Friday, May 05, 2006


Christy Hardin Smith:

... We’ve hit a point where people are thinking about the Bush Administration in terms of a "Hump Day" for the whole country — we’re past the "Wednesday" of his presidency and headed toward the weekend, when we all celebrate and then start anew with someone fresh.

People are already thinking past President Bush, but he’s hunkering down and hoping that nothing else bad happens between now and then. He’s already thinking past himself, too. Well, isn’t that helpful and productive? And we’re…what…treading water until then, hoping that no more sharks are circling, until the rescue boat can come and fish us all out of the drink?

Josh Marshall:

…he [George Packer in the New Yorker] describes the president’s strategy as "muddling through the rest of the Bush Presidency, without being forced to admit defeat, until January of 2009, when the war will become a new President’s problem."

This really is the issue. Brazen it out, burn off men and money, not admit there’s any real problem and then pass it off on the next guy who will take the blame.

The president lacks the courage to change course. The whole country is paralyzed by his cowardice.


This is true, but many other people are paralyzed by their own cowardice. It’s apparently okay in official Washington for there to be a nation whose leader thinks words speak louder than actions, that an impudent comedian is more offensive than the ongoing slaughter in Iraq, and that 2-3 dead American troops per day is barely worthy of notice.

One keeps imagining that the grownups will finally wake up and try to change things, but if the last decade has taught us anything it’s that if there are any grownups in Washington no one bothers to listen to them anymore.

I've noticed in the past that there is a kind of group subconscious within the blogosphere; where ideas mix and percolate and then suddenly emerge in multiple locations in what appears to be a coordinated fashion. I say "appears" because I don't believe this happens intentionally. It's just that great minds like Atrios, Josh and Christy, when given much the same information, produce much the same conclusions(*).

I'm also strangely reminded of Nancy Reagan. I don't think she gets near enough credit for being the smarts of her husbands administration; especially when it came to managing his second term in office. Nancy seemed much more mindful of the second term effect. It is during their second terms that Presidents are often bogged down by scandal and short-timers disease and thus leave a sour legacy. Nancy didn't want that for her husband, so she convinced him to make a major effort to bring about a rapproachment between The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. She realized that leaving behind a positive legacy would require her husband to make a dramatic shift in his way of dealing with the Russians. No more "Evil Empire" talk.

Richard Nixon was attempting much the same thing when he went to China. It's just that his 2nd term scandal was so huge that it overwhelmed his efforts. Nancy and Ron managed to keep Iran-Contra from having a similar dampening effect on their efforts.

Clinton tried it as well with his work in Kosovo and in trying to bring about a lasting solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The former was moderately successful. The latter effort was a bust. But at least his efforts did manage to put the whole Lewinsky mess behind him (mostly).

If Laura ever tried to convince George to change his ways he would probably end up driving his car into the White House garage door.

BTW, Atrios has it right that Bush's is not the only cowardice on display in Washington. Virtually the whole establishment is afraid to point out the obvious. Why? Perhaps, like me, they are cynical that Bush would ever listen to suggestions for making a major change of course. Perhaps, like me, they think he would react negatively to that suggestion. Perhaps, like me, they are afraid of what he might do if pushed.

In their minds it may just be better, as Chrisy suggests, to wait for the weekend and start fresh again on Monday. Unfortunately, the rest of the world can't afford to wait.

(* - An analogy: One way to make cars more efficient is to reduce wind drag. The laws of physics are the same everywhere. So different automobile manufacturers, using independent wind tunnel experiments, will produce similar looking cars. This is why so many compact and sub-compact cars in the early 80s looked so much alike.)


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