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Tilting at Windmills

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April 5, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

AMATEUR HOUR....Heather Hurlburt on Karen Hughes. Go read.

Honestly, just when you think the Bush administration amateur hour can't get any worse, they prove you wrong. And we still have 33 months to go.

Kevin Drum 11:31 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (62)

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Comments

Karen Hughes is a marketer! She's far too shallow and thoughtless to be doing diplomacy!

Posted by: Joey Giraud on April 5, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Does anybody really believe that perceptions of Palestinian suffering are the root of Arab discontent?

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 5, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Bush Administration really has a hard time understanding why their slick marketing and PR bullshit doesn't work on foreigners - after all, it works on Americans, so shouldn't it work on everybody?

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 5, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

Are you telling me that none of these people were paying attention to all that Oslo stuff during the Clinton administration? They didn't notice the intifada that was going on during the 2000 presidential campaign? Is that seriously what Karen is telling us?

I mean, my mind is so boggled that I don't even know if I can work up the outrage.

Posted by: mmy on April 6, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously, these are the top two things she's found noteworthy?

As for the first - wtf?

As for the second - is there a country that doesn't have separate lines for visitors and citizens in customs?

Posted by: xyz on April 6, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Good God, listen to the interview.

Nothing in this implies that she knew nothing about the Israel-Palestinian issue.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 6, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Karen Hughes is Harriet Miers in drag.

Nothing she has said or done betrays even an iota of understanding of the issues that she is supposed to address.

But, then, what could be expected from the person whose hero is GWB?

Posted by: lib on April 6, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

For that matter, re-reading her post more carefully and looking at the quotes, I suspect Heather Hurlburt didn't actually listen to the interview either.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 6, 2006 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

This is the same very same dingbat that stated that the US constitution declares us "one nation under God". Uh, right - that would be the Protestant God, I suppose.

http://www.state.gov/r/us/2005/54062.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Hughes

Posted by: Paidi on April 6, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Who are these Palestinians she is speaking about?

Posted by: Marty Peretz on April 6, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

You gotta be joking. Doesn't Karen Hughes know how to read? Does she only watch Fox? Isn't there somebody at state or someplace to brief her on, oh I don't know, what she is expected to know in her job.

I always thought Karen Hughes was one of the smarter members of Bush's adoring collection of office wives.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 6, 2006 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

Read the entire Hurlburt post, and see if you think Hurlburt's mind is clear. After I read it, I concluded she is on drugs.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on April 6, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

Karen Hurlbert may well be a buffoon.

Look, Israel just cleared out of the West Bank, effectively ceding the area to the Palestinians. People like Hurlbert who whine about "the suffering of the Palestinians" are idiots.

Posted by: Afro Thunder on April 6, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

I've concluded that the subliterates posting using aol.com email accounts are idiots.

Posted by: Nads on April 6, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Highly amusing watching the bunker brigade coming to the defense of Karen Hughes of all things.

After I read it, I concluded she is on drugs.

I read the same article, and I conclude you're still a partisan asshole.

But if she really didn't understand until now how much perceptions of Palestinian suffering, fair or unfair, drive public opinion in the Islamic world, then she just can't have done any reading in the months before she took the public diplomacy job -- or the months since.

People like Mr. 'Thunder' who whine about articles while lacking reading comprehension skills are idiots.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on April 6, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Nads >".I've concluded that the subliterates posting using aol.com email accounts are idiots."

Whoa dude, you must have missed the brief on what you are supposed to know...

Oh, wait...

Neveeeer mind !

"...You either wear the tinfoil shiny-side-out, or shiny-side-in..." - jimfl@tensegrity.net

Posted by: daCascadian on April 6, 2006 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

Remember folks: this bimbo is the PR wizard who's going to repair our image in the Arab-Muslim world.

Posted by: Sigh on April 6, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Who cares what Howard Hughes daughter says?

Posted by: Matt on April 6, 2006 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

What Hughes said was the moral equivalent of a professional astronomer saying "Man, I just learned stars are mostly hydrogen gas. Who would have thought? Did you know that it takes light years to travel to the next star? Wow. I just found that out when I went to the observatory."

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 6, 2006 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

> Nothing she has said or done betrays even
> an iota of understanding of the issues that
> she is supposed to address.

Ms. Hughes is absolutely typical of every person I have ever met who (a) is from Texas (b) has a high level job (my experience being in the private sector, not government, but I think the situation is the same).

They are very smart. Very well educated at UT, A&M, or an equivalent Christian university. Hardworking and accomplished.

And so incredibly naive it makes you teeth not only itch, but want to fall out on the spot. Generally they have not only never traveled outside the US, but haven't spent any significant amount of time outside of Texas. They simply don't understand that everyone in the world isn't, and more importantly doesn't want to be, a blond upper-middle-class Texan with a 3/4 acre tract mansion - they just can't imagine any higher existance.

Travelling with these people on business, particularly outside the US, is a horrifying experience. On the good side though it provides endless grist when you meet with your coworkers in the absence of any Texans.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 6, 2006 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

This is just another example of the political offal this administration considers talented. It speaks directly to their values and perceptions.
Note to Ron Byers and Cranky:you're both absolutely correct in your analysis. Or at least that's the view from my basement window....

Posted by: Daniel F. Giallombardo on April 6, 2006 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

And we still have 33 months to go.

Almost three years... It's scary to think what can happen in that time.

Posted by: E. Nonee Moose on April 6, 2006 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Hughes' big revelation may or may not mean she's capable of learning, but the real issue is whether her boss and the administration in general have the same capability. Um, no.

So it'd almost be better for these people to never have these moments of revelation. We've known all along that they're bullheaded, arrogant and willfully ignorant. To find out they're also this naive makes me even more fearful of the future. Just when you think these people can't underwhelm you any further...

Posted by: shortstop on April 6, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Sorry off topic (at least its international), but thought these 2 reports on international heathcare would be of interest to you.

http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=36443

http://www.cmwf.org/publications/publications_show.htm?doc_id=364436

http://www.cmwf.org/publications/publications_show.htm?doc_id=364437

Posted by: Catch22 on April 6, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

So WE'RE not doing enough for the Palestinians. Is that the gist of this article? That's why the Arab street hates us?

What are the Syrians doing for the Palestinians?

What are the Iranians doing for the Palestinians?

What are the Egyptians doing for the Palestinians?

What is Al Qaeda doing for the Palestinians?

Don't you think all of that money spent on terrorism could be better spent on helping their brothers?

They plant car bombs. We try to broker a peace deal. And we're not doing enough.

What a crock of shit. Next.

Posted by: Jay on April 6, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

"Karen Hughes is Harriet Miers in drag."

And here, I always thought the reverse was the case...

Posted by: An Interested Party on April 6, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

"It's scary to think what will happen in that time" - E. Nonee Moose

Not Really. But it will be fun watching your guys heads implode.

Posted by: Jay on April 6, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

So WE'RE not doing enough for the Palestinians. Is that the gist of this article?

No, the point of the article is that Karen Hughes is an idiot that knows less than most politically aware high-schools students about the realities of international travel and perception of the United States.

Whether or not the United States actually is doing enough for (or, OTOH, too much against) the Palestinians is entirely beside the point ("But if she really didn't understand until now how much perceptions of Palestinian suffering, fair or unfair, drive public opinion in the Islamic world, then she just can't have done any reading in the months before she took the public diplomacy job -- or the months since.")

Try reading next time, it helps.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 6, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

No it's not cm. Heathers "opinion" in the article is that the Arab street hates us because we are not sympathetic enough towards the Palestinians and Heather believes that Karen should also have that opinion. Well Karen, and I, do not share that opinion.

I am extremely more confident in Karen's view on the situation more than I am in Heather's. Heather is the idiot, and so is 99% of the left.

Posted by: Jay on April 6, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

cm, try thinking next time, it helps.

Posted by: Jay on April 6, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Her proposed solution: videos depicting American life that we could all watch while we were standing in the aforementioned lines.

How come every solution these guys think of creeps me out?

Posted by: Boronx on April 6, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, cm, Jay can show you a thing or two about thinking. Best open your eyes, fool.

Posted by: Boronx on April 6, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK
No it's not cm. Heathers "opinion" in the article is that the Arab street hates us because we are not sympathetic enough towards the Palestinians and Heather believes that Karen should also have that opinion.

Wrong, Heather's statement is that perception of US unfairness toward Palestine, "fairly or unfairly" drives Arab opinion against us; she at no point claims that this perception among Arabs is fair or accurate.

This is widely documented and known. It isn't particularly controversial among reasonable informed people.

cm, try thinking next time, it helps.

How would you know?

Posted by: cmdicely on April 6, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

It's a FUCKING OPINION cm. I thought your contention was that our foreign policies towards the ME as a whole (propping up puppet regimes)and specifically our "invasion" of Iraq was why the Arab street hated us. So what the fuck is it? You keep moving the goal posts. Again, no wonder you guys lose elections.

Posted by: Jay on April 6, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

I'm scared pa .

Posted by: Right minded on April 6, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK
It's a FUCKING OPINION cm.

Yes, it is a widely held opinion in the Arab world that the US is unfair to the Palestinians, and that opinion is clearly linked to anti-US sentiment in the region.

But it is not Heather's opinion, stated in the article, that the US is not doing enough to help the Palestinians, contrary to your repeated misrepresentation. It is her claim -- one not at all controversial among the informed -- that the perception exists and is a key component of anti-US feeling.

I thought your contention was that our foreign policies towards the ME as a whole (propping up puppet regimes)and specifically our "invasion" of Iraq was why the Arab street hated us. So what the fuck is it?

You know, some things don't just have one cause.

Its not my contention that that the policy you point to is the sole cause. I believe that is an important root cause; whereas the perception of US unfairness in the Israel and against the Palestinians is probably the most significant (but not the only) direct cause.

And the policy that I characterize as a root cause contributes to (but isn't the only thing that contributes to) the widely accepted direct cause, as it fosters both the poor conditions that lead to anger, and the kind of regimes that will, independently of the truth of the matter, attempt to use the I-P conflict to redirect unfocussed internal anger.


You keep moving the goal posts.

Recognizing that things have multiple contributing causes that are interrelated is not "moving the goalposts."


Posted by: cmdicely on April 6, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, if you keep digging yourself into that hole, you might eventually strike oil and solve America's energy crisis. Go for it!

Posted by: ajl on April 6, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Riiiight. So if we are not doing enough to bolster the Palestinians efforts, or are not sympathetic enough to their cause, then why don't the Palestinians have animosity towards their bretheren. The Arab community really hasn't done squat for them. Why is it solely America's responsibility to aid and assist the Palestinian cause?

Ohlmert has recently spoken out on ceding more land to them in order for them to fulfill their "dream" of establishing a home state. We'll now see just how genuine they are.

Posted by: Jay on April 6, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

The left just continues to perpetuate the false pretense that if we could just be friends and have more understanding of their plight, all will be well.

Newsflash, they don't want to be our friends. You'd think you would have learned that by now. How many more car bombs, hostages and beheadings will it take for you to figure that one out.

Posted by: Jay on April 6, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

I think Jay just proved that all you have to do, apparently, is to exchange two or three posts with cmdicely on this subject to have a more informed analytical opinion than Karen Hughes.

Yes, indeed, Jay, what is the extent of America's responsibility? Bearing in mind both the reality of the situation and Arab perceptions and the effect of those perceptions on U.S. Foreign policy?

You appear to have the conservative mind set. Keep at it. In another half hour you will either be secretary of state or overqualified to hold any position in the Bush administration.

Posted by: hank on April 6, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Hank, what a shock. A conservative with a conservative mind set. Who would have thunk it?

Israel offering up more land for them is doing more for them than any other Arab nation combined in history. That, right there, is the reality of the situation.

Posted by: Jay on April 6, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

What are the Syrians doing for the Palestinians? What are the Iranians doing for the Palestinians? What are the Egyptians doing for the Palestinians?
What is Al Qaeda doing for the Palestinians?

Jay, as usual, you entirely miss the point. It's not what the Iranians, the Egyptians, et al, are doing FOR the Palestinians, you idiot, it's what the Israelis are doing TO the Palestinians, supported by American foreign policy and dollars at every step.

Posted by: ExBrit on April 6, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Israel offering up more land for them is doing more for them than any other Arab nation combined in history.

Israel is offering to maintain most of the settlements in the West Bank, own the water rights, a keep a military presence there. What a deal!

Israel is ignoring the fact that you need two to make peace, but only one to make war.

Posted by: tomeck on April 6, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK
So if we are not doing enough to bolster the Palestinians efforts, or are not sympathetic enough to their cause, then why don't the Palestinians have animosity towards their bretheren.

If by that you mean the leaders of the various Arab states, my understanding is that, while its less than that directed at Israel or the US, they do.

But, again, the point at issue isn't that we factually don't do enough for the Palestinains, and that drives specifically Palestinian antipathy to the US, but that Arabs in general perceive, rightly or wrongly, the US as being unfair to Arabs, particularly in the Israeli-Arab conflict, and particularly in the Israeli-Palestinian portion of that conflict, and that drives Arab antipathy to the US.

Why is it solely America's responsibility to aid and assist the Palestinian cause?

Who says it is? This seems to me to be a pure strawman.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 6, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK
The left just continues to perpetuate the false pretense that if we could just be friends and have more understanding of their plight, all will be well.

"Their"? Whose?

No, the left believes that any productive policy to deal with the problems in the Middle East has to start with understanding the nature, source, and dynamics of the problems and the environment in which they exist.

Whereas the right is satisfied with blundering along in complete ignorance.

Newsflash, they don't want to be our friends.

Who is "they"? Arabs in general?

Posted by: cmdicely on April 6, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK
Israel is ignoring the fact that you need two to make peace, but only one to make war.

That's hardly fair. Both Israel and the Palestinians are acting quite aware of that; both are convinced that the other side wants war and, therefore, that nothing they do can make peace (given that it takes two to make peace and only one to make war.)

Which is one reason that peace is hard to find between the parties; it is impossible without complete defeat of one side.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 6, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, you can't possibly be as stupid as your comments make you out to be. I mean, you wouldn't even be able to feed yourself, much less operate a keyboard.

cmdicely's point is perfectly obvious. It's been explained multiple times by cmdicely as well as several other commenters, all valiantly struggling to get you to see something you're determined to ignore. It's an uncontroversial point, one readily acknowledged by the vast majority of observers, including PNAC and their fellow travelers. But you keep up with the ***la la la I can't heeeeeeeeear you*** nonsense. So -- truly thick as a plank, or wilfully denying the obvious? I strongly suspect the latter.

Poor little Jay. Now that mainstream America is noticing that the emperor is nekkid as a jaybird, denial and delusions are all he's got left.

Posted by: vetiver on April 6, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Unable to answer defend his moronic comments, Jay has predictably disappeared.

Posted by: ExBrit on April 6, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Jay can show you a thing or two about thinking. Best open your eyes, fool."

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, HA, HA!

Best comment of the thread...

"Wow, Hank, what a shock. A conservative with a conservative mind set." I think Hank kind of missed the fact that Jay has a set OPINION, but practically no mind at all.

The point of the post is not whether the Palestinians' "plight" affects the mind-set of other Middle-Easterners, or even whether the Palestinians have a "plight" at all. The point is that Ms. Opinion-Shaper herself had no previous idea that this was even an issue. Boy, howdy, is she a blunt tool.

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 6, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

What are the (X) doing for the Palestines?

Your ignorance is not an argument.

Posted by: mcdruid on April 6, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK
Ohlmert has recently spoken out on ceding more land to them in order for them to fulfill their "dream" of establishing a home state. Jay 12:11 PM
Since its their land, that offer is strange. Suppose I stole your entire bank account and offered to give you back a c-note. Would you kiss my hand?
Israel offering up more land for them is doing more for them than any other Arab nation combined in history. Jay 12:25 PM
You are totally clueless. For over 80 years, Isaeli have been stealing Palestinian land and water, killing Palestinians and committing atrocities and ethnic cleansing. Unfortunately, many of those acts have been supported and paid for by the US.
Which is one reason that peace is hard to find between the parties; it is impossible without complete defeat of one side. cmdicely 2:23 PM
Not really. The Arab world including the Palestinians has made many sincere peace offers predicated in Israel withdrawing to the green line and allowing those ethnically cleansed from Israel in 1948 the right of return to their homeland. All those peace offers have been rejected out of hand by Israel. Would a peace that legitimizes the ethnic cleansing of your extended family be acceptable to you? Posted by: Mike on April 7, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

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