Monday Grab Bag
Polls and the Speech
The ABC News/Washington Post poll out today, taken over the weekend, shows Bush with his highest disapproval rating of his presidency (41%), a figure unseen since the week before 9/11. It will be curious to see these polls at the end of this week, after Skippy’s woeful performance last night on Iraq.
Even the media is noticing that Bush and the cabal don’t mention WMDs anymore as the reason we went into Iraq. I wonder why? Now it is all about terrorism.
Tom Shales’ review of Bush’s speech last night reminds me why Joe Biden is worthless (WMDs don’t matter to Biden), and points out that Fox’s reaction to a similar speech by Bill Clinton would definitely have been different.
As more proof that there is hope, even the ass-kissing editorial page of the Post wrote a fair lead editorial today on the speech, making the point that Congress cannot follow Bush’s lead for ongoing tax cuts that make paying for overseas commitments and needs here at home impossible. Obviously neither Woody nor Downie wrote it.
Russert Lets Powell Off Easy (Big Surprise!)
Remember last week when I reported on the efforts made by the Bush Administration to fly Bin Laden family members and other Saudis out of the country immediately after 9/11, at a time when all other travel was virtually impossible? Check out Colin Powell’s lame response to a lame and lacking follow-up question by Tim (“I love Bush") Russert yesterday:
MR. RUSSERT: The cover of Time magazine tomorrow, headlined, The Saudis: Whose Side Are They On in the War on Terror? — in this release from Vanity Fair magazine, “Former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke tells Vanity Fair that the Bush administration decided to allow a group of Saudis to fly out of the U.S. just after September 11 — at a time when access to U.S. airspace was still restricted and required special government approval.
According to other sources at least four flights with about 140 Saudis, including roughly two dozen members of the bin Laden family, flew to Saudi Arabia that week — without even being interviewed or interrogated by the F.B.I.”
Why was that allowed?
SEC’Y POWELL: Well, I don’t know that that’s accurate. I don’t know the details of what happened. But my understanding is that there was no sneaking out of the country; that the flights were well-known, and it was coordinated within the government. But I don’t have the details about what the FBI’s role in it might or might not have been.
No follow-up to that question by lapdog Russert, who was more than willing to blindside Howard Dean with an inaccurate Department of Treasury propaganda piece on Bush tax cuts and hammer him with a half-dozen related follow-up questions. Russert didn’t ask about to whom the flights were well known, and was allowed by Lapdog to get away with the statement that the flights were coordinated within the government. Thanks for that Colin, it certainly confirms that Bush cannot later come back and say he didn’t know about this.
The MisManaged Department of Homeland Security
It should come as a surprise to no one that Bush is doing such a disinterested and poor job in running the Department of Homeland Security as he is elsewhere in his Administration. The Post reported yesterday in a Page One story that Tom Ridge’s plaything is beset with inept and noncommunicative senior managers, with Ridge himself not paying attention to details. And while this large monstrosity for which we have entrusted our domestic security flounders, apparently Andy Card does nothing to push Ridge either. At least they have time to get involved in the Texas redistricting mess at Tom DeLay's order, though.
John Edwards pushed all his chips onto the table when he announced he was giving up his Senate seat for an all-or-nothing campaign for the presidency. In case anyone was wondering, Edwards will now be in the race for the long haul. But what about Bob Graham? I frankly think the country and the party would definitely be better off with Graham and Edwards back in the Senate, since to date neither campaign has caught fire anywhere. I wanted Graham to be more of a player at this point, but it hasn’t happened. And Edwards has said some good things, but he seems to be bored with going back to the Senate, which at a young age speaks poorly of him.
USA Today puts up a piece that indicates the White House and GOP operatives are getting worried about Dean. Yet Joe Klein in Time magazine attacks Dean’s change of positions:
Dean turns out to be a flagrantly political anti-politician. As his campaign gains altitude, he seems to change a position a week. In the debate, he changed two—first on American troops in Iraq, then on American labor standards on trade. Before that, he trimmed his honorable position on rising the age of eligibility for Social Security and his support for lifting the embargo on Cuba…. The question is: How many of Dean's positions are negotiable? As victory becomes a possibility, how much integrity will he compromise to win? Another question: How long before Dean's tough talk—the apparent candor that propelled his charge—begins to seem arrogant, uninformed, unpresidential? "I think Dean confuses being smart with knowing a lot," says a prominent Democrat who wants Dean to succeed. "I'm not sure he knows a lot."
And that guy allegedly wants Dean to succeed?
Dean, Kerry, and Gephardt are anxiously awaiting a possible SEIU endorsement this week that will in my opinion break Gephardt if he doesn’t get it.
Howie Kurtz wrote a good piece yesterday that summarizes the TV commercials run by the Democrats so far.