Friday, April 29, 2005

Pack Your Bags Pumpkins, The Honeymoon is OVER

cross-posted on Obsidian Wings

The day it became apparent that GWB would be our president for another four years, I made a pledge to give him the benefit of doubt for 100 days into his new term. Like it or not, he was the president. Folks who read ObWi may think I broke that pledge, that I've been overly critical of the President since that day, that I've not given him the benefit of doubt in his actions. To those folks all I can say is "Wait for it." By comparison, you'll see how much I held back. The honeymoon was a chance for him to prove my misgivings unfounded. He has failed.

Day 100 of the second term of George W. Bush we find an administration resistant to learning from its mistakes, an administration with three central and tragic flaws. I'll cover two today (the third is larger and requires more cites...I'm working on it):

  1. An allergy to accountability
  2. A priority of perception over reality

Allergy to Accountability

One need look no further for how totally corrupt this administration's attitude toward accountability is than the biggest PR disaster of Bush's presidency: Abu Ghraib. As Bob Herbert rightly noted:

When soldiers in war are not properly trained and supervised, atrocities are all but inevitable. This is one reason why the military command structure is so important. There was a time, not so long ago, when commanders were expected to be accountable for the behavior of their subordinates.

That's changed. Under Commander in Chief George W. Bush, the notion of command accountability has been discarded. In Mr. Bush's world of war, it's the grunts who take the heat. Punishment is reserved for the people at the bottom. The people who foul up at the top are promoted.

And this fish most definitely stinks from the head down. Even Donald Rumsfeld, arguably the most arrogant man in the world, knew that the right thing to do in the light of Abu Ghraib was submit his resignation. Bush, however, who has never had to clean up any of the messes he's made in his life, couldn't understand that inclination and so refused Rummie, apparently twice. The message this sends is that so long as you're a loyal team player you can be a world-class f*ck-up and keep your job. We've seen how well that management style has served Bush in business ("El-Busto" anyone?). Shouldn't he be discouraged from conducting the government in the same fashion? As my Father is fond of saying, "A fool is someone who keeps doing the same thing over and over again but expects different results."

The buck WILL stop. The only question is whether when it does, it stops where it should. A president with dignity would ensure it stopped with him. Honor counts.

Perception over Reality

The best thing that can be said about last night's performance art piece in the East Room of the White House is that the lead actor's tie matched the stage's carpet. I know images carry more impact than words, but if he's going to just phone it in, let him use a phone for chrissake. The man's got loads of brush to clear on his ranch. Why drag the whole MSM over there, make everyone dress up, take their assigned seats, and act out the absurd charade?

Nightline dealt with this nonsense last night (as summarized on Kos):

...Ted Koppel is analyzing the press conference & had on Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, John Harwood of the Wall Street Journal, & a British journalist with the Financial Times, Lionell Barber... .

..Barber said that these press conferences are stage craft, with assigned seating & assigned questions, that don't say or do anything. Koppel then compared the way the BBC & the British media ask question of Tony Blair, where the media gives Blair "a going over". Koppel then turned to Milbank & Harwood, and asked why no reporter has the guts to stand up & tell Bush that he isn't answering their questions, & it isn't sufficient to regurgitate his speech from his traveling tour.

Milbank & Harwood's response tells you everything you need to know about what's wrong with the media. Both said that you can't be 'too hard' with Bush. That if you ask a hard question of Bush, you won't get an answer. Dana Milbank said you need to ask it "as an essay question" to him. Koppel then asked both of them "which question" asked as an essay tonight, did the reporters get a substanitive answer to? Neither one of them had an answer for Ted Koppel.

Perhaps, as a nation, we can't handle the truth. But I suspect it's the other way around: the truth is something Bush can't dispense, and so we get these staged puppet shows instead. But these are just the public face of a wrong-headed "boy in the bubble" presidency so out of touch, his handlers decide it would disrupt things too much to let the leader of the free world encounter dissent, even when he's supposedly seeking it out (think SS town meetings). A president with courage would seek out real dissent, combat it when it was wrong, and consider it when it was right, even it that involved the occasional painful moment of *gasp* introspection.


Anonymous Macallan said...

You suck and are ruining this site!


4/29/2005 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

You suck and are ruining this site!

Ahh...thanks, Mac.

There's been a bit of cricket chirping round these parts. Guess I need to take one of those spam emails (Increase traffic to your website) vendors seriously.

4/29/2005 02:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Macallan said...

My recommendation would be not to cross post your ObiWi oriented stuff. Stick to the Art and other things and just be patient. You're going to have to build an audience and it'll take time.

4/29/2005 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

You're probably right.

spreading it too thinly serves no one well.

4/29/2005 03:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this fish most definitely stinks from the head down

Do you truly believe that there were no atrocities during WWI or WWII. Maybe there were but there just wasn't the MSM to cover it 24/7. And was the actions of those solidiers FDR's responsibility?

5/01/2005 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

And was the actions of those solidiers FDR's responsibility?

Everything our soldiers do is our Commander-in-Chiefs responsibility IMO. I don't assume Bush knows about all the transgressions, but he is ultimately responsible for ensuring those guilty of crimes are punished. I simply cannot believe that the miltary official we knew was implicated before the investigation remains the only miltary official the report finds culpable. It stretches the imagination and smells of a white wash.

Sanchez not being touched at all strikes me as the sort of thing we've come to expect of Banana Republics, not the USA. YMMV.

5/01/2005 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous crionna said...

I like the site E and echo Mac. I'll look forward to coming here as an artistic respite from OW, Tacitus and the like.

Keep it up and wait...

5/02/2005 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Thanks Crionna,

I agree with Mac too...I can get into enough trouble with politics elsewhere...I like this as an oasis from all that...better change the header though...thanks for visiting.


5/02/2005 08:57:00 PM  
Anonymous aquabot said...

Edward doesn't matter whatever your's opinion on...but the fact is a fact and I say it all the time that Bush is arrogant, greedy, incompetent, a liar, and corrupt.

Why is he lying to us. He is a master at it. Prince of the dark side that he is. He grew up rich and got anything he wanted. When he got into trouble his daddy was there to bail him out.
He lied his way through life and after 60 years he has become a true expert at it. He lies because the truth is bad for him. People would see his corruption and incompetence.
BY THE WAY HOW MANY DAYS LEFT FOR ELECTION.....Starts counting its all gonna be over...

9/22/2007 07:53:00 AM  

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