Fun review of George W. Bush’s forthcoming bio. We shouldn’t lose sight of what a truly awful president he was. The point about him citing botched photo ops as his biggest mistakes—as opposed to the actual decisions he made—is well taken. It’s also telling that his efforts to rehabilitate his image involve things like getting word out that he nearly dumped Cheney in 2004 to show he was still in charge. Rehabilitation isn’t about making up for his mistakes, it’s about showing that he really was the one who made them, and has no regrets about having made them.
Cool article on an exhibit of 1920s German modernist sculptures hidden by the Nazis.
Inspector General finds that our old friend Mary Beth Buchanan had a taste for fine hotels, and had no problem having taxpayers pick up the tab. The total she overbilled, about $4,000, isn’t much. But as the article points out, it’s sort of petty offense for which Mary Beth Buchanan had no problem prosecuting people.
Jonathan Cohn wishes that Obama would make the case that “government serves a vital role, as champion and protector of the everyday American.”
Officials in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania county take a couple’s children from them because the mother failed a drug test given shortly after she gave birth that was given without her consent. The reason she failed: She had eaten a poppy seed bagel. Champion and protector of the everyday American, indeed.
While the federal, state, and city governments are increasingly bullying the food industry and micromanaging our diets, they’re also paying millions of taxpayer dollars to help fast food companies develop and market products dripping with cheese. In fact, the same agency running the federal government’s main anti-obesity campaign (the Department of Agriculture) is behind the cheese push. Champion and protector of the everyday American, indeed!
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H.L. Mencken (Baltimore Sun, 26 July 1920) already answered Matthew Norman’s question about how that wastrel found the White House:
When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost… All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
Also, those art deco movie posters are awesome.
Cynical in CA |
November 10th, 2010 at 1:56 pm
“We shouldn’t lose sight of what a truly awful president [Bush] was.”
The one thing the sovereign cannot deny an individual is his opinion. I do not rate sovereigns on a sliding scale — they are all equally appalling to me.
However, and this is obviously not meant as a defense but merely an explanation, one cannot name a single Bush program or policy that he failed to enact. In that regard, from the viewpoint of the sovereign, one would be hard-pressed to name a more successful President than Bush.
Cynical in CA |
November 10th, 2010 at 2:11 pm
“Government serves a vital role, as champion and protector of the everyday American.”
The myth of popular sovereignty is the source of the cognitive dissonance regarding government. Once the myth settled into the American collective unconscious, the State and the People have been inextricably intertwined ever since. It is an impossible problem to solve, for the People are their own overlords! How does one rebel against oneself?
How much better things would be if there were a clear separation of government and the people. The situation would be clear, that the ruling class/government are the overlords of individuals. This would pave the way for honest dealing between the overlords and the serfs, with the overlords knowing that a popular uprising stemming from over-exploitation would remove them from power and new overlords would be installed who might be more cooperative with the serfs.
In democracy, no such popular uprising is possible. Only a military coup can overthrow a democracy.
It might even be possible that a balance would be achieved that would validate that statement above. Under democracy, no such thing is possible.
Democracy isn’t the worst form of government save all the others — it’s the worst form of government period. For the slave class, that is.
P.S. It’s to Obama’s credit that he hasn’t listened to Mr. Cohn’s advice … yet.
I hope George Bush, Mary Beth Buchanan and the morons from Lawrence County, PA all die in a fire. Seriously. They really deserve to. I don’t know how the father of that baby keeps from tracking down the little drone that came for his kid (with armed thugs of course) and putting a round in their forehead. What they did to that family is unforgivable.
So our government is virtually broke, but spends money helping Dominos market fucking pizza?!?! If they had any intent whatsoever of reigning in spending, that would be shut down by the end of the day. I’m not going to hold breath.
But as bad as Bush was with the economy, Obama is just about doubling down. This has got to change because we can’t afford it.
Congress should move to first get rid of Bush’s Medicare prescription drug expansion. Obama has already said he thought it was too expensive. Let him veto that. That would show the GOP is serious about cutting spending and Obamacare can be next in order (and massive entitlement expansion we cannot afford). You do those two changes and you can then work to resolve the problems with social security and medicare.
As far as discretionary spending (including defense), which is at about $1.8 trillion for 2010, how about a 5% cut accross the board, including salaries of all federal employees. President and Congress included. That is doable (are you telling me any agency or defense could not cut 5%) and would send a very clear signal. That would save $900 billion dollars. Too crazy? How about a 2.5% cut? That would save $450 billion.
Is there a specific deco style that is being parodied by the Art Deco movie posters? A lot of them are samey in an obvious way, so I’m curious if that’s a reference to something in particular. Some of them are quite neat, though I don’t need to full set or anything.
Concerning Buchanan: I’m a federal employee and if I stay at a hotel that exceeds the gov. rate then I have to pay the difference out of pocket (the gov. will only reimburse me up to the gov. rate for that town). Unless, of course, her boss approved the extra money (the gov. has a waiver for everything) but then he’s as guilty as she is and should be called out in the article.
Irving Washington |
November 10th, 2010 at 2:39 pm
I admit it. I voted for Bush in 2000. I was wary of “compassionate conservatism,” but I think John McCain has some of the worst ideas in history, and believe it or not, Bush did a great job as governor of my state. So I voted for him. I cannot for one second stand to hear conservatives defend him. I truly, honestly don’t care that much about the foreign policy problems other than their cost. But no one who cares about smaller government could have been fooled by this jackass for more than about 7 months. Steel tariffs? Really? Bringing back farm subsidies? Did I accidently vote for FDR? Even his first few months in office were enough to convince me that I had made a terrible mistake.
@12 BILL – Now that TSA is checking for breast cancer, poppy seed awareness is scheduled for early next year.
Boyd Durkin |
November 10th, 2010 at 2:41 pm
“We shouldn’t lose sight of what a truly awful president he was.”
Bush, Obama, Clinton, etc. don’t have the same job you think they have. And as a Pats fan, Peyton Manning is a horrible QB.
However; I get your point, Radley. The recent Bush interviews have been pathetic on so many levels.
If DoAg gives $100 mill of my money to Domino’s so they can buy $200 mill of cheese while the DoAg spends $50 million to market cheese and Domino’s sells $1 billion worth of pizza, then we’ve created $100.75 billion in GDP growth. Right? Can I have a government job now?
Yizmo Gizmo |
November 10th, 2010 at 2:43 pm
Everyone knew there was trouble after the “Major League Asshole/Big Time” leak.
Is Bush the Younger going to articulate on inability to articulate?
This ought to be downright funny…
Will the brow beatings by his boss Cheney be redacted?
Or the late night “parties” with Neo-Con waterboy/hooker Jeff Gannon?
“In 1995, the government created Dairy Management Inc., a nonprofit corporation that has defined its mission as increasing dairy consumption by “offering the products consumers want, where and when they want them.””
And who was just voted in after the 1994 election? Well there you have it, the fiscally conservative, small government, contract with america, gingrich led republicans. Let’s name names, who concocted this piece of shit?
“The report criticized four other former U.S. attorneys, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. It cited Christie for booking a $449-per-night hotel in Boston and a Washington hotel for $475. Christie exceeded the federal payment rates by a total of $2,176.”
Bummer. I kinda thought he was one of the few redeemable things about New Jersey.
that’s not how per diem’s work (at least not for us peon fed. employees). You are reimbursed for the exact amount of your hotel room, not to exceed the max. gov. allowed rate (which she exceeded). You are also given money for food (called M&IE, for Meals & Incidental Expenses). The system is designed so that you cannot stay with a friend and still collect the hotel money (you must show receipts).
“The point about him citing botched photo ops as his biggest mistakes—as opposed to the actual decisions he made—is well taken.”
I thought Bush’s worst moment was when he was accused by that singer of not caring about people of color in New Orleans. Seems like he feels a lot of his moments were the “worst”. Which is not only a fundamental failing of the English language but also a major self-reflection FAIL.
Nando, man that sucks. I did do a few cost plus contracts overseas for private contractors, which provided enough money to buy round trip first class tickets every six months, a living per diem, etc. It was sweet.
Did I mention it was tax free too?
No wonder those Corps of Engineer guys were always pissed off.
“It’s also telling that his [Bush’s] efforts to rehabilitate his image involve things like getting word out that he nearly dumped Cheney in 2004 to show he was still in charge.”
Yes, and he only considered it because CHENEY SUGGESTED IT TO HIM FIRST. Just think about that.
“The idea came from Mr. Cheney, who offered to drop out of the race one day during a private lunch between the two men in mid-2003. ‘I did consider the offer,’ Mr. Bush writes, and spent several weeks exploring the possibility…”
Bush is an idiot. Yeah I get it. All presidents must have something wrong as no one in his right mind would run for that office. Clinton was a decent president in that his self absorption helped to steer him around foreign sink holes that sucked in Bush. If Bush is the bottom 5, show me the top 5 success stories in recent decades.
It was interesting that the article praises Churchill for his intelligence (which he definitely had) and chastises Bush for condoning torture. Would Churchill not have done the same thing, in fact probably he did. Under Churchill cities and civilian populations were directly targeted for bombing. They were not collateral damage.
This type of article leads me to believe that the author is less concerned about tactics and more concerned about the political bent of the guy in charge.
Would that “compassionate conservatism” had amounted to a conservatism slow to torturing or bombing people, or throwing nonviolent “offenders” into prisons, etc. You know, the stuff that minimal decency keeps most of us from doing even when we’re not feeling particularly compassionate.
#4: “How much better things would be if there were a clear separation of government and the people. The situation would be clear, that the ruling class/government are the overlords of individuals. This would pave the way for honest dealing between the overlords and the serfs, with the overlords knowing that a popular uprising stemming from over-exploitation would remove them from power and new overlords would be installed who might be more cooperative with the serfs.”
Admittedly this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read online. Nonetheless, I reply: I’d argue that in the modern era of high technology, disenfranchised serfs overthrowing wealthy overlords would no longer be feasible. With the availability of surveillance scanners, computer processors, satellites, GPS, and Predator drones, any committed overlord could put down an uprising with ease and a very small number of loyalists. As technical power and networking increases, the ability to maintain power (and wealth) in a very small set hands also increases. Political organization is the only answer.
#38: …and that is why we won so quickly and easily in Afghanistan, Iraq and the “War” on “Terror”, right?
The inability of our armed forces to deal with insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan would seem to disprove your claim. I would expect that a true, widespread uprising in the U.S. would be an even bigger challenge because we have a much larger population, millions and millions of whom are armed, and many of whom were trained in the same military it would now oppose. Further, I would expect a fair percentage of desertions, or at least refusals to fight, if our military was deployed against U.S. citizens.
But you are right that our technology and, I would add, prosperity, are keeping such a thing from happening. It’s bread and circuses: as long as people have a sense that they have a lot to lose–401 Ks, big-screen TVs, and so on, they are reluctant to act out against whatever they perceive as injustices by the government. Should the economy take a turn for the worse, things could get ugly.
#39: It depends on what you are willing to do. We occupied Japan and Germany after WWII and made them democracies.
We had to kill 6 to 8 million Germans and 2 to 3 million Japanese. In one German city, Dresden, between 20,000 and 25,000 mostly civilians were killed in two days of bombing. 1300 heavy bombers and 4000 tons of bombs were used. If you are willing to take these kinds of measures and using modern technology it should be doable with a much smaller ruling class.
Is there a specific deco style that is being parodied by the Art Deco movie posters? A lot of them are samey in an obvious way, so I’m curious if that’s a reference to something in particular.
Apparently, all Art Deco posters must feature people standing stoically, angled 30 degrees, facing left.
Cynical in CA |
November 11th, 2010 at 1:00 pm
#38 | delta — “Admittedly this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read online.”
I am truly honored, delta. I even outdid my last comment that you designated the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever read online. Quite an achievement, if I may pat myself on the back. I look forward to your review of my next comment. Might want to consult a thesaurus just to liven your writing up a bit. You know, substitute “absurd” or “incredible” or “bizarre” for “ridiculous.” But it is truly an honor that my comment was so ridiculous that it caused you to reply rather than ignore it. Better any reaction than no reaction, right?
I had the identical take. This guy couldn’t have cared less what Bush wrote or didn’t write. The conclusion was there before the evidence – Bush is an idiot. Among his thesaurus searching he must have avoided the section covering “irony”, because his article is thick with it.
Say what you will about Bush, he proposed policies that had broad support at the time, and he did exactly what he said he would do at every turn. Invading Iraq polled as high as 77% in favor. The Patriot Act had broad support. His tax cuts were popular with just about everyone except the 32% hard core democrats. It may not be smart or leadership, but he never really went against popular opinion. He started to do something about Social Security, then dropped it when it proved unpopular. He started a very sensible (and libertarian) immigration reform, then dropped it when it proved unpopular.
The country has no one but themselves to blame for the worst of the Bush years. The vast majority cheered his dumbest decisions and threatened riots over his best proposals. He was less the “decider” than the “follower in chief”. We may not have gotten what we needed, but we got what we asked for, and probably what we deserved.
“We shouldn’t lose sight of what a truly awful president he was.”
As compared to… who? Well, Reagan, obviously, the best President in my lifetime, but other than that…. help me out here.
-Every complaint I have or have heard about Bush (except for a few stark raving loony ones) applies to Obama, only more so.
-Clinton sold state secrets to the Chinese, “helped” with the Middle East peace process (made it even worse, if that’s possible), gave free crap to Korea for empty promises, and brought amazing levels of dishonor on the office of the Presidency
-Bush 41… lousy politician. Didn’t seem to get much done, really. Didn’t really screw much up, though, either (well, he did leave us with the ongoing Iraq mess). I’d take him over Bush 43 – less “compassionate conservatism” BS.
-Carter… set the bar for lousy (until Obama)
This is absurd. It appears Mary Beth Buchanan is now attempting to slander the author of the IG report. Mary Beth does not dispute the numbers or findings of the report. She instead claims the writer / author is bias and sloppy. Perhaps Mary Beth should stop attacking others and PAY BACK THE MONEY she took improperly from taxpayers.