My favorite topic for blogging — actually, my favorite topic of any kind — is all the dumb shit the media said about George W. Bush before Katrina. So I was pleased to find a link to this 2002 gem from Howard Fineman in Krugman’s post on the Obama presser:
George W. Bush likes big belt buckles: shiny silver ones. Back in Texas, he sported one from the Texas Rangers–not the baseball team he’d helped run, but the elite police of the Lone Star State. More recently, in a Vanity Fair cover portrait with his terror-fighting posse, there was Bush, suit coat open, showing off his newest silver buckle, one bearing the presidential seal.[….]
Bush II, whose early years were spent in Midland, Texas, at Sam Houston Elementary and San Jacinto Junior High, is wired differently. He likes to call people names. That’s practically the first thing you do: Call someone out. You name something for what it is: evil. His speech of last Sept. 20, contained the toughest talk imaginable–we would do nothing less than banish terrorism from the world–and the American people loved what they heard. They still do.[…]
Woofin’ is often the prelude to deal. There was never a deal to be cut with the Taliban or Al Qaeda. But, despite Powell’s call for a “regime change,” I can see the administration accepting the half-measure of renewed U.N. inspections in the meantime. That, at least, has been the pattern in Bush’s legislative dealings, both in Austin and in Washington.[….]
But there was something about Putin that Bush recognized from the school playgrounds of West Texas: a guy from a proud, gigantic and rather untamed country, a guy with a touch of swagger, a gift for blunt gamesmanship and a belief in the business of doing business. Putin has warned Bush against unilateral military action in Iraq, which owes Russia $10 billion. But that leaves Bush plenty of room to maneuver.
Bush is a cowboy because he went to junior high-school in West Texas. And he’d never do something as stupid as launching an unprovoked war without international support.
Tonight, Fineman accused Obama of playing “three card monte”.
What else is there to say?
Update. More Fineman on Obama, from March:
By recent standards—and that includes Bill Clinton as well as George Bush—Obama for the most part is seeking to govern from the left, looking to solidify and rely on his own party more than woo Republicans. And yet he is by temperament judicious, even judicial. He’d have made a fine judge. But we don’t need a judge. We need a blunt-spoken coach.
Obama may be mistaking motion for progress, calling signals for a game plan. A busy, industrious overachiever, he likes to check off boxes on a long to-do list. A genial, amenable guy, he likes to appeal to every constituency, or at least not write off any. A beau ideal of Harvard Law, he can’t wait to tackle extra-credit answers on the exam.