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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Incredible Shrinking President

Funny how we haven't seen any of the weekly news magazines do a cover story on the fact that Bush is the earliest lame duck in history. Considering that they were writing Bill Clinton's epitaph within three months of his first term, one might conclude that they are using a different standard. How unusual.

But then again, it isn't his fault and it isn't his job. Unlike Clinton he doesn't have a congressional majority of his own party to lead. Oh wait...

Bush Rejects Talk of Waning Influence:

President Bush dismissed yesterday suggestions that his influence is waning less than six months into his second term, blaming partisanship and timidity in Congress for the lack of action on his plans to bring change to the United Nations, restructure Social Security and enact a new energy policy this year.

"I don't worry about anything here in Washington, D.C.," Bush said during a news conference in the White House's Rose Garden. "I feel comfortable in my role as the president, and my role . . . is to push for reform." With Democrats and Republicans alike questioning the clout of a president whose approval ratings have sunk to new lows, Bush said it is Congress that must prove it is "capable of getting anything done."

His job is to "push for reform?" I thought he was keeping the babies safe and fending off drone planes with his bare hands. What's going on here? The man with the codpiece can't get a Republican congress to enact his agenda? Man, those panting security moms must be disappointed. The difference between the 85% Collossus of 2002 and the petulant powerlessness of today is stark.

And he clearly didn't like the way people were talking about his soul brother Vladimir:

Speaking a few hours after former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was sentenced to nine years in prison after a trial that many democratic activists called politically motivated, Bush said he has expressed concerns about the legal proceedings to President Vladimir Putin and will watch the appeals process closely. "Here, you are innocent until proven guilty, and it appeared to us, at least people in my administration, that it looked like he had been judged guilty prior to having a fair trial," Bush said.

I guess he wanted to preserve his personal deniability for when he and Vlady next meet over beers and pork rinds at the ranch set. Or he just didn't see the problem. After all, this is the man who said several thousand times that Saddam had to be disarmed and then pulled out the weapons inspectors when they didn't find the proof. Seems to me that he has an affinity for the concept of judging guilty before having a fair trial.

And, of course he and everyone in the press corpse are too thick to see the utter vacuity of his statement in light of what he said just a few minutes before about alleged human rights abuses Guantanamo:

"It seemed to me they based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations -- by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth,' Bush said."

Yes, he actually said "disassemble" --- and then had the nerve to be snotty about it and define it. There is no end to the man's arrogance and ignorance.

Bush apparently has no idea that when he starts lecturing Moscow or Beijing about "fair trials" everyone now collapses in convulsive laughter. Guantanamo has changed forever the idea that Americans have a fair and impartial judicial system based upon the rule of law and the constitution. Bush and his cronies have shown that we are more than capable of suspending those things at will. If we ever had any moral authority, it has been officially flushed down the toilet.

Not that it really matters to these people. They don't believe that it's important to have moral authority. They only believe that it's important to have big guns and a willingness to use them. Unfortunately, we don't seem to be all that good at the Empire building thing. Maybe keeping our moral authority backed by the threat of force rather than a clumsy and useless demonstration of our ineptitude might have been a better way to go.

This is going to be a long 3 and a half years. But I'm beginning to think I may enjoy them more than Junior will.