The Administration

Sad sad day

Vice President Cheney, Bob Novak, Tim Russert and Judith Miller could not possibly have slept well last night.

The sentencing of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby to a 30-month prison term is devastating and maddening. There's no doubt he perjured himself, but he should have been given a sentence of six months, not 30. This was a political not a legal trial in which the Democrats won and our country lost. Does this prosecution, urged on by the Democratic mob, feed the appetite of those vengeful Americans who would like to punish this administration for starting the Iraq conflict?

No matter your thoughts on Libby and this administration, I think we can all agree that no one found joy in yesterday's sentencing by U. S. District Judge Reggie Walton, who is not inclined to let Libby stay free pending appeals. Lessons learned from former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton tell us that eventually we must all be held accountable for our illegal and unethical actions, no matter how powerful we may think we are. Congressman Bill Jefferson, I hope you and your family are somewhere taking serious note of this verdict.


Bad Day for President Bush

This wasn’t a great day for President Bush. First, Scooter Libby gets sentenced. Then the Republicans debate in New Hampshire and spend most of their time bashing the president. Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) said that he governed as a liberal. Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.) chimed in on immigration. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) said the Bush administration badly mismanaged the war, etc. etc, etc.

And this is the Republicans!

President Bush is not doing well in the polls, but he is pretty popular with the base (or he was until his defense of the immigration bill). So why do these Republicans feel the need to bash the president? After all, this isn’t the general election yet.

I do believe that the president’s tough defense of the immigration bill means that many Republicans will feel more comfortable taking Bush to task. And clearly, our continued involvement in Iraq has become tiresome to more and more Republicans.


Bush’s Courage in the Eleventh Hour

Fellow bloggers Peter Fenn and Karen Hanretty, from opposite ends of the political spectrum, have both weighed in this week against President Bush’s decision to criticize immigration reform opponents on the right. I agree that at 28 percent approval it is foolish to blast conservative Republicans who are his only remaining friends, but it’s easy to see why he did.

Bush, who yesterday reversed course and proposed talks on global warming, is showing political courage in his eleventh hour. After making political decisions for years — some very popular and many, many of them politically practical — he is trying to find some guts. We all believe he supports immigration reform on principle but now we know he wants it so much he is willing to throw his own conservative base overboard. Foolish or not, that’s gutsy.

Bush Attacks Unpatriotic Conservative Republicans

As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) calls conservatives who oppose the immigration bill bigots and promises to shut them up, the president calls them unpatriotic and turns his demonization politics against the Republican Party’s base.

Here is the state of play for Republicans: the conservative Republicans accuse progressive Democrats of being unpatriotic, while the president accuses conservative Republicans of being unpatriotic.

The worm turns.

The revolution begins.

Already the pundit class proclaims how the Democrats are enjoying this.


Even in the Right, Bush Can’t Help But Go Low-Blow

I know this is hard to believe, but I began this blog post yesterday with the idea of praising President Bush. I thought, you know, Bush is getting a bum rap on his immigration reform proposal. He has stuck by the importance of actually solving the problem, getting something done, producing a compromise plan and working with all sides.

And I actually feel that he believes in a humane, comprehensive plan that treats people fairly and deals with the need for enforcement and border control. He, of all people, understands the issue from his days as governor of Texas and has been totally consistent for years.

OK, so what happened?

Bush goes to Georgia and attacks his opponents (primarily Republicans this time) with accusations that they have not read the bill, that “they don’t want to do what’s right for America” and they want to “frighten people.”

The President and the Right

How liberating it must be to not have to face another election!

President Bush is calling them as he sees them. And as he sees it, the conservative critics of his immigration bill are way out of bounds.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

I support the immigration bill. I think it is important to get something done and get it done this year, for our nation’s economy and security. I also think it could be good politically for the Republican Party. We need to get to be able to compete for the Hispanic vote if we want to be the majority party in the long term, and getting this bill done could help us.

But the president needs to engage the critics of the bill in a constructive way. Saying that they haven’t read the bill insults their intelligence and is easily disprovable. Calling concerns “empty political rhetoric” and critics “fear-mongers” doesn’t help. And it certainly won’t help get the bill done in the House.

Holiday Weekend Pop Quiz

Here’s a Holiday Weekend Pop Quiz for all you spinmeisters who delight in turning a phrase.

Presidential candidate John Edwards managed to make news this week, and will no doubt be the subject on all the Sunday morning political shows, for saying the “war on terror” is a bumper sticker, not a strategy. So that’ll be the theme of this, the first ever (I think) Holiday Weekend Pop Quiz.

Match the quote with the person who said it.

1. “… for us to be successful in this war on terrorism, we have to find these terrorist groups where they are, whether it’s within our borders or outside our borders, and stop them and stamp them out before they do us harm.”

A. Sean Hannity
B. Lt. Col. Oliver North
C. John Edwards

Long Live King George!

In December 2000, after being named president by the Supreme Court, George Bush told a group of congressional leaders: “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier ... Just so long as I’m the dictator.”

They thought he was kidding, but apparently not.

As first reported on the conservative website WorldNetDaily, Bush signed a presidential directive on May 9, 2007, allowing him to assume near-dictatorial powers in the event of a national emergency. Only the president could declare such an emergency, and only the president could say when it was over. Meanwhile, he would take over control of all government and business activity in the country.

We Can Trust Scientists, Can’t We?

I’m shocked!

Yes, I’ve been around a long time, but I’m still shocked — by what we just learned about the Smithsonian.

There’s no institution more revered in Washington than the Smithsonian: its great museums, lining the Mall, all free to the public; its long reputation for scientific achievement. Unlike the Capitol or the White House, the Smithsonian is the one place in Washington where you can go to get the truth. Right?

Well, apparently not. At least, not any longer. A former Smithsonian official has revealed that last year’s exhibit on global warming was deliberately soft-pedaled, toned down, in order not to offend the Bush White House.

The Senate Immigration Deal

I support the Senate immigration deal. I think Mel Martinez and Jon Kyl did a great job. I believe this issue needs to be taken off the table this year for Republicans to be able to focus on other issues in the time for the next election.

That being said, I have to wonder if the House is even going to take it up.

I sincerely doubt that the House Republican minority is in any mood to help out the White House or the Senate and vote for this deal And I doubt that Nancy Pelosi or Rahm Emanuel will bring it to a vote without a certain number of Republicans voting for it.