Monday, March 05, 2007

There Is No Plan B Except Continued Denial

I see the word 'conservative' tossed around in the newspapers and on TV and I wonder who the journalists are talking about. There really aren't that many conservatives left in the Republican Party these days. If there were, I would be writing these posts a great deal less often. If a conservative like Chuck Hagel were the rule rather than the exception, I would voice my objections from time to time and otherwise go about my business. What journalists so often refer to as 'conservatives' are right wingers straight out of Hollywood central casting of the 1950s and 60s when such characters specialized in race baiting, fear and warmongering.

Our country is currently run by right wingers who initially tried to sell themselves as moderates in the 2000 election. Journalists from CNN and Newsweek and The New York Times have been slow to notice that things have been different since then; unlike others, at least they have noticed. Sort of.

Think Progress has a quote by Senator Inhofe that was caught by The Carpetbagger; the senator seems to explicitly embrace his right wing credentials:
“Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) got the crowd [at CPAC] cheering early in the day. ‘I have been called — my kids are all aware of this — dumb, crazy man, science abuser, Holocaust denier, villain of the month, hate-filled, warmonger, Neanderthal, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun,’ he announced. ‘And I can just tell you that I wear some of those titles proudly.’”

Then there's Ann Coulter who's paid something like $25,000 a pop to play naughty, if that's the Republican term these days for smears and hate speech. Not only were prominent Republicans very slow to condemn Coulter's unwarranted attack on John Edwards (though that's evidence once more of who the Republicans fear could bring an end to their 28 year run of party time in the new Gilded Age), the audience at the event obliged Ms. Coulter with a hearty laugh. These are strange, unprincipled people dominating our politics these days though Americans seem at last to be turning somewhat to the Democrats as a protest against Republican corruption and incompetence (and yet, without the conviction that things really do need to change).

So that brings us to Bush's war in Iraq and his latest adjustment of tactics in pursuit of 'staying the course.' Dan Froomkin of White House Watch noted this today:
Ever since President Bush announced on Jan. 10 that he was defying the public will and increasing the U.S. military commitment in Iraq, he has been emphatic that his latest plan -- unlike all those previous ones -- would work. The key to his confidence: Iraqis, this time, are being told to get with the program -- or else.

The two obvious follow-up questions: But what do we do if it doesn't work? And "or else" what?


I raised several of these possibilities in my Jan. 11 column, the day after Bush announced the "surge." And in that same column, I encouraged reporters to figure out what Plan B actually is.

Keeping in mind that the big hotshots of the Bush Administration never had a Plan B after the fall of Baghdad when their unrealistic schemes failed to materialize, Froomkin raises several possible Plan B's the administration may be considering from this point on in 2007, including the most obvious: kicking the can down the road for the next president to deal with. This would make it twice in forty years that a president has used such a maneuver (the last one was a Democrat though like Bush, he was a Texan tied to big oil). It doesn't speak well about the state of our politics or the seriousness of Republicans. And once again, one can have no doubt that the right wingers, who are incapable of accepting responsibility for their failures, will of course be weaving the mythology that somehow others were to blame for the failures in Iraq. In fact, the right wingers can barely get themselves, if at all, to admit that we invaded Iraq and had no proper case for war.

There is an enormous amount of damage to be repaired. Even if more stability is brought to Iraq in the next 20 months, Americans need to think long and hard about what kind of country we intend to be. We will continue to be powerful but some of our greatness will not be what it once was if Republicans continue to lead. Republicans like George W. Bush and Karl Rove and Tom DeLay and Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich and Bill Frist and Jim Inhofe would like nothing more than change the first three words of the US Constitution from "We, the people..." to "We, the privileged of the right sort...."

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