Saturday, October 29, 2005

The mysterious 35%

No matter how bad things get for President Bush, he will seemingly always have a little over a third of the American people behind him.

He can lose one of America's greatest cities by doing nothing. He can surround himself with treasonous men who traffic in slime to accomplish political goals. Or corporate thieves and con men. He can repeatedly lie right to their face about the war in Iraq, the war against Al Qaida, etc. He can call himself a fiscal conservative and be the biggest spender since LBJ (and never veto a single bill). He can even drag us into an optional war with no plan for the aftermath and they will still support him.

Why? Is it that he is the President and the office commands at least 35% of Americans to respect him no matter what? Is it because he is to the far right on cultural issues like gay rights, abortion, creationism, etc.? Is that he is supposedly religious? Because he likes NASCAR and country music? Because he is "from" Texas?

Any time I talk to people from this mysterious 35%, they get so upset with me when I ask them why they support George W. Bush when I present them with the facts. They live in an alternate universe where the reality that we all have to deal with doesn't apply. Somehow, the cost of health care doesn't bother them, or stagnant wages, or unemployment, or the fact that their friends and relatives are being attacked in Iraq and Afghanistan every minute of the day, or the crippling deficit to our chief economic and future geopolitical rival...None of it seems to shake their illogical faith in Bush.

If he is a religious man, all he seems to believe in his political power. He will make any sacrifice to that shrine he can: a CIA agent, the lives 2,000 soldiers, moderate members of congress willing to work with him for the sake of the country, our budget...All of it is secondary to staying on top.

But the fact is 65-60% now believe that Bush is unethical, his people are not telling the truth, the war in Iraq is going poorly, the economy is in the tubes, and about 100% of moderates in Congress won't ever work with him again. His legislative agenda is all but dead. His personal choice for the swing seat of the supreme court was rejected by his own party. Bush is the lamest duck I have ever seen this early in his second term. Yet those 35% pretend otherwise. Please tell me, why?

an old Plame

tons has aready been said about this with far more elequent words and thoughts. But I might have one thing to add. All this talk on conservative blogs and cable talk seem to think that perjury and obstruction of justice are pretty lame charges for all this time, even though that was the main beef against President Clinton.

But the point is, Libby wasn't just saying one date or official he talked to in one appearance before the grand jury and then someone else saying something different. There was a clear pattern of Libby telling one complex lie to the grand jury, and have several reporters and white house officials all say something completely different. It is nearly impossible for someone who has made into the highest echelons of power like Libby to confuse Tim Russert with Dick Cheney as his source. Those 5 counts seem rock solid to me, after reading the entire indictment on the Smoking Gun.

And I would really love to see Bushies try to go after Fitzgerald, who is widely acclaimed as the most non-partisan, most fair, most thorough, best US Attorney out there. All of the people that know him have nothing but the highest praise for the man. The only beef I heard what that he was so into his work that he didn't have a life: he is not married, he hardly ever home, he forgets lasagna in his oven for three months etc. Everyone seems to agree, this is not a guy you want on your butt.

So it is over, or is Karl next? It seems Fitzgerald took the most conservative approach to the whole prosecution, nailing the most flagrant and obivous violator with tons of supporting evidence. Maybe Karl was too clever to have such obviously contradictory statements out there. I think it is probable, but not that likely, that there is more to come. It will not be the vast investigation into John Bolton, AIPAC, Doug Feith, and the Niger forgeries themselves that liberals had hoped for, but Libby could go to jail for a long time if he doesn't flip on his boss.

Although there is little hard facts to support it, in my gut I know that the Niger forgeries were cooked up inside the Rumsfeld-Cheney cabal. Maybe not by them directly, maybe without their direct knowledge or approval. But someone in the administration somewhere got the idea and ran with it. They were influenced by the approach to intelligence that Rumsfeld and Cheney took. And in typical Bush Administration fashion, they were terribly incompetent in the execution of the fraud.

After all, the official whose signature appears on the forgeries had been out of that post for a number of years. Anyone who googled the information would have found that out in a matter of seconds. Rather than disown those who did their dirty work, or the dirty work itself, Cheney et al pushed the evidence until not even neo-cons like Bill Kristol could support it. Then they slowly and quietly backed away, and no one was fired/"quit" until they were arrested/indicted.

That in itself is quite telling. And for all the hawkish liberals out there, this is a great time to say I was duped. The Bush administration gave Congress and the public false or at best incomplete information, and it seems pretty clear that they did so knowingly. The war was sold a lie, a lie Bushies believed or wanted to believe was true.

Saddam is a terrible excuse for a human being, and he behaved like he had WMDs. Hussein did himself no favors by playing tough, obstructing inspectors, and refusing to step down from power. If he really cared about Iraq, he wouldn't have done that. But all he and his sons cared about was raw power, complete control over everyone of his countrymen through fear and loyalty. I am sure he will be executed for his crimes, and although I wish he had been tried internationally and more Iraqis could come and tell the world about what he did to their families, I am glad Saddam will be executed. Few deserve the death penalty more than that man.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

will I have class on Monday?

I ask you that because that is when Prof. 10th Cir. Appellate Judge Michael McConnell's class is held. The chattering class in DC seem to think he will be picked. The Center for American Progress, ABC's The Note, Hotline, etc.

Local conservative bloggers from South Dakota, Minnesota, and of course Utah are hoping it is my professor.

My empression? He is superduper smart, VERY conservative, but nice and respectible. He is like Scalia in that he is very clever and conservative, but unlike Scalia in that he is more intellectually honest.

another distraction

When I previously posted that the White House had run out of distractions and that it was dumb to name their Fed Chair pick prior to Fitzgerald's indictments, I plainly forgot that they could throw Harriet under the bus.

Poor Ms. Miers, she stumbled over and over with senators, with conservatives, with the press and came out looking worse than before she nominated. How she can go back to work as White House Counsel confounds me. I guess it is the best place to hide out when you are a laughing stock.

The White House got Sen. Brownback to blame her nomination withdrawl on the documents when anyone with half a brain knows she didn't stand a chance of getting confirmed on the merits. For once, Democrats suceeded by sitting back and shutting up. Something I know must have been hard for the likes of Joes Biden and Lieberman. Keep listening to Harry Reid, guys. After all, he conned Bush into this pick along with his inner delusional circle of yes-men.

Bush's only trouble now is that is seriously weakens him and the Democrat talking poitn of George being beholdant to the American Taliban seems to be sticking with the press. More immediately, Fitzgerald could foresall the indictments even longer by asking the judge for a new grand jury and seeking more indictments at a higher level (like Cheney himself). What a time to be a Democrat.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

1 in ten

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted October 21-23 (with a sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points) said only ten percent of "said they believe Bush administration officials did nothing illegal or unethical in connection with the leaking of a CIA operative's identity". WOW. The old "politics as usual" talking point isn't working apparantly.

39% thought someone in the Administration did something illegal. I would like to see more a breakdown partisan wise and all the rest.

the smell of defeat

It looks like Bush is going to withdraw Miers and nominate a "real" conservative. If my professor Michael McConnell was female, I would say he would be the new nominee. I am betting it is a female judge from the 5th Circuit. Why do I say Bush has given up? Because law bloggers much smarter than me make a great argument based off of Bush's latest commentary on Miers. From Althouse:

Note that he did not express confidence that she would be confirmed or that she would make a fine Justice. He focused on her general excellence, unrelated to the position she's been nomited for, and on the Senate, stepping up the pressure to give her a fair hearing -- right after turning up the heat about the denial of the documents. It seems as though he wants the Democratic senators to make more of a stink about the documents so that he'll look more credible blaming them for forcing him to withdraw her name. I'll bet they are too smart to make that move, though. Let him twist in the wind while they hold their fire until the hearings. Or maybe even -- crazily riskily -- just go ahead and support her and leave Bush to solve his own problems, without using them for leverage.

And from Loyola LA Prof. Rick Hasen's electionlawblog:
The excuse for withdrawal appears to be a fight over executive privilege. The president won't turn over documents needed to show Ms. Miers' views on legal issues that arose in the White House. If that is indeed the basis for withdrawal, it is doubly good news for conservatives, because presumably it would take AG Gonzales out of the running too.

I am not the only one high on my Prof. McConnell, so is Hasen: "If Bush is smart and wants a strong conservative who will actually be confirmed, he should nominate Judge McConnell. But it is not clear whether Bush really wants a strong conservative on the Court." Like Hasen, I doubt Bush will risk losing the fight that conservatives want to wage with a Janice Rogers Brown, and would be more happy with a pick that would be friendly to him, especially after this Miers fiasco.

A key rule of politics: when rolling out something big, run it by your allies first and make them feel like they are involved/have a stake in its sucess. Just ask Hillary Clinton about her Health Care Plan.

Monday, October 24, 2005

website of the day check out the list of the supporters, a who's who of the conservative players, including 9 GOP senators.

Senator Rick Santorum
Senator Sam Brownback
Senator Trent Lott
Senator George Allen
Senator Lindsey Graham
Senator Jeff Sessions
Senator Tom Coburn
Senator David Vitter
Senator John Ensign

Lets see, two of these are on the judicary committee 2+8 Democrats= 10-8 loss in committee. Ed Kilgore sees this as the place to watch any signs of a trend.

This could be Fitzmas eve.

no more distractions left

The bush folks are really off their game. I mean when you have one more distraction left, why spend it on a sleepy Monday when you could save it for two days to ruin Fitzmas? I guess that would be obviously crass, but these are the same folks that distracted us from other problems with John Roberts, a faked Q & A with soldiers, Harriet Miers, etc. Distract and dump are their two favorite political curealls for bad news.

I guess the idea is to have a weeks worth of praise of the new Fed Chair selection. But I think the fact that he is so uncontroversal is just another sign that Bush is weak and such unamimous support means there isn't much for the press to talk about. The press loves to gossip and ponder about what Fitzmas might bring? Rove's head on stick? Scotter's too? Even Cheney's? Oh and the press love to talk about staff shuffles, it is about the only thing they can over well...just ask any one of the 8 Democrats who ran for president.

"Look! Over there!" just isn't going to work anymore. And there aren't enough Fridays left to catch the press and public napping.