Last gasps from the Left *UPDATED*

This weekend, I was at a block party, and the talk got around to the fact that, thanks to the internet, our children leave a trail a mile long.  They’ve got posts and pictures up at Facebook or MySpace, and videos all over YouTube.  Whether they’re applying for a job or college, a quick check on a search engine will quickly reveal if they’re the kid clutching the bong or the encyclopedia.  The whole notion of the past being past is pretty much a dead letter for this connected generation.

This was certainly an interesting and appropriate conversation for a group of parents presiding over raising kids between 3 and 13.  What was most interesting was the explosive outcry from one dad:  “If only they’d had this when George Bush was young.  We could have saved ourselves.”  Even avowed liberals looked a little confused about this one.  Nobody called the dad on the fact that Bush freely acknowledged his wild past, one that he had definitively put behind him by the time he ran for the White House.  It also seemed a little silly to mention that Bush has been gone for almost two years.

Suddenly arriving stampedes of kids turned the conversation very quickly, so any opportunities for follow-up ended.  I wonder, though, if I was the only one there who thought that, if it comes to a missing history, Obama has them all beat.  All we know about him is what is written in his hagiographic autobiography (you know, the one Bill Ayers ghost wrote for him).  Everything else is a mystery.  It would have been nice to have a few MySpace or YouTube moments of our current president.

In any event, I mention this whole incident just to show that, Bush may be gone, but he’s not forgotten.  Long after he’s left the White House, and in the face of ever escalating Obama-Caused Disasters, Bush remains the focus of unrelenting hatred.  Even on the Leno show, a few gentle jokes about Obama are quickly pushed aside in favor of fairly savage attacks on Bush.  I guess Leno’s afraid his band will think he’s racist if he includes personal attacks on the White House’s current occupant.

UPDATE:  Here’s a convincing argument for the fact that it is Obama who will ultimately end up being a much hated president — although his blackness may mean that this hatred is kept covert (i.e., never on the Leno show), for fear of being called a racist.

Beheading Obama

On the right side of the blogosphere, we have often discussed the fact that, during the Bush years, the Left indulged in gory fantasies of George Bush being shot or beheaded.  In the interest of fairness, it behooves me to point out that some on the Left indulge in similar fantasies when it comes to Barack Obama, a man (God?) they believe has failed them.  At least when it comes to beheadings, the Islamists and the extreme Leftists are definitely fellow travelers.

Two presidents in their milieus — and how photos can lie *UPDATED/CORRECTED*

Presidents get photographed hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of time.  Each photograph captures a mere moment.  Some are flattering; some less so.  Many, however, go on to become iconic.

My generation, the 1970s generation, is deeply imprinted with this photo of Richard Nixon flashing the victory sign:

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Then there is this 1932 photograph of FDR, which exemplified the buoyant self-confidence that was so attractive to frightened Americans during a shatteringly deep depression:

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As a counterpoint to Roosevelt’s jaunty assurance, I kind of like this picture of Barack Obama, caught unawares [UPDATE:  FunkyPhD clues me in to something I didn't know -- the photo is a fake.  I'll keep it here, but add another immediately after of Obama smoking, just to keep the balance.  Incidentally, while the newly added photo is old, the fact is that Obama can't seem to kick the habit.]:

obama-smoking

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Frankly, whether one looks at the doctored photo or the genuine one, each freezes just a moment in time, but both seem to capture so completely the essence of the man (or lack of essence, if you will).

Steve Schippert, who writes at Threats Watch, stumbled across a couple of photos that seem to get to the heart of Bush and Obama, by showing each man in a milieu in which he clearly connects with his audience. The photos make a lovely matched set (and don’t I love those matched sets?) because each is informal and, in each, the President holds a bullhorn, reaching out to his audience.

The first photo shows George Bush, at Ground Zero with rescue workers, shortly after 9/11:

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It is, in its own small way, another iconic moment.  9/11 was the turning point in Bush’s presidency and, for at least 8 years, in America’s relationship with the world.  Bush connected deeply with middle America, the America of people with traditional values and a reverence for American exceptionalism.  This is not a chauvinism that demands the degradation of other nations.  It is simply a recognition that we are what we are — and we like it. And the rest of the world hated Bush for his unreserved love for and protective feelings towards America.

The second photo shows Barack Obama, also with a bullhorn, speaking to adoring multitudes in Kenya:

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He looks so pleased and comfortable.  This crowd that unabashedly loves him.  They don’t care where he was born, they don’t ask about his grades, they aren’t worried about his past associations, they don’t look askance at his slender employment record dotted with promotions that appeared to be due to connections, not merit.  The picture captures perfectly a mindset that the American media sold to American voters in 2008:  Out in the world, away from America, Obama doesn’t have to prove himself.  He just is.  He’s Obama.

But things are never that simple, are they?  As Obama seeks world peace by cuddling up to bad actors in an effort to disarm them (think Chamberlain and Hitler), people of good will around the world are getting worried.  Certainly Poland and the Czech Republic have reason to fear; Israel fears; South Korea fears; everyone within rocket or suitcase range of Iran fears; Venezuela’s neighbors fear — this is a man who prefers the peace of the grave to the hurly-burly of freedom.

The world is realizing that it’s not enough just to “be Obama.”  The cowboy insult bestowed on Bush might have been an unwitting compliment.  After all, it was Bush who was willing to ride into town and, at great risk to himself, clean up the bad guys.

The Kenyan image of Obama is especially ironic, because Africans and other people concerned about Africa are waking up to the fact that it was George Bush, whitest of white presidents, not Barack Obama, sort-of-black poster boy, who was a real friend to that imperiled continent.

Phone messages from crazy people

I was out this morning getting my oil changed — and learning that it will cost almost $2,000 to fix my car from its recent run-in with a low post.  When I got home, I found an interesting message on my answering machine.

It’s the recorded voice of Dennis Kucinich begging me to “Press 1 now” on my phone to be added to the “growing list” of people calling for George Bush’s impeachment.  I don’t know how to tell Kucinich this, but George Bush is leaving office, with or without impeachment, in six months.

Impeachment is, in any event, a dumb idea.  Even though Clinton used the White House as his own private cat house, committed perjury himself, and encouraged others to lie as well, I thought the impeachment against him was vindictive politics that would backfire.  I think the same holds true in this tit-for-tat attempt to dislodge Bush, or just to humiliate him, with the end of his presidency drawing near.

It’s also unusually stupid — and this is saying a lot even for Kucinich — considering the potential fall-out here.  Clinton’s crimes were his own.  In this case, however, any Democrat calling for impeachment should consider the number of Congress people (Democrats included) who had possession of precisely the same information as George Bush, and who were as gung-ho for war as he was.  Any attack on Bush is necessarily going to create a wide-ranging defense that attacks a whole bunch of Congress people as well.  (You know, thinking about it, that’s not such a bad thing, is it?)

I know you are, but what am I?!

I’ve noticed an interesting trend in the comments to my Barack Obama posts lately whenever liberals wander by.  I’ll put up a post pointing out something very specific we’ve learned about Obama, despite his rather thin resume.  I might blog about his relationship with Rezko and the peculiar coincidences of his real estate purchase; or perhaps I’ll note that he’s been friends with some anarcho-terrorists; or I’ll blog about the fact that he doesn’t flip-flop (which implies an actual change in position), but simply has a new position for every audience and every occasion (witness his Jerusalem contortions); or I’ll point to the fact that his church of 20 years was a hate-filled cess pool; or maybe I’ll just point out that this man has less than a thimble-full of real world experience — you know, that kind of stuff.

What invariably happens when I get comments from liberals is that they don’t defend Obama, probably because they can’t.  Everything I blog about is documented.  He was buddies from Rezko and he did pay below market for his house as part of a Rezko related transaction.  He is friends with Ayers and Dohrn, and has sought as mentors many other arch-Communists.  He has stated three different, conflicting positions on Jerusalem.  The only way to reconcile them is to credit him with a sophisticated knowledge of rather arcane Jewish law.

His position on the Iraq War is equally open to criticism (“I was against it before I was against it except for the Surge which I was against even though I support it, but I still would vote for it despite acknowledging that it works and supporting it now. . . .  Uh, no further questions.”)  The Church kerfuffle is as well documented as anything else, and takes pride of place as the first publicity grenade that even a loving media couldn’t keep from blowing up on him.  Lastly, with regard to the experience issue, Obama’s resume speaks for itself.  I wouldn’t vote for him for County dog catcher on that slender a record of practical experience and real world competence.

Faced with the fact that I’ve never said a single untruthful thing about Obama’s failings and ugly baggage, the liberal response is unanimous:  George Bush is worse.  I’m finding this an increasingly peculiar response.

Assuming solely for the sake of argument that everything the liberals say about Bush is true — that he’s dishonest, power hungry, inept, has evil friends and entered the White House without any useful experience — what’s that got to do with Obama as a candidate?  First, Bush is not running in this election.  His day in the presidential sun is over.  With that stark fact it place, it’s clear that comparing the two is like comparing applies and spare tires.  It’s a pointless exercise.

Second, if liberals truly do hate the fact that Bush is dishonest, power hungry and consorts with evil people, and that he entered the White House as a useless neophyte with no practical experience, why in the world are they supporting Obama?  As we’ve already noticed, they never challenge the same substantive attacks against Obama, because they are heavily factually documented and irrefutably true.  This means that, if Bush is a rotten apple, so is Obama.

The smart thing to do, if issues of ineptitude, corruption, and bad friends really bother one, would be to consign both men (Bush and Obama) to the rubbish heap of history and to vote for John McCain.  I think most will concede that, while McCain is less than perfect, there is no trail of slime leading to his door comparable either to the ones liberals have concocted against George Bush or that the indisputable paper and video record shows against Obama.

I have to wrap up with Pee Wee Herman, giving context to this post title:

The lunatics have taken over the asylum

After seeing the insanity unfold before his eyes, a visiting law professor felt compelled to say this:

“I am really astonished at the mood in this room,” commented one witness, George Mason University School of Law professor Jeremy Rabkin.

“The tone of these deliberations is slightly demented,” Rabkin said. “You should all remind yourselves that the rest of the country is not necessarily in this same bubble in which people think it is reasonable to describe the president as if he were Caligula.”

Where was he?  A netroots (or do I mean nutroots?) convention?  A Truthers’ gathering?  A San Francisco party?  A Berkeley tree sit-in?

Nope.  None of the above.

Our professor was sitting at House Judiciary Committee hearing, listening to Democratic Congresspeople and their friends vent their spleen at President Bush.  It wasn’t an impeachment — the Dems aren’t that stupid — but it was almost worse, because it had the trappings of a kangaroo court with the President being tried in absentia:

Leading the way was Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, the former Democratic presidential candidate who has brought repeated impeachment resolutions on the House floor against Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Kucinich got a rock star welcome of whistles, hoots and clapping as he walked into the hearing room, holding hands with his wife, from hundreds of anti-war, anti-Bush people crammed into the room and lining the hallways outside. T-shirts reading “Arrest Bush” and “Veterans for Impeachment” illustrated the sentiments of many.

“The decision before us is whether to demand accountability for one of the gravest injustices imaginable,” Kucinich testified, avoiding use of the “I” word.

[snip]

“To the regret of many, this is not an impeachment hearing,” said committee chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., pointing out the less incendiary title of the event, “executive power and its constitutional limitations.”

Still, Conyers, a vocal opponent of Bush, noted that his panel had pursued many issues that Kucinich and others regard as impeachable offenses: manipulating intelligence about Iraq; misusing authority with regard to torture, detention and rendition; politicizing the Justice Department and retaliating against critics, as in the outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame.

[snip]

“The rules of the House prevent me or any witness from utilizing familiar terms,” Kucinich said. “But we can put two and two together in our minds.”

Former Los Angeles County Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, known for his prosecution of Charles Manson in 1970, acknowledged that “I am forbidden from accusing him of a crime, or even any dishonorable conduct” under House rules. But he could still encourage people to read his book, “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., was less circumspect in asserting that Bush was “the worst president that our nation has ever suffered.”

Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., concluded that “this is the most impeachable administration in the history of America because of the way that it has clearly violated the law.”

Unsurprisingly, the only sane words in this gravitas-free mad house that emanated from an actual elected figure were those voiced by a Republican:

“It seems that we are hosting an anger management class,” said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the committee’s senior Republican. “This hearing will not cause us to impeach the president; it will only serve to impeach Congress’s credibility.”

The tortoise and the hare

You all know Aesop’s class tale of the race between the tortoise and the hare: At the starting gate, the hare picks up so much speed that it soon vanishes completely, while the tortoise plods on behind. Within sight of the finish line, however, when the hare looks backwards and realizes that the tortoise isn’t even in the same time zone, he decides to refresh himself with a little nap. As he sleeps, the tortoise, who has never slowed his steady pace, comes abreast of him, passes him and, before the hare has a chance to regroup, crosses the finish line, winning the race. Aesop’s moral: The race is not always to the swift.

Now tell me if that story doesn’t remind you of the current state of the Presidential race. Hillary and Obama, bickering all the way, were put on the fast track by the MSM. One after the other, each was anointed as the obvious successor to the disastrous George Bush. Neither could fail. Hillary had the unbeatable, overwhelming Clinton machine behind her; Obama had that indefinable charisma liberals lust after. McCain was shunted aside as an irrelevant old man.

Something interesting is happening, though. The bloom quickly faded from Hillary’s rose when the MSM fell in love with Obama. And while the MSM is still in love with Obama, Obama is struggling to deal with his own past. Absent any substantive political record, his associates and acolytes are coming under scrutiny, and it’s not a pretty picture. Whether he courted them or they courted him, they’re locked in an embrace on a pretty unappealing dance floor, and ordinary Americans are looking on Obama as an increasingly less attractive partner for a political romance.

Meanwhile, John McCain plods steadily on. He appears here, he appears there. He makes nice, quiet little speeches. He does what he has to do distance himself from George Bush, because he knows that, if he comes too close, he gets tarred with the BDS brush (or just with the “we’re sick of Bush in the White House after 8 painful years” brush.) As to this distancing, I’m betting that George Bush, being a gentleman, a pragmatist, and a politician, if he spoke with McCain, would say something along the lines of “Do what you have to do to win, Buddy-Boy. It won’t hurt my feelings.”

So, despite the fact that Hillary and Obama hurtled out of the starting gate, and have been helped with big, big pushes from their sycophants in the media, I’m wondering if they’re not going to be forced into something analogous to nap mode as they near the finish line. They’re being shackled by the garbage that’s being dug up about them, as well as by the fact that, under stress, his charm fails and her scolding increases. Meanwhile, McCain just keeps moving forward, slowly, steadily and, perhaps, inexorably.

Why am I not surprised?

Yesterday, Drudge had a headline that said something along the lines of:  “98% of historians judge Bush’s presidency a failure.”  I didn’t bother to check out the article.  It didn’t matter to me whether someone polled 10 historians or 1000.  I still knew with pretty good certainty a few underlying facts:  if they’re historians for poll purposes, that means they’re university professors; and if they’re university professors, that means they’re in the Liberal Arts department; and if they’re in the Liberal Arts department, it means that they’re at least moderate Dems and, more likely, far Left Dems.  Polling them is as useful as walking into MoveOn.org headquarters and asking precisely the same questions.

This morning, W”B”S sent me a link to an IBD editorial that makes the same point I instinctively make, as well as more substantive points about the impossibility of asking “historians” to make a rational call about current events when the dust hasn’t even settled yet. With regard to the latter, IBD has this to say:

The professors’ political bias has blinded them to reality. They formed their opinions around an axis of nonsense: Bush’s invasion of Iraq, his “tax breaks for the rich,” and the alienation of many nations around the world. Let’s take their arguments one at a time.

• It’s far too early to deem the Iraq invasion a failure. In terms of military achievement, it ranks as one of the greatest in modern history. In a matter of weeks a dangerous dictator was toppled, his regime ousted, his military routed and an oppressed people freed.

Since then, thousands of terrorists have been denied their chance to strike America because the U.S. military has eliminated them.

The cleanup has been messy. But unless the U.S. loses its resolve, a stable, U.S.-friendly representative government is likely to emerge in a strongly anti-American region dominated by despotic regimes.

• “Tax breaks for the rich” is the big lie come alive. Under the Bush tax cuts, 25 million Americans at the bottom half of the income scale have been wiped off the federal income tax rolls.

And the rich? The federal tax burden of the top 1% of earners has gone from 19% under Jimmy Carter (in 1980) to 39.4%. Meanwhile, the bottom 50% paid 3.1% of taxes in 2005. In 1995, they paid 4.6%.

• Since Bush has been in office, pro-Americans have been elected to lead Germany (Angela Merkel), France (Nicolas Sarkozy), Italy (Silvio Berlusconi) and Canada (Stephen Harper). Both Britain and Australia remain close to the U.S. though both are under governments less pro-American than their predecessors. Who’s been alienated? Iran, which has been at war with the U.S. for nearly 20 years?

History professors need to stick to teaching history. They seem to be seeing the unfolding of events through a cloudy lens.

We’re winning, if only Congress would realize it

Michael Yon, who appropriately boasts that he is probably the most experienced reporter in Iraq, reminds us that Congress must stop obsessing about the past in Iraq and must approach Iraq as a winnable situation. He begins by detailing the enormous strides — both practical and “hearts and mind” stuff — that Americans have accomplished in Iraq:

It is said that generals always fight the last war. But when David Petraeus came to town it was senators – on both sides of the aisle – who battled over the Iraq war of 2004-2006. That war has little in common with the war we are fighting today.

I may well have spent more time embedded with combat units in Iraq than any other journalist alive. I have seen this war – and our part in it – at its brutal worst. And I say the transformation over the last 14 months is little short of miraculous.

The change goes far beyond the statistical decline in casualties or incidents of violence. A young Iraqi translator, wounded in battle and fearing death, asked an American commander to bury his heart in America. Iraqi special forces units took to the streets to track down terrorists who killed American soldiers. The U.S. military is the most respected institution in Iraq, and many Iraqi boys dream of becoming American soldiers. Yes, young Iraqi boys know about “GoArmy.com.”

The problem as he sees it (and I agree, as I’ve said before), isn’t what’s on the ground in Iraq, it’s what’s going on in Congress. There, the Democrats are determined to destroy George Bush, even if it means taking the whole US down with him, and the Republicans are desperate to pander to anyone with a shrill complaint. The result, of course, is that they’re legislating as if it’s 2005, not 2008:

Soldiers everywhere are paid, and good generals know it is dangerous to mess with a soldier’s money. The shoeless heroes who froze at Valley Forge were paid, and when their pay did not come they threatened to leave – and some did. Soldiers have families and will not fight for a nation that allows their families to starve. But to say that the tribes who fight with us are “rented” is perhaps as vile a slander as to say that George Washington’s men would have left him if the British offered a better deal.

Equally misguided were some senators’ attempts to use Gen. Petraeus’s statement, that there could be no purely military solution in Iraq, to dismiss our soldiers’ achievements as “merely” military. In a successful counterinsurgency it is impossible to separate military and political success. The Sunni “awakening” was not primarily a military event any more than it was “bribery.” It was a political event with enormous military benefits.

The huge drop in roadside bombings is also a political success – because the bombings were political events. It is not possible to bury a tank-busting 1,500-pound bomb in a neighborhood street without the neighbors noticing. Since the military cannot watch every road during every hour of the day (that would be a purely military solution), whether the bomb kills soldiers depends on whether the neighbors warn the soldiers or cover for the terrorists. Once they mostly stood silent; today they tend to pick up their cell phones and call the Americans. Even in big “kinetic” military operations like the taking of Baqubah in June 2007, politics was crucial. Casualties were a fraction of what we expected because, block-by-block, the citizens told our guys where to find the bad guys. I was there; I saw it.

The Iraqi central government is unsatisfactory at best. But the grass-roots political progress of the past year has been extraordinary – and is directly measurable in the drop in casualties.

This leads us to the most out-of-date aspect of the Senate debate: the argument about the pace of troop withdrawals. Precisely because we have made so much political progress in the past year, rather than talking about force reduction, Congress should be figuring ways and means to increase troop levels. For all our successes, we still do not have enough troops. This makes the fight longer and more lethal for the troops who are fighting. To give one example, I just returned this week from Nineveh province, where I have spent probably eight months between 2005 to 2008, and it is clear that we remain stretched very thin from the Syrian border and through Mosul. Vast swaths of Nineveh are patrolled mostly by occasional overflights.

We know now that we can pull off a successful counterinsurgency in Iraq. We know that we are working with an increasingly willing citizenry. But counterinsurgency, like community policing, requires lots of boots on the ground. You can’t do it from inside a jet or a tank.

As for me, I’ve sent this article to my Senators and my Representative. They’re all radical Democrats, so I doubt it will change their rigid, hate-filled little minds one bit, but it can’t hurt and there’s a smidgen of a chance that it might open their minds to the facts on the ground.

By the way, if you want a sense of how far the “lose at any cost” Left is willing to go, check out this American Thinker post about the attacks on General Petraeus for wearing tacky medals.  And Representative Jackie Speier, armed with an almost complete absence of useful information, didn’t even wait until her new seat was warmed up to leap into the lunatic anti-War sphere.  It must be interesting living in a factual vacuum.  I wonder if, eventually, your head explodes.

Post Traumatic Bush Derangement Syndrome

It’s becoming increasingly clear that John McCain is going to have to cope with something I call PT-BDS — or Post Traumatic Bush Derangement Syndrome. Let me explain and, as is so often the case with my explanations, let me start with a personal anecdote.

I’m visiting with the in-laws right now (hence the sporadic blogging). It’s quite a nice visit. We’re in a lovely American city, the children had a rapturous reunion with their cousins, and I’ve had a stimulating time with my in-laws, all of whom have moved right, just as I have. Indeed, poor Mr. Bookworm is the only hold-out. He feels that the family is betraying decades of committed liberalism (not the mention the New York Times), and is putting up a heavy rearguard action to defend his belief that “Bush is the worst president ever” (or, BITWPE).

Things got difficult for him though when talk rolled around to the upcoming elections. He conceded that he thought Obama would be a disaster and that he couldn’t vote for him. He also admitted that he hated Hillary and wouldn’t vote for her. But, he said, he couldn’t vote Republican. Why not, we all asked? Because, he said, “Bush is the worst president ever.” Had you been in the kitchen at that moment, you would have heard nine adults say in perfect harmony and synchronization: “But Bush isn’t running for President.”

Mr. Bookworm acknowledged this fact, just as he acknowledged that McCain is an entirely different personality from Mr. Bush.  In my conversations with him, Mr. Bookworm has also admitted that McCain is not a Bush crony, and that he agrees with a lot of McCain’s politics. Still, Mr. Bookworm just can’t get passed the “BITWPE” problem.

It would be easy enough to say that Mr. Bookworm is just stubborn, which he is, if it weren’t for the fact that my mother is exactly the same. She agrees that there is a war of civilizations going on, and that the Democrats are ignoring it. She agrees that Obama is scary and Hillary awful. She agrees that illegal immigration is a problem. She recognizes that identity politics and political correctness are divisive and are weakening America. But she can’t vote Republican. Why not? She can’t stand Bush’s smirk. Point out to her that Bush and Cheney are not running for office, and she tells you she doesn’t care. She just can’t vote for Bush.

PTBDS has potentially far-reaching effects, effects that go beyond my neurotic, retro-Progressive family members.  In writing about the “country in the wrong direction” poll that just came out with a devastating 81% unhappiness rate (although Democrats were overpolled and Republicans unpolled), Rick Moran pointed out the problem this poll poses for McCain and the Republicans:

This is not good news for John McCain and the GOP. People who think the country is headed in the wrong direction rarely vote for the incumbent party. However, in this case, the Democrats may have something to worry about as well. Approval ratings for Congress are worse than they are for the incumbent Republican president. But people tend to punish the party of the president during general elections than they do the party in control of Congress which is more common in off year contests.

McCain’s challenge is to distance himself just enough from Bush that he stands on his own two feet while not alienating Mr. Bush’s core 30% support among Republicans. It is a balancing act that many in the past have failed to do (see Al Gore) but will be necessary if McCain wishes to avl\d a backlash against the party of Bush among the general public.

In a normal world, one could deal with the revulsion felt towards the incumbent administration during an economic downturn simply by pointing out the obvious,which is that no one from the Bush administration is running for President.  However, in this election, conservative Democrats — who ought to be a swing vote — dislike the man with such fervor, they can’t be reasoned with.  For them, Bush and the Republican party have become fused into a single entity, making it impossible for them to view any Republican candidate objectively.  They’ve been so deeply traumatized by the Bush presidency that even the letter “R” after someone’s name causes frightening flashbacks, with avoidance the only option.

I just hope that all of these PTBDS sufferers are able to overcome their phobias and realize that, if as I believe is the case, Obama becomes the Democratic candidate, their Post-Traumatic Obama suffering will dwarf anything George Bush sent their way.

Liberals and Iraq

While I worked on an appellate brief last night, Mr. Bookworm watched Frontline’s Bush’s War. I was not surprised to learn that it characterized the Bush administration as not only profoundly stupid, but also deviously Machiavellian, with Bush in charge, except that he’s so stupid that he is actually manipulated by the evil Cheney.  At least, that’s what Mr. Bookworm told me.  The bottom line, as my very upset husband said, was that the “worst presidency in history” used all its fatal flaws to get us into Iraq.

I didn’t feel like debating the merits. First, I hadn’t watched the show. Second, it was impossible for me to amass all the necessary facts. I would have also gotten stuck in the morass of conceding that the Bush administration definitely made mistakes.  This concession would have led into an extended discussion about the fact that, in all wars, the good, winning side makes devastatingly bad mistakes because in war you use the information you have, not the information you will have when the dust clears.

Instead, I put the matter differently: “Accepting everything as true, what would you do now? For good or bad, we’re in Iraq now.” Interestingly, Mr. Bookworm refused to engage, falling back on harping on the evils of the Bush administration and its bad decision making. “Yes,” I said. “But that’s the past. We’re in Iraq now. Bush and his whole team are leaving office in January 2009. What would you do?” The only answer I got back was “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Mr. Bookworm’s preference for wallowing in the past and his unwillingness to deal with present realities is hardly surprising. In his world — the New York Times, the New Yorker, NPR, PBS — only the past gets discussed. To the extent that there is an Iraq plan, it can be summarized in one phrase: “Get out.” Of course, smart liberals, and my husband is very smart, know that “Get out” is neither an operational plan, nor a good one.

Equally unsurprising is the fact that Barack Obama, a man who is rather strikingly uninformed about foreign affairs given the fact that he has voluntarily plunged into the center of political life during time of war, has exactly the same attitude. He too never looks beyond the liberal media world and, while perfectly ready to spell out the Bush administration’s past failures, is incapable of dealing with the current reality, which is that we’re in war in Iraq. The best he can do is misrepresent John McCain’s statement that American interests are best protected by a continuing American presence in Iraq, just as we have a continuing American presence in former hot spots such as Germany, Japan and Korea.

John Fund highlights only the most recent example of Obama’s almost frightening lack of vision and knowledge when it comes to foreign policy:

This week, Mr. Obama stumbled again after he declared he wants to withdraw from Iraq but “leave enough troops in Iraq to guard our embassy and diplomats, and a counter-terrorism force to strike al Qaeda if it forms a base that the Iraqis cannot destroy.”

John McCain quickly leaped on the notion of keeping a “strike force” in Iraq and noted it was in direct contradiction to previous Obama statements that he would fully withdraw almost all troops. Mr. McCain had a series of questions: “I think it might be appropriate to describe exactly what that means. Does that mean 100,000 troops? Where are they based? What is their mission?”

Given that the Progressives seem irrevocably tied to the past, whether it’s endlessly rehashing the Vietnam War or Bush’s mistakes in this War, this is not going to be the only time that Obama stumbles and tumbles into a debate with McCain that he can’t win. McCain may be the Old Dude, so old that he actually served in Vietnam, but when it comes to this War McCain resolutely faces the future. He’s actually thought about what’s going on now, and what America needs to do to best protect her troops and her national interests. As Fund says:

Look for an ongoing debate between the two men over just what presence in Iraq Mr. Obama envisions should he win the White House. Present evidence would indicate that both men see a substantial U.S. role in the country, but that Mr. McCain’s stated goal is to achieve victory and Mr. Obama has a far more muddled outcome in mind.

The Presidential campaign is going to prove that, when it comes to the Iraq War, you can run to the past, but you can’t hide there.  Unless Obama comes up with a real plan, recognizing the actual on-the-ground realities in Iraq, I suspect significant numbers of Americans are going to worry that, not only are the Democrats obsessed with the Vietnam War, they’re planning on repeating all of its worst mistakes.

A lyrical look at how progressives need George Bush

Over at the Paragraph Farmer, you can read an almost lyrical article examining the way in which Progressives desperately needed George Bush to give meaning and shape to their lives, and get a sense of the problems they’ll have when, as will inevitably happen in 2009, he leaves the political scene.  Here’s just a sample to whet your appetite:

Anger is the second stage on the continuum of response to trauma, and a textbook expression of that emotion was offered by the two towns in Vermont that voted earlier this month to indict the president on charges of “violating the Constitution.” While Green Mountain State activists high-five each other over pints of “Chunky Monkey” and “Cherry Garcia,” their allies in the mainstream media play a game of guilt by association, because the anger they feel toward President Bush often extends even to things that involve him only peripherally. For example, former newscaster Bree Walker makes her home in California, but bought property in Texas that used to belong to Cindy Sheehan, and promptly professed herself appalled by billboards that welcome people to Crawford by describing it as the “Hometown of President George W. Bush.”

Bushian influence is a pernicious thing to pundits of her ilk. Walker, not a Texas Ranger, now promises to “stand by with gallons of white paint and enough brushes and rollers for every man, woman and child who’ll join us in eradicating what the folks hereabouts may someday come to see as an obscenity and smear on the good name of Crawford.” If the townsfolk don’t rush to her paint brushes, Walker will probably trade Diet Dr. Pepper for a soft drink with no roots in the Lone Star State. As a subheading in Newsweek magazine recently screeched, “Texas produces more carbon emissions than most countries, but the state government and business community don’t seem too concerned.”