Sunday, September 04, 2005

He Knows Where His Bread Is Buttered

As soon as Bush thinks he doesn't look like a President, he can act.

As White House Anxiety Grows, Bush Tires To Quell Political Crisis - NYT

While Bush Fiddles, New Orleans Dies - Newsday

Bush Administration Puts Katrina PR Campaign Into Overdrive - Komo News

He can move hell and Earth to put his perception back in place with cardboard sets, soldiers standing on bleachers behind him and short speeches in front of broken levees with temporary pumping equipment that is then removed when he leaves. (this is sadly true, and not a flashy made up story - here's the link.)

But that's the best he can do. He can only make a move if he has to try to make up the distance between his uncaring to himself perceived as caring. There's nothing past that. That's the top of his ladder, his best 120%. Perceived as caring. Becasue there is no caring. We've seen it time and time again, but this time the frat boy's selfish insular world cut off not just real suffering, but a cataclysmic chain reaction that progessed day to ignored day. But his self imposed isolation and denial is why there is no planning, no forethought, nothing proactive ever done to thelp the county. He's chasing after his own idea of himself in the history books for someday, trying to pretend his way through the last 1000 or so days of his temporary employment, while the middle class die, the poor get poorer, his donors and friends grab everything they can get in a feeding frenzy, and now part of our country literally dies over night.

Let's see him run from this into the history books.

Ezra Klein
puts it best:
He's neither able to effectively deploy government or call on his friends outside of it. He's just incompetent, as I said before, a small man in a big office. He speaks the language of small government conservatism because it gets him elected, pushes big government solutions because they prove easiest, but is so separated and uninterested in the whole enterprise that the result is a wreck of incoherence and unexpected outcomes. So when something like Katrina comes around, he's neither creative enough to deal with it in an innovative way or competent enough to deal with it in the old way. So he just doesn't really deal with it.

My prediction with Katrina, with the last few years generally, is that it's going to help discredit this form of government, and create a yearning for a reformed big government. Americans know their federal administration they pay for should be able to work better than this. They know that, during future crises, it's going to need to work better than this. Someone, probably from the business world like Warner, will gain a lot of traction running on a platform to make government work again, with Katrina and fear of terrorist attacks being the primary arguments for the campaign. The media coverage has settled on a sharp attack against government incompetence and out-of-touch politicians -- seeing Cooper flay Louisiana's Mary Landrieux for being so emotionally off-key may well have been a crystallizing confrontation. Seeing reporter after reporter goggle at Michael Brown's professed ignorance that anyone in the Superdome was uncomfortable means this is breaking through.

Government is failing. They're doing it obviously. And reporters and citizens alike are smart enough to extrapolate that if they failed here, they could do it again during a crisis that their hometown. Bush is discrediting small government conservatism by not mobilizing the private sector and he's highlighting the need for an effective big government to pick up the slack. Mark y words, in 2008 (and, if we're smart, 2006), someone will make Katrina, and the lethargic, dumb government it revealed, the message.

For Gosh sakes, even Newt's hade it. You know things are bad.

"I think it puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years, because if we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?" said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Read more.


Blogger steff81 said...

At the risk of having you curse on my compared-to-yours insignificant blog, I wonder what would happen if a president recieved a little praise and support rather than opposition and negativity at every turn?

9:11 PM, September 04, 2005  
Blogger Mz. Pig said...

Yikes, I'm speechless after reading that last comment.
You know what eventually happens to pretenders; they're ferreted out. Unfortunately too late for Gulf Coast residents.

9:46 PM, September 04, 2005  
Anonymous Boni said...

Hey Steff81,
Praise for what? For blowing it badly? For lying to us whenever possible? For being a great little vacation taker? For being a dynamite photo op stager? For being one of the most insincere, phony, incompetent presidents ever? Happy to.

10:09 PM, September 04, 2005  
Blogger Philip Morton said...

steff81: At the risk of having to remind you to look back only five years, that his first year honey moon went quite well (9 mos. at least), he was globally applauded after his 9/11 speech, he was soundly praised after quelling Afghanistan, He was congratulated by many fiscal leaders after the tax cuts he promised went through three times without any serious fight that "would fix the economy", he was met with great respect for his existing relationship with the Saudi families - a vital insider's relationship to our oil lifeline that he could help mediate (his words), he kept hacking back government promising consolidation, and efficiency, removing the cabinet member of FEMA, for example, the point person who took care of crisis like the devastations in Florida last year from Hurricaines (that position is gone now, his cut), so - he's had a good run. Why your complaint? You should be happy, actually, if you support him, because he did everything he said he do. Working pretty well, isn't it? You can go right on congratulating him for comments like "I'm happy with the response - " to this disaster. (because there are thousands dead, levees left unrepaired due to his cuts to the budget, that broke during the storm, are still allowing the gulf to pour in, people still dying today in NO) Steff, perhaps you're happy with the response too, based on your comment. Why knock a guy when he's down, right? Isn't that rude? That's all Republicans seem to do to anyone who disagrees with them or is having a bad day and is not on their side, or is on their side but talks out against them. Please list the rules again of rhetoric and ettiquette on the administration's game card, it seems to shift around based on the problem. Zero accountability and zero competence can be laughed at in a little league ball game, but not when your inability to sign a piece of paper after a natural disaster for two days can release national guardsman to help secure and protect a destroyed lawless once famous American landmark town. That's a sad story, and true. There's something ironic about 9/11 coming about 9 months into his first term, and Katrina coming in about 9 months into his second term. One to give him unparalled confidence and carte blance to carry out his policies, the other to shake America and the world's confidence in him utterly. You want shaken assumptions about America's might? Forget Iraq, things go wrong in war all the time and you can always say "shit happens" a la Donald Rumsfled. But when you can't even help your own, when a famous tourist spot in the greatest country in the world is turned into a third world disaster area where people are dying because no one comes to help them after FIVE DAYS and more - no one to tell them where to go, no one organizing any relief on the ground - AT ALL - anywhere - and this from Fox News reporters, so you can't deny it, fair and balanced, you can only point the finger at the leader of the country who gave us the legislation and signed it, that set us up for the fall. It was him, and his congressional control that put through all the new legislation that has lead to this, period. You don't like the negative criticism? Better turn off the tv and cancel those subscriptions and live in the same bubble that W. does.

11:27 PM, September 04, 2005  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Great post, great comments about from the n00b at the top and thank God for this blog!


4:36 AM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger United We Lay said...

For what does the President deserve prasie for? He is not a schoolchild. We do not have to tell him his drawings look pretty even though we can't distinguish one from another. He is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. He is supposed to be intelligent, swift acting, well spoken, compassionate, and an excellent leader. As he is none of those things, what do you suggest we praise him for? Being able to ties his shoes without help?

7:25 AM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger United We Lay said...

Phillip - Nice to hear from you, and with so much Gusto!

7:26 AM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

PC-I believe the prez wears loafers.


9:50 AM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger steff81 said...

While my thoughts and comments may be discounted because of my age and apparent lack of political knowledge, I just want to clarify a few things. I do not believe you are unpatriotic for voicing a different opinion. I do not think I am doing less for my country than others because I voted Republican. It is very apparent that many people have concerns and questions when it comes to the president. I do not agree with everything that comes out of President Bush's mouth or his actions on many levels. I'm a teacher and I have serious concerns and objections where his education reform plan is concerned. But, I do understand that he is the president, regardless of how people feel about him, and that he deserves a little respect...even from the opposition. Is everything he does or says truly the worst possible thing that could happen to the United States?
I was one of those students that mostly doodled in my notebook during government classes in college, but I seem to remember a professor once saying that the office of the president is about more than just a man, but that man doesn't get cut a lot of slack because he's the face of the office. Perhaps I should have paid better attention. I just hope that the people that stop by this blog realize that no president is ever going to please everyone. His (or her) actions will always offend some while being championed by others. I apprecaite the gentle reminders that my rose-colored views of politics and current events aren't enough to get me by. So therefore I want to make informed decisions. I enjoy reading your posts and opening my mind to different perspectives.
I will definitely continue to stop by and take a look at your thoughts, but I'll try to make sure my comments are worthy of being on this comment page. And by the way, thank you for the comments you left on my blog. Feel free to stop by any time if you're in the mood for something less...well political.

9:51 AM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

One question, steff: did you afford the previous President the same sort of latitude you are asking from us regarding the current one?

If you will recall, most Republicans were calling for his head. Over what?

Over a decades-old land deal in Arkansas from which no one profited.

Over a blowjob.

Compare that to today, when those of us who are aware of the grocery list of egregious actions of the current president are characterized as shrill at the least, treasonous at the most.

Right outside the window where I type this is a car with a bumper sticker. It reads: "No one died when Clinton lied."

I would appreciate a response to the original question, steff. It was not rhetorical.

And I will tell you this: if you DID afford him latitude, you were in an extreme minority on the right.


10:16 AM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger Philip Morton said...

Steff81: your presence in govt. class and your being a teacher mean to me that you are the best hope that we have for the future. I appreciate your comments on the blog, and trying to set your point of view with clarity. I think what is inspiring some passionate response is that you don't seem to be stating where you stand on the issue. A blanket generalization that the president deserves respect is not being denied. But it feels like a bit of a foul when the other team didn't accord any to the previous president over his entire eight years. It doesn't seem fair to suddenly have to reset the rules of ettiquet after the rules have been run roughshod over since 1994 and Newt Gingrich's constant antipathy toward Dem. leadership. Just because the team switches sides in 2000 it feels a bit of sore point that suddenly it's not fair to do what the other side did for so long. It would cause havoc in baseball if scoring a home run when the cardinals were at bat only counted for 1/2 point, but the other team to got a whole point, if you get my drift. I'm curious how you'd rate the pres. and where you stand, and how you feel as a Republican, if you feel inspired, or disgusted, or somewhere in the middle and if you'd stay with the party. That is what interests me. I'm less concerned about hurling around facts and figures all day, (though I enjoy it in the morning) and more concerned with the future. You are a crucial part of that future, in a country where now I think Republican leadership has failed Democrats and Republicans. Please tell me your thoughts on that.

11:30 AM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger Philip Morton said...

polanco consulting: thanks for the kind words!

12:18 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger steff81 said...

Balloon Pirate: First let me give you a little background that might make my answer make a little more sense.

I was in the fifth grade when Clinton took office the first time. I remember, as a writing assignment, having to write a letter to the new president. As a girl in elementary I'm sure my letter was filled with questions about what it was like to be the president and what it was like to live in the White House. I was in high school when the whole impeachment thing happened. And at that time I was discovering for myself what the hype around oral sex was all about.

I sincerely hope that I have not given you the impression that I'm a political savvy person. I'm not and if I have left that impression I apologize. I'm just a twenty-something young woman trying to understand and make informed decisions. I like to be "in the know" and be able to hold my own when it comes to mingling chit-chat at parties and other social functions.

I know you're probably wishing I'd just answer the question. I don't think I can honestly say I afforded him latitude because frankly, I had other things that were of importance in my life. But I do not recall going on and on about what a horrible person he was or that he was running the country into the ground. I also didn't make him sound like a terrorist that was personally killing Americans.

I like to think that I was able to be grown up enough to realize that who a man chooses to have sex with doesn't define him as a president. Please don't confuse that with my views of him lying. I do not approve of anyone lying whether it be the homeless guy on the street or the president of the United States. Obviously you don't approve of lying either.

I think I'm able to look back at Clinton's terms in office and see the good and the bad. He did things that benefited the country. He did a lot of things Americans wished they didn't have to hear about at the dinner table. Isn't that how it is with every president? It's how it is for me with President Bush. I admire and respect things that he has done. There are things that I disagree with and am disappointed that he has done and said.

Now this might get me labeled as out of touch with reality or (gasp) uneducated, but what really bugs me is the people that get pissed off when someone doesn't please them. And what makes it even more insane is that nothing can please that person. Until that person can please every single person, he or she shouldn't demand perfection from someone else.

I don't know if that answered your question or solidified the idea in your mind that I don't know what I'm talking about. Either way, it's fun commenting back and forth with you.

12:42 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger steff81 said...

Philip: let me say that I'm an elementary teacher. I won't be passing along my thoughts and ideas on these subjects to little assured.

12:43 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger steff81 said...

Phillip: you present some great questions which I'll have to answer later today or sometime tonight. I've got to be somewhere shortly but I'll answer them...promise.

12:49 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger Cranky Yankee said...

I respect the office of the President of the United States too much to hold its current occupier in anything other than utter contempt. He has brought great shame and discredit upon it and the people of the United States. His singular dedication to power as a means to enrichment for him and his class has left behind the middle class and working poor of this country, has weakened the democratic institutions at the core and has compromised the safety of America. He is an empty suit, a cowboy who is all hat and no cattle.

He has little regard for the 98% of us the plebian class and you wonder why we are disgusted.

The nation should no longer be confined to silent scream of rage. Be angry! Be proud! They are not America! We are! Resist, Oppose! Anything else is dishonor.

We all need to go to DC on September 24th and let this administration know, "We are mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!"

1:32 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger Cranky Yankee said...

Sorry, I was listening to Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer singing Bob Marley's Redemption Song while drinking Capuccino.

But I do mean it.

1:34 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger United We Lay said...

I am also young, and also a teacher. I was born and raised Republican. I am glad you're trying to make informed decisons. That's how I started out. As I read more, as long I was open to reading everything, I found many things about my govenment to be disconcerting. I really believe that the more we learn, the less Republican we become. I was heartbroken. Don't think I took to liberalism easily. But as I learned more and more, I found myself in a precarious position. Life is not easy when you embrace the truth, but it is liberating, and it makes you feel more in control of your life. I don't wan to sound condescending or arrogant, but I think you and I are probably very much alike. hank you for embracing knowledge rather than positions. If there's anyhing I can do to help you on your journey, please, feel free to ask. I make a mean Tofu Chocolate Pie!

2:49 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

I want pie too!

3:44 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger steff81 said...

Are you offering to make me pie? Hmmm. I'll take you up on the offer of an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on if I decide that I am not really a Republican. I'll have to get to know you better before I take you up on the pie offer.

8:35 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger steff81 said...

You're a woman! Sorry. I like to flirt and take the oppurtunity where ever it presents. But the other stuff stands...I'd still like the ear to listen and shoulder to cry on. Hopefully, you aren't offended by the pie comment. Blushing and embarressment just don't really translate across the internet.

8:38 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger Philip Morton said...

polanco consulting: thanks for such honesty, and thougtfulness.

steff81: "Deciding you're not a Republican" is a big deal. Deciding you won't support these Rupublicans and will let the other side try to fix their mess is a much smaller deal. I have many friends who I admire, and they cross the political parties, but I think of them as conservative and liberal, not rep. and Dem, as I know many conservative Dems, and a few "liberal" Rep. Point of it being, I miss the old school conservatives, those who thumped the tables for fiscal sensibility and a govt. that funded states properly so they could deal with their own issues. This adm. has done neither, they've blown the deficit sky high, emptied the got banks with three tax cuts and now can't help us. And I fear this hurricaine is the tip of the iceberg of a gutted govt. unable to help its own people as disaster spins into disaster I think there are many conservaties out there right now who are beginning to feel that they were tricked.

10:56 PM, September 05, 2005  

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