Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 27, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

WHY WAIT FOR ACTUAL RESULTS?....Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations. In the LA Times today, hawk's hawk Zev Chafets writes that today's Annapolis peace conference is a resounding vote of confidence in George Bush:

This is Bush's bash. His name is on the invitation. The party is at his place. The guests are strictly A-list. Every country that matters, and a lot that don't, will be represented. The European Union, the United Nations and the Arab League will be there too. They are all coming for the same reason: They have been summoned by the one man in the world to whom no one wants to say no.

It turns out that Bush, far from wrecking America's prestige and influence, has compounded it....Despite the assurances of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. has not been humiliated in Mesopotamia. On the contrary, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the subsequent determination of the American occupation have concentrated the minds of the (ever fewer) anti-American Arab despots.

Did you get that? Bush has compounded American prestige and influence, and the evidence is the mere fact that people are willing to show up at Annapolis. The last time I saw someone set a bar that low I was surrounded by a crowd of tipsy revelers while Chubby Checker blared "Limbo Rock" in the background.

Kevin Drum 12:09 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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Comments

Yea OK, Give a speech and leave.The rest of the world just does not want us to invade them and do what we did in Iraq.

Posted by: john john on November 27, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Why wait, indeed? Everything W has touched -- the economy, the record surpluses he inherited, national security, the US's reputation, the dollar -- everything turned out great!!!

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on November 27, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Look for a lot of Bush revisionism in the near future. I can see the stonecutters mapping out where to put his face on Mt. Rushmore even now.

Posted by: steve duncan on November 27, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

omigod, this Chafetz quote reads just like one of the entries in your "Worst Blog Post of 2007" ... though it's not from a blog

Posted by: anonymous on November 27, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

As Condoleezza Rice prepared to host the Middle East summit in Annapolis this week, her State Department has issued an updated historical timeline of American efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The timeline is a fascinating document both for what it reveals and what it leaves out. The rise of Hamas and its election victories are mentioned nowhere. That might just be because President Bush's hands-off policy of malign neglect is in part responsible for it.

For the details, see:
"On Eve of Summit, State Dept Rewrites Middle East History."

Posted by: Mr. Rage on November 27, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Magical thinking much? I see it a bit - okay, a lot differently.

Even the choice of location is damning: The United States Naval Academy is the setting, and the motto of the Navy is "Don't give up the Ship" - invoking tenacity and determination, not diplomatic acumen and compromise. In Arabic, "Ana" means "I" and people the world over know the word "police." A Saudi humorist joked that the choice of location was an arrogant message from Bush to the Middle East "I am the police."

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 27, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

He makes it sound like the president's job is throwing parties -- like the most he can aspire to is the popular people showing up! Egad. What an ignoramus.

Posted by: oy on November 27, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Every country that matters?

We're considering attacking Iran for its non-cooperation with IAEA inspections. Isn't that evidence that Iran matters.

The LA Times gives Chavets a forum for a sprinkling of inaccuracy packaged in a bunch of wishful thinking.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on November 27, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Reminds me of the breathless snippets you see praising the movies that go straight to cable & DVD. The names of those "critics" are never recognizable until you see a few of them in a row and then realize it's the same people over & over. Say, it's just now occurring to me that I, too, could get free movie passes for pimping shit.

Posted by: junebug on November 27, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

The names of those "critics" are never recognizable until you see a few of them in a row and then realize it's the same people over & over.

Shawn Edwards!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 27, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Give that man a propaganda gold medal of freakdom!

Posted by: digitusmedius on November 27, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Zev Chafets:

This is Bush's bash.

Wait until the invitees find out they have to sit through a 3-hour presentation on buying their own timeshare in Destin...

I hope that something positive comes from this, but it's got 'Social Security Roadshow' and 'Listening Tour' written all over it.

Posted by: grape_crush on November 27, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

junebug - alan smithee resents your remark

Posted by: anonymous on November 27, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

I think "setting the bar low" is meant to refer to high jumping where the task is easier the lower the bar is, rather than limbo, where it is harder.

Posted by: Jim M on November 27, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Can't scare up the verbatim quote, but Frank Zappa once said that America's idea of a leader was Chubby Checker showing you how to do the twist by wrapping a towel around your . . . well, the article said "buns," but maybe Zappa said something else. In this sense, GWB's qualifications to lead are beyond question.

Posted by: penalcolony on November 27, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

I like Kevin's title, "WHY WAIT FOR ACTUAL RESULTS?...." Waiting for actual results is also a good idea when discussing the state of the economy, the drop in housing prices, and the results of the surge in Iraq.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 27, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Its bush's bash?" why does the phrase "its my party and I'll cry if I want to" come to mind?

so Zev's idea of american prestige is identical to that of the social climber who thinks that a great social event is one where you have to either bribe or bludgeon the guests to come?

I'd like to point out that this version of american prestige (speak softly and carry a big charge card) is working swimmingly in Pakistan where we've been bribing Musharaff with hugs and kisses' 'n cash 'n stuff for years resulting in his taking dictatorship to the prom instead of us. But I know for a fact that he really, really, liked American democracy better than dictatorship! My best friend told me so.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on November 27, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Waiting for actual results is also a good idea when discussing the state of the economy, the drop in housing prices, and the results of the surge in Iraq.

So the Dow coming down over 1000 points, the housing market crumbling faster than that bridge in Minneapolis, a record rate of foreclosures, and no political progress don't count as results?

Posted by: tomeck on November 27, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.): the motto of the Navy is "Don't give up the Ship"

According to the history.navy.mil, "There is no official motto for the U.S. Navy. "Non sibi sed patriae" (Not self but country) is often cited as the Navy's motto, however."

Posted by: anandine on November 27, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think I was at that limbo party. In fact, I might have THROWN that party! In any case, I wll bet Bush offered some disincentives for countries not showing up at this soiree. Like not selling them the latest arms or not awarding their domestic corporations lucrative no-bind contracts, if they stiff us on our invite.

Look, this last year of Bush's term will be all about creating a "false narrative" about everything this Administration has "accomplished", when it has accomplished virtually nothing outside of setting the stage for the next world war, alienating every civilized society on the planet and polluting the holy shit out of the environment. Progressives need to fight this at every turn and picket and throw rotten vegetables and eggs at the Bush ranch in Texas and also, Kennebunkport, for the next 75 years or so.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 27, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

sometimes the batshit insane qualities of the right wing just leave you breathless.

and often, the inanity of ex-liberal leaves you breathless: take his 12:57, for example....

Posted by: howard on November 27, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody remember Rabbi Baruch Korff? A lovely old gentlemen who sacrificed his reputation and prestige trying to convince the nation that Nixon, then on the verge of resignation, was not only a swell guy, but one of the best presidents ever. This Zev Chaffets piece is redolent of the same kind of unintended comedy.

Posted by: Jim Strain on November 27, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

tomeck on November 27, 2007 at 1:17 PM:

So the Dow coming down over 1000 points....don't count as results?

Oh, ex-lib's just arguing for a couple more Freidman Units to pass so he can start blaming the many failings of the current Repub administration on the future Democratic administration, when things will be harder to correct than they would be right now.

Posted by: grape_crush on November 27, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

The Saudi Peace Imitative of 2002 went nowhere due to Israeli intransigence.
In the meantime, Israeli sanctions cause untold human misery.

…Alongside this has come an economic collapse, with the result that the crisis wrought by the closure of Gaza's crossings is deeply felt across society. Yet the plight of Gaza is not on the agenda of today's Middle East peace summit in Annapolis. ...
The crossing closures are intended to pressure Hamas to relinquish control. In September Israel declared Gaza a "hostile entity" and it has started reducing fuel supplies. From next week electricity supplies will be reduced too. Hamas may have lost some voter popularity, but it is as powerful and as well financed as ever. The Islamists show no sign of buckling.
The rest of the 1.4 million Gazans, however, are much more vulnerable and it is they who are worst affected. The closures not only prevent Palestinians from travelling in and out of Gaza, they have also severely curtailed the import and export of cargo, from medical equipment and spare parts, to carbon dioxide for soft drinks, to agricultural exports. Only a restricted amount of food is now allowed into Gaza, and the economy has seized up….

When was the last time the world saw such an example of collective punishment?

Posted by: Mike on November 27, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

anandine - I probably should have said [an unofficial] motto of the Navy...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 27, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

... Waiting for actual results is also a good idea when discussing the state of the economy...

Once again, it's going to take a Democrat to make right what a Republican fucked up.

... the drop in housing prices...

Bush has barely acknowledged that this is even happening. Are you suggesting he's actually done something that's going to have a positive & measurable result?

... and the results of the surge in Iraq.

Wake us up when the Surge achieves its intended result of political reconciliation among the Sunni & Shia. Until then, you continue to talk out of your ass.

Posted by: junebug on November 27, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

A few reactions from a Reuters story of 12:30 PM EST.

Note the Jewish settler group Yesha statement... Certainly not what Zev Chafets had in mind when he picked up his crayon to scribble his opinion. Sheesh!

JERUSALEM, Nov 27 (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed a joint statement at the Annapolis peace conference that they hope may lead to a full peace agreement before the end of 2008.
Following are reactions to Bush's announcement.
AHMED YOUSSEF, AIDE TO HAMAS GAZA LEADER ISMAIL HANIYEH:
"It was a waste of time ... Israel has abandoned previous agreements. Palestinian negotiators have failed to agree with Israel on the removal of even one concrete barrier or a few hundred checkpoints in the West Bank. How can they expect to solve big issues like Jerusalem, borders and refugees?"
"What we see can only be a farewell party for George Bush and a hopeless attempt to portray him as a great leader."
SENIOR HAMAS OFFICIAL SAMI ABU ZUHRI:
"Bush said earlier the conference would lead to a Palestinian state but now he has declared that it is only the start of negotiations. Negotiations are already under way and they are leading nowhere."
"The real goals of the conference are to serve Israeli and American interests and not to serve Palestinian interests."
DANNY DAYAN, SPOKESMAN FOR JEWISH SETTLER GROUP YESHA:
"The transparent attempt to complete negotiations within a timeframe that will allow George Bush to get the Nobel Peace Prize will lead to a catastrophe.
"Expectations will rise and when they are dashed, the resulting frustration will bring only violence.
"George Bush is telling the world that the pieces should be picked up by his successor. A Palestinian state would be a threat to the very existence of Israel and would only bring more instability to the region and the world."
ISRAELI-ARAB LAWMAKER AHMED TIBI:
"The Israeli right-wing has nothing to worry about yet, because nothing has yet been agreed on the actual creation of the Palestinian state. We have seen previous promises for an agreement that have not been met."
I read another news report from Jerusalem that both Palestinians and Israelis are protesting.

"On Tuesday, about 15,000 people prayed at the Western Wall for the Annapolis meeting to fail..." and ..."thousands of Israelis packed a downtown Jerusalem square to protest the Annapolis summit."

Posted by: Apollo 13 on November 27, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, I read this just minutes after hearing how Bush has made it very clear he wants no part in the negotiations. Nope. Providing the locale and snack tray is the limit to his effort towards middle East peace. Everything after that is up to Israel and Palestine.

And yet we are supposed to ooh and ahh because all but one of the invited countries showed up?

Oooh. Ahh. What a leader.

Posted by: Tripp on November 27, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Wait until he doesn't throw up on a prime minister! Zev and his pals will go wild!!

The last time Bush attended a "bash" (could there be a frattier word, by the way) like this, he groped Angela Merkel, chewed with his mouth open, and swore into an open mike while making ludicrous asides about the Middle East. I'm not sure how much more of his "prestige" the country can stand.

Posted by: sullijan on November 27, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus H Christ! I couldn't really understand what Zev was trying to say here - it was too garbled what with Bush's member in his mouth.

Posted by: ckelly on November 27, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

grape_crush

Yeah, but I just though I'd make the point that the results are already in. It won't be looking any better than now next June.

Posted by: tomeck on November 27, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think he meant "confounded" not "compounded." At least, he would've meant that if he were sane. Good Lord, Chafet's drinking the turbo punch with more mind-melting nutrients and extra flavor than ever! Can a guy get closer to stroking another guy in print than this?

Posted by: mroberts on November 27, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

tomeck on November 27, 2007 at 3:07 PM:

Yeah, but I just though I'd make the point that the results are already in.

Oh, make the point; you're spot on. It was ex-lib's weak attempt at smartassery that I was poking fun at...

Posted by: grape_crush on November 27, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

The last time I saw someone set a bar that low I was surrounded by a crowd of tipsy revelers while Chubby Checker blared "Limbo Rock" in the background.

Careful, Kevin. You're going to strain something.

No, not with the limbo--by stretching that far for the analogy.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on November 27, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I realize The LATimes is supposedly a national paper, but I didn't realize it was the national paper of Dumbfuckistan.

Do people have to read this Zev regularly?

Posted by: bigcat on November 27, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

They have been summoned by the one man in the world to whom no one wants to say no.

Funny how Putin, al-Malaki, Musharraf, North Korea, Chavez, Castro, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and a host of other leaders and countries have repeatedly said "no" to el presidente Bushit.

But I guess denial is the first sign of conservative tendencies (and lying the second).

Posted by: anonymous on November 27, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

This is actually very constructive. While you can't pass laws forcing every embicile to wear a flashing dunce cap that says "Warning: poses a danger to himself and others", you can get the equivalent results by simply asking people whether or not they support George W. Bush.

These people place blind loyalty above absolutely everything else, including: rational thought, objectivity, overwhelming evidence to the contrary, public opinion, science, facts, and every other integral component of that thing the rest of us call "reality". Can make them house pets? Even dogs aren't that loyal.

Posted by: Augustus on November 27, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Here's Zev Chafets in the Jewish World Review: "It may be that Islam in its true form is as gentle as a lamb. But in the real world, it is an aggressive, violent political ideology. It may also be that a majority of U.S. Muslims object to the jihad being waged against infidel Christians, Jews, Hindus, atheists, agnostics and democrats of all denominations. But if so, they are keeping it to themselves."

So he moderates his view for the LA Times. And he's probably not a conservative, but a "liberal" hawk, like, well, almost everyone writing for the LA Times, NYT, WashPost, etc.

He is what he is. I don't think we should be reading people who think like this in our mainstream daily newspapers, but whatever. People hate each other, especially those from other tribes.

Posted by: luci on November 27, 2007 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

I liked what you said up to the point of the Chubby Checker analogy. I think that is seriously unfair to Mr. Checker. Now, party on.

Posted by: hollywood on November 27, 2007 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

What amazed me was to discover this conference only lasted ONE DAY! From all the hype I had assumed it would be at least a three-day conference with at least some sort of dialogue. What a joke.

Posted by: nepeta on November 28, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

All you ever need to know about Zev Chafets is beautifully surmised by James Wolcott. Let this miscreant do his evil deeds in Israel, but please don't dignify him with any mention in this rather middle-of-the-road blog.
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/blogs/wolcott/2004/12/brute_farce.html

Posted by: downtown on November 28, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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