Was he a heavy doper or was he just a loser?

I was disappointed by that Matt Bai fluff piece on W that mistermix linked to yesterday. I don’t care much for soft rock concern trolling, you know “yes Bush was a bad president but I’m concerned that the hippies’ hatred of him blah blah”. I liked the Ron Fournier original better:

Handwritten in the tight script of President George W. Bush, both notes said essentially the same thing: “Thank you for the respect you showed for the office of the President, and, therefore, the respect you showed for our country.”

[….]

The same sense of dignity compelled Bush to forbid his staff to wear blue jeans in the White House. Male aides were required to wear jackets and ties in the Oval Office.

Handwritten notes and no jeans. America, fuck yeah! Fournier turns it up to 11, while Bai sounds like the Luna cover of “Sweet Child Of Mine”.

All this idiocy obscures an important question: was Bush just in over his head or was there something genuinely wrong with him? The dry drunk/cokehead stuff always sounded a bit silly to me, but perhaps the day after Bush’s brain accused Hillary of having brain damage….

Bai’s and Fournier’s attempt to restore Bush as a goodhearted man — and therefore, by logic I don’t understand, not such a terrible president — goes to show how far out of touch the Village (maybe they’re only part of the Cyber Village but whatever) is with contemporary political trends. Bush seems to have killed the dim-witted, back-slapping, good ole boy brand at the presidential level. Just ask Rick Perry. Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan are presented as “wonks”, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are self-styled constitutional scholars, and Chris Christie is a former federal prosecutor.

“Libtards are too intellectual” has become “libtards haven’t read the Constitution” (or their Hayek, if you’re really hard-core).

Don’t get me wrong, this may be a positive development But I don’t know what Bai and Fournier think they’re accomplishing.

188 replies
  1. 1
    some guy says:

    Hippie punching, pure and simple.

  2. 2
    dollared says:

    They are excusing themselves from failing to do their job back then, and their failure to do it now. SATSQ.

  3. 3
    dollared says:

    And kudos for the Tonight’s the Night quote. Totally appropriate for America’s Favorite Artist.

  4. 4
    KG says:

    I’m willing to buy Bush was a nice guy in over his head, I’m also willing to buy the argument that he is a dry-drunk. But… I’m not seeing how either of those serve to rehabilitate Bush. I’d have had a helluvalot more respect for the man if, in 2003, he’d have decided to not seek re-election on some politically correct equivalent to “I’m over my head and need to step aside for the sake of the country.”

    Of course, nobody who makes it to that level believes the country would be better off without them.

  5. 5
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Perhaps President Bush was a “nice” man. So what? He made horrible decisions and the world is still suffering from the ramifications of those decisions.

    Interesting how some people are willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt despite all the horrific mistakes he made (to the point where Republicans held a political convention in 2012 without his attendance). Will they give President Obama the same benefit?

  6. 6
    ulee says:

    Bush is not a nice person. He couldn’t help but reflexively smile when he talked about texas executions. He obviously got off on his power to have people killed. Sick.

  7. 7
    Zam says:

    Bush seems to have killed the dim-witted, back-slapping, good ole boy brand at the presidential level. Just ask Rick Perry. Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan are presented as “wonks”, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are self-styled constitutional scholars, and Chris Christie is a former federal prosecutor.

    Not sure the whole dim-witted thing went away, I see it as just being absorbed into the constitution fetishists, just instead of declaring they are right because of their gut, they appeal to a simple understanding of the constitution and feel good declarations of freedom. Basically taking complex world problems and reducing them into easy to process emotions glossed over with a thin veneer of legitimacy granted by using a document that does provide the basic foundations for how we order our society. Yet at the core this is a group that seem to believe that proximity to a reprint of the constitution provides argumentative support to their positions, not what I’d call a scholarly trait.

  8. 8
    raven says:

    @Patricia Kayden: He’s a punk, fuck him.

  9. 9
    Librarian says:

    Breaking the law and the constitution is A-OK, as long as you’re wearing suits and ties while you’re doing them.

  10. 10
    JoeShabadoo says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if he was drinking off and on in the White House. Eight years is a long time and staying sober is hard work. Real life alcoholics aren’t stumbling around like on tv, and the first thing people who drink too much do is learn how to hide it and Bush had incredible resources to do it. I wouldn’t even consider it a knock on him(I blame his policies). Alcoholism has an enormous recidivism and frankly I’d be surprised if he never went back once.

  11. 11
    Kylroy says:

    “Wouldn’t you rather have a beer with him” got Bush 2 elected, might as well see if it gets him out of the running for worst president ever. (A title which, IMHO, will never be taken from Buchanan.)

    Ulysses S Grant was ten times the man Bush could ever hope to be, but that didn’t save him from being a lousy President.

  12. 12
    ulee says:

    @JoeShabadoo: There was the pretzel incident. Looked to me like he took a drunken fall, as one who has had a few myself.

  13. 13
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    This is why Ron Weasel got his nice little note:

    Steve and I decided to abide by the U.S. media tradition of rising from our seats when the president entered our presence. The snickering German press corps remained seated. “What a contrast!” Bush wrote. “What class.”

    Um. Last time Germans stood up for a political leader, it didn’t end very well.

    Weasel and Bai might want to think about why people say ruder things about shitty presidents than they do about shitty park wardens.

  14. 14

    Making sure that the Overton window remains where it is or moves right by adopting righty positions and calling themselves centrists. Same old song and dance

  15. 15
    Eric U. says:

    @JoeShabadoo: it seems pretty clear that he was drinking.

    And there is anecdotal evidence that Bush is a real asshole. Making up names for people he doesn’t know, really insulting names. And there are lots of stories out there. Cleaning glasses on sweater, Andrea Merkel shoulder rub. I’m sure he’s impressive in person, doesn’t mean anything. Anyone can be nice if they want to.

    I was trying to remember the endearing nickname he was given after he ran away on 9/11. Bunnypants. What a wimp. A Democratic president that so clearly demonstrated themselves to be a wimp would be a national laughingstock, Bush the lesser was quite lucky to have such a compliant media

  16. 16
    Keith G says:

    Even if it conflicts with my general views, I love reading thoughtful journalism which is why I do not read much of anything typed out by Ron Fournier. Bai actually can show the ability to come up with more interesting things to say, though he can be tightly tethered to the types of conventional thought needed to be a regular on TV. Thus, I pay only slightly more attention to him.

    PS… W in gone. I really don’t care what greased his wheels or what his process was. I’m thinking there are other things to contemplate.

  17. 17
    Mnemosyne says:

    I suppose you could say that Bush was only ignorant of how to do the job and what would be required of him, but Anna Sewell shredded that excuse a century ago:

    “Only ignorance! only ignorance! how can you talk about only ignorance? Don’t you know that it is the worst thing in the world, next to wickedness? — and which does the most mischief heaven only knows. If people can say, `Oh! I did not know, I did not mean any harm,’ they think it is all right.”

  18. 18
    grape_crush says:

    > Bai’s and Fournier’s attempt to restore Bush as a goodhearted man — and therefore, by logic I don’t understand, not such a terrible president…

    Well then, that would make Jimmy Carter the best president ever, right?

  19. 19

    @grape_crush:

    Don’t be silly, only Republicans can be rehabilitated.

  20. 20
    jl says:

    @raven: I agree with the first, but not the latter, at least as long as the punk was president. I accepted Bush II as president, and tried to view him in a balanced way as he (IMHO) blundered and malfeasanced his way through his term. I expected those on the other side of the ideological spectrum, and the GOP to do the same with Obama. Foolish me, I should have known better from the Clinton years. In many ways, I think Obama is very close to Clinton, but with less ideological and personal history baggage.

    Except Obama is mixed race, so that smoked out the racists, and bigots and race-hate hucksters. And the reactionaries told the rest of the country to go F themselves, THEY would not recognize the legitimacy of his election. I think that converted me to a permanent total war slash and burn mentality about the teabagger crowd and the miserable degenerate rump of the GOP, which must be crushed.

  21. 21
    greennotGreen says:

    I never saw any aspect of Bush that I would have categorized as “nice.” Giving people nicknames when you first meet them isn’t “nice” – it’s an over-familiarity that reinforces a power relationship. Starting a war against a nation that had not harmed us in years – what’s “nice” about that? Letting a city drown because you can’t be bothered to see whether your FEMA director is up to the job? That’s not what “nice” people do.

  22. 22
    scav says:

    I somehow doubt they’d expend this GW polish if there weren’t a J! in the wings needing a smoother greased slide to high office. For the rest, they do rather like to sometimes play up the leader as cardboard cutout embodying “proper” ‘mercan values making the hoi comfortable with communal beer drinking (which has replaced the born in a log cabin meme). Candidate / President as PR test-marketed “face” on the Brand.

  23. 23
    Rafer Janders says:

    The same sense of dignity compelled Bush to forbid his staff to wear blue jeans in the White House. Male aides were required to wear jackets and ties in the Oval Office.

    The same sense of dignity compelled Bush to forbid his staff to carry out unprovoked invasions of sovereign nations. Aides were required not to write memos justifying the torture of helpless prisoners….

    Somehow, I like my version better.

  24. 24
    the Conster says:

    @JoeShabadoo:

    I know he got me to drink – I spent the week of Katrina stinking drunk and raging at the TV. Any of these media clowns who can say anything nice about Bush after Katrina – never mind Iraq – needs their head removed from their shoulders.

  25. 25
    ulee says:

    Unfortunately, it looks like the Republicans may take the Senate this year. If they do, they’ll impeach Obama for being president while black.

  26. 26
    Yeggman says:

    I, for one, cannot wait for the deluge of bullshit from the Fourniers and Bais of the world that will follow Jeb’s Presidential announcement. Gonna start stocking up on Prestone now.

  27. 27
    Karen in GA says:

    There was the wedding video where he was clearly drunk. The wedding took place after he said he’d quit drinking. It’s mind-boggling, the shit the media and a fair amount of the public happily accepted from that miserable punk.

  28. 28
    ed says:

    @ulee: Indeed. Now watch this drive.

  29. 29
    Peter says:

    @ulee: Even if they take the Senate there’s no way they’ll take the two-thirds necessary for conviction.

  30. 30
    AxelFoley says:

    It took a white guy to fuck up on a colossal scale for America to finally say, “Fuck it, let’s give a black guy a shot at this.”

    THAT’S how much of a fuck-up Bush was.

  31. 31
    the Conster says:

    @Eric U.:

    Shaking hands with Haitians after the earthquake, then wiping his hand on Bill Clinton’s shirt. Heckuva job Bushie, you fucking fuck.

  32. 32
    ulee says:

    Bush is his Mama’s boy. Imagine growing up with that twisted woman as a mother. Apparently it was enough to make him the sick fuck he grew up to be.

  33. 33
    balconesfault says:

    Bush seems to have killed the dim-witted, back-slapping, good ole boy brand at the presidential level.

    Yeah, but there’s still a critique of Obama out there that “he doesn’t have any close personal friends, and therefore can’t be trusted”.

    But I don’t know what Bai and Fournier think they’re accomplishing.

    Fournier’s just accomplishing the same bootlicking he always accomplishes. Not so sure about Bai, except the theory that liberal pundits earn their stripes via anti-liberal contrarianism.

    ***
    All that said, with GW you don’t even need to go with the dry drunk thing. You just have to embrace the kid who grew up blowing up frogs back in Odessa and sucker punching opponents on the rugby fields at Yale. He’s at heart a mean SOB, but one who gives out friendly but demeaning nicknames to the staff.

  34. 34
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    @Zam:

    Except that every time some Teabagger bleats “read the Constitution” it’s clear from everything else they say that they haven’t.

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Or, as the Onion headlined it right after the 2008 election:

    Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job

  36. 36
    Mandalay says:

    But I don’t know what Bai and Fournier think they’re accomplishing.

    They are preparing the ground for Jeb’s run.

    They want to feed voters the perception that Dubya really wasn’t that bad after all, so it’s one thing less for his brother to address, especially since he has a ton of his own baggage.

    Jeb really doesn’t want to be constantly asked whether he will be as fuckawful as his brother at being president, and Fournier et al are happy to do whatever they can to help, by myth building.

  37. 37
    bemused says:

    @JoeShabadoo:

    There is a clip of Bush exiting off a plane and when I first saw it, my first thought was that guy is well lubricated. His gait was all loosey-goosey, arms flopping. What amuses me is that I have seen that clip used numerous times in tv media over the years even fairly recently. With all the clips they could use of Bush, media seems to have a fondness for that particular one.

  38. 38
    The Moar You Know says:

    The dry drunk/cokehead stuff always sounded a bit silly to me

    It wouldn’t if you knew one. I have one as a relative. When she is in over her head (which Bush was) she deals with it with unrelenting bellicosity, paranoia, insistence on a relentless adherence to rules, and destructive action (just like Bush). Stems from an inner knowledge that they’re unequal to their lives and responsibilities. Total and complete frauds, if you will.

    Worst drunks are the ones who’ve been through AA. AA really gives people a platform of self-righteousness that makes them insufferable post-recovery. It works, but the cost is terrible.

  39. 39
    srv says:

    Whether it was booze, coke or he fell off the bike and hit his head, the guy had something wrong with him.

    Bush 1996 vs Bush 2000

    DougJ, are you going to catch the new Freakonomics Book Tour?

  40. 40
    TG Chicago says:

    OT but Geithner’s book kills the idea that Obama only offered a Grand Bargain because he knew Republicans would never accept it:

    From Geithner’s book:

    The problem was that most of Boehner’s caucus was unwilling to accept any new revenues, and many had pledged never to vote to raise the debt ceiling; he once told us that he was more interested in doing big things than being Speaker, but ultimately he was unwilling to split his caucus and risk his job. The President, by contrast, was willing to alienate some of his Democratic allies to pass an agreement he believed would be good for the country.

    Obama bought the “Oh noez! The deficit monster is coming!” baloney hook, line and sinker.

  41. 41
    Eric U. says:

    @ulee: I remember in the days leading up to GHWBush’s election, there was a concerted effort to make his wife look grandmotherly. Later, the New Republic did an investigative report where she apparently had the hired help raise her kids. She’s the grandmother from “light in the attic”

    @balconesfault: it’s not clear that Bush has any close personal friends. This whole thing about who would you rather have a beer with is all in people’s imaginations, I assume because they were paid to imagine GW Bush as a nice guy

  42. 42
    Morzer says:

    I am not betting on the GOP taking the Senate. I think this is going to be the year when Obamacare becomes an electoral asset – and saves the bacon of Pryor and maybe, just maybe, knocks Mitch McConnell on his corrupt ass and bruises his rancid bacon but good. I think that the Dems will lose some seats, but end up with something like a 51-49 or maybe 52-48 split.

  43. 43
    ulee says:

    Remember Bush, paralyzed in the elementary school on September 11? And the best excuse his apologists could invent is that he didn’t want to upset the children. Yeah, right. He should have been relieved of his command right there.

  44. 44
    Elizabelle says:

    We are all losers for George W. Bush having been president.

    To me, Sandra Day O’Connor will never recover her reputation either. She’s got an uglier asterisk to her name than Barry Bonds or anyone implicated in a doping scandal.

    She helped saddle us with the biggest dope (and dupe) to hold office in any of our lifetimes.

  45. 45
    Bill Arnold says:

    @ulee:
    Article 1 section 3:

    The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.


    Also, it is the House that impeaches, and the Senate tries impeachments.

  46. 46
    David Hunt says:

    @ulee: This. A thousand times, this.

  47. 47
    PaulW says:

    Bai’s and Fournier’s attempt to restore Bush as a goodhearted man — and therefore, by logic I don’t understand, not such a terrible president — goes to show how far out of touch the Village (maybe they’re only part of the Cyber Village but whatever) is with contemporary political trends.

    Their logic is indeed off. We’ve had decent, goodhearted men as Presidents – US Grant is a perfect example – who just happened to preside over some of the more corrupt administrations in our nation’s history. A good man does not automatically make a good President. An honest man may make a more accountable President, and in this regard Bush The Lesser turned out to be neither honest nor accountable.

  48. 48
    ulee says:

    @Bill Arnold: Well good. Glad to know that, but it won’t stop them from trying. After all, it’s all about peddling their product to their constituencies.

  49. 49
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Chris Rock said it best

    George W. Bush didn’t give a fuck.

  50. 50
    Chris says:

    Don’t get me wrong, this may be a positive development But I don’t know what Bai and Fournier think they’re accomplishing.

    The entire Village had a big sad when their boy wonder became so unpopular in the late 2000s that even conservatives started saying things like “I disagreed with Bush on many issues!” and “you know he wasn’t a real conservative, right?” They’ve been absolutely itching for enough time to pass that they could start talking about him fondly again instead of pretending he didn’t exist. And apparently, they think now’s that time.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    AA really gives people a platform of self-righteousness that makes them insufferable post-recovery.

    8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
    9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
    10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

    I have a feeling the people you know were doing it wrong since the three above steps are supposed to be ones you continue to do throughout your life, not just when you first get sober. My mother-in-law (who is not an alcoholic, but the child of one) did a similar thing with Al-Anon: she took all of the advice about looking at yourself and your own flaws and decided that merely showing up at the meetings meant that she had done the work (er, no, you need to do a little more than show up …) and was now qualified to tell everyone else what their flaws were.

  52. 52
    Librarian says:

    It’s the “Hitler was nice to his dog” thing again. Bush had a dress code for the White House, therefore he couldn’t possibly have been a bad president.

  53. 53
    PaulW says:

    @ulee:

    successful impeachment will require 2/3s majority of the Senate. There is no way a GOP Senate will have that many seats turned over to them (I think the range is between 52 to 55 seats if they win this midterms). The only way they’ll get 2/3 supermajority like that is getting enough Democrats to defect over… and if that ever happens the nation will NEVER FORGIVE those betrayers.

    They will still impeach, however, because the Far Right is convinced even the specter of impeachment will doom Obama’s administration as a failed Presidency, and taint whichever incoming Democratic candidate might win in 2016.

  54. 54
    KG says:

    @srv: one minute, fifty one seconds. that’s how long i made it in that video before i hat to turn it off. that was just weird, just flat out weird.

  55. 55
    balconesfault says:

    @Elizabelle: Sandra Day O’Connor will never recover her reputation either.

    If it makes you feel any better, Sandy Baby probably actually loses sleep over her part in enthroning Bush. I have no doubt that over the last few years she has often read another Roberts Court 5-4 opinion and suffered great anguish over what she allowed herself to be a part of.

    It’s not much, but it at least makes her somewhat unique among the players in the GOP wrecking crew that helped create and run the Bush Administration – Colin Powell might be the only other one I think of who has true regrets.

  56. 56
    The Moar You Know says:

    Obama bought the “Oh noez! The deficit monster is coming!” baloney hook, line and sinker.

    @TG Chicago: He did. Economics is a huge weakness of his, and given the circumstances of his presidency that has not been a good thing.

    To me, Sandra Day O’Connor will never recover her reputation either. She’s got an uglier asterisk to her name than Barry Bonds or anyone implicated in a doping scandal.

    @Elizabelle: She has always gotten a pass. I wish the folks who give Nader unlimited (and so-well earned) rations of shit would realize that said shit is an infinite resource and throw a bunch her way, because she is far more personally responsible for Bush’s usurpation of the White House than any other human being on the planet. Including Nader and Rove (may they both burn in Hell forever.)

  57. 57
    KG says:

    @Mnemosyne: i’ve seen both types of recovering alcoholics. i think for some, it’s like the catholic convert who turns out to be more catholic than the pope. the most dangerous/obnoxious true believers are the converted true believers.

  58. 58
    different-church-lady says:

    Bush as a goodhearted man — and therefore, by logic I don’t understand, not such a terrible president

    In their construct there is no distinction between the qualities of the man and the qualities of the presidenting. Thus, by rehabilitating one, they rehabilitate both.

  59. 59
    Mike G says:

    “Thank you for the respect you showed for the office of the President, and, therefore, the respect you showed for our country.”

    Or, in the original French, “L’etat, c’est moi”. What an arrogant asshole.

    I’ve come across this dress code pedantry in the corporate world. Invariably it’s the most useless, ass-kissing corporate politicians who get prissy about manners to distract from their complete lack of talent for accomplishing anything of worth.

  60. 60
    drkrick says:

    @ulee:

    Remember Bush, paralyzed in the elementary school on September 11? And the best excuse his apologists could invent is that he didn’t want to upset the children. Yeah, right. He should have been relieved of his command right there.

    I thought he was.

  61. 61
    SatanicPanic says:

    @PaulW: We should just resign ourselves to the idea that they’re going to do this to every Democratic president until Democrats change the rules to make it more difficult. It will just become one more stupid thing they roll out every four years. We may even get multiple impeachments per term. Really, there’s no reason for them not to. At least no reason they would consider important.

  62. 62
    Chris says:

    @ulee:

    Bush is not a nice person. He couldn’t help but reflexively smile when he talked about texas executions. He obviously got off on his power to have people killed. Sick.

    This. Obviously, whether he was a “nice guy” on a personal level is irrelevant. But even if it wasn’t, there’s ample evidence that he wasn’t a nice guy, just a rich frat-boy asshole who never gave a shit who or what his policies might stomp on – whether it was foreign civilians, our own soldiers and first responders, an entire city flooded, or the woman in front of him working three jobs just to stay afloat.

    The image of Bush as the decent, average guy-next-door who would totally run out and help you count your kids if your house was on fire was the purest media-manufactured horseshit.

  63. 63
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Mnemosyne: I get your point (I am painfully familiar with AA, the steps,the idea, and all of the offshoots/variants). However, the problem is that NOBODY does those steps, and everyone comes out of the program either:

    1. an insufferable prick.
    2. unable to function socially outside of AA meetings.
    3. both.

    Dries ’em out (a good thing) but that’s about all.

  64. 64
    Calouste says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Of the members present? So they only have to prevent about 25 Democratic Senators from attending?

  65. 65
    Schlemizel says:

    Boy Blunder was not a nice man. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that he tormented animals as a kid, that he belittled and berated people he disagreed with and that he lorded over people he considered his lessers. Those are not the hallmarks of a nice guy.

    There is also ample evidence that he used his families money, power and connections to make himself wealthy and to avoid any actual effort or accomplishment. He slid through life into his 40’s snorting coke, banging hookers and hanging out. At some point it occurred to him that he would never be the man his father was & this pissed him off. He wanted to title of POTUS simply to shove in the old mans face, particularly the re-election piece. It was the only thing that mattered. He could not be troubled with the hard work of governing so he left that to others while he swanned around playing dress up fighter pilot, dress up cowboy and dress up POTUS.

    I hope he lives to be a very old man so that all his sins can be viewed against history and he can understand what a titanic failure he was as a President, as a man and as a human being. He should die alone and his funeral be given the sort of ceremony other great human disasters.

  66. 66
    Mandalay says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    because she is far more personally responsible for Bush’s usurpation of the White House than any other human being on the planet. Including Nader and Rove

    Oh poppycock. Fuck blaming Nader and Rove and O’Connor for the Bush presidency.

    The person responsible for the Bush presidency was Al Gore. He should have won by a mile, ran a fuckawful campaign, and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

  67. 67
    Mandalay says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    because she is far more personally responsible for Bush’s usurpation of the White House than any other human being on the planet. Including Nader and Rove

    Oh poppycock. Fuck blaming Nader and Rove and O’Connor for the Bush presidency.

    The person responsible for the Bush presidency was Al Gore. He should have won by a mile, ran a fuckawful campaign, and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

  68. 68
    The Moar You Know says:

    We should just resign ourselves to the idea that they’re going to do this to every Democratic president until Democrats change the rules to make it more difficult. It will just become one more stupid thing they roll out every four years. We may even get multiple impeachments per term. Really, there’s no reason for them not to. At least no reason they would consider important.

    @SatanicPanic: I know what will stop it cold, forever.

    Do it to them.

    Pelosi really fucked up in 2006 by giving out the hall pass without even being asked for it. The Democratic Party cannot ever allow that mistake to be made again.

  69. 69
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mandalay: Most accidents have multiple causes.

  70. 70
    balconesfault says:

    @The Moar You Know: At least Sandra Day O’Connor has shown some remorse … Ralph Nader would happily throw the 2016 election to whichever wingnut the GOP puts up there if it could buy him another election cycle in the limelight.

    And sadly, I say that as a fellow Princeton alum and one who had donated to various organizations over the years specifically because of Nader’s affiliation with them … and who seriously respected Nader before he spent 2000 running around telling everyone that there would be no difference between electing Bush or Gore.

  71. 71
    Calouste says:

    @KG:

    Of course, nobody who makes it to that level believes the country would be better off without them.

    Churchill retired because he realized old age was taking its toll.

  72. 72
    Schlemizel says:

    @balconesfault:
    Worse, he said he wanted Bush to win. Put a nice spin on that ans assume (as many have) that he really believed a Bush Presidency would so shock the nation they would beg ol ralph to take the job. A man his age that naive should not be allowed within 1000 yards of the White House let alone the Oval office.

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Uh, I know at least two people for whom it worked really well (and continues to work well) without turning them into insufferable pricks unable to function outside of meetings, and I know several others through those two people (neither of whom are me — one is a co-worker and the other is her husband). Maybe the problem is that you’re acquainted with a lot of insufferable pricks. AA doesn’t cure asshole.

  74. 74
    mai naem mobile says:

    I listen to Julie Mason on XMPotus. She was a WH reporter when W was in office. She’ll say you would have to deal with W on a daily basis to understand why people liked him. She also says she understands why people hate him.I am not sure she quite gets the hatred. I think the reporters liked Bush teasing them, the nicknames etc. I think they find Obama too businesslike.
    Perpersonally I think he was an a****** and incompetent and a drunk you can be everything together.he also had daddy issues.

  75. 75
    kindness says:

    I don’t know what Bai was thinking when he wrote that. Most likely his mind was clouded from those visions of sweet sweet Koch love.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mandalay:

    Fuck blaming Nader and Rove and O’Connor for the Bush presidency.

    Really? We’re not supposed to blame one of the justices who voted 5-4 to hand Bush the presidency?

    I know people love to pretend at this remove that the white collar riot never happened, or that people weren’t illegally removed from the voter rolls, and that somehow Gore could have totally overcome all of the bald-faced cheating that Bush did. It’s a comforting lie, but it’s still a lie.

  77. 77
    Peter says:

    @The Moar You Know: Unfortunately, there isn’t even much evidence that it works outside of a small subset of the population.

  78. 78
    Schlemizel says:

    @Calouste: Interesting trivial – on this day in 1940 Churchill became PM.

    “In this crisis I hope I may be pardoned if I do not address the House at any length today. I hope that any of my friends and colleagues, or former colleagues, who are affected by the political reconstruction, will make allowance, all allowance, for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
    . . .
    “You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. ”

    The man could give a hell of a speech, and yes he gave up power because he felt he could no longer perform as needed & the nation would be better off with a new leader.

  79. 79
    Mike G says:

    @drkrick:

    Remember Bush, paralyzed in the elementary school on September 11? And the best excuse his apologists could invent is that he didn’t want to upset the children. Yeah, right. He should have been relieved of his command right there.

    Bush really let the mask drop that day. An actual responsible chief executive would be on the phone immediately to get information about what was going on, even if decision-making was already being handled by the FAA, Pentagon or whoever. Bush showed himself for what he was, a genial cardboard-cutout chosen for his pliability, doing photo-ops as he was told while Cheney and his cronies looted the country.

  80. 80
    Chyron HR says:

    @Mandalay:

    You forgot the part where you blame the left-wing environmentalist for losing in fucking Tennessee because HURR DURR HOME STAET.

  81. 81
    SatanicPanic says:

    Nader Fight! Nader Fight!

  82. 82
    SatanicPanic says:

    Nader Fight! Nader Fight!

  83. 83
    Chris says:

    @mai naem mobile:

    personally I think he was an a****** and incompetent and a drunk you can be everything together

    QFT and highlighted for emphasis.

    To take a more recent and even more extreme example, I don’t think there exists any doubt that Sarah Palin is a profoundly, incurably stupid woman. She is also petty and vindictive. Bush was the same, as, probably, was Reagan.

  84. 84
    ulee says:

    @Peter: I’ll never fault people for trying to get sober. I’m an alcoholic. My father is an alcoholic. His father was an alcoholic. Fortunately, we seem to have iron livers. That’s what I’m counting on.

  85. 85
    The Moar You Know says:

    @balconesfault:
    @Schlemizel:

    Look, Nader’s an asshole. We all know it. But he did not have the legal power to throw the election to the victor of his choice.

    O’Connor did.

    They aren’t even comparable. One is a idiot. The other one is a malign manipulator who grossly abused the power she was entrusted with to make a decision for the entire nation that she did not have the legal basis or authority to make.

    Anyone could have done what Nader did – and quite a few tried.

    Only one person could do what O’Connor did.

    She bears the blame for 2000, period. Yeah, Gore ran a lousy campaign. Yeah, Clinton stuck his junk in a woman who wasn’t his wife. Yeah, Ralph’s a ego-driven psychopath. But none of this would have mattered – Gore would have won, period – had O’Connor not taken the action that she did.

  86. 86
    pluege says:

    bush the lessor was and is a mental midget…
    which in and of itself isn’t a problem,
    its the position of power and responsibility his handlers put him that was and is the problem.

  87. 87
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Peter:

    I’ve repeated my opinion before (and I’ll try not to derail too much), but IMO AA is helpful for people with a currently unidentified but very specific mental illness that seems to be related to OCD. It is not particularly helpful for people who develop drug or alcohol problems for other reasons, which is why there are a lot of AA failures. If you don’t have the specific symptoms/personality type that we currently call “alcoholic,” you’re not going to benefit from that treatment any more than a bipolar person will benefit from being given antidepressants.

    Still IMO, it would probably be helpful to figure out what the mental illness is that those specific people have and how to treat addicts who don’t have it rather than acting as though everyone with a drug or alcohol problem is the same and will benefit from the same treatment.

  88. 88
    AxelFoley says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    @AxelFoley:

    Or, as the Onion headlined it right after the 2008 election:

    Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job

    LOL, I remember that.

    Just think, though–if President Obama’s terms were any where near as bad as Bush’s, we’d never see another black president in our lifetime. THAT is why the GOP has spent so much time and money into trying to declare his presidency a failure. They know that that last barrier has been breached, are trying to close it back up. Too late for that shit, though.

  89. 89
    ulee says:

    It’s like the old Irish say–Whiskey killed my father. It took 93 years to kill him, but it eventually did.–

  90. 90
    Roger Moore says:

    @mai naem mobile:

    I think the reporters liked Bush teasing them, the nicknames etc.

    They want to be modern day courtiers. Bush gave them that, making them feel like insiders, which is a BFD when the organization you’re inside of is as important as the White House. I doubt that anything Obama could do would make them feel the same way, but his general suspicion of the WH press and willingness to undercut them by giving interviews with local press wherever he goes isn’t helping.

  91. 91
    Schlemizel says:

    @Peter:
    The was a guy on the local NPR station a couple weeks back. I forget the particulars, he was a professor of physiology at Princeton (I believe). He has written a book about recovery and the failings of the 12 step programs. It was very interesting to hear his take, particularly on how little self examination these programs to to see if they are working (they are not). Then came the callers and oh boy did the AA supporters beat on him for an hour. What was funny was that he had addressed all their charges before they called yet they ranted at him as if he were demon. He responded politely but firmly with what the research showed and how the program is flawed. Toward the end you could really hear the tired resignation as he made the same logical point about the same pro-AA rant he had answered a half dozen times already.

    The only thing I really knew about AA before was that they addicted my niece to tobacco as part of getting her to give up drugs. I thought the probably did OK helping people. But the number are not there t prove they are doing OK and the cult-like behavior was stunning.

    EDIT: @Mnemosyne: That is pretty much what the guy on NPR was saying.

  92. 92
    Kyle says:

    @Schlemizel:

    The depth of Bush’s delusion is indicated by his comparing himself to Churchill. In gravitas, eloquence and intelligence, Justin Bieber resembles Churchill more than The Chimp ever did.

  93. 93
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Peter: Fantastic article. Thank you.

  94. 94
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ @ Top:

    All this idiocy obscures an important question: was Bush just in over his head or was there something genuinely wrong with him? The dry drunk/cokehead stuff always sounded a bit silly to me, but perhaps the day after Bush’s brain accused Hillary of having brain damage….

    Digby makes a similar point over at Hullaballoo:

    John Amato dissects the Karl Rove “Hillary has brain damage” ratfuck strategy in this post, laying out in detail how this is designed to create questions about her age. … But I think people aren’t giving Rove the credit he deserves. After all, he’s been around someone who is obviously impaired for many years. Of course that person served as president for 8 years …

    Followed by 25 Bush Quotes:

    1. “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”—Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

    2. “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.”—Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000

    3. “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”—Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

    4. “Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.”—Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004

    5. “Neither in French nor in English nor in Mexican.”—declining to answer reporters’ questions at the Summit of the Americas, Quebec City, Canada, April 21, 2001

    6. “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.”—Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001

    7. “I’m the decider, and I decide what is best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense.”—Washington, D.C., April 18, 2006

    8. “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”—Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

    9. “I’ve heard he’s been called Bush’s poodle. He’s bigger than that.”—discussing former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as quoted by the Sun newspaper, June 27, 2007

    10. “And so, General, I want to thank you for your service. And I appreciate the fact that you really snatched defeat out of the jaws of those who are trying to defeat us in Iraq.”—meeting with Army Gen. Ray Odierno, Washington, D.C., March 3, 2008

    11. “We ought to make the pie higher.”—South Carolina Republican debate, Feb. 15, 2000

    12. “There’s an old saying in Tennessee—I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can’t get fooled again.”—Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

    13. “And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I’m sorry it’s the case, and I’ll work hard to try to elevate it.”—speaking on National Public Radio, Jan. 29, 2007

    14. “We’ll let our friends be the peacekeepers and the great country called America will be the pacemakers.”—Houston, Sept. 6, 2000

    15. “It’s important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It’s not only life of babies, but it’s life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet.”—Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000

    16. “One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.”—U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 3, 2000

    17. “People say, ‘How can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil?’ You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in’s house and say I love you.”—Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002

    18. “Well, I think if you say you’re going to do something and don’t do it, that’s trustworthiness.”—CNN online chat, Aug. 30, 2000

    19. “I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep on the soil of a friend.”—on the prospect of visiting Denmark, Washington, D.C., June 29, 2005

    20. “I think it’s really important for this great state of baseball to reach out to people of all walks of life to make sure that the sport is inclusive. The best way to do it is to convince little kids how to—the beauty of playing baseball.”—Washington, D.C., Feb. 13, 2006

    21. “Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.”—LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

    22. “You know, when I campaigned here in 2000, I said, I want to be a war president. No president wants to be a war president, but I am one.”—Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 26, 2006

    23. “There’s a huge trust. I see it all the time when people come up to me and say, ‘I don’t want you to let me down again.’ “—Boston, Oct. 3, 2000

    24. “They misunderestimated me.”—Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000

    25. “I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.”—Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008

    How sad is it that we actually elected this tongue-benumbed, linguistically retarded clusterfuck to the office of President? Twice?

  95. 95
    geg6 says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Actually, AA has a terrible record and does not really “work” at all. Twelve step programs have about a 10% success rate.

  96. 96
    Mandalay says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Yeah, Gore ran a lousy campaign…But none of this would have mattered – Gore would have won, period – had O’Connor not taken the action that she did.

    More importantly, none of this would have mattered, and Gore would have won, if he hadn’t run such a terrible campaign.

    The responsibility for what happened lies with Gore.

  97. 97
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mandalay: You know he did get more votes than any other candidate.

  98. 98
    Mike G says:

    @Chyron HR:

    You forgot the part where you blame the left-wing environmentalist for losing in fucking Tennessee because HURR DURR HOME STAET.

    Rmoney lost the state where he was Governor by over 20 points. Funny how we never heard the double-secret losing-your-home-state-invalidates-everything meme from the rabies right in 2012. I guess they were too busy preparing for the “Romney Landslide!” predicted by Fox News.

  99. 99
    Schlemizel says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Somewhere around Daddy/Clinton time frame it occurred to me if I could be President* I would have a dinner once a month for select reporters in the WH pool. Invitations would be used to subtly punish and reward based on the ‘quality’ of coverage. I think I would be the most loved President in history as far as the media was concerned.

    * me as President always reminds me of an actually funny Charlie Brown Comic:
    CB: “ARG! I am tired of you making fun of me! Some day I’ll be President, then you’ll be sorry!”
    LVP: “We certainly will be Charlie!”

  100. 100
    different-church-lady says:

    @JGabriel:

    John Amato dissects the Karl Rove “Hillary has brain damage” ratfuck strategy in this post,

    Why are they dissecting it when they ought to be smashing it with a meat tenderizer?

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Schlemizel:

    What was funny was that he had addressed all their charges before they called yet they ranted at him as if he were demon.

    As I said above, though, here’s the problem: for some people, it works. And it’s the only thing that works consistently for them. So they end up feeling that they’re being called liars if you tell them AA doesn’t work when it really does work for them.

    The people that AA tends to work for are people who have no natural “off” button that tells them it’s time to stop a behavior. You can have someone who never takes a drink but will binge-eat until they vomit, and then eat more. You can have someone who gambles too much, or buys compulsively, and can’t stop despite bad consequences. You can have someone who runs more and more miles every day until they blow out their knee. It’s the compulsive behavior that’s at the base of the problem, not the substance or action chosen. And, as far as I know, there really aren’t many other treatments out there for that kind of compulsive behavior other than AA and related groups (Overeaters Anonymous, etc.)

  102. 102
    Zirgar says:

    Bush’s Brain (Damage).

  103. 103
    ulee says:

    @geg6: Well, alcoholism is difficult to shake. Ten percent is better than nothing. These people are trying to mend their lives.

  104. 104
    Roger Moore says:

    @different-church-lady:

    You know he did get more votes than any other candidate.

    Including in Florida.

  105. 105
    J R in WV says:

    @srv:

    That video comparison is unbelievable! The guy is obviously deep into some kind of mental disorder, and was there long before he left office. We escaped the abyss by the skin of our teeth with that boy, for sure.

    Thanks for bringing it back into the light!

  106. 106
    The Moar You Know says:

    But the number are not there to prove they are doing OK and the cult-like behavior was stunning.

    @Schlemizel: Most of them – apologies to Mnemosyne, who seems to hang with a bunch of saints – act like Scientologists with no social filter. I found the robotic, compulsive urge to tell every single person they had any interaction with whatsoever that they were in AA and that they were a drug/drink addled fuckup extraordinary, especially given the very real social and career consequences of such actions. Cultlike behavior is exactly right.

    And personally, I find that sort of personal oversharing offputting in the extreme. And that’s not limited to AA.

  107. 107
    McJulie says:

    IMHO, Bush is a sociopath. No empathy, no conscience, glib liar, plenty of superficial charm. But it’s a charm that seems off, weird, and fake to many people. Weirdly, I think Romney was probably a sociopath too, although not as good at the superficial charm part. The modern Republican Party has adopted sociopathy as its norm, so I suppose it’s not so surprising.

  108. 108
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Calouste:
    Yeah, it is theoretically possible that the Republicans would try to game the impeachment trial vote in the Senate e.g. by locking out the Democrats or otherwise skewing the vote (special late night session or some such), but this would rightly be perceived as a coup both elsewhere in the world and in the US, and would not end well for the Republicans IMO.

  109. 109
    JaneE says:

    The results speak for themselves. There may be real reasons why Bush II did the things he did, but he still did more harm than good, and good intentions or personal agreeableness or even alcoholic impairment don’t make up for that.

    Respect for the country did not apparently extend to respecting the laws against torture. Respect for the law didn’t include actually enforcing laws that had been on the books for years (EPA). And having an MBA didn’t prevent him from letting the economy get blown up. And I don’t see anything resulting from his presidency that will actually make this country a better place, and much that makes it worse.

  110. 110
    Schlemizel says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Boy you are sounding exactly like that guy (I need to see if the great gazoogle will reveal his name to me). he thing is he was very clear that AA DOES work for some people (he had great difficulty in getting accurate numbers but his estimates were around 3% I believe). He said it was a good thing for those that it worked for but actively damaged people it didn’t work for because it told them they failed because they were weak, which was not helpful at all.

    His approach was to uncover the cause of the addiction and then use one of several methods depending on what had the best chance of working. One of those might be a 12 step. He told people that if they had failed at AA they should not quit but to seek other treatment options. It was all very rational and sensible.

    EDIT: It may have been Eugene Beresin, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

  111. 111
    Cacti says:

    I don’t think it was any more complicated than Dubya just not being very smart.

    He was a living example of the Peter Principle, whose family connections got him to heights that were well above his individual merits or level of competency.

  112. 112
    ulee says:

    @The Moar You Know: They’re just trying to deal with an addiction. Give them a break. It’s not for me. I could never go for the higher power/spill your story approach but then I’m a drunk who doesn’t want to stop drinking. I like it. I won’t judge people who want to stop.

  113. 113
    SatanicPanic says:

    @McJulie: Yurp. Cheney too. McCain OTOH hand is just your run-of-the-mill jerk and Palin is an angry ignoramus.

  114. 114
    Schlemizel says:

    @McJulie:
    About the middle of his first term I started editing the Wikipedia page on sociopath. I had gone there for a different reason and noticed that the page requested examples. I was able to proved concrete examples for each trait in the words and actions of one George Walker Bush. The post stayed up about 3 day & then was scrubbed with the request for examples again. I found a whole new set using the same person, that one lasted almost 24 hours. After the third attempt to document for them the page was locked so nobody could edit it.

  115. 115
    srv says:

    @McJulie: You know, all that empathy and social graces is pretty over-rated.

    One just needs to spend time on a blog or two to see that most people are really sociopaths.

  116. 116
    Botsplainer says:

    Oops. One of my soon-to-be-former Facebook friends (a wingnutty Mormon former law partner) has just realized that my snarky trolls on Facebook are going straight to what it means to be a loud, proud, American conservative.

    I want people to sneer and spit whenever they hear somebody announce that they’re a conservative.

    He’s practically whimpering about my hurtfulness.

    I’m toying with prominently placing this fine art about “Operation American Spring” in order to deliver the coup de grace.

    http://fatoperator.com/wp-cont...../Merca.png

  117. 117
    D58826 says:

    @The Moar You Know: If there is a Hell, I hope Bush and Cheney spend eternity listening to the tears of the widows and orphans that he helped to create. I hope that he has to watch over and over as the Mom (or the Dad in some cases) tells their young children why Daddy isn’t coming home.

  118. 118
    srv says:

    @Botsplainer: Flag needs a Made in China label.

  119. 119
    Kay says:

    I listened to Bush supporters for the first 6 years of his presidency (when they still admitted loving him) and they never thought he was smart. They thought he was “good”. A good man. Often those exact words.

    I think it means trustworthy, traditional in the sense that he seemed a familiar type to them, and from a good family. The ‘good family’ part is key and is way more important than they’d ever admit, I think.

    It doesn’t mean “smart” but it’s not back-slapping good ‘ol boyism, either. They’d expect him to be better than them because of his prestigious family, so he wouldn’t have to pretend to be one of them.

    That pretty much describes the press corps love, too, IMO. Same thing. A Good Man.

  120. 120
    Botsplainer says:

    @srv:

    Also, it is missing the display of a laptop with a 101st Chairborne Rangers sash.

  121. 121
    PsiFighter37 says:

    OT, but looks like those militia folk / dress-up soldiers sitting around at Bundy’s ranch are looking for some sweet, sweet welfare cash so they can keep sitting on their ass in the middle of nowhere doing nothing. Fools.

  122. 122
    jl says:

    On the topic of Bush, or anyone, the person versus Bush the president,both concepts are so multi-dimensional and there is such a loose connection between any interesting mix of the dimensions for both, I don’t see it as interesting topics for a quick and sloppy ‘thinkpiece’ or brief argument. I think only fools or knaves would waste time jotting down a few half-formed thoughts to attempt an argument. Hence, publications from people like Fournier and Bai.

    That Fournier cannot bring bring himself to bring accurate facts to his piece makes it even worse. Fournier does not know the difference between ‘ignorant’ and ‘dumb’. Fournier is too inept or too dishonest to report facts that he deems relevant accurately. And Fournier is equipped to write a piece that judges even Bush II in any capacity, public or private? It is laughable.

    I like to look on the bright side, and to prepare for challenges ahead. Maybe Bush II was none too bright, but then there is Rick Perry.
    Sure, Bush II had some sociopathic tendencies, but now we have Ryan, Cruz and Rand.

  123. 123
    Patrick says:

    Handwritten in the tight script of President George W. Bush, both notes said essentially the same thing: “Thank you for the respect you showed for the office of the President, and, therefore, the respect you showed for our country.”

    I remember when right-wingers went nuts when the black guy was shown in a photo in the Oval Office not wearing suit jacket. They talked about disgrace to our nation and what have you. Not a single apology came when photos started showing up of George W Bush and Reagan not wearing a suit jacket in the Oval Office. Fricking hypocritical racists…If it’s not the birth certificate, it is something else.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....64513.html

  124. 124
    Botsplainer says:

    Here’s the post, and the fun that follows (skipping the other comments, because they don’t really do much):

    Undoubtedly, and with no sense of self awareness, these decision makers whine incessantly about Sharia law.
    And Benghazi.

    Teen Girl Ejected From Prom Because Horny Dads Can’t Stop Staring
    A 17-year-old girl says she was kicked out of her homeschool prom because…
    GAWKER|BY JAY HATHAWAY

    ********************** T***, your post is offensive and shallow. I am a conservative and have tried to live a decent life. You certainly know that. This article comes from a non-official source and claims it knows what the fathers at the dance were thinking….usually people claiming telepathy are hospitalized and medicated, not cited as a reliable source. Despite this unverified account, you find a way to bash all conservatives because of a jaundiced view of some quack of a blogger. Hence, we see liberal fairness at its best. And then you make some lamb point about Sharia Law and Benghazi. Because Sharia law is our friend, right ****. And Benghazi was just some crazy mixed up kids out for a good time, right? Maybe if your child had been killed in Benghazi you would want to know the truth (which this administration has concealed and lied about incessantly). Do me a favor, when you post some estute point in the future. . .have one.

    [supportive comment from another poster]

    *************************** Excuse me *****, but attacking all conservatives because a girl got kicked out of a home school prom seems a little like comparing an elephant to a snake because of it’s nose. Indeed, we don’t even know if the people running the prom were liberal or conservative. All we have is a teenager’s word regarding the incident which the second hand author parlays into a mind reading session. As for conservatives being ignorant, I would point out that the level of education among the average conservative is much higher than the average liberal. And this is skewed by the liberal education establishment, or it would be astronomically higher. The percentage of small and large business ownership (which requires some energy and know how) is also much higher among conservatives than liberals. Indeed, if you own your own business you have to be a complete idiot to be a liberal. Now, if you re-read my post, you would see I was complaining about a personal attack on all conservatives, not making one. ****’s a big boy, he can take up for himself. I knew **** when he was a conservative. Some people can’t stand the cold shoulder and ostrazing peer pressure exerted by liberals. Me, I could care less what liberals think of me; but blind attacks need to be exposed for what they are.

  125. 125
    Roger Moore says:

    @srv:

    Flag needs a Made in China label.

    And appears to be in good condition and being flown properly. Given the general state of flags I’ve seen people fly from their vehicles, it should be dirty and the fly end should be getting ragged. Perhaps it should be so huge the end is dragging on the ground and being run over by one of the wheels.

  126. 126
    PaulW says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    The GOP will keep impeaching Democratic Presidents until they get voted out of control of the House, and are forced out of power long enough for multiple Democratic Presidents to have served during their exile.

  127. 127
    D58826 says:

    OT but President McCain has decided that we should sent troops into Nigeria (whither they want them or not) to rescue those girls. Is there anywhere in the world that McCain does not want to invade?

  128. 128
    jl says:

    @Kay: Yes. It was common to hear the argument from the gut and from the heart from supporters of Bush. And among those I know who are most vile in both their disrespect of Obama, and of anything the federal government attempts while Obama is in office, and their insistence that their own disrespect be respected as legitimate political views, are also the ones who most insisted that I respect the pathetic and miserable mess of Bush II.

    These people think its great fun to fantasize and joke about the death of Obama, accuse Obama of treason for everything from signing Holiday proclamations to issuing executive orders (in exactly the same way Bush II did, and also less frequently than Bush), but I am supposed to go along and understand it is just their ‘subversive’ humor. The hell with that. I never did that wrt to Bush II, even though I thought he was a disaster for the country, and that the Supreme Court, not the election of 2000 put him in office.

  129. 129
    raven says:

    @jl: I did.

  130. 130
    Schlemizel says:

    @Botsplainer:
    The Gawker article on Roves diagnosis of HRC is much better. The comment section was an absolute delight, including a mention of Jeff Guckert/Gannon and the question of the affect of anti-HIV meds on brain function.

    http://gawker.com/we-know-that.....1575789714

  131. 131
    Botsplainer says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I’m debating on whether or not its missing a cigarette, or at least a Swisher Sweet, but the O2 tank makes a fine substitute.

  132. 132
    different-church-lady says:

    @Botsplainer: You have odd hobbies.

  133. 133
    Schlemizel says:

    @D58826:
    Arizona, maybe Nevada.

  134. 134
    jl says:

    @raven:

    “I did”

    But you are some species of cranky Southerner as far as I can tell, and I respect those cultural byways that are not my ways. I am talking about civilized people here. You know, Californians!

  135. 135
    Botsplainer says:

    @Schlemizel:

    I actually met Gannon way back in the double naughts, during my wingnut days.

    Also got invited to, and passed on, one of Grover’s breakfast confabs.

    Those people were all fucking creepy.

  136. 136
    different-church-lady says:

    @Schlemizel: You also have odd hobbies.

  137. 137
    Botsplainer says:

    @different-church-lady:

    You have odd hobbies.

    No, I have amends to make.

  138. 138
    different-church-lady says:

    @Botsplainer: Well, you have odd amends then.

  139. 139
    J R in WV says:

    There is no excuse for the way President Obama is treated by the Republican party. There is a reason, and it IS ugly.

    Everything President Obama does is wrong, tasteless, etc. Even if it was what the last Republican president did. Explain that away?

    I agree that The worst mistake Pelosi ever made was not acting to impeach Bush the day the Democratic party first took control of the House. The worst mistake President Obama made was not ordering a clean house investigation into the actions of the federal government under Bush, and publishing the dirty details.

    Additionally, they should have reviewed every hire and appointment, and disposed of (fired, not chopped) everyone who wasn’t actually qualified for the position. We all know there were a boat load of those…

  140. 140
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Botsplainer: Are you on a 12 step program?

  141. 141
    raven says:

    Some folks trust to reason
    Others trust to might
    I don’t trust to nothing
    But I know it come out right

    Say it once again now
    Oh, I hope you understand
    When it’s done and over
    Lord, a man is just a man

    Some folks look for answers
    Others look for fights
    Some folks up in treetops
    Just look to see the sights

    But I can tell your future
    Look what’s in your hand

    Grateful Dead – Playing In The Band Lyrics

  142. 142
    Gator90 says:

    @D58826:

    If there is a Hell, I hope Bush and Cheney spend eternity listening to the tears of the widows and orphans that he helped to create.

    Bush wouldn’t understand that the tears had anything to do with him, and to Cheney they’d be sweet, sweet nectar.

  143. 143
    Botsplainer says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    May as well be.

  144. 144
    chopper says:

    @Botsplainer:

    someday they’ll make a movie about the gallant deeds of the 101st chairborne. they’ll call it “Zero Dark QWERTY”

  145. 145
    D58826 says:

    @Gator90: I’m afraid your right. Just a waste of two tickets to hell

  146. 146
    raven says:

    @chopper: I’ve read one of this guys books.

    Chairborne Ranger
    Dennis Mansker’s

  147. 147
    Kay says:

    @jl:

    I don’t get a lot of face to face vitriol about Obama. I get people who try to argue with me, but they don’t use real loony stuff. I work among mostly conservative lawyers but it’s banter. They actually want political gossip about Democrats, what they think is our secret plan or whatever. I’m amazed at how bad at this some of them are. They thought Sarah Palin was just a killer candidate, for example. Devastating and terrifying to Democrats. Not true, that. Never true. They were also supremely confident Romney would win. I heard “Obama is toast” more times than I can count.

    I had one experience in the 2012 campaign where I was at this event and this older man in a work jumpsuit came up to me and leaned in and said the “The President is a Muslim and he wasn’t born in the United States“. His hands were shaking he was so angry. I was standing next to the Democratic candidate for sheriff and he went into that cop alert mode that they have, where he moved closer and I could feel his suddenly focused attention. It was really pretty wild. It felt unhinged, like something bad was going to happen.

    The “good man” thing is resilient, because Bush can be a good man and do a bad job, or have bad luck. That’s within the good man definition :)

  148. 148
    Botsplainer says:

    @chopper:

    You win the Internet.

  149. 149
    Schlemizel says:

    As I said when the original post about Bai’s BS

    Matt, we found a guy to perform your brain surgery. He’s a nice guy who means well even though he has no experience, little understanding of human anatomy or much interest in learning. I’m sure you are OK with that.

  150. 150
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @JGabriel: Paul McCartney feels the same. lol

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....98650.html

    I recall some people saying that Bush was someone they wanted to have beer with. He’s an idiot. I can’t imagine having anything to say to him (or Palin who is the female version of Bush).

  151. 151
    Patrick says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    I recall some people saying that Bush was someone they wanted to have beer with.

    Even if he was, what kind of an idiot uses that as a reason to vote for President of the United States? It is a rhetorical question; unfortunately plenty of people use that as a reason…

  152. 152
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @D58826: But what sayeth Vice President Palin?

  153. 153
    ulee says:

    @Patrick: The last time I partied with Hitler, I made an offhand joke about his mustache and the dude flipped out. I haven’t been back since.

  154. 154
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    He’s an idiot.

    Actually, I doubt that he was/is stupid; rather, he was/is profoundly incurious about anything outside of politics, baseball, and mountain biking.

  155. 155
    ulee says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yes, Bush likes mountain biking but he must always be in front. What sort of diseased mind thinks like that?

  156. 156
    gene108 says:

    @PaulW:

    They will still impeach, however, because the Far Right is convinced even the specter of impeachment will doom Obama’s administration as a failed Presidency, and taint whichever incoming Democratic candidate might win in 2016.

    Hey, it worked in the run-up to the 2000 election and helped take the House and Senate in the 1990’s, why can’t it work now? It’s just like Reagonomics* always works, because every economic problem is just like 1970’s stagflation.

    * I’m not implying supply-side economics cured this country of stagflation, but it was developed to address a specific economic situation that did not respond to prior methods of economic stimulus. The Right now views it the only way to do things.

  157. 157
    jl says:

    @gene108: The stagflation of the 70s was initiated by several supply shocks, the OPEC crude oil price hikes being most important. The main cure was the ‘Volckenomics’ of Paul Volcker, which is easy to explain in Keynesian framework. I don’t think that had much to do with Reagan era ‘supply side’ economics.

  158. 158
    Mandalay says:

    @gene108:

    Hey, it worked in the run-up to the 2000 election and helped take the House and Senate in the 1990′s, why can’t it work now?

    Actually the Republicans lost seats just before the impeachment of Clinton. It can be debated to what extent impeachment was a factor in that, but it’s impossible to claim that impeachment resulted in the Republicans winning seats in the 98 mid-terms.

  159. 159
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mandalay: Fuck Ralph Nader, and fuck you.

  160. 160
    Roger Moore says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    he was/is profoundly incurious about anything outside of politics, baseball, and mountain biking.

    Did he ever display any genuine curiosity about those subjects? He may have had some interest, but I don’t remember him ever questioning his own beliefs about them. The closest I can remember his him making jokes at his own expense about trading away Sammy Sosa. Even that shows some lack of curiosity, since it’s just repeating conventional wisdom about that move being a mistake. A more in-depth analysis suggests he made a bigger mistake by trading Harold Baines (the main pickup in the Sosa trade) away for a couple of nobodies the next season.

  161. 161
    Mandalay says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Fuck Ralph Nader, and fuck you.

    Riiiiiight – fuck everyone else, and blame everyone else. Just don’t blame Al Gore – the incompetent loser who blew it.

  162. 162
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Kay: Kay, my late father told me in 2000, when I was angry and upset at the installation of the deserting coward into the Presidency that he was “a good man”.

    Six years later, he admitted to me that he was profoundly wrong with that assessment of him.

  163. 163
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mandalay: You are dogshit…;just like Ralph Nader.

    You and Nader should both hang from the same gallows as the deserting coward as accessories to his war crimes.

  164. 164
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Did he ever display any genuine curiosity about those subjects? He may have had some interest, but I don’t remember him ever questioning his own beliefs about them

    Good point. I would say though that those were probably the only subjects in which he might have shown curiosity.

  165. 165
    tones says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    Gore did Win.
    Again, He won, not lost , won.
    when they actually counted the votes, Gore won, Nader’s 2.5% aside.

    Can’t “we” at least remember that is a fact?

  166. 166
    tones says:

    @JGabriel:
    We didn’t.

    Thanks Diebold.

  167. 167
    Mandalay says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    You and Nader should both hang from the same gallows as the deserting coward as accessories to his war crimes.

    Whatever you say, but Al Gore is still the useless campaigner who blew the 2000 election for the Democrats.

    But keep holding your breath and stomping your feet if it makes you feel better about the whole thing.

  168. 168
    GregB says:

    The odious villagers have received their walking orders.

    Destroy Hillary Clinton through an endless dunk in the cesspool of innuendo, sneering, character assassination and simultaneously tenderly cup ball-bag of Jeb Bush lovingly and don’t stop fondling until everyone loves him more than life itself.

  169. 169
    gene108 says:

    @Mandalay:

    Just don’t blame Al Gore – the incompetent loser who blew it.

    When I read Senator Al Franken’s seminal book on the 2000 election and the scandal mongering of the 1990’s – Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them – I did not realize how stacked the deck was against Gore, with respect to media coverage.

    There really was a post-mortem on the Left about how corrupted the media was and attempts were made to counter. If nothing else, by the time Obama ran in 2008, the Democratic guys running his campaign understood how the Right wanted to rig the media game.

    What hurt Gore, in the end, was Bush, Jr having a lot more money than Gore. Gore could not respond to everything the media and Bush, Jr. threw at him, because he lacked the financial resources. The same problem dogged Kerry.

    Ever since campaign contributions were tracked, almost 40 years ago, every winning Presidential candidate has had one thing in common: They raised more money than their opponent. Period.

    Obama has been noted as running a good campaign, but at its core is the fact that his Presidential campaigns have been historic, with regards to fund raising. Bush, Jr was considered to have set an historic bar for fundraising in 2000 and 2004, by raising over $300 million for each campaign. Obama raised over $600 million in 2008. He completely annihilated public financing of campaigns, which was tepidly tried after Watergate, by raising around a $1 billion dollars between is two Presidential campaigns.

    In short, the problem Gore had, which Obama did not have, was the amount money available to spend versus his opponent.

  170. 170
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Oh shit, all this time I thought they were saying Bush was a bad precedent. Doh!

  171. 171
    Kay says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Very few people (and no political journalists) explored how important Bush’s family was to both the public image of him and to his success in politics. Conservatives rely a lot on who you are, what your family of origin is. They take ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” as gospel. We were baffled by the whole “Obama’s father” thing, but “who are you?” means a lot to them, and they mean “family of origin”.

    I think the whole discussion makes us uncomfortable, because it’s about social class and fitting in and it’s weirdly archaic – about bloodlines and ancestry, a measure we pretend to reject as a country.

    The fact is Bush had a huge fucking political machine going in, in every state, people who have known each other for decades and are completely comfortable with that family in positions of power and Jeb Bush will have the same advantage. It matters.

    I thought he was a formidable opponent, hard to beat. They just killed us here. They were like some crazy, devoted army. They say ” love wins” and they loved him, and we didn’t love John Kerry :)

  172. 172
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @balconesfault:

    It’s not much, but it at least makes [Sandra Day O’Connor] somewhat unique among the players in the GOP wrecking crew that helped create and run the Bush Administration – Colin Powell might be the only other one I think of who has true regrets.

    I would add Christine Todd Whitman.

  173. 173
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @balconesfault:

    It’s not much, but it at least makes [Sandra Day O’Connor] somewhat unique among the players in the GOP wrecking crew that helped create and run the Bush Administration – Colin Powell might be the only other one I think of who has true regrets.

    I would add Christine Todd Whitman.

  174. 174
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Boy Blunder was not a nice man. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that he tormented animals as a kid, that he belittled and berated people he disagreed with and that he lorded over people he considered his lessers. Those are not the hallmarks of a nice guy.

    There was a widely-reported story (I think before he was even running for President) that he “branded” fraternity pledges (or it might have been Skull & Bones initiates, can’t remember) by holding a wire coat hanger in a flame until the metal was red-hot, then touching it to the member’s backside (butt, lower back, can’t remember that either). Sick torturing fuck.

  175. 175
    gene108 says:

    @Kay:

    I thought he was a formidable opponent, hard to beat. They just killed us here. They were like some crazy, devoted army. They say ” love wins” and they loved him, and we didn’t love John Kerry :)

    I remember a lot of conservatives, in 2003 and 2004, declaring Bush, Jr to be the greatest President ever. I do not really get it, but then again I’m not a conservative.

  176. 176
    Mandalay says:

    @balconesfault:

    Colin Powell might be the only other one I think of who has true regrets.

    Meh. He surely has regrets about getting busted for having played such a prominent part in legitimizing the invasion of Iraq, but I suspect he is agnostic about the actual invasion. If he truly regretted what he did, he has been pretty mealy mouthed about criticizing his past behavior.

    Apart from Cole and Sullivan I can’t think of anyone who has publicly owned up to having been obviously wrong in supporting that disastrous war. Despite the massive evidence that it was a huge and historic blunder, most politicians and media figures who supported it still assert that it was the right thing to have done. Assholes in denial.

  177. 177
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @ulee:

    They’re just trying to deal with an addiction. Give them a break. It’s not for me. I could never go for the higher power/spill your story approach but then I’m a drunk who doesn’t want to stop drinking. I like it. I won’t judge people who want to stop.

    I am really kind of astonished to count up the number of people I know who are, or have been in AA.

    I do know one guy who goes to meetings pretty much every day, in a very low-key way; he is a wonderful person, never really talks about either his addiction or recovery, just does what he feels he has to do.

    I know a couple — the wife my my best friend in HS and in my wedding and all that — ended up having a horrible, weird, tough life — after four earlier marriages, finally met a great guy in AA and has been with him for 20 or 25 years. They are both pretty OCD but have transferred this to collecting crosses (there are hundreds and hundreds in their house; it’s actually kind of an attractive collection if you don’t pay any attention to what it symbolizes); at any rate, they are not a menace to themselves or others, and I love them both, so while I might question the displacement I cannot fault my friends for doing what they decided they had to do,

    Another good friend married a man who has been in AA for probably 40 years; falls spectacularly off the wagon; climbs back on; and there we are again.

    My personal addiction is not alcohol or other substances*; it is credit. I haven’t had a credit card (or mortgage, or car note, or whatevs) since 1975. I once read a book about Debtors Anonymous and adopted most of its principles; never went to a meeting; don’t think I have become an arrogant holier-than-thou, although it’s possible Dunning-Kruger may be at work here.

    All to say that AA and its myriad offshoots may work just fine for some, provide displacement opportunities for others, and be pretty much no good (or at least hit-and-miss) for others, maybe the majority.

    *(I was a heavy smoker for a long time until a heart attack turned me into an ex-smoker JustLikeTHAT. So I do know from substance addiction, and sympathize like hell with anyone who plans their entire life around the next pack of smokes, or bottle, or hit, or as you will.)

  178. 178
  179. 179
    Mnemosyne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Two stories about my recovering alcoholic co-worker (which I’ve told before) that made me start to be curious about the potential addiction/OCD connection:

    After she got sober, she decided to take better care of her health, so she became a vegetarian. Then a vegan. Then an anorexic. Because if a little less food was good, then not eating at all was even better.

    We were talking one day about a trip I had taken to Vegas for my cousin-in-law’s wedding and a really disgusting frozen drink that I’d had to throw away after two or three sips because, really, it was gross. She gave me a strange look and said, “That just means you need to drink it faster.”

    After these and other observations of the ways that she would act compulsively unless she consciously forced herself to stop, I really think there’s an OCD-like aspect to addiction that hasn’t been looked at nearly enough.

  180. 180
    xian says:

    @Morzer: it would be sweet to see a two-term Obama outlast Yertle McTurtle.

    …can’t get the image from the John Oliver ad out of my head though!

  181. 181
    Jeffro says:

    @greennotGreen: I wrote a letter to the editor a ways back, when “American Dynasty” by Kevin Phillips came out. The gist of the book (and my letter) was that for such a ‘nice family’, wow, there sure was a lot of evidence to the contrary. Talk about the banality of…

  182. 182
    Valdivia says:

    @Kay:

    I mostly lurk now but I wanted to say I always love reading what you have to say. Illuminating and grounded. I learn something every time.

  183. 183
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jeffro:

    It’s what Kay said, though. The Bushes aren’t a “nice” family, they’re a “good family.” As in, they’re genetically The Right Kind of People. To a lot of conservatives, that’s more important than what the actual person is like.

  184. 184
    Jeffro says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think we’re about 99% saying the same thing. It’s still baffling. You’re right that Kay’s right, but it’s not genetics, it’s what passes for old money and good breeding in this country, in a lot of wingers’ minds. It blinds their side to the obvious and excuses a great deal that wouldn’t even get past first base from anyone else.

  185. 185
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Actually, I doubt that he was/is stupid; rather, he was/is profoundly incurious about anything outside of politics, baseball, and mountain biking.

    Which is OK if he was say, an anonymous commenter on a blog, or owned a liquor store or…. but not someone running for president. Even he should have recognized that if he wasn’t in fact, stupid.

  186. 186

    Male aides were required to wear jackets and ties in the Oval Office.

    What about pants? Did they go around pantsless?

  187. 187

    […] to DougJ and mistermix at Balloon […]

  188. 188
    Heliopause says:

    was Bush just in over his head or was there something genuinely wrong with him?

    Remote diagnosis is always dangerous but I’ll have a go. I thought he was a reasonably competent politician in 2000. Presented himself well, spoke reasonably well and all that. Certainly no great thinker or orator but minimally competent at the self-presentation part.

    As his Presidency progressed his speech became slightly slurred, his sentences more truncated, his thoughts, such as he ever had them, less focused. I think he had a stroke or something similar. Perhaps the Pretzel Incident had a more profound effect than we realized.

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