The new White House press secretary, Tony Snow, is shrill!
Think Progress: [Snow says Bush is an] "embarrassment... doesn't seem to mean what he says... bolstered his detractors' claims that he didn't have the drive and work ethic...
Another Republican Ditches Bush: [W]hen President Bush visited Rohrabacher's Orange County locale yesterday... the OC Congressman wanted nothing to do with W. "I don't want to be behind him looking glum and not applauding," Rohrabacher told the LA Times. "So as not to be rude to the president---which I think is inexcusable---I think I'll just be staying away."...
Posted by brad on 4/25/2006
Steve Clemons writes:
The Washington Note: Yesterday, former State Department Chief of Staff offered another installment in his own "straight talk express" in an article that appeared in the Baltimore Sun. He opens with a powerful blast that articulates what true nationalists in this country are feeling:
In January 2001, with the inauguration of George W. Bush as president, America set on a path to cease being good; America became a revolutionary nation, a radical republic. If our country continues on this path, it will cease to be great -- as happened to all great powers before it, without exception.
From the Kyoto accords to the International Criminal Court, from torture and cruel and unusual treatment of prisoners to rendition of innocent civilians, from illegal domestic surveillance to lies about leaking, from energy ineptitude to denial of global warming, from cherry-picking intelligence to appointing a martinet and a tyrant to run the Defense Department, the Bush administration, in the name of fighting terrorism, has put America on the radical path to ruin.
Unprecedented interpretations of the Constitution that holds the president as commander in chief to be all-powerful and without checks and balances marks the hubris and unparalleled radicalism of this administration.
Moreover, fiscal profligacy of an order never seen before has brought America trade deficits that boggle the mind and a federal deficit that, when stripped of the gimmickry used to make it appear more tolerable, will leave every child and grandchild in this nation a debt that will weigh upon their generations like a ball and chain around every neck. Imagine owing $150,000 from the cradle. That is radical irresponsibility.
This administration has expanded government -- creation of the Homeland Security Department alone puts it in the record books -- and government intrusiveness. It has brought a new level of sleaze and corruption to Washington (difficult to do, to be sure). And it has done the impossible in war-waging: put in motion a conflict in Iraq that in terms of colossal incompetence, civilian and military, and unbridled arrogance portends to top the Vietnam era, a truly radical feat....
Posted by brad on 4/24/2006
No, not a shrill critic of Bush. He is a shrill critic of the Republican Congress:
The Corner on National Review Online: CAN WE FIRE CONGRESS? [Rich Lowry
]This oil thing is, needless to say, idiotic. But it points to a larger issue: the GOP problem at the moment is by no means limited to the White House, as folks on Capitol Hill would have it, but very much includes Congress. Bush can get himself a top-notch White House staff firing on all cylinders and consulting like crazy with Congress, but if Capitol Hill is still run by what often seems a bunch of bungling, spend-thrift, unreformable, tin-eared, unimaginative, hysterical pols, not much is going to change.
Take the opportunity the House had with the selection of John Boehner as majority leader. He was a relative fresh face to most of the public, even if, obviously, not a stranger to K Street. What came of this departure? Very little. Did the GOP take advantage of the moment to institute some serious ethics and earmarks reforms? Of course not. Now, in this moment of political crisis, over in the senate the GOP has come up with the $700 million "railway to nowhere," just in time to remind conservatives why they are so dispirited, if they had by any chance forgotten. Then there's the immigration charade, with the GOP unable press what should be--given public opinion--their advantage on the issue and unable to exploit Democratic divisions on it...
Posted by brad on 4/24/2006
Last September David Frum tiptoed up to the borders of shrill unholy madness, and then stepped back:
David Frum Is Almost Shrill!: [A]s one who... still critically supports him, I find the sudden surge of public disenchantment with Mr Bush very difficult to understand. If you were looking for a diligent manager of the office of the presidency, a close student of public policy, a careful balancer of risks and benefits -- George W. Bush would never be your man. But is this news?... [He] is a good man who is not a weak man. He is impatient, quick to anger; sometimes glib, even dogmatic, often uncurious, and as a result ill-informed...
Today, however, Frum crosses the line. He says that Bush has no positive domestic legacy at all: no permanent accomplishments on economic policy. None. Zero. The only economic achievements of Bush are his "tax cuts of 2001 and 2003" and those will "be undone at some point in the near future" unless, by some miracle, pigs grow wings and "budget discipline is restored."
http://frum.nationalreview.com/: Rob Portman... his translation away from the Trade Representative job at this 11th hour of the Doha trade round may signify that the Bush administration has more or less given up on its hopes for a significant new trade agreement. President Bush's cherished Free Trade Area for the Americas seems likewise doomed to fizzle away into nothing.... George W. Bush ran for president in 2000 as a principled and outspoken free-trader.... But in 2001, he imposed steel tariffs.... Since then, the administration has deviated more and more from its free trade promises: delivering huge new subsidies to farmers, exploiting BSE to bar Canadian beef from US markets... defying WTO panel rulings, etc. etc. This record raises the stakes dramaticallly.... [T]he Bush administration can claim only two substantial free-market economic achievements: the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003... [but] overspending calls into question the sustainability of those tax cuts. Unless budget discipline is restored... those tax cuts will be undone at some point in the near future...
After a hidden, secret committee meeting and a contact of the Great Old Ones via seance, the Council of Ten has reached a conclusion: this is sufficient to induct David Frum into the Ancient, Hermetic, and Occult Order of the Shrill: those who have been driven into shrill unholy madness by the incompetence, mendacity, malevolence, and sheer disconnection from reality of George W. Bush and his administration.
No positive domestic legacy, says Frum. We in the Order of the Shrill never thought that this day would ever come: Nunc dimittis servum tuum domine, et cetera...
Welcome, David. Put on your robe of shrillness. Accept your copy of the Krugmanomicon. Come sit by the fire for the hot dog roast.
Your next scheduled event is by the banks of the fetid, bubbling pools of the Miskatonic, two hours before dawn. You, John Tierney, Colonel Wilkerson, Larry Kudlow, Paul Bremer, Tim Russert, Andrew Sullivan, Peggy Noonan, and two of her dolphins have been selected to make up the morning minyan and thus be the first of the day to chant Aaaiii! Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh David Frum R'lyeh Wagn'nagl Fhtagn! Aaaiii!!!
Posted by brad on 4/23/2006
He is now a lesser shoggoth. His shrill, unbalanced ululating screeds of Bush hatred fill the night air:
Fix the Intelligence Mess: For the U.S. intelligence community, the warning lights are blinking red. A reorganization that was supposed to bring greater coordination has instead produced a layering of responsibilities and bureaucratic confusion. A demoralized CIA that needed professional management is chafing under a Republican former congressman who has proved to be the most political and ineffective director in the agency's history. Look at the organizational chart of the new Office of the Director of National Intelligence and you wonder if America has become a Third World country with a rival intelligence agency for each patch of turf. At last count, there were 16 different spy units under the DNI's umbrella -- a number that puts even Syria to shame.... You would have thought it was impossible to make our intelligence problems even worse, but the Bush administration has accomplished that. This is a dangerous situation for the country, and it needs to be fixed, now.
Posted by brad on 4/21/2006
Boy is he shrill:
Martini Republi: Howard Fineman chimes in, adding to the chorus:
Nor is [Bush] likely to make wholesale changes in his foreign policy and defense team. Bolten can rearrange the deck chairs all he wants to on domestic and economic policy. But the Axis of Believers -- Cheney-Rummy-Rove-Condi -- remains. The more the media and its band of Republican allies complain, the more dug in Bush will become. He's as stubborn as Slim Pickens in "Dr. Strangelove": He'd rather ride Rummy to Armageddon than seem to concede that Iraq was a botched project...
Now why couldn't Howard Fineman have been writing about the incompetence of the Bush administration when it would have done some good--four years ago, say?
Bruce Bartlett recommends Peggy Noonan, who is shrill:
OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan: Don't Wait, Calibrate: Learn to bend, Mr. Bush. You won't break: Thursday, April 20, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT: There have been, and apparently will be, personnel changes in the administration. The charmless and much-abused Scott McClellan is out; the focus of Karl Rove's portfolio has shifted back to hardball politics; Rob Portman to the Office of Management and Budget, etc. These shifts are not precisely cosmetic, but they do not signal Big Change. Whoever takes Mr. McClellan's place will put a new face on the news but will not change the news. Other things are needed for that.
To an extraordinary degree this is George W. Bush's presidency. Its strengths are his strengths and its weaknesses his weakness. This White House is him. The decisions it makes are him.... Mr. Bush's feelings, assumptions and convictions set theme, direction and mood. All decisions as to declared destination go to him. He seeks a sense of control by making and sticking to the decision. When he won't budge, the White House won't budge. When it clings to an idea beyond evidence and history, it is Mr. Bush who is doing the clinging....
We all like a president who says "The buck stops here." Mr. Bush never ducks the buck. But he puts severe limits on the number and kind of people who can hand it to him. He picks them, receives their passionate and by definition limited recommendations, makes his decision, and sticks. All very Trumanesque, except Truman could tolerate argument and dissent. They didn't pass the buck to little Harry, they threw it at his head. Clark Clifford was in in the morning telling him he had to recognize Israel, and George Marshall was there in the afternoon telling him he'd step down as secretary of state if he did. It was a mess. Messes aren't all bad....
Reagan could tolerate dissent and ambiguity. He could even tolerate disrespect, which is what some within occasionally showed him. He didn't really care. His ego wasn't delicate. FDR could tolerate tension and dissent too, and in fact loved setting his aides against each other.... George W. Bush, on the other hand, does not tolerate dissent, argument, bitter internal battles. He is the decider. He decides, and the White House carries through. He is loyal to his aides, who carry out his wishes.... [H]is aides move forward with the sharpness and edge of those who know their livelihoods and status are secure. Bruce Bartlett has written of how, as a conservative economist, he was treated with courtesy by the Clinton White House, which occasionally sought out his views. But once he'd offered mild criticisms of the Bush White House he was shut out, and rudely, by Bush staffers. Why would they be like that? Because they believe that as a conservative, Mr. Bartlett owes his loyalty to the president. He thought his loyalty was to principles.
There are many stories like this, from many others. It leaves friends on the outside having to self-censor or accept designation as The Enemy. It leaves a distinguished former government official and prominent Republican saying, in conversation, "Those people aren't drinking the Kool-Aid, they're sucking it from a spigot!"... John Snow, a bright and accomplished man, might as well, as Treasury secretary in the Bush administration, have been what Woody Allen said he saw when, years into his psychotherapy, he finally turned from his couch and looked to see who he was talking to, only to find his therapist was actually a melon on top of a baseball bat....
Sometimes Mr. Bush acts as if he doesn't know you don't have to look for trouble, it will find you. When you are the American president, it knows your address by heart. I know that on some level he knows this. The president has taken, those around him say, great comfort in biographies of previous presidents. All presidents do this. They all take comfort in the fact that former presidents now seen as great were, in their time, derided, misunderstood, underestimated. No one took the measure of their greatness until later. This is all very moving, but: Message to all biography-reading presidents, past present and future: Just because they call you a jackass doesn't mean you're Lincoln....
Using his sekrit knowlige gained from six years of covering George W. Bush, Tim Russert patiently explains to Imus that the cossack--Rumsfeld--works for the Czar--Bush--and that every call for Rumsfeld to quit is also a call for Bush to either quit or to allow himself to be neutered:
IMUS: Is there anything going on with the Rumsfeld story that is -- I mean, the President is pledging this support and all that, and that's usually the kiss of death, but not always. But probably not with this guy. But what do you hear?
RUSSERT: Well, I knew something was happening when I had John Murtha on several months ago and he talked about his plan for a timetable. And I got several calls from people at the Pentagon and others and they said, "You know Murtha's right." And I was stunned because you don't usually get those kinds of calls. They were obviously people who would not allow me to broadcast their names. And then it continued with General Zinni who came on "Meet the Press" and said that Secretary Rumsfeld should resign. So the last couple of weeks, as I talked to people, one former general said we have the equivalent of a civil war going on at the Pentagon. The generals are trying to reclaim control of the war because they do believe serious mistakes were made. That's a very serious statement. And then, someone very close to the President said to me, you know, he won't fire Rumsfeld because it would be the equivalent of firing himself. He can't acknowledge that it was such a big mistake, in so many ways. And so Rumsfeld will stay. And that's the decision that the President has made and I think Rumsfeld will stay and try to see this through.
Late to the party, Tim. Very late to the party.
Greater Shoggoth Ryan Lizza brings us news from the National Review chapter of the Ancient, Hermetic, and Occult Order of the Shrill:
How Bush can save his presidency: e Bush-haters are at it again. This one complains about "the sad state of the Bush administration." This one here burbles, "I think this Administration is the most politically and substantively inept that the nation has had in over a quarter of a century."
And those are just the guys at National Review.
Posted by brad on 4/11/2006