Oh No, Not Again

Charles Krauthammer is busy crushing Teddy Chappaquiddick’s dissent:

“There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud.”

— Sen. Edward Kennedy

The Democrats have long been unhinged by this president. They could bear his (Florida-induced) illegitimacy as long as he was weak and seemingly transitional. But when post-9/11 he became a consequential president — reinventing American foreign policy and dominating the political scene — they lost it.

Kennedy’s statement marks a new stage in losing it: transition to derangement…

Politically, the war promised nothing but downside. There was no great popular pressure to go to war. Indeed, millions took to the streets to demonstrate against it, both at home and abroad. Bush launched the war nonetheless, in spite of the political jeopardy to which it exposed him, for the simple reason that he believed, as did Tony Blair, that it had to be done.

You can say he made a misjudgment. You can say he picked the wrong enemy. You can say almost anything about this war, but to say that he fought it for political advantage is absurd. The possibilities for disaster were real and many: house-to-house combat in Baghdad, thousands of possible casualties, a chemical attack on our troops (which is why they were ordered into those dangerously bulky and hot protective suits on the road to Baghdad). We were expecting oil fires, terrorist attacks and all manner of calamities. This is a way to boost political ratings?

Whatever your (and history’s) verdict on the war, it is undeniable that it was an act of singular presidential leadership. And more than that, it was an act of political courage. George Bush wagered his presidency on a war he thought necessary for national security — a war that could very obviously and very easily have been his political undoing. And it might yet be.

To accuse Bush of going to war for political advantage is not just disgraceful. It so flies in the face of the facts that it can only be said to be unhinged from reality. Kennedy’s rant reflects the Democrats’ blinding Bush-hatred, and marks its passage from partisanship to pathology.

Talk about dry drunks…






20 replies
  1. 1
    Oliver says:

    Yes, because war (necessary or not) has NEVER helped a pressident’s approval ratings. Especially not one his veep and top advisers were telling him would be a cakewalk.

  2. 2
    greg says:

    Let’s try to explain Krauthammer’s point in a different way Oliver.

    Imagine the Iraq war as being like the college football BCS standings.

    When Miami plays Rutgers, there’s no advantage to them winning in a cakewalk because they’re supposed to and it’s what everyone expects.

    If the game turns out close, or if God forbid they lose, there’s hell to pay.

    In this case, the United States is Miami and Iraq is Rutgers.

  3. 3
    Dean says:

    Oliver,

    Please name a 20th Century war that was started in order to improve an American President’s poll ratings.

    If the first Gulf War showed anything, it’s that wars, even victorious wars, don’t guarantee a President re-election.

    And some of us are still wondering what your miraculous solution is supposed to be about North Korea, particularly since, as things are going, that may well be the next war we have to fight.

    Or will THAT one be fought to improve poll ratings?

  4. 4
    Oliver says:

    I’ve said before we need to directly engage North Korea and not increase the rhetoric to a ridiculous level. We’re moving better in that direction.

  5. 5
    Kimmitt says:

    He didn’t say that politics was the reason for the war. He said that the President assured his Leadership that the war would be a political boon.

    Sounds like he was trying to sell his allies on something he’d decided to do independently of popularity (though of course he has chosen to milk it for all it’s worth).

  6. 6
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    You are overlooking the biggest political gain GWB got from starting the war: using it (successfully) as a wedge issue to split the Democratic Party into hawk and dove flanks, during the run-up to the 2002 elections to boot. The timing was brilliant, if venal. (I think we are all agreed that we didn’t need to invade to stop Saddam from launching nuclear and chemical weapons against us and England on mere 45 minutes notice, as we were warned at the time.) So you had some Democrats actively opposed to the war (while some other Democrats, whatever they thought in private, ran away from them for fear of McGovernite taint); some Democrats who genuinely supported the war (giving the imoression that the Republican Administration knew what it was doing); and a lot of Democrats who just wanted to cave in to Bush really quick in the hope that the hoo-hah would subside in time to push domestic policy during the election.

    And as for no upside, you must be joking. I assure you when Bush prematurely donned that Central Casting flight suit and landed at sea (making them turn around so the San Diego skyline wasn’t visible to the news cameras), he wasn’t doing it to make up for the flight hours he missed during ‘Nam. He thought it made him look confident, successful, and puissant. Too bad the facts on the ground deteriorated on him.

    On Krauthammer’s logic, something like the Entebbe Raid had no upside either; since at the very best a few score hostages would be rescued, while at worst accident or terrorists would kill all the hostages and the elite rescue team. It would also be very difficult, on Krauthammer’s logic, to explain the internal political repercussions of the Mexican War and the Spanish-American War. Basically, the theory is bogus. Indeed, given the how Bush was saving us from the imminent danger we were in from Saddam’s WMD and his tight connections with Al Qaeda terrorists, it’s a wonder that his post-war ratings weren’t as high as Winston Churchill’s.

    The fact that Bush 41 squandered the big boost he got out of Gulf War I is an indictment of his timing, not of the philosophy as a whole. Indeed, you may recall in early summer 2002 with the economy tanking, Gephardt was quoted (on background) as predicting a 25-seat Demo House pickup in 2002. Perhaps that explains his craven scurrying to Bush’s side when he was outmaneuvered. (I do credit the Bush team with tactical genius. We had that with Clinton, but not since.)

  7. 7
    Dan says:

    Kennedy’s comments were ill-advised. I wonder why all political opponents must, seemingly by definition, attack a sitting president on all points of policy. I’ve seen this from Republicans against Clinton and, yes, it’s true….the Democrats have proven no better………

    A shame

  8. 8
    Thersites says:

    Oh, good Lord. Please identify the actual factual error in Kennedy’s screed. Krauthammer doesn’t. His entire point is that Bush did something insane with no particular reason to think that it would solve the problem it was intended to solve, and that he is therefore absolved of all political sins. Never mind the obvious political advantage to be gained by shamelessly capitalizing on 9/11 fearmongering. Bush did lie, and people did die. Sorry, kids.

  9. 9
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    A check of Pollkatz shows a big bounce in GWB’s positive poll ratings culminating in April 2003 with the Fall of Baghdad.

    I think it’s very, very unlikely that this climb (since reversed) came from good economic news, or excitement about the Estrada nomintion, or anticipation of the baseball season. It came from the reflected glow of the successful campaign against the Saddam government shining on the President who ordered it, over the wishes of all but one of our allies and no small percentage of the American electorate.

    Now, you could argue with Kennedy’s statement that this political reward was one of (perhaps the most important of) the reasons for the war. You could argue that the poll bounce was a side-effect, an irrelevant consequence, as it were, of a campaign embarked upon for other reasons such as the elusive nuclear weapons ready for attack on 45 minutes notice. I agree with Kennedy, but at least the counter-argument is grounded in reality and reasonably coherent. I would find it much more persuasive except for the signs the putative reasons for the war were based on exaggerations, forgeries, and disinformation of Ahmed Charlatan Chalabi bought wholesale by neo-con dupes.

    But when Krauthammer argues that Bush’s decision to go to war couldn’t have a domestic political upside, he is the one dangerously out of touch, unhinged. Bush actually received the bounce Krauthammer claims couldn’t be expected to occur?! What sort of desperate, irresponsible way of thinking is this?

  10. 10
    Harry says:

    First of all I like to know who Fat Ted’s source for this bit of juicy information is. Ted Kennedy is nothing if not a bona fide liar. Hell, Ted even lied about killing someone, now that’s a ballsy liar. One thing I have discovered about liberals, they don’t mind swimming in shit as long as it will get them where they want to go. But until the Town Drunk gives up a name to back up his allegations I remain skeptical, sorry kids. Because remember kids; Ted lied, Mary Jo died. And don’t forget to keep you mouths closed while you’re in the deep end; wouldn’t want you to drown.

  11. 11
    scott h. says:

    Generally, if a politician wants a bounce in their polls, they want it around the time an election is held. A bounce a year or two before their election does them no good. Just saying.

  12. 12
    Sean says:

    andrew, when it’s up to your facts and reasoning vs. mindless ad-hominem screeching like harry’s, it’s a wonder why you bother

  13. 13
    Kathy K says:

    Oh, I’ll agree that his polls did bounce up for a while. Most people like success. But even I, no poly-sci major, know that such bounces are temporary. I suspect Bush’s advisors know the same thing.
    So, read what Scott H was ‘just saying. Because he’s right.

  14. 14
    M. Scott Eiland says:

    Teddy’s just mad that GWB hasn’t set aside a larger part of the war effort for drunken former submarine commanders. . .as for ad hominem, the man who delivered the “Robert Bork’s America” speech on the floor of the Senate has permanently given up his right to complain at the cheap shots of others directed at him.

  15. 15
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    Scott H: As I pointed out, the Iraq War timing, which we see was unrelated to military exigency, worked wonders on confusing and splitting the Democrats in time for the 2002 election. (Max Cleland, anyone?) Indeed, it continues to do so to this day.

    Maybe GWB has a second plan for a Fall 2004 bounce. For example, his campaign against trafficking in women could lead to an invasion of Moldova, which should be even more of a pushover than Iraq in conventional military terms.

  16. 16
    Moe Lane says:

    “andrew, when it’s up to your facts and reasoning vs. mindless ad-hominem screeching like harry’s, it’s a wonder why you bother”

    Probably because harry and he are the same person.

  17. 17
    Harry says:

    Sean,
    I just want to know where Fat Ted got his information. At best I can only think of three scenarios, that Drunk Ted himself was at this Texas meeting, that Ted has a source that was a this Texas meeting, or that Ted lied and made the whole thing up. This is a fairly serious charge, a charge that you seem all to ready to believe. I just would like to see a little proof, that’s all. I don’t know about Bush lies, history will tell. But I do know Teddy lied, Mary Jo died.

    He only wishs Moe. BTW say hey to Larry and Curly for me, Okay. Thanks.

  18. 18
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    Harry, since only eyewitness testimony seems acceptable to you, how do you know what happened at Chappaquiddick? Either you were in the back seat (creepy voyeur), or you had a source who was in the back seat, or you made the whole thing up, or your epistemology is bogus.

  19. 19
    Harry says:

    Because I have read the record of Kennedy’s statement to the police and the police report as well as much of the substantial forensic analysis that has been written by experts at crime scene investigation, accident reconstruction, and pathology.

    But the biggy is that Ted waited until the next morning to report the accident. Leaving Mary Jo Kopechne to die in that car. He was never subjected to a BAC test or a blood test, something that is unheard of in an automobile accident resulting in a fatality. But hey Andy you can choose to believe his story if you wish, but the facts tell a different story.

    Plus if I had been in the back seat you can rest assured that Mary Jo Kopechne would not have drowned that night. And after your last post I know I’m not the creepy one.

  20. 20
    ita b detruth says:

    It is a fact, that Senator Teddy’s credibility and background is somewhat shady, however his message on this matter is basically on target. However, he doesn’t elaborate nearly enough on the matter. What needs to be aired is our President’s ulterior agenda and pretext for the entire War on Terrorism – which is abhorrent.
    First, of all, the events of 9/11 that pushed the American people to rally around their leader – are based on a huge fraud that the American people need to be made aware of. Let me explain. The 9/11 terrorists were trained in Florida. Many trained at a small airport in Venice Florida which has been tied to the CIA since WWII. In 2002, this airport hosted publicized military exercises that were administered by NORAD (the agency that was supposedly protecting our skies on 9/11/01) and Raytheon – a major military defense contractor -which has made billions in Afghanistan & Iraq in the “War on Terrorism” via its multiple named missles that cost the American taxpayer about a million a piece – all of their huge profits a direct result of the events of 9/11. On the current Board of Directors of Raytheon is a former head of the CIA. Thus, I believe it would be appropriate to hear Dubya’s explanation of these ties – considering that his brother was the Governor of the state in which the 9/11 terrorist trained in, Raytheon E-Systems is headquartered in, and the war on terrorism is being overseen from (McDill AFB in Tampa).
    Furthermore, disclosed mostly in the foreign press, the same small airport in Venice, Florida – where the terrorists trained – has another very curious connection. According to several European media sources, Osama’s white sheep brother – Swiss citizen Yeslam Binladen – owned a group of aviation companies known as Avcon. Through these companies, Yeslam leased planes and sent candidates for flight instruction to the very same CIA connected airport in Venice Florida where the 9/11 terrorists trained. Avcon has a corporate headquarters in Kansas, as does Raytheon Aircraft – with Avcon doing structure modifications for Raytheon aircraft – with the U.S. Government and Aerospace industry being major clients of Avcon (according to Avcon’s own website). Incidentally, Avcon’s owner in 2001, Yeslam Binladen, was also a major investor in an international military industrial conglomerate known as the Carlyle Group. One of Carlyle’s paid directors was & is none other that former President George H. W. Bush (also a former CIA Director and Dubya’s daddy). According to the current Bush Administration propaganda, Osama is the black sheep of the family – with Yeslam and his various other siblings being completely clean. However, according to other investigations -one by French intelligence, Yeslam Binladen is the head of a group of financial companies called SICO – which have been linked to drug, trafficking,money laundering, and terrorism financing – including aiding Al Queda. In fact, it was this same Geneva based SICO that funnelled CIA money into Afghanistan in the effort against the Soviets there in the 1980’s. As a result of this, Afghanistan became the largest producer of opium in the world – worth over an estimated 200 billion dollars per year. In 2000, this opium source was cut off. Stocks like Halliburton and Enron nosedived immediately. The huge investment houses of J.P. Morgan and Chase Manhattan were on the edge of a 300 Trillion Derivatives bubble about to burst. According to Scotland Yard investigators, it seems Derivatives are financial instruments which are now used as the most common method of laundering huge amounts of illicit drug money into the financial centers! After the Taliban banned opium production in 2000, J.P. Morgan and Chase Manhattan merged into JPMorganChase. Their post-merger balance sheet accounted for 7 trillion dollars less in derivative exposure than their two combined pre-merger balance sheets. Hmmmmmm! I wonder if the same folks did their books as did Enron’s. Then came 9/11, followed by the carpet bombing of Afghanistan with hundreds Raytheon missles and cluster bombs, (killing thousands of innocent civilians), along with the subsequent resurrection of opium production in Afghanistan to near all time highs. After the illicit drug capital was seeded and growing again, Dubya turned the attention to Iraq and it’s ocean of untapped oil reserves. Operation Iraqi Freedom was originally going to be called Operation Iraqi Liberation (since we were allegedly liberating them -at least those we didn’t kill, but Operation Iraqi Liberation or (OIL) would have been too honest of a War Propaganda slogan. Since the fall of Baghdad, companies tied close to the Bush Administration – like Halliburton and Bechtel, have started plundering Iraq and the American tax base for billions of dollars in post-war reconstruction contracts.
    In conclusion, I advise anyone who thinks that this is some wild “conspiracy theory” to do some investigation on there own – on topics such as the history of the Bush family, their ties to Hitler, their secret Yale fraternity Skull & Bones, its members and those connections, along with the Afghanistan opium connection to Wall Street. Interestingly, the Taliban were our friends until they banned opium production in 2000. In fact, another former CIA Director’s daughter was the Taliban’s Public Relations director. However, after the opium ban, things changed quickly – with the U.S.economy and stock market plunging. Do your own research on these matters – then you will understand the real reason for 9/11. You will also learn that Osama Bin Laden was and still is to this day, a covert asset of our intelligence network and thus, will never be found. Incidentally, have you ever wondered just how hard is it to find someone who needs dialysis on a continuing basis. They don’t do dialysis in caves! Furthermore, if Weapons of Mass Destruction (especially chemical weapons) are ever found to have existed in Iraq, one needs only to trace where Hussein purchased his biological agents from – companies with close ties to the U. S. military industrial complex and the current Bush Administration. These facts make our President much more of a monster than Teddy Kennedy. Senator Ted may well be responsible for one poor girl’s untimely death over thirty years ago – but our current President has the blood of thousands of recently murdered innocent human beings on his hands!

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