Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 20, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS....You learn all sorts of interesting things when you meet with the president, I guess. Take Nancy Pelosi. On Wednesday she learned that the firestorm of criticism she received a couple of weeks ago for traveling to Syria had nothing to do with the president at all:

"I would rather not go into the details of the conversation," the speaker said in an interview. But she confirmed that the president apparently drew a distinction between his criticizing her and rebukes delivered by his press office and others in the administration.

"He just said, 'I didn't criticize your trip to Syria,'" Pelosi said. "In the course of the conversation, he said, 'I didn't criticize your trip.'"

Asked if she was surprised, Pelosi laughed. "Surprised? I'm beyond surprise."

To summarize then: When the vice president rips into you and the White House press office rips into you, that doesn't mean the president himself is upset. In fact, even when the president himself rips into you, it doesn't mean the president himself is upset. Consider me enlightened.

Kevin Drum 11:12 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (46)

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"Nothing I say in public should be used against me."--That seems to be the motto of the Bush Administration, across the board.

Posted by: sdh on April 20, 2007 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Implausible deniability.

Posted by: Tom F on April 20, 2007 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

What I say, not what I do,
That's the important thing for you
My words are truth, so heed them well
Even as my hands do something else

Same old songs on the administration's hit parade...

It's my speech, and not my deeds
That is what everyone should believe
Gospel truth is all I say
Even as my feet turn the other way...

Posted by: Kryptik on April 20, 2007 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

In fact, even when the president himself rips into you, it doesn't mean the president himself is upset.

What it means (stop the presses) is that our president is a liar.

Posted by: intelligent design on April 20, 2007 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

even when the president himself rips into you, it doesn't mean the president himself is upset.

Kevin, you are wrong. You should read your link before you say that. In the link, Bush said "We have made it clear to high-ranking officials, whether they be Republicans or Democrats, that going to Syria sends mixed signals." This is a criticism of all politicians who visit Syria, not just Pelosi.

Posted by: Al on April 20, 2007 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Welcome to Bushverse! Where up is neither down nor up but embedded in a chaotic attractor of dimension 2.14351...

Posted by: gregor on April 20, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Unlike the president, Mr. Nice Guy, I do criticize that stupid treasonous fool.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis on April 20, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

When the vice president rips into you and the White House press office rips into you, that doesn't mean the president himself is upset.

That means that there is a diversity of opinion and rational thought emanating from the administration. They are not in lockstep with one another--in fact, this proves that there is a critical analysis and independent consideration that comes from the various departments within the administration. Diversity is a bad thing?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 20, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

A liar, and also profoundly unaware of what he is doing, much less the consequences of what he is doing.

Among the greatest enemies of America are Bush's administration. The worst among them should get to choose between Gitmo and The Hague.

You think Gonzo had a hard time? Try the f*cking "interogation techniques" he promoted and justified. It's be interesting to see what he would say under those conditions.

Bush too.

Posted by: Trypticon on April 20, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Walter E,

You could have at least said it the BillO would, "With all due respect, you treasonous fool"

Now, go back to your Courvosier, clean your Garand, and work on that 23rd RCT site, ye olde in the tooth, Tomahawk, you.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 20, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Norm,

It's interesting how the self appointed moral among us defend the unity of truth against relativism in the culture wars in defense of whites, conservative Christians, and hyper-capitalists, but embrace divesity when the vapid, dissembling, corrupt, traitorous villains who champion their cause can't keep their stories straight.

Nice morality, bub.

Posted by: Trypticon on April 20, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

"We have made it clear to high-ranking officials, whether they be Republicans or Democrats, that going to Syria sends mixed signals."


Which is apparently exactly what they want to send.

Posted by: cld on April 20, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Two ancient warriors of old - Walter E and his 23rd RCT memories and Norman, with remembering how he supplied Camp Followers to Hooker.

Posted by: stupid git on April 20, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK
In the link, Bush said "We have made it clear to high-ranking officials, whether they be Republicans or Democrats, that going to Syria sends mixed signals." This is a criticism of all politicians who visit Syria, not just Pelosi.
That is a very good point. It also fails to rebut Kevin's claim. Kevin said that Bush criticized Pelosi. You say that Bush criticized a set of individuals that includes Pelosi. Kevin's commnt logically follows yours: Pelosi was criticized by Bush; and Bush l**d when he tried to pretend otherwise. Posted by: the idiot on April 20, 2007 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is a liar and a wimp.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on April 20, 2007 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

When I read Kevin's post I was reminded ever so much of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. Who said the President isn't well read?

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 20, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

"This is a criticism of all politicians who visit Syria, not just Pelosi."

Well Al, as usual I see your meth use continues to erode the myelinization of your brain. It's understandable, as it takes a lot of what's left of your focus to use your paltry AEI check to score these days. But had you been paying attention to reality you'd realize that despite Bush's usually unpersuasive double talk, the administration had quietly arranged and supported a trip of congressional Rebulicants at the same time they were criticizing Pelosi.

So, rather than make the point you thought you were making, you simply highlight the fact that your pimp is a unprincipled, duplicitous, liar.

bravo. Don’t forget to breathe between smoking.

Posted by: Trypticon on April 20, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see: this is the guy who launched a brutal racist attack on John McCain's adopted child (who I think was about 7 years old at the time), which also implicitly attacked every couple in the United States who was not married to one of their cousins, and who later told McCain "that's just politics John - don't be sore about it". And anyone is surprised?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 20, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

One does wonder why Bush felt the need to back down on this. If he is so "resolute," why didn't he stare Pelosi in the eyes and say, "you're darn right I criticized your trip, you terrorist-enabling traitor!" ?

It's like I don't understand why Bush didn't say, "The USAs who got fired weren't serving the interests of the Republican party, so I fired 'em. What are you gonna do about it?"

Bush exists in the strange nexus of wanting to do stuff "because he can" yet at the same time being afraid of openly defending such things.

Posted by: Tyro on April 20, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well, they did say they create their own reality.

Posted by: Randy Paul on April 20, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Go ahead, make fun of aWol; but that was all you'll get in terms of "reaching out" to the Dems.

Posted by: Rula Lenska on April 20, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry, Tyro, once he finishes growing that little black mustache under his nose, he will be just fine.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 20, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

STOP THE PRESSES: BUSH IS A LIAR!

*yawn*

Yes, we already know that. Can we now ITMFA?

Posted by: Disputo on April 20, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Tyro,

I think the contradiction is part of the nexus of being a narcissistically wounded sociopath. He wants to rule and crush the world at his whim, but he wants to be just a likeable guy too (in his own mind, not in reality mind you), so what you get is a brutal coward who seems kinda crazy.

Posted by: Trypticon on April 20, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Bush 12-15-03 "We’re just going to stay the course."

Bush 4-13-04 "We’ll stay the course."

Bush 8-4-05 "We will stay the course."

Bush 8-30-06 "We will stay the course."

Bush 10-23-06 "We've never been 'stay the course.'"

Posted by: anandine on April 20, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, he does want to appear to be a likable guy - Otherwise, Chris Matthews wouldn't want to kick back and have a few brews with him.

He is the type who would smile at you in a bar, and then tell his frat brothers to "Sic 'em" while your back was turned.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 20, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Well, at least Bush seems to be a more skillful liar than his consiglieri.

Posted by: Disputo on April 20, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

"He is the type who would smile at you in a bar, and then tell his frat brothers to "Sic 'em" while your back was turned."

bingo. but now his frat brothers are the most dominant military force ever assembled.

Posted by: Trypticon on April 20, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think Bush has reached the final stage of deceit.

He's already far, far past the point where he cares whether he tells lies or not. But now he's past the point where he cares whether he's caught in them or not.

After all, when your credibility is zero, what harm is there if people know you're lying from the getgo? They're already assuming it.

Posted by: frankly0 on April 20, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Bush exists in the strange nexus of wanting to do stuff "because he can" yet at the same time being afraid of openly defending such things.

This applies to all the conservatives. They do not want to publicly disclose their real objectives, and make extraordinary efforts to frame them in ways that are more palatable to the people. Blue Sky Initiative. Operation Iraqi Freedom. Social Security Privatization. Healthy Forest Initiative. etc.

Posted by: gregor on April 20, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think yer on to something Franlky0. His performance in Ohio yesterday was calenging even to his white militant supporters to find places to cheer and smooth over the akward "Death is a bummer" moments.

Posted by: Trypticon on April 20, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Col. Patrick Lang over at Sic Semper Tyrannis describes how unmoored from reality the military and civilian leadership has become re: Iraq. Today Juan Cole alludes to same. Our leaders have their eyes firmly shut against the reality of the situation on the ground. Never a good way to run a war...

Bush is unhinged. His leadership is unhinged. The question is only, when will the people and their representatives in Congress figure out that he is accountable and there are mechanisms to call him to account? (Impeach! Both of 'em! Then send 'em to the Hague!)

Posted by: Leila A. on April 20, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK
Bush exists in the strange nexus of wanting to do stuff "because he can" yet at the same time being afraid of openly defending such things.

Put more simply, Bush wants maximum power, and no responsibility. Nothing really strange about that, the desire is not at all uncommon.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 20, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

At this late date, you still expect the Little Idiot to remember what he said more than 10 minutes earlier? Or even to know what he's saying at the time?

Fool you once, shame on you. Fool you twice ... well, you can't be fooled again. Or I guess you CAN be fooled again. Or at least astonished again.

My astonishment quota was used up YEARS ago.

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 20, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Yet more evidence of the destructive nature of alcoholism. His brain capacity has been reduced to near nil...

Posted by: Hank Essay on April 20, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

It's amazing. These people are so stupid that they believe their own spin. And they expect other people to believe it, too.

I swear to God, Pelosi has more restraint than I do. I'd have picked up my skirt, pissed on his leg, and when he complained, I'd have told him: "it's raining."

Posted by: anonymous on April 20, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Right. That is not upset -- it is Partisan Kabuki.

Posted by: Scorpio on April 20, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Now, Bush is denying the whole thing ever happened.
...Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino, who was at the White House meeting Wednesday, took issue with Pelosi's account of the conversation in the Cabinet Room, which came at the end of talks largely devoted to funding the Iraq war. Perino said that Pelosi started the conversation about the Syria trip and that she never heard Bush back off his criticism.
"I was there the whole time. I don't recall him saying that," Perino said. "I know that he is critical of the trip, and what he says in private is the same as in public."
Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said the conversation took place privately, as an aside....

This now seems to be another cheap attempt to discredit Pelosi. The way Cheney had Olmert do.

...The message came during Pelosi's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during the Israel part of her Mideast tour.
United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, right, and Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, background arrive for a meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, April 1, 2007. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as part of a Mideast tour that has drawn criticism from the White House because of a planned stop in Syria.
"Pelosi is conveying that Israel is willing to talk if they (Syria) would openly take steps to stop supporting terrorism," Olmert's spokeswoman Miri Eisin said...

If you talk to Bush, be sure to have a working tape recorder with you.

Posted by: Mike on April 20, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Um, just who is holding the reins at the White House? Bush's apology is an admission that he isn't. Apparently, he can't control his own staff.

Posted by: JefferyK on April 20, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

That's Republican accountability for you. No one is connected to anyone else. Not Bush to Cheney. Not Cheney to his Chief of Staff Libby. Not Gonzales to his Chief of Staff Sampson. Not Bush to his biggest contributor Ken Lay. etc.

Posted by: The Fool on April 20, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

JeffreyK, Um, just who is holding the reins at the White House? Bush's apology is an admission that he isn't. Apparently, he can't control his own staff.


That synchs up with the chart of the innumerable contacts between low level people in the White House and the Justice Department and how the list of US Attorneys to be fired sort of created itself as if by magic and presented for Gonzales' signature as a fait accompli.

They create situations where the ostensible guy in charge is a figure head and all the work is somehow done under the counter.

Posted by: cld on April 20, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

On top of all his other, far more criminal sins, Georgie Peorgie wants to be liked!

Posted by: Kenji on April 20, 2007 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Stunning as this chart and the comparison with the Clinton White House might have been, even more so was Gonzales' uncomprehending, incomprehensible reply. I don't think he understood the whole point AT ALL!

Posted by: notthere on April 20, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

And also wasn't there something about their serious need to create 'consensus'? That must have referred to the body of the faithful, the low and mid-level staffers.

It's like group-think where they all try to read Cheney's mind. Each one doing his little bit, no one doing anything they can be said to be responsible for.

Posted by: cld on April 20, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

If he is so "resolute," why didn't he stare Pelosi in the eyes and say, "you're darn right I criticized your trip, you terrorist-enabling traitor!" ?

That requires back-bone. His back-bone was probably roving the halls elsewhere.

Posted by: zit on April 20, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Who wants to be the ghost writer to team up with Dubya to cobble together the summary of his life's work and experience - "The Art of the Smear"? It should just kinda put itself together on its own. If Dubya knew how to turn on the computer he could even dictate it, since the natural language translation couldn't sound any more disjointed than one of his extemp speeches.

Posted by: PrahaPartizan on April 21, 2007 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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