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March 02, 2006


He sits in briefings and says nothing. Is he listening? Nobody knows.

He receives NIEs and continues to assert claims contradicted by those NIEs. Does he read them? Nobody knows.

Of course, anyone in his or her right mind should be questioning THEIR patriotism.

Best thing I ever read on this topic -- and very underreported -- contrasted Bush's response to the Florida hurricane in 2004 with Katrina.

It was like two entirely different governments. Water trucks, planning, helicopter visits, etc. Think the election had anything to do with that?

I think Reddhead nails it. it's the lying. There's been so much of it recently, and it's so pervasive. As Redd says,

"Why are the Bush Administration poll numbers tanking? Well, in my opinion, it's all the lying. The American public can forgive mistakes, so long as they are not done with some malignant intent. Apparently they can also overlook some incompetence, so long as they believe the President is working hard at his job.

But when the public begins to think they have been lied to -- repeatedly -- that love goes sour. Very sour. And lately, for the Bush Administration, it's been all about the lying."

This is absolutely correct. People expect some sugar coating. They expect that there will be secrets to keep. But these folks lied us into war, lied to us about the war, and are still lying about the prospects. They lied about Katrina. They lied about the port deal.

All during the 2004 campaign I worried about how we were going to explain to large numbers of people that they shouldn't trust Bush, that he was lying, without making them feel stupid for supporting him, so that they couldn't hear what we were saying.

We never really did find a way. Katrina was undoubtedly the beginning of the end, but the sheer accumulation of lying has finally become more than all but the Bushbots can deny, or stomach. The real question now is what people do about it. And as I said in the incompetence thread below, I think now we are going to see Bush falling universally below 40%, and his favorables break 30%.

His favorables are lower than his job performance now.

Favorable 29
NotFavorable 53
Undecided 14
Haven'tHeardEnough 3
Don'tKnow/NoAnswer 1

But I disagree slightly with the asture Reddhead in the sense that one has to answer the question you raised: why are people now willing to accept that Bush lied, but weren't pre-election?

Answer: Katrina, and Iraq: you can't separate performance from acceptance of Bush's lying. The performance was so abysmal, the revelations now resonate.

Why don't people accept that Rice told Bush that Bin Laden intends to attack with planes? Because that would make them even more fearful.

Before the election the contrast was between Bush and Kerry. Most people vote based on their gestalt of the candidate--how s/he seems as a person, especially strong/not and trustworthy/not. Too many people found Kerry phony and not strong.

Now Bush the reality is running against Bush the illusion, and as you (and I) point out, the evidence just continues to pile up. I think Katrina was the begining but Dubai Ports may be the real tipping point.

from Ron Fournier, AP:

A bit more jaded than before Katrina, Americans are less likely to give Bush the benefit of the doubt, and they are quicker to question his positions on the Iraq war and post-hurricane controversies such as the port security issue.

The president can no longer say, "Trust me," without a majority of Americans asking, "Why should we?" But this is not just about Bush.


Theda Skocpol, dean of the graduate school of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, said Bush lost his can-do credibility in Katrina's winds.

"The whole episode has raised the question in the public mind about what government can do, but it also raised questions about the Bush administration, which was built on the promise of protecting people in case of emergencies," she said.

The White House points to places in the transcripts where Bush is said to be engaged. That may be true, but Americans also heard the president on videotape boasting that his government was prepared for Katrina. He was certainly wrong about that. Now the public has more evidence to consider whether he was also arrogant, out of touch and dangerously incurious.

This is devastating stuff, especially considering the source and the distribution.

more on scurrying Republicans from Byron York(!)

But, of course, Republicans are angry for political reasons, too. For them, the port deal is symptomatic of the high-handed way the White House treats its congressional allies. For years now, many lawmakers have been willing to put up with such treatment, because they believed there was a finely tuned political machine in the White House that would ultimately prevail. Now, they no longer believe that, and they're worried.

It's not that Bush's approval numbers are bad, although they are (34 percent, according to a recent CBS survey). In their view, Bush is not a political liability because his approval ratings are low. His approval ratings are low because he's a political liability. Shortly after the ports controversy blew up, I called a strategist who often works with top GOP lawmakers and asked whether the Republican revolt would be happening if the president had a 60 percent approval rating. That's the wrong way to look at it, he said. Presidents have high approval ratings because they avoid the dumb mistakes that Bush made in the ports affair. "When you're at 60 percent, you don't do these sort of things," he said.

Even Rasmussen has him down today to 43% and Rasmussen is usually at least five points higher than anyone else. Some think that's because his sample is heavy with Repubs and they are getting fewer and yet weighing his poll numbers. I'm not sure. I always watch him. Forty-three percent with Rasmussen is pretty bad.

I believe it is the Katrina tapes and the UAE port deal that is the last straw. With the videotape of Bush being informed about the levees and then his lie three days later that "no could have predicted a breach...." As for the UAE port deal, well that is his own fault for scaring his base too much..and now they fill stupid for believing W.

On the war in Iraq, why? Why did Cheney, Bush and Rummy want a war with Iraq so bad??

FWIW, Tenet declassifed part of that prior to the Congressional vote in Oct 2002, and the NY Times covered it (The TimesSelect Select can even read the Admin responses and rationalizations.)

From Tenet:

These are some of the reasons why we did not include our classified judgments on Saddam's decision-making regarding the use of weapons of mass destruction (W.M.D.) in our recent unclassified paper on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction. Viewing your request with those concerns in mind, however, we can declassify the following from the paragraphs you requested:

Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or C.B.W. chemical and biological weapons against the United States.

Should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions. Such terrorism might involve conventional means, as with Iraq's unsuccessful attempt at a terrorist offensive in 1991, or C.B.W.

Saddam might decide that the extreme step of assisting Islamist terrorists in conducting a W.M.D. attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him.

END Excerpt

I assume WaPo coverage is also available.

Good pick-up, Tom, but the story's not only been buried for years, it's being reevaluated under current circumstance.

As it should be. I think Rice's PDB on Bin Laden should also be revaluated given what we now know about the Bushies, but that's prolly too much to ask for at this time.

...it's being reevaluated under current circumstance.

Hmm. Are the current circumstances that the media has decided that Bush is ringleader in a lying clown circus? (I imagine a video of twenty-seven Bush aides scrambling out of a very small but fuel efficient car).

Some of us don't consider that media perspective to be new, but there is no question they are even more hostile than usual.

Tom, you're forgiven your suspicions. The liberal media is, of course a myth (but I suspect we'll agree to disagree about that). ;-)

I'll tell you what's going on. Intensity. See Brownstein's column today on the polls in the Gallup poll thread. See especially here:
the media reports what the media sees.

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