Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 17, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

2008 A BIGGER ROUT THAN 2006?....Political Wire provides an excerpt from the latest Evans-Novak Political Report:

The gloom pervading the Republican Party cannot be exaggerated. The long-range GOP outlook for 2008 is grim....A nationally prominent Republican pollster reported confidentially on Capitol Hill after the President's speech that if U.S. boots are still on the ground in Iraq and U.S. blood is still being spilled there at the end of the year, the GOP disaster in 2008 will eclipse 2006.

I'm not sure how seriously to take this. Robert Novak is obviously pretty plugged into Republican politics, but he's also a longtime war opponent and may simply be cherry picking the gloomiest pronouncements making the rounds.

Still, it's pretty ironic. As we reported several months ago ("A Higher Power"), the whole point of James Baker's Iraq Study Group was to avert the looming self-immolation of the Republican Party by providing George Bush with a plausible, bipartisan plan to get out of Iraq:

"Baker is primarily motivated by his desire to avoid a war at home--that things will fall apart not on the battlefield but at home. So he wants a ceasefire in American politics," a member of one of the commission's working groups told me. Specifically, he said, if the Democrats win back one or both houses of Congress in November, they would unleash a series of investigative hearings on Iraq, the war on terrorism, and civil liberties that could fatally weaken the administration and remove the last props of political support for the war, setting the stage for a potential Republican electoral disaster in 2008. "I guess there are people in the [Republican] party, on the Hill and in the White House, who see a political train wreck coming, and they've called in Baker to try to reroute the train."

So given this chance of an honorable exit, what does Bush do? He furiously dismisses Baker's report as "a flaming turd" and instead insists on pursuing a strategy that virtually nobody thinks will work. The damage this is doing to our country is obviously the most depressing aspect of all this, but if there's any kind of silver lining it's the fact that Bush's tantrum-based foreign policy is apparently taking down his entire party with him. It couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch.

Kevin Drum 5:01 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (103)

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Comments

Who says there's no good news in the papers?

Posted by: anandine on January 17, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

True dat, Anandine, but I wouldn't call it "good news" since it took the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to get us to this point.

Posted by: Dr. Anatole Gavage-Huskanoy on January 17, 2007 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Tantrum-based foriegn policy? Is that the descriptive phrase you use to explain something you don't understand?

Will there be American boots on the ground in Iraq in '08? Of course, as they should be, stabilizing the region, clearing it of terrorists and securing for the Middle East the blessings of Liberty.

It's the smart policy. It takes the long term view, as opposed to the whiney instant gratification of the Dems.

Before America entered Iraq, the only way most Middle Eastern countries saw changes in their leadership was via assassinations and coups. Now they have a new model. Images of millions of brave, excited Iraquis hoisting up their purple fingers will burn radiantly in the imaginations of Middle Eastern youth for generations to come. Right now we only see the weeds. But the seeds of change have been sewn, and our children will be the beneficiaries.

That's what we mean when we say History will gaze fondly on Bush.

Posted by: egbert on January 17, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

...cherry picking the gloomiest pronouncements making the rounds.

Huh?

This implies that non-gloomy outnumbers gloomy.

No need to pick, Kevin. We're ankle-deep in cherries here.

Posted by: Foundation of Mud on January 17, 2007 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert, what year did you originally write that post in? I seem to recognize it from two years ago.

Posted by: humble blogger on January 17, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

eggplant:

Who's purple finger exactly is it that's tickling your prostate gland?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 17, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Before America entered Iraq, the only way most Middle Eastern countries saw changes in their leadership was via assassinations and coups. Now they have a new model."

Ah yes, the Meddling Superpower Destroys Infrastructure, Ignites Genocidal Civil War Method.

I'm sure History will gaze fondly on Bush for that.

(As it cuts the Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon sections from the Worst U.S. Presidents Ever chapter, and pastes them behind the section entitled "George W. Bush.")


Posted by: cazart on January 17, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

The way Bush trashed Baker ("Mr Baker can go back to his day job") makes me think that he really has lost it. He never had any real executive authority before he became President, and he's let it go to his very weak head. Cockiness and stubbornness have worked for him electorally, but he seems to think that it will win the war too. (He thinks that watching the war on TV is sacrifice. Perception is everything to these guys.)

I think that Bush-Cheney should be impeached, and it may be possible (for reasons Novak gives) to get enough support to do it. I hope we don't have to give the Republicans too much to get them on board, but two more years of Bush as Commander in Chief could be unspeakably bad.

Posted by: humble blogger on January 17, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Will egbert's boots be on the ground in Iraq in '08?

Posted by: Dwight on January 17, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, egbert...

Is there anything you DO understand?

We've all had six years to "understand" the way Georgie Peorgie "thinks", and at least 70% of us don't like it. At all.

What is there about Americans that makes you hate us so? Guess we just don't have the guts and the brave vision you've found in your hidey hole. Just a few well-aimed V2s landing in London will turn the tide of the war...

Or maybe you are just an idiot.

Posted by: Kenji on January 17, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

I think Egbert hears trumpets when he types.

Posted by: BongCrosby on January 17, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

I believe the predictions. Bush wants to continue the war and to succeed in Iraq, because he believes it's good policy. He's willing to risk political support to do what he believes is right.

The Dems don't really care what happens in Iraq; they want to get back in power.

I think both sides will get what they want.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 17, 2007 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

Define "success."

Now define how our military can achieve it on behalf of the Maliki government.

Good luck ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 17, 2007 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: So given this chance of an honorable exit, what does Bush do? He furiously dismisses Baker's report as "a flaming turd" and instead insists on pursuing a strategy that virtually nobody thinks will work.

Bush is an idiot, a smirking, glad-handing, back-slapping, nickname bestowing front man for the Cheney cartel. Cheney is the actual president.

And Dick Cheney doesn't care about the future of the Republican Party any more than he cares about the future of America.

Dick Cheney cares about using the power of the US military to seize control of Iraq's vast oil reserves for his cronies and financial backers in the US-based multinational oil companies.

To that end, he is still hoping to install a US-backed puppet government in Iraq, that will hand over control of, and the vast majority of the profits from, Iraq's oil to the US oil companies and will acquiesce to a large, permanent US military presence to enforce that control.

And to that end, Cheney will send any number of young working-class Americans to their deaths in Iraq, he will murder any number of innocent Iraqi civilians, he will risk a regional war, he will wreck the US military, and yes, he will risk destroying the Republican Party as a viable political force for a generation -- as long as he can get away with it.

To Cheney, the Republican Party is merely a tool by which to gain the power to do these things. He doesn't give a crap about its future.

Some Republicans may be finally waking up to the reality that they have been duped by a gang of criminals masquerading as "conservative" politicians, just as the rest of the country has been duped.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 17, 2007 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Looking beyond the mendacity, the corruption, the partisanship, the blind grab for power and all the other flaws this administration seems to revel in on a daily basis the most galling thing to me continues to be the sheer incompetence of it all. It is still amazing to me that but a little over 5 years ago in those post-9/11 days this president had the entire country, if not most of the world, behind him. He had the potential to achieve great things in the best interests of this country and in the name of freedom but chose instead to divide this country in the most cynical way possible. He chose to sell fear instead of hope. He sought to pervert the ideals of this country into something meaner & darker. This president failed us all.
At this point if the president is too arrogant & stupid to see what Baker's ISG report provided him and if Rice was too weak to show Bush he had a way out, they will get exactly what they deserve. For a administration that likes to blanket itself with God & scripture, the fall is going to be one of biblical proportions. And anyone with a clear set of open eyes is going to be able to watch. Bring it on!

Posted by: Nathan64 on January 17, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

FWIW, I commend the advice that Ben Franklin gave to John Paul Jones: 'Always praise others more than they deserve, and criticize yourself a bit more than you've earned. Let others correct the balance.'

I think it would be smart politics for anybody who wants to get the job cleaning up the mess Bush has made, to PRAISE Bush for the way he is sticking to his commitment to win in Iraq.

Remember, 62 million people voted for this guy last time. Maybe 30 million of 'em have changed their mind -- so, give 'em an honorable way to do that in 2008.

This "I told you so" crap is self-defeating. It also oddly blurs choices that ought to be made clear: we're not gonna go back and re-do 2003.

Getting us into Iraq certainly looks like the worst thing Bush has done as President (hey, the competition is steep), but how we started the war is NOT what this is about anymore.

It's how we finish it. Bush's plan is to stick it out until ponies appear.

The most effective way to bury THAT lunacy -- is to praise it, and move on to where we make better decisions than Bush is capable of.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 17, 2007 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

And anyone with a clear set of open eyes is going to be able to watch. Bring it on!
Posted by: Nathan64

Word. But I think the sound of the impact will be pretty impressive too.

Posted by: cyntax on January 17, 2007 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Bob - it's easy enough to define success: security and maintenance of the democracy. The problem is actually achieving success.

My most optimistic hope now is that Iraq's democracy may be able to muddle through a decade of terrorism, but will eventually put down the insurgency. For that to happen, Iran must be faced. Left to its own devices, Iran will destroy Iraq's democracy just as they destroyed Lebanon's.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 17, 2007 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush is incapable of achieving anything except his own whiny, immediate gratifications, as one fool so blithely projected onto the Dems. If they were as selfish, short-sighted, and mendacious as W, they wouldn't have allowed him this fatal interval. Now, the whole country is compromised and the idiot dauphin can drink himself to death between supermarket openings for the rest of his miserable, empty life.

Good luck following THAT into the sunset. "Historians will look back fondly," my ass.

Posted by: Kenji on January 17, 2007 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

I guess it's practically impossible for Republicans to repudiate Bush enough to save themselves. So I'll say Dems will sweep everything except the South in 2008. Maybe they should try running Chuck Hagel for President. Nah, I want to beat Newt Gingrich.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on January 17, 2007 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK
I think it would be smart politics for anybody who wants to get the job cleaning up the mess Bush has made, to PRAISE Bush for the way he is sticking to his commitment to win in Iraq.

Yeah, with Bush's poll ratings in the low 30's and falling, it clearly would be a winning political strategy to build a national election around praising him.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 17, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

I rarely agree with Novak, but his analysis makes sense when you consider the fact that the Repubs are defending twice as many Senate seats as the Dems (setting aside which ones are vulnerable - are you listening, Norm Coleman?) and the high likelihood that the Repub ticket will be headed by one of the war's staunchest proponents, John McCain.

Sure, it will be an uphill struggle for McCain to win the Repub nomination, but he will win by default because his chief rivals, Romney and Giuliani, have even bigger problems than he does with the Republican base. But unless, before 11/08, (1) we've started to see a steady diet of good news coming out of Iraq, (2) we've pulled out entirely or (3) McCain has flip-flopped and joined the phased withdrawal camp (and how likely is any of those three alternatives?), Iraq is going to be his albatross, and his party's, in the general.

Posted by: Beale on January 17, 2007 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

the repuglican party might be gone by 2012

if it survives, the repuglican party will be a small regional party centered in the southern States

Posted by: freepatriot on January 17, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

...it clearly would be a winning political strategy to build a national election around praising him.

That seems to be the current "Republican frontrunner" playbook.

Not that that won't change, of course, and not that anyone in the media -- much less the electorate -- will remember it, but it seems pretty deliberate at this point.

Funny what "playing to the base" requires.

Posted by: bleh on January 17, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist wrote: I think it would be smart politics for anybody who wants to get the job cleaning up the mess Bush has made, to PRAISE Bush for the way he is sticking to his commitment to win in Iraq.

Bush's "commitment to win in Iraq" is a commitment to the treasonous misuse of the US military for corrupt purposes of private financial gain in an illegal war of unprovoked aggression based on lies, in order to seize control of Iraq's vast oil reserves for Dick Cheney's ultra-rich cronies and financial backers in the US-based multinational oil companies, and beyond that to establish a large permanent US military presence in Iraq with which to launch further wars of aggression and seize control of the oil reserves of other countries in the region.

That should not be "praised" for some perceived political gain. It should be called what it is: a monstrous abuse of power, a crime against humanity, a war crime, and treason.

Cheney and Bush led this county into war not only with lies, but with a year-long campaign of deliberate, elaborate and repeated lies.

By rights, Cheney and Bush should be impeached, removed from office, indicted, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned. I would say that they should be hanged like Saddam Hussein but I am opposed to the death penalty.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 17, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, just a few years ago people were talking about the Democratic party being so marginalized Republicans would win every election deep into the 21st century.

Now they are worried they won't be able to hold their current minority. That's what happens if somebody starts an optional resource war based on faulty or non-existant intelligence without thinking things through.

Of course, in the long run the Democrats will probably do something stupid and the Republicans (or some third party) will have a shot at knocking them off. Thank God we are a democracy.

I have a hunch it will be a long time before Republicans return to candidate selection via social promotion.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 17, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe W. Bush knows something about the near future Novak and we do not. I do not think Bush cares about the future of the Republican Party, or the US for that matter, so one has to wonder what he will do before November 2008 to ensure his policies are adopted for the long term.

Posted by: Brojo on January 17, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

This nation's honor will never be restored until the Bush regime is removed from office by impeachment and tried for crimes against humanity.

Posted by: robtheheartthrob on January 17, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK
For that to happen, Iran must be faced. Left to its own devices, Iran will destroy Iraq's democracy just as they destroyed Lebanon's.

Er, Iran never destroyed Lebanon's democracy. The Lebanese, the Syrian, the PLO, and Israel destroyed Lebanon's democracy, and then Iran got involved.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 17, 2007 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP thought they could hitch their wagon to Bush's star and ride to perpetual dominance. But it wasn't a star after all--just a flaming turd.

Posted by: dj moonbat on January 17, 2007 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not writing the eulogy for the Republican party just yet. (But I have my wardrobe picked out for the funeral. A red dress and black Manolo Mary Janes.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 17, 2007 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely - AQs I understand it, Iran funded and backed Hezbollah, which is now a more powerful military group than the elected government has. Thus, Hezbollah is above the law, regardless of how anyone voted. That's why I say Iran destroyed Lebanon's democracy.

From what I've read, the Syrian involvement was more or less at the behest of Iran.

Israel would not have gotten involved if Hezbollah hadn't worked very hard to provoke them into an attack.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 17, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

The roar you hear is those who found their spine also found their voice. The administration is asking where the Dems plan is? There are more plans to leave Iraq then there are Republicans leaving the administration's sinking ship.

Posted by: darby1936 on January 17, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

Lebanon hasn't had a functioning democracy with control of the country since before the civil war that began in the late 1970s. Hezbollah was formed in response to the second Israeli invasion during that Civil War, which occurred in 1982.

Your idea of what is going on seems to be driven by a rather historically and contextually ignorant view of events of the last couple years, including the fantasy that Lebanon recently had a functioning, effective democracy.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 17, 2007 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK
...Iran will destroy Iraq's democracy just as they destroyed Lebanon's. x-li at 6:35 PM
You may not have noticed, but it is the Maliki government reaching out to Iran as a fellow shiite state. Unfortunately for the Lebanonese people as with the Jordanian and Egyptians, their governments are entrenched puppet regimes that act for Western interests instead of for their people.

Here's is a handicapping of the 33 Senate seats up in 200821 Republican and 12 Democratic:
It looks like some good pickups but not a veto-proof majority in case a Republican manages to pull off a win in '08.

Posted by: Mike on January 17, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Ever the great patriot that he is, GWB has come to the conclusion that the Republicans have failed the tests that he gave them over the last six years and therefore do not deserve to be elected, what with their backboneless reaction to the his policies that almost defied the US Constituition and turned the concept of democracy on its head. Consequently he has engineered this resurgence of the Democrat Party.

Posted by: Al on January 17, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Anatole Gavage-Huskanoy: True dat, Anandine, but I wouldn't call it "good news" since it took the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to get us to this point.

True, of course, but within the bad news all around us, the ray of hope is the potential damage to the Publican party.

Posted by: anandine on January 17, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK
Israel would not have gotten involved if Hezbollah hadn't worked very hard to provoke them into an attack. x-li at 6:58 PM
The truth is that Israel is the one who provoked Hezbollah . Israel has committed thousands of incursions into Lebanon. Israel was the one who murdered some shepherd in Lebanon. All Hezbollah did was capture a couple of soldiers to trade for some of the hundreds of Lebanonese illegally held in Israeli prisons. Posted by: Mike on January 17, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Bush wants to continue the war and to succeed in Iraq, because he believes it's good policy.

"ex-liberal" can only judge Iraq by what Bush says he wants, and "ex-liberal"'s own dishonest opinion of what his political opposition wants, because the actual reality of what's happening isn't so pretty, as even Bush now admits. Is it any wonder no one takes his neocon bullshit seriously?

Posted by: Gregory on January 17, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

There is only one explanation.Bush is a Mole.He is a Manchurian President.During his missing years in TANG he was conditioned by the old man and Barb?,the DNC?,the dread Clennis? to wait until the proper time and destroy the Rethug party. That is his legacy.He will be remembered as our greatest president.He will be as a God to all true Americans(To the WingNuts,not so much).

Posted by: R.L. on January 17, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Left to its own devices, Iran will destroy Iraq's democracy just as Israel destroyed Lebanon's.

There, fixed if for you, "ex-liberal".

Speaking of your beating the war drums for an attack on Iran -- despite the complete clusterfuck Bush made of Iraq -- I'm sure it's a complete coincidence that you're advocating making war on countries that pose a threat, not to the United States, but to Israel, even if such an attack is quite obviously not in the interests of the United States.

Yeah, a complete coincidence, you neocon toad. If there's anything I agree with Richard Nixon on, it's putting the interest of America first.

Posted by: Gregory on January 17, 2007 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

A red dress and black Manolo Mary Janes.
Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen)

This thread needed a little shoe porn.

:)

Posted by: cyntax on January 17, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Shoe Porn, have you read Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 17, 2007 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

Drum:

The damage this is doing to our country is obviously the most depressing aspect of all this...

They wanted to drown the Fed government in a bathtub.

They ended up asphyxiating the empire in an Iraqi toilet...

What's wrong with that?

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on January 17, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

I am concerned. The NeoCons were dangerous enough when they were able to preen around Washington and act as if their ideas made sense. Now that they are discredited, they may actually be more dangerous.

If the whole Republican party falls apart but somehow these guys manage to stay atop the carnage, that's what I'm worried about, because they still hold the Presidency, and the Presidency holds the power, at least in terms of war and/or diplomacy. A fractured Republican Party that can't control the NeoCon cabal isn't a pretty picture for the country or the world.

It's a long time til 2009.

Posted by: erica on January 17, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

Novak: war opponent?

Are you sure?

I thought it was the opposite.

Posted by: James on January 17, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

The truth vindicates itself.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 17, 2007 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Plus, those who claim that Bush has been very very good for Hezbollah in Lebanon surely make a convincing case.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 17, 2007 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Novak: war opponent?

Really. For someone opposed to the war, he sure played a nefarious role in the Plame scandal.

Posted by: Pennypacker on January 17, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Shoe Porn, have you read Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins?
Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen)

Oh yeah, but it's been nearly 20 years, so I think it's blurring together with one or two others (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, for example).

Posted by: cyntax on January 17, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

A red dress and black Manolo Mary Janes.

What’s red on top black on bottom blue on brain and purple on vocabulary?

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 17, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK


"Remember, 62 million people voted for this guy last time."

This just underscores the failure of our mental health system.

h

Posted by: harrison on January 17, 2007 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Did anyone expect a 50 year old conservative ideologue with daddy issues to change or “grow” into the Presidency?

As far as I’m concerned, it was Gore v. Child then Kerry v. Child. Congratulations to all those who voted for the Child twice. You surprised me by managing to lose my respect.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 17, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

It's amazing, really - absolutely everyone has been trying to hand Bush excuses he could use for getting out.

Even the present crappy line about how we have to get out so the Iraqi people can finally realize they have to get serious and take responsibility for their own future is really just an excuse (because everybody knows this mess became our responsibility the minute we invaded, and we've just expended all of our resources without living up to that responsibility). I actually hate this excuse, and no doubt history will look back on it and laugh, but it's a better line than the one the opposition has, which is that more people must die because so many have already died and they must not have died in vain. (Well, they did, and you can't undo that.) I cringe whenever another Democrat says it, and I'm sure they all know it's bollocks, but it was worth a try.

Trouble is, there is nothing anyone can do to make the little monster stop making the mess worse and worse.

Except impeach Bush and Cheney very, very quickly. And, apparently, there are not enough people in the Senate who understand that these are the stakes and this is the one remedy. It's still just a sport to at least half of them, and the other half don't appear to have the bottle for the fight.

Everyone seems to think there is some magical reason why the US is infinitely resilient, but I wonder if, given another two years with no accountability, George Walker Bush will not go down in history as the man who destroyed America.

I wish I'd had the forsight to change the rest of my money when it was still only a buck and a half to the pound. :(

Posted by: Avedon on January 17, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

George Bush Isn't waging war in Iraq because it's good policy. He's doing it because he thinks he can do better than his daddy did in Iraq ( he has his eyes on his mommy) and is going to show his Old Man how to do it right.

He is acting like the emotionally stunted, untreated alcoholic he is.

Posted by: tom on January 17, 2007 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Avedon: there's no way to impeach Bush with only 51 Democrats in the Senate. For crying out loud, that includes Lieberman.

All I know to do is try to put pressure on my Representative and Senators. It sounds pretty weak, but makes me feel a little better.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 17, 2007 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

This is really going to depend on where this Surge effort goes:

If Bush succeeds in getting his will done, and if the surge APPEARS to be successful by 2008, Republicans win big.

If Dems FIGHT the surge, and Bush gets it anyway, and if it APPEARS to be successful by 2008, Republicans win REALLY big.

If Dems succeed in stopping the surge, and if anything really bad happens to our troops, or iraqis as a result, Republicans win REALLY REALLY big.

However, if Bush is stopped - and it's a bipartisan effort, and if things are relatively quiet after we withdraw, the Republicans are going to not gain any ground in 08.

If Bush is stopped, but congressional Republicans fight tooth and nail, and there ends up being an impeachment - and everything pans out in Iraq after the withdraw - and if the Middle East and oil prices stabilize, then Dems WIN BIG.

But the last scenario is the only one where I see them winning big.

Whether we withdraw from Iraq, or surge; anything bad that happens will be spun as the Dems fault by the Mighty Wurlitzer.

The variables are whether Bush gets what he wants or not. Whether Republicans side with Bush or not. And whether things go well in Iraq in particular, and the Middle East in general.

The hard core Republicans are STILL trying to spin Vietnam, and Watergate. And Iran Contra. (And Chappaquidick).

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 17, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK


Avedon: there's no way to impeach Bush with only 51 Democrats in the Senate. For crying out loud, that includes Lieberman.

Ah, but the hearings and investigations haven't started yet. What can't be ruled out is the possibility that the Democrats might uncover clear cut evidence of crimes so egregious that the Republicans would risk comitting political suicide if they didn't vote to convict the bastard.

Posted by: Richard on January 17, 2007 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK
Avedon: there's no way to impeach Bush with only 51 Democrats in the Senate.

It takes a majority vote of the House to impeach.

You might mean that there is no way to convict and remove Bush with only 51 Democrats in the Senate, but even that's not true. The more anger builds in the public toward Bush, the more political pressure there will be on Republicans to not support Bush.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 17, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, not a single elected politician has called for the Iraq Study Group Recommendations to be implemented.

Yet, you continuously insert the ISG report into any post you can fit it into - and you always use it as a hammer to bash Bush.

Which shows how unserious you are. If you were a serious person, you would try to figure out why no elected leader has called for the ISG recommendations to be impletented. Nobody. Not Reid, not Pelosi, not any Democrat and not any Republican.

But you keep the ISG report in your teeny little tool chest, so you can pull it out several times a month to bash Bush.

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on January 17, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Why will the Republicans lose in vast numbers in 2008?

Because they will always have the egberts and the "Down goes Frazier"s to pull them in their primaries into lunatic positions.

Others see egbert and "Down goes Frazier" as trolls. I see them as instruments of liberation.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 17, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

The Iraq study group recommended that American troops begin withdrawing in 2008, if the security situation permitted. Do Kennedy and Dodd really want to wait that long before ordering the withdrawal of American troops? Do they even want the security situation in Iraq to improve, or expect that it could?

cmdicely: The more anger builds in the public toward Bush, the more political pressure there will be on Republicans to not support Bush. They can pass a series of "non-binding" resolutions, and then some actual laws; as long as Bush doesn't do what they want, the anger will build; then they'll be able to impeach him in short order. That's if he actually does not do what they order him to do; if they remain ambiguous, or never pass binding resolutions, then they have a tougher sell. Does anybody want Cheney as president?

Posted by: calibantwo on January 17, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Before America entered Iraq, the only way most Middle Eastern countries saw changes in their leadership was via assassinations and coups. Now they have a new model. Images of millions of brave, excited Iraquis hoisting up their purple fingers will burn radiantly in the imaginations of Middle Eastern youth for generations to come. Right now we only see the weeds. But the seeds of change have been sewn, and our children will be the beneficiaries.
...
That's what we mean when we say History will gaze fondly on Bush.

Egbert, that sounds like a joke. Have you tried reading it aloud a couple times? "Now they see a new model" -- invasion by an American army? Michale Ledeen writes as though he thinks there might be a large number of Iranians who would welcome such an invasion, but I don't believe it. Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon -- Are they really acting like they want an American invasion?

Bush is beginning to appear more like Jefferson Davis than Abraham Lincoln. Who knew the enemy would be so hard to defeat?

Posted by: calibantwo on January 17, 2007 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

12/6/06 on Larry King Live--Jim Baker: "We do not recommend a stay the course solution. In our opinion that appproach is no longer viable." We note "the gravity of the situation.... We make 79 recommendations."
Lee Hamilton--"We put a lot of work into this. We gave it serious consideration."

Geroge W. Bush--"it's a flaming turd."

Bruce Hoffman, terrorism expert on 'military and security' focus groups of the Iraq Study group: "We don't have enough troops is the short answer.This is the beginning of the "who lost the Iraq war debate."

If BluegalRedState is here, I can send her the links of these interviews for those interested-very telling. I bookmarked them.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 17, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Two presidents from Texas.

Two disastrous unnecessary wars.

Coincidence?

I think not.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 17, 2007 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK
...not a single elected politician has called for the Iraq Study Group Recommendations to be implemented... Down goes Bush at 8:52 PM
The ISG was comprised entirely of individuals who were not smart enough to reject the Administrations war in the first place. Chris Shays, for one, had a positive take on it.

It takes 2/3rds in the Senate to impeach while a majority of the House to bring Articles of Impeachment.

Posted by: Mike on January 17, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, the political juices are starting to flow again. Even though the Master Rove has barred me from world headquarters, I'm still tied in enough to know Repub strategy: we're going to play rope-a-dope just like Ali against Ken Foreman. I agree that if an election were held today we'd be in bad shape - we have twice as many seats as risk and we're in a bad funk. But we're competing against Democrats, remember? After two years of Murtha-Reid-Mollahan-Jefferson "ethics reform," reverse discrimination advocacy, union thuggery promotion, jihad against any sensible judge nominee, and obstruction for obstruction's sake, the American people will decide a two year hiccup in Repub dominance was enough. Just ask Senator Daschle how much the swing voters like your program.

Posted by: ex-minon on January 17, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

2008 I'm coming back here to check out the devastation. Mkay?

Sleep well, tonight. /snark

Posted by: egbert on January 17, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like a deal egbert.

As long as you don't come back BEFORE then.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 17, 2007 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

I got so carried away above I forgot to add two more points that will be obvious by 2008. The growing revelation of your party's Kerry-like fecklessness on foriegn policy matters - even including Iraq - and the public employee union/social services-industrial complex's advocacy of a potential new profit center -- the illegal alien amnesty program you might slip past Bush.

Posted by: ex-minion on January 17, 2007 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

It's surely good to see intelligent people discussing the mechanics of impeachment. We can do this.

Posted by: slanted tom on January 17, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Ken Foreman?

Geez, bunion, if you're going to rely on tiresome sports references, at least get them right. And on Ali's 65th birthday, no less.

Please, keep working for Rove.

Posted by: Dwight on January 17, 2007 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Exradite Rumsfield -- Yep, and Maureen Dowd said it so well--"The strange thing is that while Bush is determined not to repeat the mistakes his father made 12 years ago, he is in the process of repeating, almost precisely, the first Bush administration's fatal mistake.
The pres and Rove see Bush 41's problem as his estrangement from the Repug's conservative political base. Bush 41 raised taxes, so this Bush will cut them once, twice, many times. The social conservatives did not trust the elder Bush. So this Bush will make sure that they keep faith with him as a man who keeps the faith.
Here's what's missing from this analysis: Bush the elder didn't lose because of defections from the right. He lost because mainstream Americans of middle-class means decided, fairly or not, that their president just didn't understand much of anything in their lives...they were worried about their jobs, their health care, their pensions, their housing, and sending their kids to college.
The current President Bush is in the process of putting himself in exactly the same place."
...In the meantime, Bush is so focused on being "our war president, that he seems to lack passion when he talks about...any other domestic issue except tax cuts."

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 17, 2007 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter not-at-all-ex-minion: GOP strategy rests now, as always, on straw men.

Posted by: Gregory on January 17, 2007 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Dwight,

Sorry 'bout that - I knwo I was typing too fast and something didn't feel right about that post. Something about guys named George just doesn't go down well with us Repubs right now.

Posted by: ex-minion on January 17, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

calibantwo: Egbert sounds like a joke

Fixed it for you.

Posted by: Gregory on January 17, 2007 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

something didn't feel right about that post

Maybe it's shame?

Naaaaahhh....it's not-at-all-ex-minion talking, here.

Posted by: Gregory on January 17, 2007 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

The growing revelation of your party's Kerry-like fecklessness on foriegn policy matters

If you were truly an ex- minion, and not a liar, you wouldn't be able to type the word "feckless" in a sentence defending Bush without your own hand trying to strangle you, Dr. Strangelove-like.

Posted by: Gregory on January 17, 2007 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Greg,

I'm ashamed I mixed up Ken Norton and George Foreman, I'm also embarrassed at my typing skills [where are those voice recognition computers we were promised?] I'm also sorry I screwed up the Diebold programming last election. I stand by my proud service to the Master Rove at world headquarters for world domination, and I'm sorry I got kicked out.

Posted by: ex-minion on January 17, 2007 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK
...industrial complex's advocacy of a potential new profit center -- the illegal alien amnesty program you might slip past Bush. ex-minion at 9:34 PM
That's interesting because that is exactly Bush's policy on illegal immigration: allow in cheap labor for his corporate donors. I don't see voters finding anything competent about Republican foreign policy. Nothing at all. Foreign policy has been Bush's greatest fiasco that has destroyed America's prestige and standing in world opinion just when we need it most. You can, however, look to 2012 when there will be more senate Democratic seats in play than Republican.
2008 I'm coming back here to check out the devastation...eggbutt at 9:28 PM
Why wait when you can see a devastated Repub Party now? Posted by: Mike on January 17, 2007 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Mike,

I agree that Bush is wrong-headed on immigration matters. By the end of campaign '06 House Repubs were running on the fact that they were the only bulwark against an amnesty/giveaway program. I also agree Bush has been a disaster at foreign policy - I just think Kerry would have been worse -- feckless and fecklesser?

Posted by: ex-minion on January 17, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Shoe Porn, have you read Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins?

I had completely blocked the shoe-porn part of the book out of my mind until you reminded me of it. Ick.... ick ick ick ick ick.

Posted by: Constantine on January 17, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Before America entered Iraq, the only way most Middle Eastern countries saw changes in their leadership was via assassinations and coups. Now they have a new model.

There's nothing new about it. Foreign invasion is the oldest model of regime change in the ME.

Posted by: Disputo on January 17, 2007 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that Bush is wrong-headed on immigration matters. By the end of campaign '06 House Repubs were running on the fact that they were the only bulwark against an amnesty/giveaway program

You know, as ineptly as Rove handled things, the one thing he did realize was that the only way for Republicans to form a permanent majority was to get a lot of Latino voters over to the Republican side. Unfortunately, the amnesty/guest worker idea caused such a backlash among Republicans that the Republicans decided to paint themselves as the "anti-immigrant/anti-Latino" party and dashed any hopes to make inroads with Latinos for another generation. It's not like the Republicans couldn't have seen this coming-- the exact same thing happened to the Republican party in California after the Republican-sponsored Proposition 187 passed.

Posted by: Constantine on January 17, 2007 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin -- "the damage this is doing to our country is obviously the most depressing aspect of all this, but if there's any kind of silver lining...."

As someone with one foot in and one outside this country, I can tell you that the silver lining is that this will be seen as a one intellude in the strange turns of US politics as it returns to center. Like McCarthy, some parts of the cold war, isolationism.

Bush and his cabal are seen as an aberation. There have been 60 or 90 or 120 years of overall positive US participation in the western world and most Euros would see GWB as an electoral mistake, especially as the political weight returns to center.

Listen to some of the recent house debates. How much more civil and sensible. I would hope the US would return to some gravitas as they have shown in the past and cast away the trivial prejudices that the Rovian-Gingrich Republican idealogues have brought about.

Good god, Iraq has been a horrible mistake. Let's put it right and help put the world back together.

AIEA, ABT, NPT, Kyoto, UN, EU, NATO etc., etc. Like world involvement?

It needs the US to be somewhat humble and involved.

I really think the US population is ready for it.

Posted by: notthere on January 17, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK
....I just think Kerry would have been worse... ex-minion at 10:12 PM
You can think whatever you wish, but you have no evidence for making that assumption. Kerry had good relationships with European leaders and was seen as being more reasonable and rational than Bush. Kerry, and any Democratic nominee will be more amenable to international treaties and relations. Any Democratic Sec of State will be welcomed in the rest of the world especially in the Middle East. Posted by: Mike on January 18, 2007 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Looks like President Edwards will have all sorts of things to clean up come Jan. 20, 2009.

Posted by: Vincent on January 18, 2007 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

It couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch.

Amen, from a conservative Libertarian dismayed at how Bush-worship has set back any discussion of conservative ideas 20 years at least. I just hope that the clowns will leave the stage soon, with a period of one-party Democratic rule (with the Dixiepubs, the marginal party that represents only one eccentric part of the country along with Utah thrown in, as nominal opposition). The hopefully some Constitution loving conservative adults can take over and we can have the policy discussions that we should have been having while this group was wreaking their havoc instead.

ARRRRRGH. But I love the thought of Election Night, with a little island of red centered around my native Alabama, with maybe Utah and Nebraska thrown in to let them pretend their a national party.

Of course the Democrats are stupid enough to ruin it all by nominating Hillary.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on January 18, 2007 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

Ok, maybe I'm getting my incompetence mixed up here... but I thought surging the troops WAS one of the three options from the Iraq Survey Group.

Posted by: Mysticdog on January 18, 2007 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum >"...It couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch."

Fu*k them for all eternity, each and every one !

"The first lesson of democracy is not to hold the public in contempt." - Ronnie Earle

Posted by: daCascadian on January 18, 2007 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

egbert: "That's what we mean when we say History will gaze fondly on Bush."

You do know how to whistle, don't you, ?

You just put your lips together and blow.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 18, 2007 at 5:00 AM | PERMALINK

dj moonbat: But it wasn't a star after all--just a flaming turd.

And a flaming turd blossom.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 18, 2007 at 5:58 AM | PERMALINK

Others see egbert and "Down goes Frazier" as trolls.

I would wager my first-born that Egbert is a parody - there's always at least one giveaway per post - whether it's and egregious misspelling of one of the key words (Kenji, you have me rolling with the image of the steaks piled high on his side of the isle) or a reference just a tad further to the wrong side of daft than ex-liberal or Mike Cook would provide (20 radio stations constituting the oppressive liberal media).

But the smackdowns are in themselves great entertainment so thank you Egbert for your setups.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 18, 2007 at 6:10 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: R.L. on January 17, 2007 at 7:15 PM:

There is only one explanation.Bush is a Mole.He is a Manchurian President.During his missing years in TANG he was conditioned by the old man and Barb?,the DNC?,the dread Clennis? to wait until the proper time and destroy the Rethug party. That is his legacy.


My god R.L., you've uncovered the TRUTH:


Bush & Co.: Pushing the limits of a radical liberal plot!
http://dir.salon.com/story/comics/tomo/2005/09/19/tomo/index.html

Posted by: G.Kerby on January 18, 2007 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

He [Bush] furiously dismisses Baker's report as "a flaming turd"

Takes one to know one.

Posted by: ckelly on January 18, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

The best advice for the Democrats:

Pin the war on the Repukeliscum.

Posted by: POed Lib on January 18, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

ex-lib
I believe the predictions. Bush wants to continue the war and to succeed in Iraq, because he believes it's good policy. He's willing to risk political support to do what he believes is right.
But it is not noble sentiment the drives the real war promoters, Cheney and the neo con thinkers. They sold Bush a noble lie and he bought it because he is clueless about the outside world.

The Dems don't really care what happens in Iraq; they want to get back in power.
If the dems didn't care they wouldn't take a position. And frankly their priorities are right, America's interests come first that is what we were elected for. No republican supporter is in any position to judge any Democrat on the Iraq War. Accept your culpability and accept our good faith, then we can talk, if not your just Limbaugh without a face.

My most optimistic hope now is that Iraq's democracy may be able to muddle through a decade of terrorism, but will eventually put down the insurgency. For that to happen, Iran must be faced. Left to its own devices, Iran will destroy Iraq's democracy just as they destroyed Lebanon's.
Posted by: ex-liberal on January 17, 2007 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

You know I read stuff like this and it really drives home the point that most people don't understand who the players are and how they fit together. People say what FOX news says because they don't know any better. Democracy has never been an option in Iraq and will not be on the table in the future. Elections, sure why not, Democracy? Rule of Law? Fuggetaboutit. The players in Iraq mean that you can not bake a Democracy Cake. And by the way Shia in Iraq and Iran are ALLIES. Malaki = Iran. The current Iraqi Democracy is PRO IRAN. If Iraq remains a democracy it will ALLWAYS BE PRO IRAN because the Shia make up 60 % of the population. Duh.

I tell you we need to get these Homer Simpsons out of the NSC.

Posted by: Nemesis on January 18, 2007 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

So, imagine that over the next couple of months a consensus of sorts develops about the best course for Iraq. (OK, I know it's a big if, but work with me here.) What if the president just plain refuses to do what congress and the people want him to do? What are the nation's options?

Posted by: erica on January 18, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

I just think Kerry would have been worse... ex-minion at 10:12 PM

That's simply not possible.

Posted by: ckelly on January 18, 2007 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK
So, imagine that over the next couple of months a consensus of sorts develops about the best course for Iraq. (OK, I know it's a big if, but work with me here.) What if the president just plain refuses to do what congress and the people want him to do? What are the nation's options?

Congress can start with nonbinding resolutions suggesting what should be done, proceed to passing laws directing what must be done, and conclude with impeachment for failing to execute the laws.

There are, ultimately, always more extreme remedies available to the people if the government as a whole fails, and the issue is deemed important enough, as described eloquently and demonstrated effectively by our Founding Fathers.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Before America entered Iraq, the only way most Middle Eastern countries saw changes in their leadership was via assassinations and coups. Now they have a new model."

Ha ha ha ha ha HA HA HA ha ha ha... Whoo boy, that was a good laugh.

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 18, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

"there's no way to impeach Bush with only 51 Democrats in the Senate."

It was REPUBLICANS in the Senate who pushed Nixon out. True, counting Lieberman as against impeachment, it would take 17 Publican'ts to turn against Darth Vader and his Little Puppet, but if things get black enough, they'll turn, like they did in '74. The one difference is that good 'ole boy Ford was the backup then, and now they'd have to get rid of Darth Vader first and get a suitable VP in there. (No chance if Pelosi would succeed to the Preznitzy.)

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 18, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

It won't be a bigger rout until we take down the votescam machinery.

Posted by: Neil B. on January 20, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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