Chris's Rants

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Emperor has no clothes!?

Dan Froomkin -- Now They Tell Us (emphasis mine):
Amid a slew of stories this weekend about the embattled presidency and the blundering government response to the drowning of New Orleans, some journalists who are long-time observers of the White House are suddenly sharing scathing observations about President Bush that may be new to many of their readers.

Is Bush the commanding, decisive, jovial president you've been hearing about for years in so much of the mainstream press?

Maybe not so much.

Judging from the blistering analyses in Time, Newsweek, and elsewhere these past few days, it turns out that Bush is in fact fidgety, cold and snappish in private. He yells at those who dare give him bad news and is therefore not surprisingly surrounded by an echo chamber of terrified sycophants. He is slow to comprehend concepts that don't emerge from his gut. He is uncomprehending of the speeches that he is given to read. And oh yes, one of his most significant legacies -- the immense post-Sept. 11 reorganization of the federal government which created the Homeland Security Department -- has failed a big test.

Maybe it's Bush's sinking poll numbers -- he is, after all, undeniably an unpopular president now. Maybe it's the way that the federal response to the flood has cut so deeply against Bush's most compelling claim to greatness: His resoluteness when it comes to protecting Americans.

But for whatever reason, critical observations and insights that for so long have been zealously guarded by mainstream journalists, and only doled out in teaspoons if at all, now seem to be flooding into the public sphere.

An emperor-has-no-clothes moment seems upon us.
Indeed, but has the press learned from their lesson? I hope so, but I doubt it.

The MSM has played Bush's cheerleader since 9/11. Yet, most of them have known full well all along that he isn't up to the task. He was the butt of every joke imaginable prior to 9/11, but because he rallied the country behind him during his bullhorn moment atop the rubble of the twin towers, they have given him a pass that he never deserved from the moment that he squandered that good will by abandoning the effort in Afghanistan, to track down UBL and the rest of his al Qaeda criminals, to engage in a war of spite (or for oil, or whatever reason which we still don't know) against Saddam and Iraq.

He is the Bubble Boy. A hand-puppet who hasn't the first clue what to do or say without his handlers whispering in his ear. When left to his own devices, as he was before he reassembled his vacationing staff to the WH, he will do and say exactly the wrong thing.

Someone who "feels things in his gut" and makes "good decisions" would have fired Mike Brown on the spot when he landed in Louisiana instead of slapping him on the behind and telling him what a "heckova job" he was doing. Yet, President Bubble Boy didn't even know that his embattled FEMA Director had resigned. Maybe the Preznit should get himself a cell phone or a Blackberry. Clearly, if he didn't know, then he didn't fire him which is what he should have done late last week.

Had "Bush's brain" been whispering in his ear through the non-existant box strapped between Dubya's shoulder blades during the debates, rather than lying in bed at home, zonked out on vicodin following his kidney stone surgery, he might have suggested that Bush say: "yes, I know, I asked for his resignation" to at least give the impression that he's on top of things.

Even Bush's talking points are out of date. Today, he trotted out the "New Orleans Dodged a Bullet" headline excuse... one that had been debunked last week when DHS Sec'y Chertoff used it. A) there were no such headlines, and B) the levees were breached early Monday as reported widely. Not only that, but Bush was briefed on the prospect that the levees would be overrun by the storm surge on Sunday by Max Mayfield.

None of this is news to anyone who has been paying attention.

While I am glad that the press have finally found their spine, it is a year too late to make a difference. They should have spoken up last year, when his campaign hacks were spewing lies and covering up his incompetence by gaming the debates. We have to suffer through three more years with these incompetetent criminals in office. I'm not confident that we'll survive his legacy.


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