The Administration

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.”
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Why I Resigned From the President's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board — And Where We Go from Here

I have been asked by many interested parties, congressional staff and others, to explain my reasons for resigning from the five-member President's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). The best and most complete explanation is contained in two letters that I wrote on the date of my resignation last week — one to my colleagues on the Board — Carol Dinkins, the chair; Alan Raul, the vice-chair; and Theodore Olson and Francis Taylor, members; and the second to President Bush.

But regardless of my resignation, the most important issue remains and must now be addressed by Congress, which is considering changes in the present structure of the Board: Is there a role for a part-time civilian oversight board on executive-branch anti-terrorist programs that potentially might infringe on basic civil liberties and privacy rights in the Constitution and under U.S. laws — or not?
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Irreconcilable Differences: And Other Mixed Movie Metaphors on Immigration

I have only one question for President Bush and this absurd immigration "reform" proposal he cooked up with Uncle Teddy:

"Mr. President, why do you hate the Republican Party?"

Clearly, the president bears great animosity toward the GOP, which elected him twice. What else could possibly explain not only a lax immigration bill that legalizes nearly 12 million illegal immigrants but a bill so liberal that Senatuh Kennedy would do high kicks and cartwheels for it?

Ah, a clue (and a new conspiracy theory). We elected Dubya twice. Is this immigration bill payback for Republicans who gave the presidency to Bill Clinton by voting for Ross Perot over Papa Bush? 
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Unimpeachable?

Fellow blogger Brent Budowsky has decided Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be impeached for refusing to follow the law. Mr. Budowsky noted Gonzales's "goon-like" trip to John Ashcroft's sickbed, now made famous by James Comey's congressional testimony this week. I can't say I agree this merits impeachment, but I too was struck by the notion of Andrew Card and Gonzales playing Tony Soprano and Mob deputy taking the opportunity to intimidate someone suffering in a hospital bed.

What is more important than their tacky, cruel tactic at Ashcroft's bedside was the underlying untruth that the warrantless surveillance program caused no controversy within the Bush administration. Yep, that was brought to us by AG AG himself in his 2006 testimony before Congress. "None of the reservations dealt with the program we are talking about today," he said at the time. Then, of course, he was equally reassuring about who took the lead in firing the U.S. attorneys — he wasn't involved; no, he was involved; well, he isn't so sure. It is beginning to seem like a joke we haven't been let in on.  
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Who Needs a War Czar?

At last, an honest answer out of Tony Snow.

When asked why, after four years in Iraq, President Bush decided he needed a war czar, the White House press secretary responded: “I honestly don’t know.” No, Tony, and neither does anybody else.

After several generals turned down the job, because they don’t support the president’s policy in Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute accepted the assignment. But that still leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

1.    If the president is commander in chief, why do we need a war czar?

2.    If the war czar is now in charge of the war, what happened to the secretary of defense?
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