Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Grand Finale

In the last three days President Bush has pulverized any shred of dignity left in his presidency. The first gaffe was in an exclusive interview with Politico. It's an interview that I can only describe as weird. Before journalist Mike Allen could get to more pressing issues like Jenna's wedding, American Idol, and baseball, there was this gem:
For the first time, Bush revealed a personal way in which he has tried to acknowledge the sacrifice of soldiers and their families.

“I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” he said. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”
I don't get it. Our nation is in despair over the Iraq war, and Bush shows not one sign of guilt, remorse, reflection, or inner pain. He gave up golf because...? Because the dead soldiers gave up golf too? WTF? Then I read this blog post by Dan Froomkin, and I learn Bush's hollow and trivial sacrifice wasn't even real.

But wait, there is more. From the same Politico interview:
Bush said his doomsday scenario for a premature withdrawal “of course is that extremists throughout the Middle East would be emboldened, which would eventually lead to another attack on the United States."
Good God, he's actually using the "embolden our enemies" scare tactic again. The problem with this "reasoning" is that the war in Iraq and subsequent destruction of their country has inspired much more hatred and resentment among young Iraqis than withdrawal ever would.

At least I can count on Keith Olbermann to slam the president when he needs a good slamming:

The Politico interview was enough to fire me up, but today there is yet another story. President Bush addressed the Knesset (the legislature of Israel) and launched a false political attack complete with "Nazi appeaser" rhetoric. Senator John Kerry writes about this insulting and destructive attempt to use outright lies to try to smear Barack Obama's steadfast commitment to Israel.

First, it's absolutely shameless that an American President would use a speech in front of a foreign government to launch such a petty political attack. President Bush has abused the dignity of the office in ways that make especially ironic his long ago pledge to "restore dignity and integrity to the Oval office."

Perhaps worse -- he's not even right on the facts, and he knows it. Like Representatives Boehner and Cantor, President Bush just makes up policies to attack. Barack Obama opposes negotiating with terrorists. And always has. This is just another example of the disingenuous habit of this administration to create "some people" whom they can argue against, strawman arguments that they can use in their disgusting political attacks.

You can read Brack Obama's, John McCain's, Hillary Clinton's, and Joseph Lieberman's reactions to Bush's remarks here. Some comments by Senator Joe Biden can be found here. Biden notes that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have both suggested that the United States ought to find a way to talk more with its enemies.

But there is another element of Bush's "negotiating with terrorists" remark that irks me:
Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.
I guess to our dimwitted President, everybody must seem like a genius! What does he think of past leaders like Reagan, Nixon, and Kennedy who used all elements of American power - including tough, principled, and direct diplomacy - to pressure countries like Iran and Syria? And what does he think of his own grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, who was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany? Was he an appeaser or just a profiteer?

So as more Republicans try to distance themselves from Bush (yeah, good luck with that), Bush continues with insulting, delusional and disgraceful words. Is this his grand finale? Probably not. He's got eight more months to outdo himself.

Tomorrow I'll try to lighten up.

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