Another cheerleader from Texas

If Bush fatigue disqualifies Jeb Bush from seeking office, it certainly should disqualify Rick Perry. “Bush on steroids” is putting it mildly.

  • Shallow charisma. Check. Though I doubt most voters would want to have a beer with Perry.
  • Macho posturing. Check. Macho asshole may be a better way to describe Perry, who carries a laser-sighted pistol with him while jogging. Shot himself a coyote, he did.
  • Texas. Unlike W., Perry never left. It shows.
  • Bad student. Better to be an undistinguished undergrad at Yale than a crappy student at Texas A&M (note the ‘D’ in Economics). Not that it matters much, just drawing parallels.
  • Cheerleader. Or Aggie Yell Leader, in Perry’s case.

Perry is Bush on HGH. The fact that he’s viewed as an early front-runner reflects poorly on the GOP field. If the Republicans want to be cast as a regional party, they’ll nominate the leader of the secession.

That doesn’t mean he can’t win. This race is starting to remind me of 1968, when Americans had to choose between an uninspiring Democrat and a Republican they didn’t much like.

President Obama hasn’t lost the base, like LBJ had for Hubert H. Humphrey is ’68, but he certainly hasn’t energized them. Most Americans may not have cared for Richard Nixon, but he mobilized his base and skillfully exploited the fears of an aging middle class.

I may be the first to compare BHO with HHH and for, his sake, I better be the last.

Bush vs. Perry?

Jeb Bush had been adamant about not running in 2012. Now, “You never say never.”

Could it have something to do with Rick Perry, who seems likely to seek the GOP nomination?

One longtime observer of Lone Star politics described the Bushes’ disdain of Perry as ‘visceral,’ and it is not too terribly hard to see why. The guy that NPR executives and The New York Times and your average Subaru-driving Whole Foods shopper were afraid George W. Bush was? Rick Perry is that guy. George W. Bush was Midland by way of Kennebunkport. Rick Perry’s people are cotton farmers from Paint Creek, a West Texas town so tiny and remote that my Texan traveling-salesman father looked at me skeptically and suggested I had the name wrong when I asked him whether he knew where it was.”

George W. Bush speaks in favor of WTC mosque

(via Andrew Sullivan, excerpted from a speech delivered on Sept. 17, 2001)

America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads. And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.

Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear cover must be not intimidated in America. That’s not the America I know. That’s not the America I value.

Bush 2012?

The GOP field for 2012 is pretty weak. Mitt Romney is as phony as they come, having reversed himself on everything from health care to gay rights. Newt Gingrich, like John Edwards, cheated on his cancer-stricken wife. Tim Pawlenty? Meh. Then there’s the idiot Palin.

I’m not endorsing Jeb Bush, but of the names mentioned above doesn’t he seem the most viable? Even his opponents acknowledge he was a competent governor well-versed on policy. And, on issues like immigration, Bush is much more reasonable than many of his conservative brethren.

Most pundits ruled out a run by Jeb due to his brother’s unpopularity, and no doubt that would be a handicap in the general. Ironically, he’d probably have a more difficult time securing the Republican nomination, considering the party’s know-nothing bent. Yep, Jeb Bush, with that Mexican wife of his, might be too “moderate” for the modern GOP.

sacrelicious

Shameless

Shameless

Significant ammo for those who think Bush, while in charge and ultimately responsible, was a useful dupe:

[Donald Rumsfeld] gave President George Bush secret intelligence briefs headlined with biblical quotations, in a bid to boost his standing with the deeply religious president but one that risked sparking a conflagration in the Muslim world if the papers leaked. …

The previously unreleased documents are a shocking and unusual admixture of the two realms. The cover of one intelligence briefing shows US soldiers kneeling in prayer, headlined with a selection from the book of Isaiah: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?/ Here I am Lord, send me!” The same page is covered with the classification codes and handling instructions typical to secret US government documents.

Other cover sheets released by the magazine feature images of US military vehicles and troops trudging through desert landscapes, manning a machine gun emplacement, and US soldiers inside what appears to be a posh palace once belonging to Saddam Hussein. One shows an image of Saddam speaking into a television camera and quotes 1 Peter 2:15: “It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”

And yet Rummy remains a folk hero to the right.

“what a waste it is to lose one’s mind. or not to have a mind is being very wasteful”

Dan Quayle has nothing on George W. Bush:

  • “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” — Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004
  • “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”— Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000
  • “Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.” — Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004
  • “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” — Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005
  • “There’s an old saying in Tennessee—I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can’t get fooled again.” — Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002
  • “I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.” — Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008

sunday reading

Yep, we were biased, writes the Washington Post ombudsman:

The Post provided a lot of good campaign coverage, but readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama. My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that they are right on both counts.

Mourning the rise of Republican populism:

There was a time when conservative intellectuals raised the level of American public debate and helped to keep it sober. Those days are gone. As for political judgment, the promotion of Sarah Palin as a possible world leader speaks for itself. The Republican Party and the political right will survive, but the conservative intellectual tradition is already dead. And all of us, even liberals like myself, are poorer for it.

Maureen Dowd reminds us to thank W:

But now we have the delicious irony that a white president from a patrician family, whose administration was so negligent about America’s poor and black citizens, was so incompetent that he helped elect the first black president.

As Andrew Young told Stephen Colbert, “The world got so messed up nobody else wanted to really tackle it so then they turned it over to us.”

comparing mccain to wallace

Forget what John Lewis said. John McCain is no racist, but his unfortunate transformation from maverick reformer to Republican hack is somewhat reminiscent of George Wallace’s journey.

In 1952 Wallace was elected a circuit court judge in Clayton. Civil rights attorney J. L. Chestnut remembers those days, recalling that Wallace was the first judge to refer to him, a black man, as “Mr. Chestnut.” … “Wallace was quite different from the rest of the judges in Alabama.”

But something changed dramatically in Wallace’s public persona after his first election defeat. When Wallace launched his first campaign for governor in 1958, the Civil Rights Movement was heating up throughout the South, and many white Alabama voters felt they were under siege.

During his campaign, Wallace had tried to find some middle ground. Though he supported segregation, he remained moderate enough to win NAACP support. His opponent, John Patterson, ran an openly racist campaign that played into the fears of white Southerners. Patterson swept into office, and Wallace was devastated.

Soon after, Wallace infamously declared “I will never be out-niggered again.'” And he wasn’t.

In terms of substance, McCain’s second campaign for president bears no resemblance to Wallace’s second run for governor. But McCain, like Wallace (and most every politician who’s aspired to higher office), let ambition trump principal.

McCain doesn’t hide it well (admittedly an irrational compliment). At least he’s conflicted, unlike his recklessly ambitious running mate.

Mark Salter, McCain’s long-serving chief of staff, is understood to have told campaign insiders that he would prefer his boss, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, to suffer an “honourable defeat” rather than conduct a campaign that would be out of character – and likely to lose him the election. …

A leading Republican consultant said: “A lot of conservatives are grumbling about what a poor job McCain is doing.

“Sarah Palin is no fool. She sees the same thing and wants to salvage what she can. She is positioning herself for the future. She wants to look as though she was the fighter, the person with the spunk who was out there taking it to the Democrats.”

GOP voters will probably reward her for it.

McCain will be left to reconcile a cruelly ironic final campaign. By embracing the strategy that was used against him in 2000, McCain helped ensure his defeat in 2008.

To put it another way, George W. Bush beat him twice.