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October 25, 2005


Note that Steve Clemons is channelling emptywheel, with all the players laid bare... Bolton, Fleitz, etc... but not losing sight of the fact that Cheney knew.

Note also, for thought:

* Who leaked? not Libby or Cheney.

* why did Fitz leak Cheney's name today? (Because indictments are coming in the next 24 h?)

* Why did Fitz leak to the NY Times? Is this part of wanting a stronger Times?

* That was a triple anti-Judy story (Johnston, Stevensen and Jehl)? Someone teaching lessons here? "This is how you leak, and this is how you cover it."

it's official: Constitution passes.

The constitution was widely expected to pass, but there was speculation until the very last minute that it may have been defeated by a three-province rejection. Under the electoral law, if two-thirds of voters in three provinces had turned down the constitution, the document would not have passed.

Officials said on Monday that two Sunni-dominated provinces had rejected the document; the results for a third province with a Sunni majority, Ninevah, were not released until today.

Officials said that, after an audit of the tally for Ninevah, they had determined that many people there had voted "no" on the constitution, but the number of rejections did not meet the two-thirds threshold.

I predict that this won't stop the violence, or make Iraq safer. In fact, it might alienate the Sunnis more.

Good summary. Clinton's "playbook," of course, is a non-starter. Completely useless to Bush. Reagan's is only slightly more so. Reagan had Gorbachev and the whole end of the Cold War thing going on. Lots of chances to play the statesman while the truth about Iran-Contra trickled out. Where can Bush go? Nowhere.

Nobody thinks the Republican strategists are fools. So I'm a bit skeptical that they are really drawing much from the Clinton or Reagan experiences. I would be looking at Johnson's playbook. I think that's what they saw the whole Social Security thing as--a monumental domestic-policy initiative to distract the public from an increasingly untenable, intractable war situation.

So I don't know. I guess I expect revised attempt at a major domestic-policy campaign for 2006. I don't think he can use Nixon's playbook re: the war, since it's hard to see him sending Condi on a secret mission to Iran/Syria, followed by Bush going to visit Tehran/Damascus. The split nature of the preceding sentence is the problem.

TTT, he's been using the Nixon playbook all along: demonize Cleland and everyone running against him, his enemies. But you have to remember the last page of that book ended in disgrace. Another example of Bush not reading books as thoroughly as he should.


A good post on Cheney: Larry Johnson: who told Dick Cheney?


Howard Fineman said last night on the Joe Scarborough show that the person who leaked this story was Libby's lawyer, and that it did not come from Fitzgerald's office. Why would Libby leak this? I have no idea. Maybe to get ahead of the bad news? To signal that he's dumped Cheney? Hard to read this one.

orchid314, thanks for that piece of info, which is odd (thanks for watching Scarborough last night so i didn't have to). I guess it is "let it out first, because it's coming anyway". What else could it be, assuming Fineman is right (and that's fact he's reporting, not an opinion)?

From the LA Times op-ed, btw, Wilkerson goes national with his 'cabal accusation'.

Thinking about it a little more, I'd say the only way Bush can save his presidency is to spend the next three years focused on finding solutions in Iraq. It's the only way out for him. The domestic, social-policy front will be fought out in the 2006 and 2008 elections. That's already out of his hands.

I don't think it is too late to make real progress in Iraq before 2008. But Bush doesn't have the courage to fire Rumsfeld and basically push Cheney out of the loop. So nothing will change. Look what you've won, George! Three autocratic Middle Eastern regimes that pretend to be democracies! What a novel concept! Congratulations! You must be thrilled!

I think Ten makes a good point there that refocusing attention on Iraq to get it right is about the only drastic way for the Bush administration to put the wheels back on...

"The domestic, social-policy front will be fought out in the 2006 and 2008 elections. That's already out of his hands."

This sounds right, but I wouldn't overestimate the desire of the administration to cling to domestic issues out of habit. Seems like Bush as CEO delegated away his interest and input on Iraq sometime ago, and absent a shake-up at the Pentagon, I don't expect they will crack that nut unless uniformed leaders in the armed services are more assertive in their leadership. They have to burst the bubble of the WH and his civilian appointees, to direct ideas and information inward on what has been long a one way street.

Cheney is the key. Cheney was always the key. If Dem's were creatures of strategy, they'd have been softening him up for years.

And that borrowed playbook? Pfeh.

Metaphorically, Bush is approaching the sentencing phase of his trial-by-history ... the point where you introduce character witnesses and beneficiaries of your good deeds to win clemency from the sentencing judge.

The nub of W's predicament: lack of deeds.

Wow! I was not aware of Wilkerson's "cabal" argument. Strong stuff, especially if Powell remains silent and doesn't undercut him.

Wilkerson's thesis is probably important, though I'm not sure I really understand it. But his answer to his intitial question of "How did things get so screwed up?" has the ring of the voice of experience, and is easy to understand.

It's a tiny point, and please pardon the pet peeve, but "casualties" refers not just to deaths, but also to serious injuries.

Isn't it remarkable how many elections in which Bush has a deep investment seem to turn on one key state/province, which miraculously goes his way by a small margin (amid stories of fraud)?

In this instance, winning probably isn't even winning -- the Sunnis so roundly rejecting the constitution (despite the "we can do it over later" agreement) only insures a continuance of the status quo...with, if anything, a higher anger quotient.

The "Clinton playbook" was, of course, competence, so that's totally out of reach for the Bushies (even beyond the fact that most Americans saw the pursuit of Clinton as illegitimate). The Reagan situation had much to do with it being past the midterm elections (leaving only a limited time to his term), as well as the sense that Iran/Contra was completely past, thus unrelated on ongoing activity. The problem for Bush is that, everything that's bringing him down (Iraq, hurricane unpreparedness, gas prices, demonization of opponents) is standard administration policy. How do you change the subject in your favor when what you are and what you do is precisely what people want changed?

you're right... will correct.

demtom, that's reinforced by polls saying people want the next president to NOT follow Bush's policies.

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