Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 16, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

ALL ALONE IN DC....Poor George Bush. Once he was the leader of the free world. Now he can't even convince his own party to cut their vacation short.

Kevin Drum 1:34 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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Frist?

Posted by: Jeff Keezel on January 16, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Well, like Nixon was always saying, no one really understands what it's like to be president. None of us really appreciates what he does for us and how hard the work is.

Posted by: shortstop on January 16, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe, if we are all lucky, Doorknob can catch up on his Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. video games and not bomb any new countries or kill any more innocent people.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 16, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz?

Posted by: tbrosz on January 16, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Hey kevin how about some coverage of Al Gore's speech. It was amazing.

Posted by: patience on January 16, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's not as if Bush has been setting the standard for short-vacation workaholism.

bn

Posted by: nothstine on January 16, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Gore's speech was awesome...if ONLY for the fact that he didn't READ IT! But it was probably too long and complicated for the trolls on this and other blogs. They like the SHORT TP sound bytes! The better to remember you by...

And, I thought the extension for the house was to benefit DeLay's return...nobody seems to be bothered by that, huh? Let alone the issue of the VERY IMPORTANT Patriot Act bill business...what a bunch of hypocritical losers!

Posted by: Dancer on January 16, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

The funniest writing of the day is in the customer reviews of Kete Obierne's latest dissertation on where women belong.

Posted by: nut on January 16, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

There's also the little matter of what 'vacationing' congresspersons are hearing from their constituents back home. They don't want to appear to be at the beck and call of an unpopular president.

Posted by: MattF on January 16, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Those Congressmen likely have their own brush to clear. Except for those from Lousiana, and Mississippi, where there is not much brush left to speak of.

Posted by: melior on January 16, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

JUST HANG THE DAMN LEFTIES THERE THE ONES THAT ARE CROOKED,THE RIGHTWING HAS A RIGHT TO THE MONEY,PISS ON THEM INDIANS,JUST GIVE US OUR MONEY.

Posted by: patton on January 16, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

gw was never the leader of the free world.

He merely holds a formal position that other people, who have been leaders of the free world, have also held.

Being, in reality, the leader of the free world requires, among other things, that one, um, lead the free world.

Posted by: cdj on January 16, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

G Bush (They hate us for our freedoms)So to keep you safe I am going to take your freedoms away, Then the Terrorists will like us.

Posted by: patton on January 16, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

nut - thanks, that's pretty funny. The weirdest part is the argument that "liberals don't like it, therefore it must be right!" Two problems with that:

1) The same argument holds for "Mein Kampf."
2) By definition, if you can't judge whether something is "right" for yourself without someone else's opinion as a frame of reference, you can never know if you're right.

This kind of reflexive opposition seems to be happening a lot on the right-wing lately. Conservatism for a lot of folks seems to be defined as being anti-Streisand/Clinton/ACLU. Even patriotism is being reworked into a kind of reflexive ultra-anti-Europeanism, "American = the opposite of whatever France/Canada/etc. is doing" Ironically, this type of approach, while seeking to assert national identity, actually dilutes it. Even more ironic is that maybe the best example of this is seen in Canada, where you encounter many people whose definition of "Canadian" roughly translates to "not American."

Posted by: Adam M on January 16, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Enough snark. These are working vacations. Don't you guys know that if the brush doesn't get cleared the ranch is ruined?

I should think you people would know something about work work balance.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on January 16, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Haven't heard Gore's speech, but I read the transcript that was pre-released. He had some very good points, but I thought it was way too wonky to get a lot of traction in the MSM.

I agree with the guy across the board, and I had a hard time reading it to the end. Too long, too many 50 cent words when plain English would do (how many people know what "arrogates" means?). It's not a friggin' legal brief, Al! Are Dem politicians constitutionally incapable of speaking in simple, declarative sentences? (rhetorical question, I know there are some).

You can read the speech here: http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Text_of_Gore_speech_0116.html

There a GREAT speech in there, fighting to be heard

Posted by: Chris Thorpe on January 16, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

patton, shush. the grownups are talking now.

Posted by: cleek on January 16, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

'Are Dem politicians constitutionally incapable of speaking in simple, declarative sentences?'
--Chris Thorpe

Chris, I think a better question may be "Are Democratic constituents capable of understanding simple, declarative sentences?"

I'm reminded of a quote from Adlai Stevenson, when a journalist declared that he would be getting the votes of "all intelligent Americans", to which Adlai replied, "Yes, but I need a majority"

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 16, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

I think Chris has a point. The Democratic party needs to understand how to effectively use the media. Right now they have all the media savy of a local "community calendar" program.

The message just isn't being communicated.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 16, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

The first TBrosz?

Posted by: Enigma on January 16, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'm reminded of an exchange during one of the presidential debates of 2000, where GW was saying that that the military shouldn't be nation building-"the role of the military is fight and win war." Putting aside the obvious irony of today's situation in Iraq-can you get any clearer than that? There's no review of historical or legal precedent, no "on one hand, but on the other hand" type rhetoric, just a simple statement. This isn't to say that all the careful studying of the issue, etc shouldn't happen, just keep it behind the scenes. Let it inform the policy, not the public presentation.

The principles involved in torture, wiretapping, declaration of Americans as enemy combatants are dead simple, and they're all unAmerican. That should be our drumbeat for the next 3 years.

Posted by: Chris Thorpe on January 16, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

What Kriz said.

The problem is NOT that Gore uses big words liberally (!) and comparatively complex sentences. The problem is that Americans are idiots.

Intelligent Desgin. America is a slamdunk debunking of that conjecture.

Posted by: cdj on January 16, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm much more forgiving of a congress member's extra vacation than I am of GWB's. Representatives do make the rounds and provide constituent services when they're in their home districts.

So there's only so much time during the year for ribbon cutting, local meetings, and otherwise sucking up to the people back home.

Posted by: ChrisS on January 16, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Am I alone? Has anybody else read or heard Al Gore's speech today?

It is a major speech and one that really deserves a read.

You can find it at http://www.crooksandliars.com/2006/01/16.html#a6730

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 16, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

to quote Tbrosz "I think you just want to make yourself sound smart, when in reality you're just full of it. If you dont know about the topic....Dont make yourself sound like you do".

But why doesn't Tbrosz ever take his own advice?

Posted by: on January 16, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Mabye Bush can entertain himself by reading Al Gore's speech.

Posted by: on January 16, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, notice how you conflate Congress with "his party". Congress shouldn't be at the President's beck and call, no matter what party they belong to.

To accept that standard of operation is to accept that the separation of powers is unnecessary. And that, Im afraid, is orders of magnitude more dangerous to our democracy than vacationing legislators.

Posted by: Jon Karak on January 16, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

What, the Free World TM actually followed Bush at some point?

Who knew?

Posted by: floopmeister on January 16, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Bush leads the free world if by that you mean the world of people who get everything for free.

Posted by: Calling All Toasters on January 16, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Well, they already have a police state, and business writes all the laws any way. So their work is pretty much done.

Posted by: brewmn on January 17, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Pardon my sexist French, but ...

... but if Robert Novak's correct, Bush is a pussy.

"House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert turned down a White House request to elect a permanent successor to Tom DeLay as majority leader in advance of President Bush's State of the Union address on Jan. 31. Republican House members simply did not want to return early to Washington after their winter vacation."

Article II Section 3 of the Constitution of the United States of America grants Bush the plenary authority to both convene Congress AND to set the dates of adjournment to such time as he thinks proper if the two Houses disagree, which, by happenstance, is exactly the case at this time. He can make Hastert eat the Senate date, which is JANUARY 18th, as opposed to the House date of January 31.

Posted by: jfxgillis on January 17, 2006 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

Well, like Nixon was always saying, no one really understands what it's like to be president. None of us really appreciates blackjackwhat he does for us and how hard the work is.

Posted by: dany on January 17, 2006 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

>Now he can't even convince his own party to cut their vacation short.

Y'mean somebody's taking a vacation while the pResident isn't?

The mind boggles.

Hasn't Bush spent something like 1 out of every 4 days since 2000 in Camp David or the Crawford compound or some other getaway?

Posted by: bartkid on January 17, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

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