Friday, October 21, 2005

Background Chatter

President Bush, jarred by investigations of White House officials and congressional leaders and an uproar over his Supreme Court nomination, said Thursday there was "some background noise here, a lot of chatter" complicating the work of his administration. But he said, "The American people expect me to do my job, and I'm going to."

Link to CNN article

Pat: You mean...he's going to start actually doing his job? Or does he mean he'll continue to be as utterly ineffectual as he's been since he managed to bungle his way into launching a war? I mean, he's managed to get nothing done since his reelection. Nothing. What job does he talk about? He can't find a Supreme Court justice nominee who didn't come from down the hall, we have no Iraq strategy save "hope things somehow get better," and all his aides are going to go to jail. Actually, if he were this "unable to do his job" all 5 years he's been in office, things would be better. We wouldn't be worrying how to get off the back of the Iraqi tiger, for example. Incidentally, "background chatter" is a pretty good description of his mental processes.

Tim: Seriously, this is the kind of statement he needs to make. He needs to try to put himself above the fray, and appeal to Americans' sense that this is all just a bunch of complicated chatter. But it's a lie. His over-ambitious Social Security proposal took the wind out of his then-full sails; it was a good plan, but he didn't sell it right. And he lost initiative, and had to spend late-summer reorganizing for a second attack, but that was hampered by the Plame investigations. He gained a bit of ground with Roberts, but then Katrina (somewhat unfairly) knocked him out entirely. Now his two biggest Congressional allies, Delay and Frist, have been respectively indicted and put under investigation. I highly doubt Rove did anything illegal, but there's a chance he could be gone, and that would be very harmful to this administration. Libby's not so much of a loss, but it could turn Cheney into a political liability, and that's the last thing we need. His administration has to focus on damage control and contingency plans at the moment—they need to find ways they can be back on their feet for '06. But he still needs to say this. He can't show weakness; Democrats and the press (right now practically the same thing) will tear him to pieces. He needs to distance himself from this, and I think this is how he'll do it.

Pat: He won't be able to. He's a lame duck already. He was a lame duck when Social Security failed, everything else is just icing on the cake. He's got nothing. And a party that's got nothing to give will get nothing in the elections.

Tim: You do realize that in order to get anything, the Democrats will have to get a platform other than 'the Republicans are bad'? I mean, we have a bigger base than you do. If all you do is make both parties look awful, you'll just keep the non-base voters away from the polls and hand us an advantage. And Democrats quite simply put are incapable of having a positive message. Bush has left you all incapable of doing anything but hating him. And hatred of the other guy, while wonderful for motivating your base, does nothing for motivating the middle.

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