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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stop The Presses

by digby

Bush is an idiot:

Former administration underlings depict President Bush as a "Sarah Palin-like" leader with a short attention span who deferred on big decisions.

Larry Wilkerson, a top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said Vice President Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld promoted the notion they were a national security "dream team" to guide the foreign-policy amateur Bush.

"It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin-like President - because, let's face it, that's what he was - was going to be protected by this national security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire," said Wilkerson.

Yeah well, some of us repeatedly pointed this out from the get-go and we were endlessly lectured by the breathless media that the American people wanted a moronic "regular guy" rather than some boring egghead for president and that his election meant the "grown-ups" were back in charge, even though he clearly had the emotional maturity and judgment of a testosterone overdosing teenager.

And then, for years after 9/11 they actually tried to make us believe that he was some kind of Churchillian savant, whose "gut" was so brilliant that brains were irrelevant. I'm sorry, but from the moment the Republicans trotted out that brainless brand name in a suit and passed him off as a leader ("I'm a leader cuz ah've led!") I've been agog with wonder at the sheer audacity of their scam. It makes Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme look like a small time grift.

(And frankly, the demonization of Palin after their deification of Bush struck me from the beginning as nothing more than class and gender snobbery. There really is no substantial difference between them except that Palin actually had more government experience than Bush did. She was his natural successor.)

I have to admit that this is really rich, though:

Former Bush media adviser Mark McKinnon said the administration was in trouble even before taking office in the aftermath of the 2000 recount in which the Supreme Court effectively ruled that Bush had won Florida.

"The recount poisoned the well from the beginning," McKinnon said."A good number of people in this country didn't believe Bush was a legitimate President. And you can't change the tone under those circumstances."

Oh please. It's not like Bush ever tried to change the tone. He swaggered into DC and behaved like he'd won a landslide. This is from February 2001, right after he took office:

When President Bush was asked recently by a reporter about his judicial selection process, he responded that his election was a mandate for putting conservative judges on the bench. Stumping for his $1.6 trillion tax cut, Bush declares that voters endorsed it when they chose him to be President. And why stop there? Bush has claimed a mandate for everything from changing the tone in Washington to building an antimissile shield in outer space.

Mandate? This from the first President in more than 100 years to win the office without garnering the most votes? But heck, Bush isn't about to let the election results get in the way of a good mandate. True, he lost the popular vote to Al Gore -- and in the eyes of many Democrats lost the electoral vote, too. The Pundit Elite was quick to portray the Texas governor as a "permanently scarred" leader after December's Supreme Court decision that made him the 43rd President.

But it's easy to forget how ephemeral things can be in the world of politics. Today, Bush's personal approval rating hovers around 70%. A majority of Americans supports his tax cut. And the new President is out to prove that a mandate is what you make it. "Essentially, a 'mandate' is what you can get away with," says Princeton University political scientist Fred Greenstein. "Bush is very good at claiming victory. He has a 'Marlboro Man' approach to communication. His idea of having a mandate is to say 'I have a mandate.'"

And the press went into paroxysms of delight over his assertion of manly dominance, while the Democrats seemed to be so shell shocked and paralyzed by his outrageous chutzpah they just stood there while he bulldozed over them. It took Jeffords actually leaving the Republican party for them to even blink. (And then 9/11 happened...) Meanwhile, those of us out here in the hinterlands, aghast at the way the Republicans seized power, were snidely admonished by the villagers to just "get over it."

I'm sorry, these insiders dishing on Bush is fun and all, but I will always have a sour taste in my mouth from the years of being forced to listen to so many elites try to sell me on the absurd idea that George W. Bush was capable of being president in the first place and then force me to listen while they absurdly extolled him as one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known.

It was obvious from the first time I saw him slumped in his chair like a surly delinquent at a Republican primary debate that the man had no more business being president than my cat (who is far more dignified and has better table manners.) It was an insult that they even recruited him for the job and and even worse insult that the press destroyed Al Gore on his behalf and managed to help him eke out a victory by presenting him as the rightful winner from election night on. Why I'm supposed to be impressed by these belated observations now I can't imagine.

h/t to Bill