Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 11, 2006

BUSH TRIES DIPLOMACY -- WITH REPUBLICANS....Talk about your soft bigotry of low expectations; the New York Times ran a lengthy article today that offers the president credit for -- get this -- schmoozing with Republican lawmakers.

Senator John W. Warner and his wife were at the White House for a Memorial Day photo session with veterans when they received an unexpected invitation from President Bush. "Come on," the president said suddenly. "Let's go back to the Oval Office."

What followed, said Mr. Warner, a Virginia Republican and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was a rare 15 minutes alone with the president, no aides or staff in sight.

Mr. Bush escorted the couple to a private garden that President Ronald Reagan had built -- "I never knew it was back there," said Mr. Warner, whose public service dates to the Eisenhower administration -- and, just as important, solicited Mr. Warner's views on Iraq. "It was a nice way of doing things," Mr. Warner said.

The Bush-Warner chat was noteworthy, the article suggests, because the president has considered Congress little more than an annoyance for more than five years. Now, with Bush's political capital gone and his agenda stalled, Chief of Staff Josh Bolten has convinced the president to try "a more personal touch."

What does this include? Apparently, Bush is suddenly willing to talk to Republican members of Congress about issues that are on their minds. He's also willing to host "intimate cocktail parties" on the Truman Balcony and take lawmakers and their spouses for tours of the White House residence.

There's nothing wrong with this, of course, but it's odd that the paper of record seems to find it so remarkable. Bush may think of lawmakers as rubber-stamps, but it's hardly a striking development for a Republican president to talk to Republicans in Congress about policy matters.

For that matter, it's a sort of half-hearted charm offensive. The president is acting chummy with his GOP allies from the Hill, but as the Times article conceded, "[I]t is hard to find evidence that Mr. Bush's new open-ear policy has led to any substantive change in direction by the White House."

So we're left with a president who will, for the first time, chat with members of his own party, whom he'll proceed to ignore and act just as he always has. Are we supposed to be impressed by this?

Steve Benen 4:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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"He's also willing to host "intimate cocktail parties" on the Truman Balcony "

So, it is true: he is drinking, again!

Posted by: Bruce Wilder on June 11, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

There's no need to even consult with Democrats. Their ability to influence legislation rests solely in their willingness to thwart the majority with fillibusters and other technicalities. 90% of the time, important legislation can get by without a single democrat vote.

After November, one suspects that a unified GOP caucus will be able to prevent any fillibuster, simply because there won't be 40 democrats left. Why should the President reach out to Democrats when the very future of the Democrat party is highly uncertain? Despite the DLC's efforts to save the party, the moveon.orgs and dailykos's are dragging the party to the left of Nader, and we all know what Kos's recond is; not a single democrat he has backed has beaten a republican. That's a glimple of your future.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 11, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Hawk, why would any American vote for the most incompetent administration in generations? These are the clowns who have screwed up in Afghanistan, screwed up in Iraq, screwed up with Medicare Part D, screwed up in New Orleans, screwed up with the tax cuts, run the country into horrible deficits and still think they ought to be re-elected. Why?

The Republicans have made themselves into the party of incompetence -- maybe they have their own Hruska Rule: Incompetent politicians have the right to run the country, too.

Posted by: freelunch on June 11, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Funniest post yet, AH! Hilarious parody! I love it!

Posted by: Joel on June 11, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

You know it is really shocking to realize these simple social things are things he actually hasn't been doing --even with his own party.

Posted by: cld on June 11, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the reason he has been neglecting congress the last six years is he spends most of his time talking with God.

Posted by: bogangles on June 11, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK
So we're left with a president who will, for the first time, chat with members of his own party, whom he'll proceed to ignore and act just as he always has. Are we supposed to be impressed by this?
I wonder if this might backfire on Bush. His congressional enablers seemed accustomed to his old behavior, even if they didn't like it. Now he's providing them the illusion that he's listening. Should they figure out that he's merely gaming them, he could end up an even lamer duck. Posted by: JoeW on June 11, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk thinks the Democrats will lose five Senate seats this November? ROFLMAO.

The real question is whether they will gain the six seats they need to have a majority. The odds are against them because only a third of the seats are up for re-election and because incumbents have such a big edge. It is still a lot more likely now that they will succeed than that they will lose ANY seats, much less the five needed to give Republicans automatic cloture on every vote.

Once again, the question becomes whether the trolls here are really that delusional/stupid or whether they just write whatever pops into their heads without any regard for whether they believe it themselves, much less expect us to take them seriously.

Posted by: Tanj on June 11, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is on course to lower the bar for presidential effectiveness to someplace beneath the floor. Sing it with me now:
Worst President everrrrr!
Worst President eeeevvvveeerrrr!
(repeat chorus for the rest of history)

Posted by: craigie on June 11, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Hawk, why would any American vote for the most incompetent administration in generations? These are the clowns who have screwed up in Afghanistan, screwed up in Iraq, screwed up with Medicare Part D, screwed up in New Orleans, screwed up with the tax cuts, run the country into horrible deficits and still think they ought to be re-elected. Why?

You libs made almost the exact same slanderous argument in 2004, and lost big. The only thing that's changed is that somehow it's George Bush's fault that there's hurricanes. How about growing the economy, spreading democracy to the middle east, keeping Americans safe, trying to uphold family values, and trying to get the government out of the business of graverobbing?

You know it is really shocking to realize these simple social things are things he actually hasn't been doing --even with his own party.

He's been busy working. He has a lot of responsibilities. Even when he's "on vacation" he's always on call. Rather than holding constant parties like Clinton, he's been working hard.

Tanj-- Again, the exact some rhetoric the Democrat pary has been using since at least 2000. "We're going to have a huge victory! HUGE! HUGE!!!!!!.". Then.. "THey stole it!!!!!". And then.... "Well... we'll win NEXT time. It'll be huge! HUGE!!!!".

The real question is if the Democrats will ever have a national viable party again. I'm thinking they will someday, but I could be wrong.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 11, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

There's no need to even consult with Democrats...

AH, please provide evidence that you have any idea what this blog post was about before you start commenting on it.

Posted by: Constantine on June 11, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

That's it - American Squawk is definitely a perl script.

There's not a single meaningful word in that whole mound of boilerplate gibberish.

Posted by: craigie on June 11, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

I have yet to see any evidence that our trolls have the ability to disagree with Dear Leader or the One True Party on any matter. Charlie, "American Hawk", etc. always defend the party. Period. They're not here for discussion. The comment by AH, however, is a keeper. If he shows his virtual face around here after November, it's worth keeping it as a quote.

Posted by: Marc on June 11, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

When he meets with Chuck Hagel for a talk on Iraq without aides, that'll be a story. Warner has been almost as big a stooge as any other Republican, torture amendment charade or no.

Posted by: Nell on June 11, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe he takes them into his Secret Garden and says "I am the Decider." Then they piss themselves laughing at him, and everyone is happy.

Posted by: craigie on June 11, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Bush still doesn't get it that the president is supposed to listen to ALL people, not just those who agree with him. His newfound civility towards those who are already in his camp is either a sign that he is on the bottle again, or a craven attempt to find support to bolster his chances of avoiding impeachment in 2007. He is still a worm.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 11, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

AH tops himself! Unbelievable! Great parody reply! I love it!

Posted by: Joel on June 11, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for your good work all week, Steve. Enjoyed it.

Posted by: shortstop on June 11, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

georgie porgy pudnin pie
has sunk so low cant see the sky
but when a lightweight came to play
the new york times swooned anyway

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 11, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk espouses the Pontius Pilate view of reality - "What is truth? It is what I say it is, because I am in power and I hold a sword". Pilate would be a conservative, were he alive today.

Liberals, on the other hand, believe the truth vindicates itself.

There is no hope for America until conservatives recognize that there is an objective reality and they are on the wrong side of it.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 11, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

ah: You libs made almost the exact same slanderous argument in 2004, and lost big.


and what happened....

more americans have died from terror..

and

the fed. debt set new records...

we told you so

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 11, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

But Stephen, they just make their own reality.

Like when they just decide that Iraq is going to be a cakewalk, and then, um, whoops, bad example.

Ok, they just decide that tax cuts lead to deficit reduction and economic growth, and then they cut taxes for 17 really rich people and then, ... no, wait.

Got it. they just assert that gas prices should come down because - no, that's not right.

Shit, I know they must be right about something. Let me think:
Katrina? no
Wiretaps? damn
President as king? not so much.

I'll have to get back to you on this...

What about Healthy Forests? Shit, forget it.

Posted by: craigie on June 11, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

I guess the only people who DON'T want to have a beer with King George the Dumbfuck are those who know him best.

I guess that fake Texas drool works best when you hear it over the TV, not in person.

Posted by: POed Lib on June 11, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk thinks the Democrats will lose five Senate seats this November? ROFLMFL

News: he/she ain't American. CHinese or something. Here on an H1-B visa, stealing jobs from Americans and running down our country and our political system that he/she doesn't know shit about.

Posted by: POed Lib on June 11, 2006 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

At issue with McA and AH are not that they are non-Americans. At issue is the fact that in their desperate to do what they think is "acting American," they decide that the way to do so is to repeat verbatim all the right-wing talking points, and that's kind of pathetic.

Posted by: Constantine on June 11, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

the lap-dog, rubber-stamp, bedwetter republican congress has bent over and taken it up the hooscow for everything the bushliar-criminal has felt like ramming up there. What the hell difference could it possibly make if bush decides to give it to them now with a smile on his face.
.

Posted by: justfred on June 11, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

This is just Rove's marketing campaign in action. Each week for the past few there's been a "kinder" "more receptive" Bush article. This is all for bush saving face and vainly trying to give the Repugs a leg up for the fall so they aren't campaigning alonside a 33%er.

Posted by: Fred F. on June 11, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

AH: "Again, the exact some rhetoric the Democrat pary has been using since at least 2000"

Hey, Polly, I see you're sticking to your parrot points, but have decided to subtly subvert the message by leaving out letters here and there. V. clever! Maybe you're not really a Republic after all.

Posted by: Kenji on June 12, 2006 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

But AH has achieved his goal by framing the parameters of this "debate." It's what they do. And you play into it. You're talking about him, not about the subject at hand. Stop that. Really.

Posted by: rael on June 12, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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