Standards (OR What are we applauding?)

November 18, 2008

Dave ever so nobly attempts to defend his defense of the Bush Administration for acting like grown ups:

At the same time, I do not think that George W. Bush is an evil person.  He is not The Joker, trying to spread chaos and havoc merely because he can’t think of anything better to do.  When he does things that I consider wrong, I believe that he does them for logical reasons, only with a seriously absurd sense of weighting the importance of various factors.


However, at the same time, the Bush Administration has within itself the power to really fuck this country up much worse than it has already – executive powers are broad and deep, even before you get to the point of arguing about Congressional oversight and the question of how far this least-accountable of all administrations is willing to carry its oversteps.  But, at the heart of it, this is a group of people who do not want to destroy the country, and who have acknowledged that the 2008 election was a resounding bitchslap of them and all that they stood for.

What’s interesting here is that I don’t disagree with most of this. What I don’t understand is how President Bush’s decision to act like an adult and assist his successor is to be applauded. Could he have chosen to be more infantile and petty for the last couple months of his term? Absolutely. Still, I’m reasonably sure that he would understand the damage that could do to his all-important legacy. Instead, he’s elected to do the politically expedient thing and act like an adult. And we’re to applaud? Really?

At the same time, as I mentioned before, President Bush has been implementing some midnight regulations. He’s also “burrowing” his political appointees into civil service positions. Matt notes “that for key regulatory positions Bush usually gave his career appointments to folks who were either officially or de facto industry lobbyists. So basically we’ll have the top layer of the civil service filled with industry shills.”

It’s this sort of thing that leads me to disagree with Dave’s contention that the Bush Administration acknowledges that the result of this election was a resounding bitchslap. I would think that if that were true, the least popular President in history would also acknowledge his unpopularity, accept that a vast majority of the country doesn’t agree with his governing philosophy, and sit on his hands for the remainder of his term.

Instead, he’s doing everything he can to benefit his buddies (the same sort of thing that made him so unpopular) and hamstring a President Obama (who just won more votes and electoral votes than he ever did). And all the while, he’s putting on this “I’m a nice helpful guy” facade and getting people like Dave to applaud his behavior.

Tricked (OR Falling for it again)

November 17, 2008

Dave appears to have discovered that he’s partisan. Or, perhaps, that he’s a hack. Amazingly, he thinks the Bush Administration is to be commended for being so gracious during this transition period.

I think he’s forgotten who he’s talking about here. This is an administration that has consistently lied to or obscured truth from the country; that has regularly formed an appealing public image while performing some of the most despicable acts ever committed by a President of this country.

Anyway- while we’re admiring how nice a guy President Push is, and how helpful he’s being to the incoming an Obama Administration, we’re missing stuff like this:

Now, of course, Bush has entered into his own midnight period, and it promises to be a dark time indeed. Among the many new regulations—or, rather, deregulations—the Administration has proposed are rules that would: make it harder for the government to limit workers’ exposure to toxins, eliminate environmental review from decisions affecting fisheries, and ease restrictions on companies that blow up mountains to get at the coal underneath them. Other midnight regulations in the works include rules to allow “factory farms” to ignore the Clean Water Act, rules making it tougher for employees to take family or medical leave, and rules that would effectively gut the Endangered Species Act. Most regulations are subject to public input; such is the sense of urgency that the Administration has brought to the task of despoliation that the Interior Department completed its “review” of two hundred thousand public comments on the endangered-species rules in just four days, a feat that, one congressional aide calculated, required each staff member involved to read through comments at the rate of seven per minute. “So little time, so much damage” is how the Times recently put it.


What distinguishes this Administration in its final days—as in its earlier ones—is the purity of its cynicism. White House officials haven’t even bothered to argue that these new rules are in the public interest. Such a claim would, in any event, be impossible to defend, as just about every midnight regulation being proposed is, evidently, a gift to a favored industry.

Rachel Maddow’s on the case too.

Bottom line: I think it would serve us well to remember who were talking about here.

Where? (OR What about Texas?)

September 13, 2008

Not too long ago, the threat of hurricane Gustav kept President Bush away from the Republican National Convention. Apparently, it was important for the President to be at his desk when the hurricane hit, just in case. Just in case what, I’m not really sure, but just in case. And, of course, it was big news.

In contrast, I haven’t heard word one about President Bush’s location in anticipation of hurricane Ike’s landfall.

So, are hurricane response optics less important because the New Orleans wasn’t at risk, or was the Gustav fuss yet another political ploy from the Republicans? Or, does President Bush not care about Texas?

Just askin’

Support (OR Why oppose the GI Bill?)

May 26, 2008

The NY Times offers a nice editorial about the new GI Bill and President Bush’s and Senator McCain’s opposition to it.

Their bill would pay full tuition and other expenses at a four-year public university for veterans who served in the military for at least three years since 9/11.

At that level, the new G.I. Bill would be as generous as the one enacted for the veterans of World War II, which soon became known as one of the most successful benefits programs — one of the soundest investments in human potential — in the nation’s history.

Mr. Bush — and, to his great discredit, Senator John McCain — have argued against a better G.I. Bill, for the worst reasons. They would prefer that college benefits for service members remain just mediocre enough that people in uniform are more likely to stay put.

Now, maybe it’s just me, but this doesn’t seem like “supporting our troops”. As the editorial indicates, the concerns center around the potential decrease in enlistment:

They have seized on a prediction by the Congressional Budget Office that new, better benefits would decrease re-enlistments by 16 percent.

But wait:

[T]he C.B.O. has also predicted that the bill would offset the re-enlistment decline by increasing new recruits — by 16 percent

So, let me see if I have this right…  we want to be permanently embroiled in military conflict which can, with some accuracy, be described as a civil war, overextending our resources and personnel, and put them in harm’s way for no apparent reason. In exchange, Republican leaders do not want to give them sufficient mental health care or an opportunity for a college education.

We won’t support them by bringing them home, and it seems that we’re promising to not support them when they get home.

And the President’s response? To claim he’s being misrepresented by the media.

One has to wonder how much like a petulant child President Bush would have sounded over the years had the media actually been doing their job and reporting some of the questionable things this administration has done.

My theory? Republican leadership don’t want to provide college education to soldiers (who seem to typically come from poor, undereducated populations) because college education will, ultimately, mean more liberals. But maybe I’m just in a conspiracy mode tonight.