Friday :: Mar 17, 2006

It's Hot On The Seat For a Chimp!

by pessimist

For all of the abuse we progressives have laid upon King George since he announced his candidacy, one would think that there would have been some examination by the SCLM over it. Nothing but disdainful dismissal.

But be a member of the Bu$hCo cult, and express unhappiness with Owwer Leedur, and all kinds of examinations pour out!

Case in point:

US evangelicals warn Republicans
By Jamie Coomarasamy, BBC News, Washington

Prominent leaders from the Christian right have warned Republicans they must do more to advance conservative values ahead of the US mid-term elections. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said that apart from confirming two conservative judges to the Supreme Court, "core values voters" did not feel that Congress was advancing their interests.

Now comes the sort of factual reporting that should have been done in 1999 - before The Chimp-in-Thief could wreak havoc:

Support from about a quarter of Americans who describe themselves as evangelicals was a factor in President George W Bush's two election victories. Exit polls suggested that more than three-quarters of white evangelical Christians voted for President Bush in 2004.
But according to a recent opinion poll, the number of them who want Republicans to retain their Congressional majority is not much above 50%.

Which is prompting the Republican Congressional majority to express discontent with Bu$hCo.

GOP Irritation At Bush Was Long Brewing
By Jim VandeHei, Washington Post Staff Writer

President Bush's troubles with congressional Republicans, which erupted during the backlash to the Dubai seaport deal, are rooted in policy frustrations and personal resentments that GOP lawmakers say stretch back to the opening days of the administration.

Congressional scholar Norman J. Ornstein has written that the recently vented anger, after being suppressed for years out of loyalty or fear, might be seen in psychological terms. He called the condition 'battered-Congress syndrome'.

"Members felt they were willing to take a lot of tough votes and did not get much in return," said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), an early critic of the port deal.

Newly unleashed grievances could signal even bigger problems for Bush's last two years in office, as he would be forced to abandon a governing strategy that until recently counted on solid support from congressional Republicans. The blowup over the Dubai deal illustrated the new environment. Bush infuriated members by threatening to veto any congressional effort to prevent an Arab company from taking control of terminals at six U.S. seaports. Instead of falling in line, they felled the deal by joining with Democrats for a 62 to 2 committee vote against Bush.

It was the breaking point for many members. Afterward, Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) was quoted in The Washington Post as saying:

"This is probably the worst administration ever in getting Congress's opinion on anything."
What Bush is facing now, beyond just election-year jitters by legislators eyeing his depressed approval ratings, is a rebellion that has been brewing since the days when he looked invincible, say many lawmakers and strategists. The White House at times has been "non-responsive and arrogant," said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.). "There are a thousand small cuts," he added, that are ignored when things are going well but "rear their heads when things are not going well."

The election of Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to replace DeLay as party leader has created a more unpredictable and freewheeling Republican caucus. Boehner won by promising to return power to chairmen and rank-and-file legislators who tend to be less compromising -- and less concerned about accommodating the White House.

If the vote were held today on the Medicare prescription drug benefit, said Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), as many 120 Republicans would vote against it.

"It was probably our greatest failure in my adult lifetime," he said.

It isn't just domestic issues that are causing unrest in the Republicans' base of Have$ and Havemore$:

Democracy Push by Bush Attracts Doubters in Party

Henry Kissinger noted in a commentary last year, "The United States is probably the only country in which 'realist' can be used as a pejorative epithet."

[T]he Bush administration is facing fresh doubts from some Republicans who say its emphasis on promoting democracy around the world has come at the expense of protecting other American interests. The second thoughts signify a striking change in mood over one of President Bush's cherished tenets, pitting Republicans who call themselves realists against the neoconservatives who saw the invasion of Iraq as a catalyst for change and who remain the most vigorous advocates of a muscular American campaign to foster democratic movements.

"The 'realists' in the party are rearing their heads and asking, 'Is this stuff working?' " said Lorne W. Craner, president of the International Republican Institute, a foundation linked to the Republican Party that supports democratic activities abroad. [Mr. Craner was an assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor in Mr. Bush's first term.]

The critics, who include Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Richard G. Lugar of Indiana and Representative Henry J. Hyde of Illinois, as well as Mr. Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, have been shaken by the victory of Hamas in Palestinian elections in January and by the gains Islamists scored in elections in Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon. They also argue that heavy-handed pressure has strained American relations with Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China, making it harder to enlist them in fighting terrorism, stabilizing the Middle East and curbing nuclear weapons.

The concern, expressed by Representative Hyde, chairman of the International Relations Committee, is that the administration views democracy as a 'magic formula'.

"Implanting democracy in large areas would require that we possess an unbounded power and undertake an open-ended commitment of time and resources, which we cannot and will not do," he said.
One prominent neoconservative, Francis Fukuyama, asserts in a new book that the administration embraced democracy as a cornerstone of its policy only after the failure to find unconventional weapons in Iraq. The issue was seized upon to justify the war in retrospect, and then expanded for other countries, he says.

Mr. Fukuyama, who opposed the war in Iraq, said in an interview that it was naïve and contrary to the tenets of conservatism for the United States to think that it could act as midwife or cheerleader for democracy in societies it knows little about.

Indeed, as he points out, in the 2000 election campaign, both Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice, then his foreign policy adviser, criticized the Clinton administration's interventions to promote democracy in Somalia, Haiti and the Balkans as misplaced idealism.

"It's this weird situation, where you have a really conservative Republican president using all this Clintonesque rhetoric about rights and ideals," Mr. Fukuyama said.
Even such leaders of the "realist" camp, like Mr. Kissinger, a former secretary of state, and Mr. Scowcroft, national security adviser under the first President Bush, say they support democracy as a major part of American foreign policy. But in an echo of the cold war debates over whether to confront or negotiate with the Soviet Union, both have also warned that the United States should not risk alienating crucial allies or fomenting unrest by demanding rapid internal change.

But of course, what else is to be expected from Bu$hCo?

This year the United States is spending $1.7 billion to support groups seeking political change,
but lately Russia, Egypt, China and many countries in Africa and Latin America
have cracked down on these groups

You know it's getting bad when your friends get critical:

Even many supporters of the democracy program say the administration's miscalculations in Iraq have done damage to the cause. "I think this administration tends to have the right general policies but to be remarkably unwilling to look at how weak their instruments of implementation are," said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker.
"Success has 100 parents, failure is an orphan".
- John R Ashton

What would be going on right now if Iraq completely went the way we were told it would? What if American soldiers really were greeted in the streets with roses? What if Iraq had become a functional democracy, with liberty and justice for all, two chickens in every pot, and a high-wage job with Halliburton-Iraq? With benefits?

George could lead a parade of supporters down Pennsylvania Avenue that would stretch for miles. The neo-confidence men have regularly been holding these parades ever since 'Mission Accomplished!', but the length is getting smaller and smaller each time.

It has to be getting hard to line up participants for these parades. It might be why there are reports of exhausting strain being suffered by so many Bu$hCo staffers. Could this also be the source of allegations of Ambien usage by staffers to counter this strain? Are these reports what led to the calls for a shake-up of the White House staff, to replace those who need a break?

But, since the White House knows better than anyone that things are going swimmingly, no one is going to be replaced.

Now - if only Karl could talk George into putting down those steel marbles ...

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