Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Cheney resigning?

Rumors fly at US News about Cheney's imminent resignation.

Maybe PS was right!

Bias and "House Effects" in Presidential Job Approval polls

Beautiful visuals on Bush's long, slow slide to presidential oblivion, and how the different polling shops measure it.

Also usefully contains counterpoint data from the Clinton presidency. It was a bit of a surprise to me to see how, other than the stumble out of the gate, Clinton's approval ratings got steadily and consistently better over virtually the entire course of his Presidency.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Suicidal statecraft

Zbigniew Brzezinski describes George Bush's legacy in apocalyptic terms. It is debatable whether the final historical verdict will be as dire as Bresesinski implies, is no doubt correction in his fundamental assessment:

More than a reformulation of U.S. goals in Iraq is now needed, however. The persistent reluctance of the administration to confront the political background of the terrorist menace has reinforced public sympathy among Muslims for the terrorists.

It is a self-delusion for Americans to be told that the terrorists are motivated mainly by an abstract "hatred of freedom" and that their acts are a reflection of a profound cultural hostility. If that were so, Stockholm or Rio de Janeiro would be as much at risk as New York.

Yet in addition to New Yorkers, the principal victims of serious terrorist attacks have been Australians in Bali, Spaniards in Madrid, Israelis in Tel Aviv, Egyptians in the Sinai and Britons in London. There is an obvious political thread connecting these events: The targets are America's allies and client states in the deepening U.S. military intervention in the Middle East.

Terrorists are not born but shaped by events, experiences, impressions, hatreds, ethnic myths, historical memories, religious fanaticism and deliberate brainwashing. They are also shaped by images of what they see on television, and especially by their feelings of outrage at what they perceive to be a brutalizing denigration of their religious kin's dignity by heavily armed foreigners. An intense political hatred for America, Britain and Israel is drawing recruits for terrorism not only from the Middle East but from as far away as Ethiopia, Morocco, Pakistan, Indonesia and even the Caribbean....

In a very real sense, during the last four years, the Bush team has thus been dangerously undercutting America's seemingly secure perch on top of the global totem pole by transforming a manageable, though serious, challenge largely of regional origin into an international debacle.

To be sure, since America is extraordinarily powerful and rich, it can afford, yet for a while, even a policy articulated with rhetorical excess and pursued with historical blindness. But in the process America is likely to become isolated in a hostile world, increasingly vulnerable to terrorist acts and less and less able to exercise a constructive global influence.

Flaying away with a stick at a hornets' nest while loudly proclaiming "I will stay the course" is an exercise in catastrophic leadership.

But it need not be so. A real course correction is still possible, and it could start soon with a modest and common-sense initiative by the president to engage the Democratic congressional leadership in a serious effort to shape a bipartisan foreign policy for an increasingly divided and troubled nation.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

So long, and thanks...

I've decided to put the blog on ice for a while. Mainly for lack of time, but also because I get the the feeling that the country is, at last, awaking from our long, national nightmare. Let's just hope it's not too late.

It's been fun, and thanks for all the feedback.

(I may post occasionally, so keep sending me stuff!)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

NYT is full of it

The Daily Kos has the goods on how the New York Times seems to be covering up its own complicity in conspiring with Bush regime to discredit a critic of the Bush regime, with regard to the Plame affair. As anyone paying close attention to the Plame affair has doubtless grokked, war-abettor-turned-jailbird Judy Miller is a suspect in this case, not a victim.

Miller sat in jail for three months because she figured that this was better than admitting she helped out a CIA agent -- an offense punishable by a much longer sentence than the maximum of eighteen months one can get for Contempt of Court. After three months in the can, she's apparently realizing that jail really sucks, and now is hoping that Prosecutor Fitzgerald will see her in a forgiving light, especially since she is "discovering" that she had "additional notes" from the June 2003 conversation with Scooter Libby.

What's really disgusting is the way the Times has continued to insist, as a matter of editorial policy, that this is out and out a first amendment issue, where the sanctity of the press's freedoms is the only issue at stake in the whole matter. Every single article reporting on the Plame affair has been blatantly skewed to this point.

It's enough to make you start sympathizing with the wingnuts about the Times.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Ideology v. Qualification in SCOTUS-nominee voting

Jack Balkin offers a fascinating post on how senators weight ideology versus qualification in determining whether to support a particular Supreme Court nominee. The short story is that Senators will vote pro if a person is either qualified or good on ideology, but that if a candidate is shaky on both counts, they are in trouble. What does this mean for Miers?
Hence the Bush Administration has two basic strategies to secure her nomination. The first is to counteract the image that she lacks the qualifications necessary to be a Supreme Court judge. She will have to impress the Senators at her hearings with her legal acumen and her command of constitutional issues. The second strategy is to convince conservatives that she is a reliable conservative on all the issues they care about. This appears to be the strategy that the White House has settled on for the time being. The reason is simple: President Bush cannot remake Miers' credentials-- they are what they are. But what he can do is send signals that he knows what her views are and that conservatives will like those views. Thus we have already begun to see news stories that Miers is a devoted born-again Christian, that Miers is solid on the War on Terror, and that Miers will support the interests of business.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

What may take Miers down

The wingnut base is furious about Miers, and letting the Bush hacks know it. But what is more likely to bring the Miers nomination down is this story about the law firm she headed being found party to defrauding investors.

Plus, Abramoff and Safavian and DeLay are already under indictment, with Rove and Libby set to join them any day -- all in all, the only interesting political question remains whether the Dems can capitalize on the GOP disarray and dysfunction. I wouldn't bet on it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Monday, October 03, 2005

Wingnutosphere apoplectic about Miers

A totally unqualified crony. As usual, Bush learns nothing.

By now, even the hacks are fed up, and it's scathing: Michelle Malkin, Powerline, Glenn Reynolds, John Hawkins, Ankle Biters, and above all, David Frum.

Who can blame them. This is a woman who donated to both Gore and Bush's campaigns. Clearly someone without principles.

Cheney going down?

I haven't had any time to blog, despite the many excitements of the last week, particularly with the festival of hypocrisy surrounding the self-protecting Judy Miller.

I'll note in passing that as the Plamegate investigation deepens, it looks like really big fish may get fried. In fact, if the New York times is right in reporting that the scandal may "extend as high as Mr. Cheney", then perhaps PS's speculations about Rove's plans to install the presumptive 2008 GOP candidate in the VP spot may put on the fast-track.