Slouching Through Denial And Isolation
"The attorney general went up and gave a very candid assessment, and answered every question he could possibly answer — honestly answer — in a way that increased my confidence in his ability to do the job."
--Bush, today, on Gonzales’ performance last week
Yes, with a straight face, Bush reminded us this morning that he is in total denial:
President Bush gave embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a strong vote of confidence on Monday despite scant support for him among key Republicans.
"This is an honest, honorable man, in whom I have confidence," Bush said.
Bush wouldn't know an honest man if one bit him on the Cheney.
The president said that Gonzales' testimony before skeptical Judiciary Committee senators last week "increased my confidence" in his ability to lead the Justice Department. Separately, a White House spokeswoman said, "He's staying."
Good. As I said last week, the longer Bush keeps Gonzales in the AG spot, the more Congress will see the damage to Justice and listen to the drip-drip-drip from others leaking damaging information from the department. This, Bush’s denial about Iraq, and the general decomposition of this administration will exacerbate the problems facing vulnerable GOP incumbents on the ballot next year. Democrats are already lining up their list of targets in 2008, and will hammer any GOP incumbent for accepting help and support from this White House. With each passing month towards 2008 that list will weigh heavily in the minds of dozens of Republicans around the country who will have to decide well before the end of this year whether or not to sacrifice their chances of reelection next year to support an administration that doesn’t give a damn about them.
Note Harry Reid’s clever messaging shift this morning, now placing the blame for the failure of the Iraq mission squarely on the president, and dispensing with any thought that his criticisms from last week had anything to do with the troops. There will be more of that in the months ahead, as the Democrats rightly will paint this eight-year tenure as a failure on a range of issues, from Iraq and the war on terror, to education, global warming, and increasing health care dysfunction. Within another three months, if the Democrats keep hammering this theme, it will be lethal for any Republican up for election next year to be closely aligned with the White House.