Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Even Bush PR Machine Now Stumbling

You cannot repair a series of blunders by following them with more blunders but there are signs that's exactly what Bush plans to do in Iraq. 'Surge' is just the latest of Bush's jargon words that will not win the war. If we add another twenty to thirty thousand troops, that will still not reach the maximum number of troops we have had in Iraq earlier in the war, particularly if we include all the contractors and all the coalition forces. This is about public relations and a desperate president trying to save face. It is not about sound policy. The consequence is that our nation and our foreign policy will only be further damaged, and that does not include the loss of more lives and the growing cost of the war, a cost, by the way that the president refuses to acknowledge.

But this is not December of 2005; it's December of 2006 and there's been a change of late. The media isn't jumping every time Bush waves his arms or every time his handlers bark at the media these days. And that too is a sign of another problem that is further damaging our nation, a problem that Bush barely seems to acknowledge: the president has no credibililty.

Slowly coming to terms with the incompetence of the Bush Administration should not have taken the media four years. MissLaura of Daily Kos has some thoughts on the situation that now exists as Bush 'decides' on his next move:
It seems like there's always a three-step process to George W. Bush being seen as weak: After it's well-established on blogs and the like that he's screwing up on a particular topic and things are going to go badly, his poll numbers drop, showing unpopularity nationally. Then, at some later point, if we're lucky, the big media narrative catches up to the reality that he's screwing up and is unpopular. That particular narrative does appear to be emerging on the question of how Bush will interpret what Democratic victories in November mean about the voters' will for Iraq.

I would add one step before the blogs in the process mentioned above and that's the experts and rational career people who couldn't quite get their message across to the media, even if their stories sometimes appeared in the back pages of major newspapers; these are the people who know that what the president says doesn't always match the reality, and that the president's tough talk is too often not matched by the competence necessary to understand and implement various policies. Without the experts and career people, the blogs might not have gotten far (sometimes, in the past, the experts and career people have been wrong, but Bush and his neocon enablers didn't even come close to demonstrating that they themselves knew the answers).

After two presidential elections, Americans are learning the hard way that tough talk is worthless if the individual talking tough doesn't know what he's doing or what he's talking about. This doesn't just apply to President Bush; it applies to the Republican Party which has allowed itself to be overwhelmed by right wingers who understand a great deal less than their spokespersons and media coverage would lead us to believe.

Thoughtful conservatives still have a place in American politics but we are witnessing the end of right wing ideology as a political force in our nation; nevertheless, it's going to take a few years yet to play out. A lot will depend on how soon and how quickly a new Republican Party replaces the frauds and the incompetents who have dominated the GOP of late. When the Democrats take their seats in January, there is much they can do. However, at the end of the day the Democrats can only do so much because that is how our constitution is designed.

I expect nothing from hardcore right wing Republicans in Congress except obstruction. But there are enough Republicans in the House and Senate who know better, who know perfectly well that Bush doesn't know what he's doing and that there is a major need for repairs to our government and our foreign policy. The sooner a significant number of Republicans recognize that we have a problem and that they need to join with Democrats, even if just on selected issues, the sooner the crisis in Washington can begin to be resolved and the sooner, I might add, that the Republican can find themselves again.

Bush has the veto. It is very likely that he will use that veto when Democrats try to check his abuse of power. He may even try to use that veto to slowly drag us into a broader war. In critical situations, for the sake of the nation, Republicans are going to have to cross the aisle and vote for a return to sanity. Otherwise, Republican obstructionism may extend the crisis in Washington for another two to four to six years. Those are years as a nation that we cannot afford to waste.

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