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Tilting at Windmills

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September 13, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE SPEECH....I actually fell asleep during Bush's speech. Seriously. When I woke up Jack Reed was talking to me. Very unprofessional blogging behavior.

So, no comments on the speech. Instead, here are quickie takes on the four presidential candidates that Larry King interviewed afterward. Barack Obama: seemed halting and unsure of himself. Too scripted. Not his best performance. Rudy Giuliani: made Obama look fluent and brilliant. He was all over the map, and had the highest buzzword-to-content quotient I've seen in a long while. John Edwards: pretty good! Made decent points about the lack of political progress and how we could use withdrawal to put pressure on the warring factions in Iraq. His points were mostly sharp and easy to follow. John McCain: pale face, pale hair, pale shirt, soft voice. He just sort of melted away. And what's with this "Rumsfeld's war" stuff? Isn't it "Bush's war"?

OK, that's it. I have to go pick up a pizza. Talk amongst yourselves.

Kevin Drum 10:02 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (88)

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Comments

Why isn't Edwards doing better in the polls? He seems to me to be the one who is closest to having a coherent total package of positions. Maybe it's the hair thing?

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on September 13, 2007 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards, sad to say, is too populist for the power structure, especially among the inner workings of the DLC.

Posted by: Vincent on September 13, 2007 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Here is the John Edwards video. I have no idea why he isn't doing better.

Posted by: corpus juris on September 13, 2007 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

If McCain called it "Bush's War," he'd have to acknowledge that he voted for it and has never admitted that things are going badly. Hence, he blames Rumsfeld for whatever might have gone badly, should he ever have to admit it.

Posted by: mmy on September 13, 2007 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

The voice of God! We heard the voice of God come from our commander-in-chief's mouth tonight! It made my little soldier stand up straight!

This war is going much better than the guerrilla wars we fought in Germany and Japan from 1945 to 1952. That little communist Truman wouldn't let us win, so Joe McCarthy had to come in and straighten things out.

Posted by: Wacko on September 13, 2007 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

"John Edwards: pretty good! ... His points were mostly sharp and easy to follow."

Welcome to the club, Kevin.

I know you're not big on sorting out primary decisions, but the more you see Edwards, the more you love him.

Posted by: Petey on September 13, 2007 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you fell asleep? And you're in California? So it was only 6 pm?

Was the speech that bad??!!

Posted by: John on September 13, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

I woke up to Senator Reed, too, but it was 9:20 my time, so I have an excuse. But you know, since I gave up on teevee news during the 1992 campaign, I wouldn't have recognized Jack Reed if he had walked into my living room. Anyway, I swear that before I nodded off, I heard the voices of Presidents Johnson and Nixon coming through my teevee, but they sounded just like the Current Occupant. Weird stuff. I need to watch what I eat.

Posted by: redterror on September 13, 2007 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

The longer the campaign wears on the more I like John Edwards. If you read the press reports about his reaction to the miner who couldn't get proper treatment of his cleft pallet until he was 50, you realize that Edwards is the only candidate to have even peaked from the shelter of his handlers skirts. The man is on a mission.

That said I would still support any of the Democrats over any of the Republicans. We are truly blessed with a flock of good Democratic candidates. The Republicans--not so much.

Posted by: corpus juris on September 13, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

You fell asleep? It was only seven or so minutes, Kevin.

Must be getting older.

Posted by: Tony Shifflett on September 13, 2007 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

The text of Bush's speech is here, for those who don't necessarily need their talking points "easy to follow."

Posted by: harry on September 13, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

As I'm sure you have already guessed, you missed nothing worthwhile at all.

By the way, it seems that you may not be aware that you can have the pizza brought to you. I'm pretty sure they have that in California too...

;)

Posted by: Jae on September 13, 2007 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Falling asleep seems like a good idea to me.

There was nothing new in this speech. No new ideas. No new direction. This man is totally devoid of analytic thought. Just more, more, more of the same. More dead. More crippled, wounded, damaged. More money thrown away.

No guilt. No shame.

More "We'll stand down as they stand up." More "We're fighting them over there..." drivel.

I'd fall asleep but this guy makes me so mad at him.

Posted by: notthere on September 13, 2007 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Ware and Anderson Cooper were sufficiently critical of Bush's issues with denial and omission following that "what me worry?" speech, no high marks for the president.

To me the pResident seemed especially insincere in his eyes--have seen that before.
Doubt if he mobilized support and any goof ball can figure out he gets an overall negative rating.
Eyes closer together than I've ever seen before and I wonder how that happens.

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 13, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

The text of Bush's speech is here, for those who don't necessarily need their talking points "easy to follow."

Thanks for the link. My god, was that speech riddled with errors, obfuscation, and half-truths. If you were an ordinary American with little or no knowledge of what's really happening on the ground in Iraq and you listened to that speech, you'd be bound to come away with a hopelessly confused idea of what's really going on there, who the players are, and the dynamics of the situation.

What a terrible day when the leader of the free world feels he can shamelessly propagandize and deceive the American people like that.

Posted by: trex on September 13, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

The take-away from GWB's speech is:

"The more successful we are, the more American troops can return home."

What a maroon.

Posted by: Disputo on September 13, 2007 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

I have maintained all along that Edwards is the one who most gets it re health care, counterterrorism and several other key issues. But as Vincent points out, he's anathema to the DLC and their ilk.

I thought it was a bit slick of him, safe outside Congress, to put Clinton and Obama in the position of having to defend why they can't just "end this war" in Congress. As I was just noting to someone else, if Congress' real and imagined options re this war are such a source of confusion to people who hang on political blogs, imagine how the average voter feels. That was a rather cagey move on Edwards' part since he's the only one of the big three who doesn't have to put up unless he won the presidency, in which case, of course, he'd actually have the power to get us out of Iraq.

Posted by: shortstop on September 13, 2007 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

How did the speech play on Fox?

Posted by: corpus juris on September 13, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

My god, was that speech riddled with errors, obfuscation, and half-truths

I noticed some of those. What I heard even more of, though, was flat-out lies.

Posted by: shortstop on September 13, 2007 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

The GwB's speech writers were trying to hit all the points but this one? Iraq could face a humanitarian nightmare.>/em> Let's see, 2 million refugees, 2 million internal DPs, food distribution has been cut, little electricity, oil production....good grief, how could it be any worse?

And then this one: To Iraq's neighbors who seek peace...the efforts by Iran and Syria to undermine that government must end. Since he's leaving out these two, who can he mean? The Saudis are helping the Sunni insurgents, The Turks are dealing with the PKK, Jordan has helped with refugees, Kuwait?

Posted by: TJM on September 13, 2007 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop:
I think Edwards is glad he is out of the Senate. He doesn't have to worry about running, while also worrying about reelection(at some point).

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on September 13, 2007 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, You are right. Edwards has put Hillary and Barack between Iraq and a hard place. Remember the days when Presidents were competent and really knew how to do stuff. If they want to be President this will be a good test. Let's see how they deal with the problem. If they can't handle it they aren't ready.

Posted by: corpus juris on September 13, 2007 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

If you were an ordinary American with little or no knowledge of what's really happening on the ground in Iraq and you listened to that speech, you'd be bound to come away with a hopelessly confused idea of what's really going on there, who the players are, and the dynamics of the situation.

Just curious: Where do all the "not-ordinary Americans" get their information about "what's happening on the ground?"

Posted by: harry on September 13, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Blogs. Pacifica. International papers and satellite news channels - like LinkTV. But that's just me.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 13, 2007 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

The crazy thing is that everything the president said would happen if we left Iraq is actually happening now. David Gergen, always a delight, agreed, guesting on CNN.
Michael Ware noted ethnic cleansing, lack of electricity, fear of being dragged off, living in communities protected by militias....all aspects were ignored by the president.

Worst president ever ever ever ever ever.

A Vietnam vet was at the house this evening, saying this war is worse than Vietnam.
No one is going to 'come together,' and Iran is the big winner.
Ware says Maliki is a lame duck; there are no carrots, just sticks. The Sunnis do not want to reconcile. Shia are not looking for reconciliation--they want America to get out of the way.

On Fox, Alan Colmes held his own, a leftie guest was clever, and Ollie North and Sean Hannity
were typically evil and scary, repetitively referring to the "Betray Us" ad.
The clever guest said, oh yeah, like the right never says anything inflammatory.
Something like that. It hurts my soul to watch Fox, but I did so briefly.

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 13, 2007 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK


ss: were
"What I heard even more of, though, [XwasX] flat-out lies."

Posted by: majarosh on September 13, 2007 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Pacifica." Yeah, that would do it, all right. They've still got a big picture of Mumia on their home page. The blogs I could probably list.

Any sources that are, like, actually "on the ground" over there?

Posted by: harry on September 13, 2007 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, majarosh, I noticed that the second I hit "send." I'd edited my original sentence--badly. I'm tired.

Posted by: shortstop on September 13, 2007 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

You fell asleep? It was only seven or so minutes, Kevin.

The mind is still mysterious, and has means of self-protection we still do not fully understand.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on September 13, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

I liked Bush's assertion that there are '36 nations' with 'troops on the ground in Iraq.'

He only missed it by 12. facts on troops here.

The man really can't help himself, can he?

Posted by: Stranger on September 13, 2007 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Davis, you've been particularly hy-larious lately.

Posted by: shortstop on September 13, 2007 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

My best source in Iraq just landed at Ft. Lewis about 0300 this morning. I do have two REMF relatives in theater, however. And I spend a fair amount of time among active duty personnel on a regular basis. So, yeah, I am comfortable that I have a fairly accurate perception.

And besides all that, no matter whose viewpoint is being reported, the war was still waged on lies, and no matter what, it can't be made just.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 13, 2007 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

I watched MSNBC to catch Reed. My spouse could only stand listening to Bush for a few seconds, so he stayed muted, but I heard nothing new or truthful out of his mouth.

It's sad.

Posted by: Crissa on September 13, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Why would anyone want to watch a Bush speech? They are so predictable and manipulative.

Posted by: Luther on September 14, 2007 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Keith Olbermann called the speech the most fictional thing on teevee this year,
and possibly a rerun. On now.
So much for the cable news. I prefer the blogs

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 14, 2007 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Any sources that are, like, actually "on the ground" over there?

Yeah, you fucking idiot, and if you'd been paying attention you'd have seen that many people here including myself have, in fact, been posting links to sources on the ground here for years, including CENTCOM sources on casualty counts and engagements, the views of various commanders on the ground in different areas describing how the strategic landscape is nothing like the White House is makes it out to be, quotes from Iraqi leaders and citizens, no-bullshit reporting Michael Ware who knows better than anybody and has been there since the beginning -- and on and on and on, including the seven soldiers who recently wrote an op-ed about their experience and the guy next door to me who spent fourteen months there trying to avoid getting blown up by the very people he supposedly liberated.

Posted by: trex on September 14, 2007 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

My best source in Iraq just landed at Ft. Lewis about 0300 this morning.

Someone coming home is always good news. What does he or she think about all this?

trex:

If anybody here has ever linked directly to an official DoD or CENTCOM source, I must have missed it. Same for "various commanders" over there. Michael Ware? Yeah, you'd like him.

Posted by: harry on September 14, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Someone coming home is always good news. What does he or she think about all this?

That we should have never gone in, but since we did, get out ASAP.

You asked. That is one infantry soldiers perspective.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 14, 2007 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

If anybody here has ever linked directly to an official DoD or CENTCOM source, I must have missed it. Same for "various commanders" over there.

Obviously your ability to pay attention is very limited, as are your critical thinking skills. It's not like you can't easily google this.

Michael Ware? Yeah, you'd like him.

Michael Ware is a pro-war hawk, you dope, and I don't particularby like him for that reason. But he provides objective reporting.

Posted by: trex on September 14, 2007 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

trex:

We're talking about CNN's Michael Ware, right? I wonder what your criteria for "hawk" is.

And how exactly does one "google" to find posts or comments here that have links to CENTCOM sources?

Posted by: harry on September 14, 2007 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, did you ever post a followup? A day or two ago you speculated what it meant that the german terror roundup was due to the new non-fisa wiretapping efforts (according to McConnell's statements.)

Apparently McConnell was mistaken.... and his statement is no longer operative....

http://mediamatters.org/items/200709130007
Media Matters - Wash. Post, CNN ignored McConnell's retraction on role of newly expanded FISA in German terror arrests

Posted by: jerry on September 14, 2007 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Harry, there are the comments about Petraeus that are apparently coming from the HEAD of Centcom (including the phrase "ass-kissing little chickenshit"):

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39235

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/08/AR2007090801846_pf.html

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on September 14, 2007 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

The German terrorist group was rounded up after U.S. intelligence intercepted internet traffic between Germany and Pakistan.

Don't know whether this involved only signals outside the U.S. or whether the traffic passed through U.S. nodes (is that legal, then?) Either way, this kind of intercept (foreign to foreign) isn't, as far as I know, what the new laws were about.

Posted by: harry on September 14, 2007 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

They have been very forthright about correcting the record - the German terrorist suspects were rounded up under the old FISA laws.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 14, 2007 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

In his speech to the nation Thursday night, President Bush unveiled the latest official White House talking point on Iraq. Destined for regurgitation from reliable Republican mouthpieces is "Return on Success." That business sounding jargon from our first - and failed - MBA president is designed to reassure the American people that after our troops fight them there, they can come home here.

For the complete list of RNC-approved Iraq sound bites, see:
"'Return on Success' Added to Official GOP Iraq Talking Points."

Posted by: Raging on September 14, 2007 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

I grabbed hold of that "return on success" bullshit line too.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 14, 2007 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

We're talking about CNN's Michael Ware, right? I wonder what your criteria for "hawk" is.

My criteria for "hawk" is someone who has stated that 1) there were good reasons for invading Iraq, and 2) believes the United States should not withdraw at the present time.

You may have mistaken "hawk" as meaning someone who blindly accepts anything the Bush administration says without question and is willing to forward that war propaganda at any cost. That's not a hawk but rather a "turd." Michael Ware believes the U.S. needs to fix the absolutely tragic situation it has created that is giving rise to the next generation of jihadis before it leaves.

And how exactly does one "google" to find posts or comments here that have links to CENTCOM sources?

If you don't have the basic skill level to google something like this then you have no business posting here, as it reveals the utter shallowness of your research ability. Here's one that literally took me two seconds to find out of a search that yielded hundreds of results.

I'm not here to give you lessons in basic googling or remedial instruction on the fundamentals of the Iraqi political landscape, nor am I here to play with trolls who avoid every single point they've been refuted on but keep stringing along their trolling with "but what about this?" tangential questions.

Run along and play now.

Posted by: trex on September 14, 2007 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

comments about Petraeus

All that you need to know to understand Petraeus is that he has his sights set on the WH.

Cockburn has been doing a great job covering the real man behind the chest of medals.

Posted by: Disputo on September 14, 2007 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Harry, there are the comments about Petraeus that are apparently coming from the HEAD of Centcom (including the phrase "ass-kissing little chickenshit"):

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39235

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/08/AR2007090801846_pf.html
Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on September 14, 2007 at 1:05 AM
-------
...Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and added, "I hate people like that," the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior...

---

Wow, I read that this morning and that was pretty intense. Why can't they bring these things up in Congress?? "Are you or are you not an ass-kissing little chickenshit?" "WELL, come on, what do you have to say for yourself?" Somehow I picture Fallon as some Orson Wells character kind of like the one he played on Catch-22.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 14, 2007 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

I thought Bush's delivery was weak. He was reading it from the Telepromter in a low-key way, with little emotion or energy.

The written speech was OK, although, as has been pointed out, there was nothing new. That speech could have been much more dramatically read. I don't know if Bush chose to be low key or if he's just worn out.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 14, 2007 at 2:58 AM | PERMALINK

Regarding Edwards, he's the kind of person you'd trust in a foxhole - honorable, decent, genuinely altruistic, bright, a quick-study - but, unfortunately, his concern for public welfare, particularly those shunted aside by the brutish Invisible Hand, is too closley aligned with old-fashion socialism. On this point he's woefully out of tune with prevailing economic sentiments. From all appearances, W is able to sustain close to a steady 35% approval rating, despite being notoriously incompetent and markedly underqualified to run a Denny's much less a country, because he perpetuates an anti-Keynesian strategy (except for military funding) that promises to raise the standards for all industrious Americans. Oddly, sadly, many believe in these promises.

Edwards seems to yearn to return to the JFK-era 91% tax rate for the wealthy. Since so many people now believe they have a good chance of entering the upper tier by hook or crook, in spite of the gloomy economic indicators, a return to considerably higher rates appears alarming, and therefore unacceptable. They've got a song about it, you know, short and sweet, that they're ready to play for just such a candidate: Tax and Spend, Spend and Tax in G flat.

W's speech last night was quite remarkable in a number of ways. Stylistically, it was devoid, almost entirely, of his routine facial ticks that are more suitable for football rallies than truly profound events. Somehow, after decades of smirking at the most inopportune moments, he finally appeared thoroughly earnest, almost like Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Apparently, he realized, here, on this Indian summer evening, his legacy rests upon a broken policy that must, in his mind, continue if it has any chance for success, and if he has any hope of respectability in the future.

And so to make such a blatantly failed effort seem successful he relied on an ancient political tool: the Fable, namely, the Surge has been a success and troops can start coming home. But, over 130,000 of them will remain there indefinetly. Huh? To fortify his fable of the New Improved Iraq, or, perhaps, Morning in Iraq, he should've kept the long-term plans amorphous for they are obviously incongruent with true success.

With a single speech W effectively equated Iraq with South Korea, without, of course, much detail. He not only didn't listen to his generals, he ignored key data, overlooked overwhelmingly negative political views, rejected the Iraqi Task Force, and now he wants an extension that must, if it's to succeed as he promises it will, last for decades. Why, if you were to add up all his other foolish endevaors together - and really who has time? - they wouldn't equal the preposterousness of this latest objective. But this moment was inevitable.

Once W and Cheney put all their eggs in the PNAC basket, aiming to transform the Middle East into workable democracies that, supposedly, mitigate terrorism, then regardless of the circumstances in Iraq, America had to remain for decades. The rest of the story - virtually no electricity in Baghdad, persistent sectarian strife, mass immigration, growing jihadi animus, segregation by the Kurds into Kurdistan, a deeply corrupt puppet government, vast oil supplies tied up by conflict and corporate meddling, and permanent American bases - had to be summarily twisted into a neat, acceptable package.

But just how gullible do the Neocons and Bush think we are? And how long can American occupation continue before it's seen as a neoimperialistic force aiming to control the world's affairs?

The world's no longer as stupid or as blind as it was during Operation Condor or the installation of the Shah in Iran. Blowback has blown back. The widespread understanding of colonial meddling started fueling reactive measures back with Fanon and continued with Qutub. The next wave of reactive ideologues are, no doubt, going to be further infuriated by America's exploitative foreign affairs. And why shouldn't there be forceful reaction? How would Americans react if they had their political leaders installed by foreigners and the U.S. was occupied by Iraqi or Iranian troops?

Finally, the level of deceit required to legitimize the continuation of the Iraqi war has reached, with last night's speech, an alarming threshold. Too many individuals have peered behind the curtain, witnessed the folly, smelled the snake oil, to go on believing this nonsense. Yeah, the billions going up in flames is disheartening. How many libraries, valuable endeavors, bridges and roads, could be obtained for that money? But, for the moment, forget about the money. What about the concept of trust?

Last night's speech represented a plan that every commonsensical person in America ought to defeat. But moreover, the astounding amount of deception that was used to support it should be vehemently condemned. Enough already with the fables, the myths and the spin. No matter what your political leanings are, at least tell it to us straight.

Posted by: arty kraft on September 14, 2007 at 4:20 AM | PERMALINK

As much as I like Edwards I think what will happen to him is what happened to Howard Dean who was ultimately defeated by his own party!

Posted by: tommy on September 14, 2007 at 6:24 AM | PERMALINK

None of the people mentioned are presidential material except John Edwards and he will never win because Ann Coulter makes fun of his haircut.

That about says it all for the sad state of American politics. It's over.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 14, 2007 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

If you were an ordinary American with little or no knowledge of what's really happening on the ground in Iraq and you listened to that speech, you'd be bound to come away with a hopelessly confused idea of what's really going on there, who the players are, and the dynamics of the situation.

Mission accomplished!

Posted by: Gregory on September 14, 2007 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

I'm an Edwards fan and I thought he did a nice job of pointing the finger at Congress. And he's right: Reid and Co. need to get a freakin' plan and stand up. I didn't see Obama on CNN, I was watching MSNBC and he had a good blurb as did Clinton. But Edwards was the most impressive.

Also: would someone tell Biden to put a cork in it? I'll say it again: Reid needs to get the Senate folks in line and move lock-step to take action. I'm a yellow-dog Democrat and even I am frustrated with my party's whinging and complaining. They need to take action.

Posted by: Stacy on September 14, 2007 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

The key point from Bush's speech is that he now agrees with Democrats that withdrawing troops is the correct policy, and seems to have withdrawn his objections about a timeline.

By trying to put lipstick on the pig of the fracturing Army -- the fact that the so-called "surge" troops would have to come home -- Bush has nullified the arguments of dishonest war supporters -- but I repeat myself -- that we can't announce when we're withdrawing. And he's on record now of agreeing with the Democrats' policy of withrdawal.

He obviously just wishes to postpose the final withdrawal until the next Presidency. With the ammunition he's given those who seek to implement the American people's desire to end this failed and deadly occupation, the Congress has no excuse for allowing him to do so.

Posted by: Gregory on September 14, 2007 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Damn - Bush was on Prime time? Geez, if only I hadn't watched that Britney Spears telethon for Saving Fat Farms.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 14, 2007 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

In 2008, I want a President who can talk. Period. My criteria has dropped THAT much.

Bush didn't give a speech last night, he just READ to us. He put emphasis on the wrong syllable for every big word, and noticeably paused whenever the teleprompter changed lines.

Didn't the teleprompter used to be placed as close to the camera lens as possible? At the very least, we were supposed to get the impression that the Prez was speaking directly to us. But Bush's eyes were way off to the right of camera. The performance gave the viewer a distinctly 3rd person feel.

Technical criticism, I confess.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 14, 2007 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

It's game over. Bush looked tired, unsure and just awful. We will pull more troops out (more than the surge troops) beginning July 2008, regardless of conditions on the ground. This is the deadline to the Iraqis. I know it's not what everyone wants, but it's start.

Think about it... we are pulling the surge troops out just when their effect is being made so we can return to the lower numbers when things were shitty? Bush was never serious about winning and now he has no choice but to pull back b/c he f****d up things from the start. Petraeus is 3 years too late.

I was on the fence until I saw this joker last night.

Posted by: Dee on September 14, 2007 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Any of you see the incredible full page Giuliani add attacking Hillary in NYT today? That this monkey is leading the Republican pack makes me very afraid for our country.

Posted by: bob h on September 14, 2007 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Next Bush speech: reading My Pet Goat to the nation as he pushes the button to nuke Iran.

Bob h: Why don't the Dems take out some full-page ads in Southern and Midwestern newspapers showing Giuliani dressed in drag? There's a photo of him dressed as a Rockette (ultra-mini skirt and all) that shocked even my liberal sensibilities.

Posted by: Speed on September 14, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

speed
"...shocked even my liberal sensibilities."

Oxycotin induced oxymoron?

Posted by: majarosh on September 14, 2007 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Any sources that are, like, actually "on the ground" over there?

Yes harry, but you don't seem to believe them unless they are escorted by a 100 soldier entourage and backing the President.

Posted by: ckelly on September 14, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know if Bush chose to be low key or if he's just worn out.

Lying is hard work.

Posted by: ckelly on September 14, 2007 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

harry wrote: "Pacifica." Yeah, that would do it, all right ... Any sources that are, like, actually "on the ground" over there?

On the radio program Democracy Now which airs on Pacifica Radio every weekday morning, you can hear sources that are "on the ground" in Iraq interviewed in-depth and at length on a daily basis.

For example, on Tuesday September 11th, Democracy Now host Amy Goodman interviewed independent filmmaker Rick Rowley who just returned from six weeks in Anbar province where he filmed a documentary on the situation there. You can read a transcript of this interview on the Democracy Now website.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 14, 2007 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Yes harry, but you don't seem to believe them unless they are escorted by a 100 soldier entourage and backing the President.

Stepping outside the green zone, declining to mention painted schools and failing to buy rugs for a buck each at the market also inspire harry's deepest suspicion.

Posted by: shortstop on September 14, 2007 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Bob h: Why don't the Dems take out some full-page ads in Southern and Midwestern newspapers showing Giuliani dressed in drag? There's a photo of him dressed as a Rockette (ultra-mini skirt and all) that shocked even my liberal sensibilities.

Well, sure, the Dems could undermine Julie-Annie amongst the GOP primary voters by pointing out that he 1) is a transvestite, 2) married his cousin, 3) moved his mistress in with his wife and kids, 4) lived with two gay guys, and 5) (Did I miss anything?) but they'd end up alienating their own constituencies.... Besides, why do Mittens' work for him?

Posted by: Disputo on September 14, 2007 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

harry wrote: Any sources that are, like, actually "on the ground" over there?

ckelly replied: Yes harry, but you don't seem to believe them unless they are escorted by a 100 soldier entourage and backing the President.

For example, consider this excerpt from the above-mentioned Democracy Now interview with independent filmmaker Rick Rowley, who just spent six weeks in Anbar province filming a documentary:

Well, although Dave Enders and I spent a month and a half traveling around the country not embedded with the American Army, we still -- we were embedded virtually everywhere we went. The only way to travel was to embed with the Iraqi militias that actually run the country. I mean, that is the biggest change from our last trip there, was that now the entire country is run by one militia or another. So in Najaf, we went with [inaudible], with al-Hakim’s militia, the Badr Brigades. In Basra, we went with the Fadila militia. In Baghdad, 60% to 70% of Baghdad is run by the Mehdi Army. So, I mean, the Americans now have become one of many militias in the country. And, I mean, they control ever-shrinking islands of green zones in a country that is rapidly sinking into civil war.

And the fact that Anbar is the one success story, it’s the one piece of good news in this incredibly black report from Iraq, I mean, it's only good news for American soldiers, because they have -- they're hiring now Sunni insurgents to become part of their force. But, I mean, these people are still locked into a sectarian conflict that is going to make the country indescribably worse in the years to come.

On this morning's Democracy Now broadcast on Pacifica Radio, Amy Goodman again interviewed Rick Rowley, who recently interviewed Iraqi tribal leader Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, who was killed in a car bombing on Thursday in Ramadi. Democracy Now broadcast excerpts of Rowley's interview with Abu Risha in Amman Jordan, one of Abu Risha's last recorded interviews.

This is the sort of "on the ground" reporting that can be heard on Pacifica, that is rarely if ever heard on the corporate media, let alone the right-wing Republican propaganda media like Fox News.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 14, 2007 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Edwards seems to yearn to return to the JFK-era 91% tax rate for the wealthy.

Arty, do you have any basis, you know, like links to quotes or reports or anything, to support this impression of yours? I just googled around a little but I was unable to gain a similar insight into Edwards' "yearnings".

Are these vague, deceitful tut-tuttings from "concerned" liberals really helpful, do you think? It's like a made-to-order GOP whisper campaign except that with people like you around the Repub operatives don't have to lift a finger.

Posted by: floppin' pauper on September 14, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Bush buys time and leaves Iraq war to the next president, Well first it was Bush's war to begin with he and Cheney came up with false intel and lied about it so they could invade Iraq so since he started this war he should finish it one way or the other so that shows me what the whole republican party is about a bunch of cheap ass liars that want to line their pockets with stolen money intended for our soldiers that were ordered over there to begin with on false intel.

Posted by: Al on September 14, 2007 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Al,
Take a breath, metaphorically speaking. Try using a comma, or even a period, occasionally. You'll live longer.

Posted by: majarosh on September 14, 2007 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

From the text of the speech, linked above:
al Qaeda 12 mentions, iran 5 times, Syria and 'other extremists groups' 1 mention each.
It has been reported many times that al Qaeda is perhaps 5% of the insurgency but Bush is still dishonestly claiming it's the rationale for remaining in Iraq. Oh, and al Anbar is a great success except when it isn't
If that boy's mouth is open, he's lying.

Posted by: Mike on September 14, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Bush chose to deliver the speech sitting down. So, I think he intended to be low key.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 14, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Bush chose to deliver the speech sitting down. So, I think he intended to be low key.

He should have gone all the way and addressed us from a prone position on a fainting couch, then, because he was one limp and beaten puppy. I don't think this preznit thing is as much fun as they all assured him it was going to be. No one warned him about this accountability thing.

Posted by: shortstop on September 14, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal:

The written speech was OK

rotflmao

Wolverines!

Your peers really did rake you over the coals in Junior high, didn't they?

Posted by: Simp on September 14, 2007 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Edwards seems to yearn to return to the JFK-era 91% tax rate for the wealthy.

No Arty, that is you projecting and grossly exaggerating in order to emphasize the false assertion that Edwards is a borderline socialist.

Common, but false argumentative technique. My favorite along those lines is "Smoking pot leads to heroin dependancy."

People like you have lost sight that our country is still very dependant, in many ways, on the idea that we are *gasp* a community of people with essentially the same values and goals. Hint: government policies to benefit the commons ≠ socialism.

But hey, keep trying to sell it, I'm sure a few will buy it.

Posted by: Simp on September 14, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Bush chose to deliver the speech sitting down. So, I think he intended to be low key."

Maybe he should have delivered it lying down. He could have gone to sleep along with his audience.

Posted by: nemo on September 14, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

At this point, I can't watch any comments or speeches by Bush.

Aside from political differences the thing that comes to my head almost immediately is "*sigh* what an absolute fucking embarrassment he is."

Posted by: Simp on September 14, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's spin is that he's been calling all along for an escalation of troop levels (basically, "the surge") and said we haven't had enough troops in Iraq for years, and "Rumsfeld's War" means that Rumsfeld didn't send enough troops.

Posted by: croatoan on September 14, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Socialism: A word that 95% of the people who attempt to use it should look up in an actual fucking dictionary.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 14, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

That icon of Americana, the Green Bay Packers franchise, is socialist in it's organization structure.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 14, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

At this point, I can't watch any comments or speeches by Bush.

Okay, but you may just miss the much-awaited moment when he stands up, bursts into tears, and shouts, "Fuck it! I'm not doing this anymore!" He appeared to be somewhat close to this last night.

Posted by: shortstop on September 14, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Smoking pot leads to herion dependency"

Yeah, reruns of "Reefer Madness" might have been better TV than showing Shrub in his lotus position.

Saw that Brit Hume immediately cut to McCain following the showing of Reed's rebuttal.

And, of course, Straight Talk had all of those VFW and Am Legion guys in the background. McCain was talking about leading them up San Juan Hill.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 14, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

If that boy's mouth is open, he's lying.

Posted by: Mike

Not quite, Mike, he can lie with his mouth closed, too. Not saying anything is a lie when it's his job to say something.

Shortstop: I'll watch his breakdown moment over and over on you tube, thank you. Post a link, please.

Posted by: slanted tom on September 14, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds to me like Bush was playing the 'sympathy' card last night. "Oh, look, poor George is exhausted. He really is sincere about what he believes. He's not such a bad guy." Except for the early administration days when he looked like a scared puppy, you can't take any demeanor of Bush's to be an honest reflection of his emotional/physical state, anymore than you can take his words to be anything other than lies.

Posted by: nepeta on September 14, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

He should have gone all the way and addressed us from a prone position on a fainting couch, then, because he was one limp and beaten puppy.

I'd prefer to see him in a fetal position, surrounded by Iraqi orphans kicking him.

Posted by: Disputo on September 14, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl: Socialism: A word that 95% of the people who attempt to use it should look up in an actual fucking dictionary.

Nah, we've got Rush to explain it to us. Anyway, wasn't Webster a Democrat, from New Enland? Didn't he make a deal with the Devil or something? 'nuff said.

We live in a country where Pierre Salinger couldn't get elected from California because he wrote dirty books.

Egbert can take the day off. Today, I'm trembling!

Posted by: thersites on September 14, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Could not watch that Bozo again. Blood pressure too high. Heart palpatations even at the mention of his name (to be referred to from now on as either "You Know Who" or "He Who Must Not Be Named"). Build up in rage at the sight of his face threatens stroke. Must calm down. Must calm down. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. There, better.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 14, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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