Up To Their Old Tricks in Chapters 4, 5 and 6

Beautiful people, here are a few links courtesy of stalwart reader J. First, behold the power of the progessive blog/White House alliance:

It’s been a familiar pattern since President Obama took office in 2009: When critics attack, the White House can count on a posse of progressive writers to ride to its rescue. Pick an issue, from the Affordable Care Act to Ukraine to the economy to controversies involving the Internal Revenue Service and Benghazi, and you’ll find the same voices again and again, on the Web and on Twitter, giving the president cover while savaging the opposition. And typically doing it with sharper tongues and tighter arguments than the White House itself.

That’s from the National Journal, which calls Dave Weigel a “progressive blogger”. Wonders never cease. And here’s a “Did you know Hitler was a dog lover?” from Matt Bai:

The truth is that Bush was never anything close to the ogre or the imbecile his most fevered detractors insisted he was. Read “Days of Fire,” the excellent and exhaustive book on Bush’s presidency by Peter Baker, my former colleague at the New York Times. Bush comes off there as compassionate and well-intentioned — a man who came into office underprepared and overly reliant on his wily vice president and who found his footing only after making some tragically bad decisions. Baker’s Bush is a flawed character you find yourself rooting for, even as you wince at his judgment.

As I’ve said before, the point about Hitler being a dog lover isn’t that Bush was like Hitler, but that leaders aren’t judged by irrelevant nonsense like whether they tipped well at restaurants or were pleasant to their servants. Does anyone really care that LBJ used to drag McGeorge Bundy into the White House toilet when he took a shit? No, because even though LBJ fucked up Vietnam, he’s got Medicare, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts on the plus side of the ledger. Bush fucked up Afghanistan, Iraq and the economy. History will judge him as the fool that he is.






93 replies
  1. 1
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    who found his footing only after making some tragically bad decisions.

    and that was when, when he sold the photo-op ranch and took up painting in the summer of ’09?

    Baker’s Bush is a flawed character you find yourself rooting for

    If only we had clapped harder Tinkeraq would have been a huge success! Or something. I can’t tell.

    Bai is a moral and intellectual bankrupt. How long before Fred Hiatt snaps him up.

  2. 2
    lamh36 says:

    OT:We made it just in time! !

    ongratulations to my Lil sister, college graduate http://t.co/XIt8odMrrY
    (https://twitter.com/psddluva4evah/status/465172754988138496)

  3. 3
    lamh36 says:

    OT:We made it just in time.

    ongratulations to my Lil sister, college graduate http://t.co/XIt8odMrrY
    (https://twitter.com/psddluva4evah/status/465172754988138496)

  4. 4
    Ronnie P says:

    If you disregard policy — and many reporters are too objective to get caught up in those debates — the Dubya wasn’t half bad. Or so says Matt Bai.

  5. 5
    Dee Loralei says:

    Mix, don’t ever forget to list Katrina as one of Bush’s major Fuckups, almost 2,000 Americans died and an American city drowned. And 9/11 was also a major Fuckup. That man and pretty much every member of his administration should either be in the Hague awaiting trial for crimes against humanity, or in the Colorado SuperMax doing time for their crimes against the American citizenry and our Institutions.

  6. 6
    aimai says:

    You’ve got it backwards–the implication of “Hitler was nice to his dog” is that personal qualities and intentions matter more than world historical decisions. While the implication of “did LBJ make people see him shit” is that personal qualities and intentions…matter more than world historical decisions. In the first case Hilter was nice, so genocide isn’t that big of a deal. In the second LBJ was “not nice” so Medicare and the Great Society were probably pretty awful as well. See how this works? The only people who are redeemed for posterity by their niceness are people whose public acts are horrendous and literally the only good thing you can find to say about them are “he was a good tipper.” Meanwhile someone who, for all his personal flaws, put himself out and risked his political life to make the world better for millions of people? He gets damned with faint praise and crticiized for his poor hygiene or his bad manners. Sure he saved my life, but did you see the quality of his linens?

  7. 7
    scav says:

    Baker’s Bush is a flawed character you find yourself rooting for

    too bad we were stuck with the real Bush then.

    by their heros it is made apparent what they look up to as better and more competent than themselves.

  8. 8
    aimai says:

    @lamh36: Congratulations! She is positively glowing! What a great day and what a great picture.

  9. 9
    Ruckus says:

    @aimai:
    Spot on.

  10. 10
    Joel says:

    The good news here is that Matt Bai has been reduced to writing troll pieces on Yahoo! news.

  11. 11
    SatanicPanic says:

    Baker’s Bush is a flawed character you find yourself rooting for

    If a book could make me do this it’s gotta be some fucking book

  12. 12
    Ruckus says:

    @lamh36:
    Tell her congrats.
    Also nice background on the twitter.

  13. 13
    aimai says:

    @scav: I also am personally kind of revolted with the phrase used here “find yourself rooting for.” If you root for your hero or your team you don’t get any credit, and neither do they, because they belong to you and therefore their successes are your successes. We sometimes think its a good thing to “root for the underdog” because that is counterintuitive and seeing someone “win” when they had “little chance” is one of our preferred cultural tropes, part of our egalitarian ideology and the romance of this country.

    But Bush is never, could never, be considered an underdog. He was a personally wealthy man, a man who made his money talking people out of oil leases and then was given even more money by being adopted by wealthy Baseball interests in exchange for favors. He was the grandson of a powerful Senator and the son of a President. If any man could be said to have come into the White House with all that it should have taken to handle the job it was Bush. If he was ill equipped for it, if he fucked up, its nobodies fault but his own. Rooting for him to succeed is like rooting for gravity to fail to protect one drunken frat boy from the natural consequences of his actions in jumping off a bridge. Bush was the author of the misery of millions–what would “success” look like to them?

  14. 14
    Dee Loralei says:

    @lamh36: Congrats to little sis!

    And once again I agree with Aimai about the reasoning behind Hitler was nice to his dog.

  15. 15
    Ruckus says:

    @Joel:
    The bad news is that he is still publishing somewhere, anywhere.

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    To become bankrupt doesn’t one first have to have something to lose?

  16. 16
    scav says:

    @SatanicPanic: Well, apparently some NYT journalists did attempt to heed the second half instructions of one Stephan Colbert: “Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration? You know, fiction!” Still couldn’t manage the spine for even a fictional standing up all the same.

  17. 17
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Not on the parts of the ‘progressive blog… alliance’ I frequent.

    Try “…giving the GOP cover while savaging the White House. And typically doing it with sharper tongues and tighter arguments than the GOP itself.”

  18. 18

    The truth is that Bush was never anything close to the ogre or the imbecile his most fevered detractors insisted he was.

    Seriously?

  19. 19
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Bush comes off there as compassionate and well-intentioned — a man who came into office underprepared and overly reliant on his wily vice president and who found his footing only after making some tragically bad decisions.

    Mistakes were made. Those hippies get so worked up over people dying. Hey, people die every day.

    Baker’s Bush is a flawed character you find yourself rooting for, even as you wince at his judgment.

    Not in this or any other lifetime, motherfucker.

  20. 20
    KG says:

    man who came into office underprepared and overly reliant on his wily vice president

    In other words: the perfect president for the late 90s and “the end of history”.

  21. 21
    KG says:

    Also, OT but: looks like Larry Wilmore will be replacing Colbert on Comedy Central

  22. 22
    Ruckus says:

    @aimai:

    If any man could be said to have come into the White House with all that it should have taken to handle the job it was Bush.

    The greatest bullshit ever fostered on the public is that because a person is wealthy, they are worthy. That people still believe this after Bush and so many others too numerous to mention is a testament to how successful this Mad Men sales pitch has been.

  23. 23
    Another Holocene Human says:

    It’s the “all my enemies are connected” logical fallacy. Bringing you such hits as “Mexican Muslim terror anchor babies” since apes could talk.

    @Davis X. Machina: Indeed.

  24. 24
    Brian R. says:

    Wow, I thought that said “Matt Taibbi” not “Matt Bai” when I first read it.

  25. 25
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @lamh36: Omedetou!

  26. 26
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @aimai: Exactly. So what if Bush was “punctual” with people whose asses he felt like he had to kiss? What about Abu Ghraib? Who gives a shit about punctuality.

  27. 27
    Ruckus says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    Not in this or any other lifetime, motherfucker.

    This should be a rotating tag line. It begs for it. And also so true.

  28. 28
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @aimai:

    But Bush is never, could never, be considered an underdog. He was a personally wealthy man, a man who made his money talking people out of oil leases and then was given even more money by being adopted by wealthy Baseball interests in exchange for favors.

    More to the point, he made a small fortune out of a large fortune, a la Trump.

  29. 29

    @Another Holocene Human:
    I think he’s just refusing to see the more obvious answer: All these people disagree with him BECAUSE HE’S WRONG.

  30. 30
    Brian R. says:

    @aimai:

    When Bush came into office, all the media was raving about how he had an MBA and this was going to be a “CEO-style presidency.” They all meant it would be efficient and smooth, free of the dorm-room style of the Clinton presidency, with its free-flowing bull sessions and casual dress code.

    But it turned out we got a modern style CEO — he drove the company into the ground, but all the members of the board got off scott free with impressive golden parachutes.

  31. 31
    KG says:

    @Ruckus: actually, the fact that he grew up in a political family, was the grandson of a Senator, the son of a president (who also served as VP and head of the CIA), and surrounded himself with people who spent decades in the politics, are the reasons why he should have been prepared for the job. Throw in the fact that he was a governor, and in theory, he should have been better prepared than anyone else who ever held the office

  32. 32
    Cacti says:

    I don’t think Dubya was as fundamentally malevolent as Cheney, but what difference does that make?

    Whether the people who died from 09/11, Iraq, and Katrina were through misfeasance or malfeasance, they’re just as dead.

    I don’t give a toss about how good his intentions were.

  33. 33
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    and the first block quote is from whatever Junior Fournier at the National Journal, their WH correspondent, not an opinion writer, counting self-described pro-life Libertarian Dave Weigel as one of Obama’s partisan lackeys of the blogosphere. It was published on the same day Weigel posted a love letter to Trey Gowdy, whom he compared in all apparent sincerity to Atticus Finch, in a long post written with the underlying assumption that administration has something to hide about Benghazi!1!

  34. 34
    Suzanne says:

    I hate this sort of shit. As if the left’s criticism of him had anything to do with his personality. Look, I have no doubt that Bush is a nice person. He seems congenial, somewhat funny, even a bit self-deprecating. I am sure that, over a beer or cards or a golf game, he is a lot of fun to be around.

    As if any of that matters.

  35. 35
    Ruckus says:

    @KG:
    I get that, it’s just that wealth is the measurement that is used to signify to the unwashed masses that someone is worthy of greatness.
    Also all the historical facts you and aimai mentioned he got because those people were wealthy and could afford to slot him into those jobs, every one of which he botched, learning nothing along the way. If we are supposed to learn from our mistakes then GW should be one of the smartest men around. Alas he is anything but. And that was facilitated by what? Yes, MONEY.

  36. 36
    Lyrebird says:

    @lamh36: Gaudeamus igitur and congrats and everything!

  37. 37
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Cacti:

    Objectively speaking, the Antichrist is not as bad as the Devil he works for, but he’s still pretty fucking bad.

  38. 38
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Suzanne:

    I am sure that, over a beer or cards or a golf game, he is a lot of fun to be around.

    If you’re rich and privileged enough to fit into his “crowd,” maybe. Nothing I have observed about Dubya over the last 20 years gives me any confidence that he looks at people who make less than $250k a year as anything other than “the help.” Unlike Romney, he just didn’t get caught mouthing off about it on tape.

  39. 39
    eric says:

    @Suzanne: it does matter, you are just not privileged enough to enjoy the opportunity; hence, your opinion matters not. QED.

    This is another way of saying “I am not to blame for supporting Bush because you have him all wrong.” This is more about defending the author and not the subject qua subject.

  40. 40
    trollhattan says:

    FBI investigating weapons use at the Bundy confrontation.

    http://www.8newsnow.com/story/.....lm-dispute

    This aspect has bothered me more than Bundy’s theft since that day.

  41. 41
    Steeplejack says:

    @lamh36:

    Congratulations to her! I hope you all have a big party.

  42. 42
    Poopyman says:

    @Citizen Alan: Somewhere there’s a video of Bush at a fundraiser, saying (roughly), “I’m glad to be among my people, the haves and the have-mores”, or something to that effect. But hey! It was just the frat boy joking around.

  43. 43
    Marc says:

    a man who came into office underprepared and overly reliant on his wily vice president and who found his footing only after making some tragically bad decisions.

    And that’s said in his defense? Pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the Bush presidency.

  44. 44
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Poopyman: IIRC The Al Smith dinner in 2000, a big white tie fundraiser for the Catholic Church

  45. 45
    Hal says:

    let me just clarify something for you: George W. Bush was a divisive and unsuccessful president. Economically, internationally, culturally — you name the category of leadership, and the results pretty much range from disappointment to disaster. A CBS News/New York Times poll clocked Bush’s final approval rating at 22 percent, which is about as low as you can go in politics without needing a parole officer

    .

    But he wasn’t a bad guy on the inside? Is that the point? If Obama or Clinton had been a Bush equivalent they would have been exiled to a desert island. Bush knew what he was doing, lied to the American people and now sits around painting like a fifth grader.

  46. 46
    Ruckus says:

    @Marc:

    and who found his footing only after making some tragically bad decisions.

    His footing? Is that what that is called? I’d call it tragically inept and stupid. The mark of a person in so far over their head there is no measurement that could be applied.

  47. 47
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Suzanne: @Cacti: Exactly. I have friends to share a beer with. I need the president to govern well. Other than that I don’t care.

  48. 48
    Patrick says:

    This administration enjoys an advantage afforded no other: a partisan media that has its back, minute-by-minute.

    I take it the author has completely forgotten the absolute cheer-leading our media, including NPR. did for Bush’s war in Iraq.

    Furthermore, FoxNew didn’t even exist in Bush’s first term. Obama has had to deal with it since day 1. Hell, I remember when Obama wanted to make an innocent speech to our school children about the value of studying harder in his first few months in office. FoxNews went nuts calling it a Hitler like propaganda speech. And like clockwork, NBC and the rest of the idiots started asking questions if it was appropriate to make a “propaganda speech” to school children.

    In addition, I take it the author conveniently does not remember when Obama became the first President in our history who had to show his fricking birth certificate at a press conference because the media wasn’t sure if Obama was one of us. This is the same fricking partisan media that the author claims has Obama’s back 100% of the time.

    The author has no clue what he is talking about.

  49. 49
    ruviana says:

    Re: Peter Baker’s book. Lance Mannion has a different opinion.

  50. 50
    gian says:

    @Poopyman:

    the way he used the producer’s shirt on the letterman show in 2000 shows you he has the same attitude toward non 1% people as mitt

    http://politicalhumor.about.co.....leenex.htm

  51. 51
    MomSense says:

    @lamh36:

    Hooray!! Congratulations to your sister and your family!!

  52. 52
    opiejeanne says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I think it was when he pissed off Cheney so very much that they were not speaking at Obama’s inauguration.

  53. 53
    Schlemizel says:

    Dear Matt,

    We found a doctor to perform your brain surgery, he is compassionate and well-intentioned — a man who came into officeOR underprepared and overly reliant on his wily vice president nurse and who found his footing only after making some tragically bad decisions.

  54. 54
    JGabriel says:

    mistermix @ top:

    Bush fucked up Afghanistan, Iraq and the economy.

    And a surplus. Never forget that Bush came into office with a budget surplus, and proceeded to squander it on war and the wealthy like a bad son spending his inheritance on drink, drugs, doxies, and gambling debt.

  55. 55
    srv says:

    @KG: I used to think he was just a dilettante, but I don’t even think he had a passing interest in the job. All ego and no cattle.

  56. 56
    Ruckus says:

    @JGabriel:

    And a surplus. Never forget that Bush came into office with a budget surplus, and proceeded to squander it on war and the wealthy like a bad son spending his inheritance on drink, drugs, doxies, and gambling debt.

    So you are saying that he continued to do exactly as he learned at daddies knee.

  57. 57
    Patrick says:

    @JGabriel:

    And yet, they are blaming Obama for the deficit. Heck, the GOP never ever mentioned the deficit when Bush was in office.

  58. 58
    srv says:

    Bundy is loosing his fanbase to the next kerfuffle in Utah

    A band of angry citizens plans to ride all-terrain vehicles onto closed-off, federally managed public land Saturday in protest against the federal Bureau of Land Management, which many say has unfairly closed off a prized area, cheating residents of outdoor recreation.

    The ride, organized by San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, is a gambit to assert county sovereignty over Recapture Canyon, known for its archaeological ruins, that BLM officials say has been jeopardized from overuse. The canyon was closed to motor vehicles in 2007, the agency said, after two men forged an illegal seven-mile trail. Hikers and those on horseback are still allowed there.

    Later that night, he set up a microphone and tried to solicit funds from 75 people who had arrived to hear Lyman speak.

    When Lyman arrived, he was perturbed that his rally had been commandeered by a militia he didn’t invite. “This is my crowd,” he told a reporter. “But I don’t just want to get up and push them out of the way.”

    Later, he walked up to the microphone and asked Dean: “Who are you, anyway?”

  59. 59
    Schlemizel says:

    @Ruckus:
    Actually I think it has to do with the opportunities and experiences wealth can afford that should have prepared him. How many people are gifted an excellent preparatory education? Of those how many then get gifted Yale? Add to that growing up seeing people in power and how they operate. Those things provide a chance to be so well prepared. Boy Blunder could have availed himself of all of that and more.

    But he was an animal molester, lazy, self-centred drunken frat boy who dodged responsibility, drank and snorted coke well into his 40’s. All that was known before he entered the White House so it came as no surprise he ran the show the way he did.

  60. 60
    Redshift says:

    Hurricane Katrina was in 2005. Making “tragically bad decisions” after being in office for more than for years can be chalked up to being “woefully unprepared” and “finding his footing” only if the author is taking ass-kissing to a level where he needs to wash his hair afterward.

  61. 61
    hoodie says:

    Bush comes off there as compassionate and well-intentioned — a man who came into office underprepared and overly reliant on his wily vice president and who found his footing only after making some tragically bad decisions.

    I recall Santayana referring to this type of character as the “Sentimental Bandit,” i.e., someone that uses emotion — good intentions — to justify their horrendous actions. That seems to appeal to the modern right and Villagers (John Beohner’s tears, McCain’s anger, etc.). Note that Obama is constantly attacked (from right and left) for an apparent lack of sentimentality.

    Related by slightly OT, I opened the opinion pages in the morning paper and was treated to this steaming pile of Villager dung from Frank Bruni. Bruni thinks that the reason America is falling behind places like China, and, god forbid, Europe, with shitty airports and declining infrastructure, because of a culture of passivity, approvingly quoting Maureen Dowds excreble description of Obama’s “truculent passivity,” while eliding any discussion of the pack of howler monkeys inhabiting the halls of Congress, relentlessly blocking any attempt by Obama while making sure that assholes like Donald Sterling don’t have to pay taxes.

  62. 62
    Ruckus says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Add to that growing up seeing people in power and how they operate.

    Maybe the one place he did learn something. The people in power that he saw operated like he did, they were just better at it. As so many are at so many things.

  63. 63
    Mike in NC says:

    I predict that the next step in the ongoing rehabilitation of George W. Bush will occur when his father dies sometime in the next few years. The Village media will be on bended knees to honor Poppy and Dubya. My only hope is that I’ll be traveling out of the country then to be spared the entire disgusting spectacle.

  64. 64
    smith says:

    These recent attempts at rehabilitating W strongly suggest that Jeb has decided to run.

  65. 65
    Culture of Truth says:

    You mean Bush didn’t intentionally set out to be remembered for attacks on the homeland, failing to catch terrorists, wars based on lies, two failed invasions, embassy attacks, corrupt Justice Dept, wrecked FEMA, and the worst economy in modern history? Well, no kidding.

  66. 66
    Redshift says:

    @srv: He wanted to be president and have everyone fawn over him, but he had no interest in thejobof president. Except, of course, where he could use the powers of the office to settle scores and benefit himself and his cronies.

    I firmly believe that Bush never gave a rat’s ass about anyone but himself. Most presidents go gray from the stresses of the office and difficult choices. Bush didn’t go gray until his approval ratings plummeted.

  67. 67
    JoyfulA says:

    @ruviana: Cheney’s turn from poor Roosevelt Democratic parents to his current RWNJ status is due, IMHO, to high school sweetie Lynn.

  68. 68
    LT says:

    The administration’s contempt for everyone-and-everything left of Bill & Hill is no state secret. To think (much less state) as much makes a person look silly.

    The White House lost its most accomplished sneer-artist towards all things left when Emanuel went back to Chicago, but that’s all it lost. The mentality that fostered such hostility went marching on.

    It’s also one other reason why I dread the prospect of another Clinton administration, but that’s another story.

  69. 69
    different-church-lady says:

    …leaders aren’t judged by irrelevant nonsense like whether they tipped well at restaurants or were pleasant to their servants.

    Well of course not! They’re judged on how they look in jeans, whether they prefer ketchup or mustard, and how well they throw out the first pitch.

  70. 70
    different-church-lady says:

    At this point in his presidency, I am utterly convinced that Obama is a war-mongering republican in democratic clothing who hates gays, or a socialist hell bent on destroying the free market and the moral fiber of this country with a weak foreign policy, or a squishy triangulating centrist who refuses to take bold stances. And anyone who says otherwise is just a Kool-Aid quaffing O-bot.

  71. 71
    Morzer says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I blame Acorn and the Bavarian Illuminati.

  72. 72
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Have a heart, folks. The longer it takes to rehabilitate Bush the Lesser the longer it will take the Bush family to establish the Hereditary Presidency.

  73. 73
    Kathleen says:

    @aimai: Beautifully stated.

  74. 74
    Kathleen says:

    @lamh36: @aimai: Beautifully stated. Congratulations!

  75. 75
    rikyrah says:

    The Affordable Care Act gives former foster kids healthcare benefits to age 26, though they may not know it
    BY PATRICIA BORNS

    Rain clouds couldn’t spoil Kenisha Anthony’s afternoon as she emerged from the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables on Saturday with an associate degree in social work from Miami Dade College. The 22-year-old from Miami had survived the school of hard knocks that is Florida’s foster care system to reach this moment. Now a provision of the Affordable Care Act promises to help her make an even better start.

    As of Jan. 1, Anthony and others who aged out of foster care became eligible for Medicaid until they turn 26, just as other young adults can stay on their parents’ health plans to that age as part of the ACA. But not all former foster children may know about this little-discussed Obamacare benefit, especially if they’re no longer in the system.

    Anthony learned about it through a group called Florida Youth SHINE, a network of former foster children who are working to find and enroll this population.

    “I found SHINE on the Internet and contacted them to join. They helped me deal with the technical issues of applying. Now I can go to the doctor,” Anthony said.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/201.....ign=buffer

  76. 76

    @Cacti:

    I don’t think Dubya was as fundamentally malevolent as Cheney

    Why? Because Dubya smirked while Cheney scowled? They are both fundamentally evil. They deliberately cause suffering so that they and their associates (all of them already rich and powerful) can become richer and more powerful. Both of them not only approved torture, but bragged about it afterwards. I’d go on, but recalling the history of those two in power upsets my stomach.

  77. 77
    Kathleen says:

    @Kathleen: @lamh36: @aimai: Beautifully stated. Congratulations!

    Sorry for double post. I’m obviously in “Old People” posting mode today.

  78. 78
    Mike G says:

    And yet, they are blaming Obama for the deficit. Heck, the GOP never ever mentioned the deficit when Bush was in office.

    On the contrary, Cheney said “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter,” and that after winning the midterms it was “their due” to run up debts giving away goodies to their cronies. Imagine the shrieking if Obama had said this.

    Then there was the “Gimme $700 billion and shut up” no-conditions, no-accountability bank bailout by Bush’s Treasury Secretary.

  79. 79
    blueskies says:

    OK, so let’s agree that C minus was simply woefully unprepared to lead the free world. Who the FUCK put him into place?

    The entire fucking Republican Party. Every. Single. One. Of. Those. Motherfuckers.

    This is an important point to make. It’s not ONLY that Junior was a grade-A fuck-up, it’s that THE ENTIRE FUCKING REPUBLICAN ESTABLISHMENT THOUGHT IT WAS GOOD IDEA TO NOMINATE HIM TO THE PRESIDENCY.

    And the VERY SAME PEOPLE and their spawn are still holding way too many levers of power. They are the worst thing to happen to this country since – well – since we were a country. You want to talk about Hitler comparisons? I’ll come right out and say it: They are in fact worse than Hitler FOR THIS COUNTRY because Hitler never, ever had the power and capability to kill off what is truly the United States of America.

    But the corporatists sure as shit do have that power and capability. And they’re using 24/7/365.

  80. 80
    EriktheRed says:

    If you all look, you’ll see I commented a bit after the story.

    Aren’t the Cons’ comments wonderful? I especially like the one who threatened that they’ll go after progressives’ families.

  81. 81
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Matt Bai needs to hang from the same gallows as the deserting coward.

    That is all.

  82. 82
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Patrick: Faux Noise has been around since 1996 or so.

    Of course, they were among the loudest cheerleaders for the deserting coward’s great Mesopotamian clusterfuck.

  83. 83
    EriktheRed says:

    I should add that the story I’m talking about is the James Oliphant one in national Journal.

  84. 84
    Patrick says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Yup. Clinton was elected in 1992 and only had to deal with those idiots in his 2nd term.

  85. 85
    aimai says:

    @KG: Right. That was my point. The guy had lived and breathed upper level politics–his Grandfather was a Senator and his father had been both Ambassador to the UN and head of the CIA. If anyone had the connections and the inside information to at least know where the light switches were and what were the levers of power it was Bush. This isn’t about (pace Ruckus) some kind of misbegotten respect for wealth or the heirs to wealth. Bush had no excuse–he was not a novice and he didn’t come from outside the system.

  86. 86
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Brian R.:

    I always get those two mixed up in my head.

    I know that’s horribly unfair to one of them, but I don’t know which.

  87. 87
    Ruckus says:

    @aimai:
    Wasn’t saying the money caused it, the money allowed it. The rot was already there and the spoiled little brat who was given all the opportunity to have been able to be better just didn’t give a shit, he just didn’t want to do the work. As someone who’s had a job of some sort for 53yrs and counting, and the vast majority of them required me to get my hands dirty, take some serious risks and have to think about the end results, he offends me for that alone. His disastrous reign of stupidity and ignorance raises that several notches past uselessness and right into extremely dangerous for all of us. How many years will it take just correct the effects of this asshole and his enablers? Can things even be corrected?

  88. 88
    TriassicSands says:

    …a man who came into office underprepared

    Right. And George Bush left office after 8 years still underprepared. It’s not like Bush grew in office.

    George Bush is an example of the Peter Principle writ large. He passed his level of incompetence and kept going and going and going….now he’s an incompetent ex-president and an incompetent painter.

  89. 89
    dubo says:

    “But as is the way in modern Washington, it was never enough for Bush’s political opponents that he was miscast or misguided. He had to be something worse than that”

    *looks at the way Bush and the media treated, and still treat, War critics*

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHA

    HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

  90. 90
    LAC says:

    @Davis X. Machina: amen.
    And then typically calling any poster with the nerve to challenge them obamabots or steeple.

    And Matt bai should take a leap of a cliff and stop polluting the internet with his writing.

  91. 91
    brantl says:

    Do any of these ass-clowns remember what an all-around douche-nozzle Bush was, in every sense of the words? Why is it OK to be an underachieving bumbler, in the most important job in this country, and to have shamelessly self-promoted one’s self to get there? The last guy that had a reasonable excuse for being president, who might not have been ready for it, was Harry Truman, and he was a great president, in severe contrast to Bush.

  92. 92
    Sondra says:

    @aimai:
    Bravo and amen. I have no idea why anyone would want to rehabilitate this man. Not only have you described his gilded journey thru life, including his chance at a superior education which he blew, and his spot in the coveted air national guard instead of in Vietnam with the rest of us, but he also blew that opportunity.
    In fact there was not a single job he ever was given that he did earn and at which he didn’t fail.

    This is the man who couldn’t find oil in Texas. Who couldn’t even really win the election but had it handed to him by the Supreme Court for the first time in the history of this country. There was no reason to believe he could do the job any better than any of the other jobs at which he failed.

    That he mangled the English language was not a cute little quirk. He was ignorant. And he was arrogant about it. He was so proud of his lack of learning that he spawned a whole movement of people to feel superior in their ignorance and those people for whom Bush opened the door, are making an even bigger mess than the one he left behind

    Half of the Republicans in Congress revel in their disdain for learning anything and they certainly have taken a page from Bush’s maxims of making gut instinct decisions instead making informed decisions.

  93. 93

    @ruviana:

    Thanks to ruviana for linking to my post. I’ve since finished Days of Fire and I’m working on a review. Bai appears to have taken the book as a definitive history of the Bush Administration when what it is is a work of journalism. It’s very well reported and Peter Baker gets a lot out of his sources. The thing is those sources are for the most part Administration insiders who naturally have an interest in putting the best face on things they can because who wants to go down in history as having worked for the worst Presidency in history? So Bush and, to a lesser degree, Cheney do come off as more sympathetic or at least more human characters than maybe they were. It doesn’t change things. The Iraq War is still sold to the public on lies. It’s still a disaster for us and for Iraq. New Orleans still drowns. That Bush wasn’t stupid (Whether he was smart enough to be President is another question.) and wasn’t evil-minded doesn’t change anything. In fact, it’s more of an object lesson for conservatives and liberals—goodness and competence aren’t the natural outcomes of good intentions and being smart. This is why scoundrels can be heroes and saints actually devils. It isn’t necessary to think the absolute worst of Bush to hate what he did as President and to despise him for it. In fact, he’s worse for having been better, if you see what I mean.

    At any rate, I recommend the book even though it infuriated me every other page and had me sputtering “But what about this? And what about that?” There’s only so much that can fit in one book and it’s worth noting that in even a generally sympathetic portrayal (which is more Baker’s sources version of things than Baker’s own) the Bush Presidency was still that bad! Bai makes this point but then first downplays and then seems to forget it. But Days of Fire is worth reading almost just for that reason. If this is how Bush’s own people saw what was happening, imagine what the books are going to be like that follow when the historians start having their say.

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