branches, there will always be differences and debate. But even tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone, and our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger. To confront the great issues before us, we must act in a spirit of good will and respect for one another and I will do my part.

That is not the way that Mr. Bush and the radical right wing of the Republican party do business and I’ve not seen any indication that they plan to do business in that manner at any time in the future.

If you are so inclined and you have the stomach for it, you can read the text of the speech here.

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Alito confirmed

 Posted by at 16:22  Politics
Jan 312006

Today, by a vote of 58 to 42, the United States Senate confirmed Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. as an Associate Justice in the United States Supreme Court.

Forty-two people did not believe that Mr. Alito should be a Supreme Court justice.

If those same 42 people had voted against cloture yesterday, Mr. Alito would not be a Supreme Court justice today.

Frickin’ idiots.

A failed presidency

 Posted by at 09:52  Politics
Jan 272006

Poll: Most think Bush is failing second term

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A majority of Americans are more likely to vote for a candidate in November’s congressional elections who opposes President Bush, and 58 percent consider his second term a failure so far, according to a poll released Thursday.

Fewer people consider Bush to be honest and trustworthy now than did a year ago, and 53 percent said they believe his administration deliberately misled the public about Iraq’s purported weapons program before the U.S. invasion in 2003, the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found…

Fifty-eight percent of those polled said Bush’s second term has been a failure so far, while 38 percent said they consider it a success. A smaller number — 52 percent — consider his entire presidency a failure to date, with 46 percent calling it successful.

It is good to be in the majority!

There Rove goes again

 Posted by at 11:48  Politics
Jan 262006

There Rove goes again

There may be depths to which Karl Rove wouldn’t sink, but it’s difficult to imagine what they might be.

Mr. Rove, President Bush’s chief political adviser, defended the administration’s domestic eavesdropping program last week by saying that “President Bush believes if al-Qaida is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they’re calling and why. Some important Democrats clearly disagree.”

What rubbish. Once again, when this administration is challenged, it lashes out at the patriotism of its critics.

Mr. Rove (who is being investigated by a federal grand jury for possible involvement in the unpatriotic act of leaking the name of a CIA operative) would not be able to identify a single “important Democrat” who opposes monitoring all al-Qaida communications. He didn’t even try.

Clearly, Mr. Rove continues to believe that terrorism provides political opportunity for Republicans. Uniting Americans to combat terrorists seems far less important to him than dividing (Americans) and conquering (Democrats).

The nation should hope that Mr. Rove’s speech was not a preview of what to expect from a public relations blitz by the President this week in defense of his surveillance program.

The President has yet to make a clear case that it was necessary to break laws that provide for obtaining wiretapping warrants in secret courts in terrorism cases — and that allow for warrants to be sought after the fact in emergencies. He has yet to explain why, if he felt the law is inadequate, he did not ask Congress to change it.

Meanwhile, he and Mr. Rove might take note that it is a Republican, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who plans hearings on the eavesdropping.

And another Republican, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, said the President lacks legal authority for warrantless eavesdropping. He also defended Democrats’ concerns about national security.

Someday, the nation will have an administration that views the 9/11 tragedy as more than a cheap political card. That will be a better time.

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Which is it?

 Posted by at 22:24  Politics
Jan 252006

On March 13, 2002, George W. Bush held a press conference. He was asked about Osama bin Laden…

Q But don’t you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won’t truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I say, we haven’t heard much from him. And I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don’t know where he is. I — I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban.

But once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became — we shoved him out more and more on the margins. He has no place to train his al Qaeda killers anymore.

Today, while defending his policy on domestic spying, he again addressed the issue of Osama bin Laden…

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) – President Bush, defending the government’s secret surveillance program, said Wednesday that Americans should take Osama bin Laden seriously when he says he’s going to attack again.

“When he says he’s going to hurt the American people again, or try to, he means it,” Bush told reporters after visiting the top-secret National Security Agency where the surveillance program is based. “I take it seriously, and the people of NSA take it seriously.”

So which is it? Should we or should we not be concerned about Osama bin Laden? It seems that the answer depends on which direction the political winds are blowing for Mr. Bush at the moment.

It would be nice if he would find a story and stick to it.

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A wonderful speech

 Posted by at 18:32  Politics
Jan 242006

John Hinderaker says “President Bush gave a terrific speech at Kansas State yesterday.” (Mr. Bush could give a speech announcing that the sky is green and the grass is blue and that, to Mr. Hinderaker, would be a “wonderful speech.”)

Dan Froomkin of The Washington Post disagrees…

Bush Unplugged But Unrevealing

How can a president of the United States talk for almost two hours, unscripted, and be so fundamentally unrevealing?

Promising his Midwestern audience insights into his worldview and decision-making process, Bush yesterday made a little news here and there, but mostly killed time with stale sound bites and folksy banter.

Just by virtue of his speaking so long, the meandering talk at Kansas State University generated zillions of column inches this morning in which reporters dutifully recorded the one genuinely new development — his rechristening of “domestic spying” as “terrorist surveillance” — as well as his playful digs at his wife, his hemming and hawing when asked about that gay cowboy movie, and so on.

And simply by taking a baby step outside his protective bubble and fielding unscreened questions (most, but not all of them, softballs) from a starry-eyed, solidly red-state audience, he garnered buzz about being forthcoming.

But he wasn’t.

Ultimately Bush unplugged gave a performance of remarkably little substance. There was no new thinking on display. There were no real insights shared. Instead, we heard mostly restatements of policy, familiar phrases and even whole stories recycled from the 2004 campaign.

Having not heard the speech myself (I somehow doubt that I will ever be invited to attend such a gathering), I must rely upon the opinions of these two “experts.” Knowing what I know of George W. Bush, I think I’ll believe Mr. Froomkin.

Thanks for coming, John.

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 Posted by at 17:25  Politics
Jan 232006

American Research Group, Inc.:

George W. Bush’s overall job approval rating has returned to its lowest point in Bush’s presidency as Americans again turn less optimistic about the national economy according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush’s handling of the economy, 34% approve and 60% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 37% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 35% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 60% disapprove…

Among Republicans (33% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 78% approve of the way Bush is handling his job and 17% disapprove. Among Democrats (37% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 11% approve and 83% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job. Among Independents (30% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 24% approve and 71% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president.

I won’t comment, lest I be labeled as a “Bush-hater” or “Bush-basher.” Suffice it to say that I stand with the majority.

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Foot in mouth disease

 Posted by at 21:24  Politics
Jan 202006

You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried…

Bush Rules Out Senate Run for First Lady

STERLING, Va. – The Senate may be the place for some former first ladies, but President Bush on Thursday categorically ruled out a run for office by his wife, Laura Bush.

She’s not interested in running for office. She’s interested in literacy,” Bush said during an appearance at JK Moving & Storage.

The topic came up as the president took questions from his audience after a speech on the economy. A woman asked if Mrs. Bush would ever run for Senate from the first couple’s home state of Texas, and Bush responded “never” — twice.

He also declined the woman’s plea that he at least ask Mrs. Bush if she might be willing.

She’s a great lady,” the president said. “She’s not interested in running for office.”