Political Animal


May 08, 2011 8:35 AM Playing the petty Card

By Steve Benen

As near as I can tell, former Bush White House Chief of Staff Andy Card’s most notably contribution to the public discourse came a couple of years ago. Card complained publicly about President Obama appearing in the Oval Office without a suit jacket. Card insisted Obama was failing to show “respect” for his office — never mind the photos of Reagan and Bush doing the same thing.

This week, Card is at it again, bringing his shallow pettiness to the bin Laden story.

President Obama has ‘pounded his chest’ too much and taken too much pride in the success of the mission to take out Osama bin Laden, according to, of all people, George W. Bush’s former Chief of Staff, Andrew Card.

In an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel, Card said that Obama has “pounded his chest” too much over the death of Osama bin Laden, particularly by going to Ground Zero earlier this week, the site of the 9/11 attacks.

“I think he has pounded his chest a little too much,” Card said. “He can take pride in it, but he does not need to show it so much.”

The irony, of course, is rich. Card helped run Bush’s White House when the former president needlessly donned a flight suit, landed on an aircraft carrier, and strutted his stuff under a “Mission: Accomplished” banner.

But Card is convinced Obama is pounding his chest a little too much.

Card added that it was “premature to go to Ground Zero” on Thursday. Why? Just because.

Paul Krugman noted the other day, before Card’s comments were published:

[J]ust to say the obvious: isn’t the GOP showing a stunning lack of grace in this whole affair?

It’s particularly striking if you remember the atmosphere from 2001 through until 2004 or so. Back then, any hint of criticism of Bush’s War on Terror, or even a failure to show sufficient enthusiasm for his leadership, led to accusations that you were unpatriotic and somehow warped by your partisanship.

Now Obama actually gets his man — and does it in what seems to have been a truly gutsy fashion — and all we get is carping.

Quite right. And when it comes to gracelessness, Card’s whining appears to be a new low, even for the Bush gang.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • Holmes on May 08, 2011 8:44 AM:

    They are and always have been insecure children. Despite that obvious fact, the beltway media will continue to treat them as if they are Very Serious People.

    Rumsfeld? Why is he even allowed to show his face? Even that incompetent Dubya thought Rumsfeld had to go.

  • DAY on May 08, 2011 8:46 AM:

    " Card’s whining appears to be a new low, even for the Bush gang."

    -and NOBODY, except for Steve Benen, will call him on it! Which means we will have more of the same, ad infinitum.

  • neil b on May 08, 2011 8:59 AM:

    Not only petty now, but the way BushCo played Bin Laden thing was worse than petty. Remember the "found video" of Bin Laden with the clearly wrong nose, it had to be someone else? (Albeit note that such figures often have their own lookalikes for various reasons.) Remember the tape from OBL coming out in October 2004, which clearly influenced the election in favor of Bush (just in case Ohio fell through, etc.)? And the manipulated terror levels, etc.

  • hell's littlest angel on May 08, 2011 9:09 AM:

    Card’s whining appears to be a new low...

    As Steve noted in the previous post, Liz Cheney will be on This Week later this morning, so I don't think Card's new low will stand for long.

  • MonkeyBoy on May 08, 2011 9:10 AM:

    Don't neglect the racist dogwhistle:

    "I think he has pounded his chest a little too much,"

    So, Obama is just a gorilla. He doesn't deserve to be proud and he is just exhibiting meaningless politically correct Black pride.

    Also note that gorillas actually pound their chest as a way to intimidate others, not as a celebration of victory. In some sense chest pounding can achieve victory or proclaim victory before the fact. This is much like the Bush flight suit incident where "Mission Accomplished" was truthified just by being said not by being done.

  • FRP on May 08, 2011 9:10 AM:

    ...a new low, even for the Bush gang...

    I'll see your Andy Card and raise you one turd blossom .

    Ha !

  • mudcity on May 08, 2011 9:17 AM:

    Aren't we all suppose to support our President during a time of war? Isn't that what we were told to do during the Bush presidency? Was it not inferred we were traitors to America if we didn't? Do I now have permission to question Andy Card's and others' patriotism? Just asking.

  • nycweboy on May 08, 2011 9:20 AM:

    I don't think there's a lot of high ground to be taken in complaining, at regular intervals, at the small petty complaints of others. Andy Card is largely irrelevant, and his view of Barack Obama means less than nothing to me (and the fact that Liz Cheney knows how to push left wing buttons does not make her insightful or deep). I like Paul Krugman's economic insights well enough, but as social critic of the tenor of the times, he's easily as petty as the people he labels similarly. If we want a better discourse, we do actually have to show what that looks like. Spending time denigrating Andy Card and others as insufficiently respectful is largely a waste of time and energy. As is this comment... but I've spent a week reading this kind of silliness and it's tiring, and it really ought to stop.

  • Snarky McSnark on May 08, 2011 9:22 AM:

    Yeah, its bunk. But what's ticking off the Republican base so much is the feeling that Barak Obama is getting all the credit for the work George Bush did - sort of like a closer who gets credited with winning a game for simply getting the last three outs.

    In some ways its hard not to sympathize. Certainly Bush deserves at least some of the credit. But the mindset here is soooo revealing. Something goes right and the GOP apologists drag out their microscopes to identify some trace in it of the hand of George Bush. But when something goes wrong - something that is, like an epic national recession - and all of a sudden they get amnesia and pretend Obama invented it.

    Tellingly, the President gracefully extended an invitation to George Bush to share the stage with him at Ground Zero and Mr Bush declined, which is his privilege. I'd like to believe this was because the former President had the probity to allow Obama his own day in the sun. Too bad Bush's former associates lack the moral decency to follow that example.

  • Danp on May 08, 2011 9:37 AM:

    Certainly Bush deserves at least some of the credit.

    Convince me.

  • June on May 08, 2011 9:43 AM:

    All these years later, Card is still earning the well-deserved "boos" he was given on a university stage:


  • hell's littlest angel on May 08, 2011 9:43 AM:

    Obama might never have captured bin Laden if Bush hadn't blown off that briefing titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike In The US."

    I'm genuinely surprised none of these right-wing jerkoffs have made that argument.

  • c u n d gulag on May 08, 2011 9:49 AM:

    Yes, Bush does.

    Little Boots is the one who put him on the map on 9/11 by ignoring warnings about him. Rememb er Bush's ABC Policy? "Anything But Clinton."
    Little Boots is the one who redirected troops from Tora Bora where in Laden was trapped in the needless war and occupation in Iraq.
    Little Boots is the one who disbanded the bin Laden unit searching for him in 2006.

    So, without that incompetent and petulant little shit and his junta, bin Laden wouldn't have been bin Laden, and Obama, and the return to gevernmental competence, wouldn't have had to kill the evil and miserable SOB.

    So, as for giving Bush credit - Fuck Bush!!!
    This country will NEVER recover from Little Boots' reign of error. NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • SaintZak on May 08, 2011 9:59 AM:

    ...and isn't it just a little unseemly that he made his remarks to a foreign publication?

  • the seal on May 08, 2011 10:14 AM:

    The Bushies never wanted to actually get Bin Laden, a boogie man in the bush is worth two in the hand. Had they killed or captured OBL in Toro Bora, their biggest (false)justification to go into Iraq would have been lost. Feature not bug.

    The over inflated sense of self importance must be hard to give up though. Boo fucking hoo.

  • max on May 08, 2011 10:16 AM:

    “I think he has pounded his chest a little too much,” Card said. “He can take pride in it, but he does not need to show it so much.”

    These guys are priceless.

  • bob h on May 08, 2011 10:20 AM:

    I recall a lot of comments about Card's lack of intelligence, and this seems consistent with that.

  • Tom O'Neill on May 08, 2011 10:30 AM:

    Maybe it sounded better in German.

  • Michigoose on May 08, 2011 10:46 AM:

    Oh, *snap*, Tom! Good one!!

  • meta on May 08, 2011 11:13 AM:

    This entire attempt at a rehabilitation tour for a gang of despicable criminals who brought the entire world nearly a decade of misery is beyond disgusting. And let me get this straight, Card is sharing his nasty opinions with a German newspaper? These creeps don't seem to care about anything but their own worthless egos.

  • Meah Bottoms on May 08, 2011 11:26 AM:

    By strutting his stuff, are you referring to Bush's codpiece, Steve? And let's not forget the uniform!

  • Elie on May 08, 2011 2:11 PM:

    The majority of the American people (including their own repubs) see their sour grapes for what they are. So does the world.

    Let them keep talking and showing their ongoing and epic lack of class and basic honesty. Every shovelfull just goes on their own prospects and I believe these are getting weaker and weaker. They know that. Also.

    PS- I also believe as commented that the Repubs actually liked having Osama bin Laden around -- it worked for them having him as a threat...

  • jjm on May 08, 2011 6:26 PM:

    Beneath contempt.

  • Mark M on May 08, 2011 7:13 PM:

    Whenever I see one of Bush's former staffers show up as a talking head (Card, Rove, Dana Perino, JohnYoo, Marc Thiessen) I am struck by what mediocre little people they are. Mediocre morally as well as intellectually, apparently. Not surprising, I guess-after all, you don't want to hire anyone who will outshine the Boss-and they sure as hell didn't...

  • BlogD on May 08, 2011 7:38 PM:

    Especially since Card flew in on the jet just before Bush's--from the NY Post, 5/2/2003:

    During the first flyover, Bush's plane was lined up just
    beside another Navy S-3B Viking jet carrying his chief of staff, Andy Card, looking like a Blue Angels duo.

    This is not about consistency. This is about the constant drumbeat to delegitimize Obama, to strip him of any credit for any accomplishment, to define history as it happens, and to leech away any possible approval from his actions. Seriously, had Bush nailed bin laden, he would be right up there with Reagan and Jesus, and right-wingers would complain only if he didn't pound his chest.

  • Anonymous on May 09, 2011 12:23 AM:

    Andy Card was born and raised in Massachusetts, which is where I've lived and worked these past two decades (though not where I was born or raised). So:

    Citizens of America, and of the world:
    We are so sorry.
    So very deeply sorry.
    We most humbly and sincerely apologize.
    We know we warrant no forgiveness, so we won't insult you by asking for any.
    We'll try very hard not to let it happen again.
    We're going to slink off in shame now.
    Hopefully you won't hear anything more from us until we've brought you a new Kennedy or a few O'Neills or something.

  • Rick Massimo on May 09, 2011 4:52 AM:

    "But Card is convinced Obama is pounding his chest a little too much.

    Card added that it was “premature to go to Ground Zero” on Thursday. Why? Just because."

    Because they're racists.

    They have systematically eliminated every other possible motive.

  • James Wimberley on May 09, 2011 5:32 AM:

    "...the former president needlessly donned a flight suit, landed on an aircraft carrier, and strutted his stuff under a “Mission: Accomplished” banner."

    Don't buy in to the lie by implication that Bush, formerly qualified to land simple fighter jets on big airbase runways, could possibly have landed the plane on the carrier. Read Wolfe's "The Right Stuff" for an account of what this hair-raising manoeuvre is like. At the moment of contact with the deck, the engines are at full throttle in case the hook misses the wire.