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November 20, 2005


If you, too, would like to be ridiculed in a future post, speak up! Fart (frequently) in our "Sistine Chapel!"

So Murtha's smear failed. What's that mean to Schmidt's sinking standing amongst her peers.. or Rove's? or Bush's?

Check out this article:

Conservatives' mission: save Bush presidency BY DICK POLMAN

Knight Ridder Newspapers

Let's put it in Texas terms: President Bush is trying to blast his way out of Credibility Gap.

He is plummeting in the polls, with still no indication that he has hit bottom. A solid majority of Americans now give him the lowest approval ratings since Richard Nixon - a verdict that seemed unimaginable when he was reelected one year ago - and, even more ominously, he is now judged by the majority to be an untrustworthy leader who lured the nation into war on false pretenses.

So it's no surprise that the Bush administration is in campaign mode, employing all facets of the far-flung Republican communications apparatus, in a perhaps futile attempt to rebuild the Bush image, assail his critics as spineless flip-floppers, and defend his war to an increasingly skeptical electorate.

Everybody from the top leaders (including Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld) to the grassroots bloggers (who are trying to persuade radio stations to play a new pro-war song titled "Bush Was Right") has been enlisted in the cause. The goal is not merely to boost wartime morale on the home front. Ultimately, the goal is to save the Bush presidency.

That's how conservative leaders view this historic moment. As Iraq hawk William Kristol put it the other day: "If the American people really come to a settled belief that Bush lied us into war, his presidency will be over. He won't have the basic level of trust needed to govern." And David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, contended: "The Iraq war "is the Bush administration. ... The President has to defend, champion and explain the war - or else be destroyed by it."

DemFromCt -- The Murtha smear is still has legs. Notable are the many R's who did not vote in the Hunter resolution showdown. Congress is buried in unfinished business, and the fallout from this stunt does not make it easier to do business (either within the caucus or across the aisle).

Ms. Schmidt barely screeched through this year's OH-02 Republican primary, and seems unlikely to win a return engagement. Unclear whether this improves OH-02's Dem Dem pick-up potential. Hackett seems committed to his Senate run, and Ohio D's are generating more noise than signal. Mischief-minded D's should consider inciting a "Draft Danny Bupb" movement (on the Republican side, of course).

As I recently suggested, Bush's goal is no longer political success ... it's political martyrdom. Bush takes one for the team, falls under the Wheel of History, and later claims he ws pushed. ON some future turn, rightwing partisans will loft his reinvented memory as a bloody shirt. Frankly, it strikes me as a realistic adaptation to circumstance.

What you say seems plausible politically, Ron, but is Bush psychologically suited to martyrdom? Taking one for the team seems opposite to everything he's ever done. If he goes back to drinking, I suppose his rightwing symbolists could, as you suggest, say the liberals drove him there and could keep him cloistered. But someone as endowed with entitlement and hubris and don't-blame-meism as Bush would seem to make a lousy posterboy for any future propaganda.

Even Nixon's a martyr to someone. Every recent former president, ten years out, gets the sheen of martyrdom... every one except of course, George Bush I. Jr.'s father issues make your deconstruction of W's inward workings ring true.

I was in a country store a few minutes ago. The television was on and a preacher was speaking. I'm comfortable enough with the proprietress to ask her who's speaking. She couldn't remember the man's name. I said, "It's not Pat Robertson or some political guru like that, is it?"

"Oh, no! This is a good Christian man. Today he's talking about how people think that if they live by the law, they are righteous and are saved. But WE know that it's not by the law, but by the Grace of God that we're saved."

Now I grew up in the bible belt and, in light of everything that's going on in this administration, the implications of that statement sent chills up my spine (ok, a little tingle). This man was on national television with his sermon. The fundamentalist Christian churches have been manipulated, used and ringled by their leaders. I don't think the propaganda machine that the main stream media has become would overlook them in its drive to protect the president.

On the other hand, I know many fundamentalists who see through the machinations of this president to the realization that this man is no Christian. They feel that there are too many obvious discrepancies between the teachings of Christ and the actions of this administration to support claims of a deep Christian faith.

Bush doesn't have to be one of the authors or ratifiers of this strategy (though he may be), and he doesn't have to be helpful -- or even present -- in its execution through decades to come.

Don't-blame-meism and all, Bush seems perfectly suited to martyrdom. He will go down fighting (and accusing), he will never admit error -- or even doubt -- and he will never accept blame.

The narrative will be one of an America betrayed by lily-livered liberals, and a President betrayed by Vichy Republicans. Deficits and recessions? It's all your fault ... you kept Bush from finishing the job.

This all goes into the interpretive toolkit for party infighting, and for the next rightwing populist revival, and the one after that.

Taking one for the team seems opposite to everything he's ever done.

Except when he's got a megaphone and is yelling "Give me a Y! Give me an A..."

GM of the Texas Rangers, Tom Grieve:

[Bush] was the spokesperson. He dealt with the media, he dealt with the fans, and it was obvious to us right from the start that that's what he was made for.... He was there every day. He sat next to the dugout, he was on the field before the game, when there were tough decisions to be made he accepted responsibility for them and we all always appreciated that. He didn't hide behind anyone. He was there to take the heat.... George chose to sit right next to the dugout, with the fans, every day... I mean, it's a hundred degrees down there. He's there from before the game, half an hour before the game, didn't leave his seat except to go to the bathroom, cheering for the ball club, signing autographs, listening to hecklers, accepting well-wishes from season-ticket customers.

Dubya loved that job. I read somewhere (can't find the link) an account of a friend of Bush's from those days saying that it was in fact his dream job, something he would've been happy doing for the rest of his life, and that he didn't seem to have higher asperations. It's almost touching. Would that he'd followed his heart! He'd be happy and the world would be immeasurably better off.

Of course, being Gov of TX (a weak office) was not so dissimilar to his job at the Rangers....

Bush makes a perfect martyr. Everybody instinctively feels sorry for him. I don't have any respect for him - as a man or politician - and even *I* do, a little. As long as the focus is on him personally, and not on the fact that he is easily the worst president the country has ever had, he makes a great martyr.

Thankfully, if you're right, I'll probably be gone to my reward for "the one after that."

As a kid I was surrounded by the martyrs of the War of Northern Aggression, though those who had actually fought in homespun gray or suffered the assaults of Sherman, et al., were all (but for a handful) long since dead. Today, though a battle flag decal on a NASCAR racer or pickup doesn't usually have the ideological meaning ascribed to it by those of us whose reaction is negatively visceral, the false claim of the "good old days" and a put-upon tone remains widespread in the South. So, I have no doubt that the image manipulators can cast an oblique light on a tiny man to cast the shadow of a giant. And years do fog memories. Still, it seems to me that even the propagandists need something more to work with than sheer stubbornness on the part of their subject to transform him.

If Hadley gets indicted Bush ain't going down as now martyr. He will be a pariah and live out his mean and rotten existence rattling around his movie set ranch. Bush has two problems right now - 1) the Iraq War is going badly and 2)people think he is politically corrupt (DeLay, Rove, Abramoff, Savavian, Scanlon, etc.). When these two problems are linked in the minds of apolitical people Bush will go from unpopular to hated among independents. And ten years from now Republicans will lie and say they didn't support him because to do otherwise will be to support treason.

USGOVSIM is a great game which allows you to simulate yourself as a Representative. You have chance to become higher up in the goverment food chain as a Senator, Governor or maybe even President! So come to USGOVSIM and simulate the United States Goverment!


Come and join now! We need Democrats and Progressive voices!

Bush Jr is Nixon without the ability to work hard to rehabilitate his image. Remember all those foreign policy books Nixon wrote? He worked as a lawyer too. Bush will have to go back to his brush ranch and hang around with the Rangers. Maybe hang a bit with Mom at Kennebunkport or wherever she is, while she's still here.

I can see him feeling like a martyr, but he is going to be so toxic that only a very tiny cult will grow up around him. There has rarely been such a confluence of incompetence and greed as in the modern GOP. If people are really paying attention, they will suffer until I'm gone. At least that's what I fervently hope.

Meanwhile, what can be done to recruit more candidates and run a 250 district campaign? (That's not a typo.)

We kept Bush from finishing the job of destroying the country? We kept him from killing more Americans on the streets of shattered American cities? From sending ALL our jobs overseas?

There are such easy answers to their propagandistic wishful thinking.

As for the lady in the country store: "Oh, no! This is a good Christian man. Today he's talking about how people think that if they live by the law, they are righteous and are saved. But WE know that it's not by the law, but by the Grace of God that we're saved."

My answer to her would be "Exactly. All those people who gave out the name of an American secret agent to spite her husband and then claimed that just gossip wasn't illegal..."

Hells Bells, Bush and his Cronies
Governor George W. Bush and the other owners of the Texas Rangers are deadbeats. Rich deadbeats, but deadbeats nevertheless.
In early January, Bush and his baseball partners hit a home run, selling the Texas Rangers to Thomas Hicks for $250 million. Bush himself hit a grand slam. For his 1.8 percent share of the club -- which cost him $605,000 -- the Governor gets paid between $10 and $14 million. That is a return of up to twenty-three times his original investment -- in less than nine years. But even though Bush and his cohorts are making nearly three times what they paid for the club in 1989, they haven't paid $7.5 million they owe the city of Arlington.
The Rangers owners owe the money
because of a court judgment against the
Arlington Sports Facilities Development Authority (ASFDA), which was set up by the city to condemn land for, and administer, the Ballpark at Arlington project. In May of 1996, a Tarrant County jury found the ASFDA had not paid a fair price for thirteen acres of land it condemned, and awarded the sellers (the Mathes family) more than six times what the city had agreed to pay. A year after the jury's decision, the city decided not to appeal and paid the plaintiffs $7.5 million. That's where the Rangers' obligation arises...^URLabove^
Bush is as Useful as a Car Chock, sorry, but thats My Opinion. (Lived in Texas 40+yr)
Whats got the Politicians in a Tizzy is that the Leo-cons Lie theory has caught up with them.
Leo Strauss. Rule the "Herd" Lie to the "Ignorant masses" 'Edomites' didnt sit well with tReligious Crowds.
Its a Government/CIA backed program to Foment War thru Rendon. Rendon Goes back to 1989, Bush sr 'Signed' the Financing for the American Psyops progra, NORTHCOM.
Rolling Stone Reported on it other day.Harrari was involved.
CIA\Financed Psy-Ops on American Citizens to Generate Atmosphere for War.
Course Abramoff is Delays Bud, if Abramoff goes down, Delay is right behind him.
And it Aint Over Yet,,, }B@(

Martyr Bush.

Well, hopefully some real investigations can start up soon, so that this GOP & BushII era will go down as one of the most corrupt and criminal, ever.

Isn't it a basic Christian doctrine that people are saved by grace alone? If people could get all the reward possible by observing the law, there would be no need for Christianity at all.

Moses made it very clear that you have to observe the law to get the reward. But it is not sufficient. Other things such as loving and cleaving to Hashem are as important.

On my mind: manners and etiquette.

I met a couple, early-mid 30s, at a party recently. I spoke with the husband about his work, and also learned they have a young son. When the wife came over, I wanted to ask what she did, but found myself paralyzed not wanting to phrase it in a way that assumes either that she ought to work (or that raising a son is not "work") or that it would be surprising if she did.

Sunday Times has a profile on a hot new author, if a curmudgeonly spinster can be called hot & new, the woman who wrote the grammar-scolding treatise "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" and has now turned her attention to every day manners.

Isn't it confusing, she asks in one passage, "that our biggest experience of formal politeness comes from the recorded voices on automated switchboards - who patently don't mean it? 'We are sorry we cannot connect you at this time,' says the voice. But does it sound sorry? No, it doesn't. It is just saying the politeness words in as many different combinations as it can think of. 'Please hold. Thank you for holding. We are sorry you are having to hold. We are sorry to say please. Excuse us for saying sorry."'

Much has been made of manners in the world of politics: a "go fuck yourself" here, a nuclear option there. What of politics in the world of manners? A typically brusque New York grunt in reply to "how are you doing?" might be the height of rudeness in the Deep South; certainly when I visit my parents in a deep red state the grocery cashier's friendly "what are you making with this?" strikes me as offensively nosey. Is it a coincidence if blue-state northeasterners also place higher premiums on privacy protection than red-state southerners?

Certainly a study of apartment-building laundry-room manners and taxi-hailing etiquette would likely delineate natural fissures in the local political substrate. I imagine national trends are the same. I don't know which comes first, if manners drive politics or politics drive manners. But I'm guessing these everydayisms are as tied up in national voting pattern as the word "politics" is tied up in the word "polite".

emptypockets - politically, I don't think more manners would change things for the better. People need to stop thinking of legislation as a zero sum game, not just be nice to each other. Most of what our government does is a compromise. Individual Congresscritters should fight, fight, fight for what they believe in 'til six o'clock and then head home as friends. You don't have to be well mannered during the fight, you just need to leave it at the office. And I'm not sure manners covers a whispering campaign that your opponent fathered an illegitimate black baby or is a child molester, both Rovian tactics. I'm always leery of calls for civility and mannered discussion. It sounds an awful lot like suppression of dissent IMHO.

And for those that like books on language I recommend "The Language Instinct" by Steven Pinker. It's about how the mind forms language rules during development and a real eye opener with it's examination of the internal agreement and rules of slang.

I'm always leery of calls for civility and mannered discussion.

joejoejoe, yesyesyes. In fact I think I'd enjoy the British Parliament system better, where they boo more and get to throw stuff. What's on my mind is everyday manners that you meet on the street, and how they intersect with political avenues.

For example, to play off the "not by the law but by the grace of God..." comment upthread, the way we weigh a breach of the law or a breach of faith in our personal lives is obviously going to inform how we respond to lies & lawbreaking in the administration. (Maybe I picked a bad example since they lie & steal in about equal measure.)

Likewise our politics inform our everyday manners. I saw a woman shoplifting at a local franchise of a large chain store (albeit a politically progressive one as much as a giant corporation can be). The employees were goofing off, ignoring the customers, and I didn't say anything. (Is it considered "etiquette" whether you sound the alarm on a shoplifter? In NYC, maybe.) My anticorporate politics determined my manners.

No great thesis here: just chit-chat on what's on my mind. If I were to reach for one, maybe that the reason people get elected who stand for largely unpopular ideas, the factor the media has dubbed "moral values," is really more like personal manners -- how long you hold eye contact, tone of voice, whether you turn your cheek or respond in anger -- and while we can mount public campaigns to win voters' minds on issues like abortion or stem cell research, if that is not where they vote from it doesn't do a hell of a lot of good. And what can we do to change local manners?

emptywheel - One of the reasons I think Bush has been so successful politically (to this point) is his almost generic appeal to archetypes (which are almost wholly false). From a good family. A straight talker. A man of faith. You know where he stands. Compassionate conservative. Restore civility. It's all a sham but either he or Rove have pitched it just perfect. If you went over his policies point by point I'm guessing you couldn't get 1/3 of the country to support him, let alone a majority. But somehow he got elected twice (cheating aside).

I think politicians like Murtha are the antidote to false civility. A truly plain speaker and genuine with obvious credibility on a certain subject. Maybe he is crude by the modern political/advertising methods but Murtha is possessed of a kind of retro appeal based in reality. Murtha would never "report for duty", he's clearly on duty and doesn't have to say it. McCain has the same appeal. But you just have to leave it unsaid and speak on the topic at hand and let it float behind you unsaid, "And I know what I'm talking about". You cannot use your military record like Kerry did as a focus. It has to be more of a foundation, out of view but solid. Look at how much credibility McCain has with Joe Average voter. And Carolyn McCarthy got elected in a solid GOP district not by retelling her own story, but by saying she wanted answers like any citizen and never got them so she decided to run. I wish the Democratic Party would run more candidates that have walked the walk first, any walk.

As for the personal aspect of manners I think it's very appropriate to teach children please and thank you and adults should do it as well and mean it. But there are concepts of language and interaction that are more advanced than manners. Like blunt honesty. In a crisis, I don't care much about the feelings or sensibilties of the other party. There comes a time to get things done and any language or method that works and is honest is OK with me. I'm not saying curse out the person behind the bagel counter if they are a little slow but after Katrina a well placed "get off you ass, motherfucker" here and there would have helped a great deal.

Scanlon pled guilty to conspiracy to conspiring to bribe public officials and is now cooperating with the investigation. *bounce*

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