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George Bush Runs Yet Another Business Into The Ground
Ours. And even Peggy Noonan has had it with him. Peggy Noonan! From her op-ed column in the WSJ:

As I watched the news conference, it occurred to me that one of the things that might leave people feeling somewhat disoriented is the president's seemingly effortless high spirits. He's in a good mood. There was the usual teasing, the partly aggressive, partly joshing humor, the certitude. He doesn't seem to be suffering, which is jarring. Presidents in great enterprises that are going badly suffer: Lincoln, LBJ with his head in his hands. Why doesn't Mr. Bush? Every major domestic initiative of his second term has been ill thought through and ended in failure. His Iraq leadership has failed. His standing is lower than any previous president's since polling began. He's in a good mood. Discuss.

Is it defiance? Denial? Is it that he's right and you're wrong, which is your problem? Is he faking a certain steely good cheer to show his foes from Washington to Baghdad that the American president is neither beaten nor bowed? Fair enough: Presidents can't sit around and moan. But it doesn't look like an act. People would feel better to know his lack of success sometimes gets to him. It gets to them.

...With Mr. Bush it is the people who are forced to be cool-eyed and realistic. He's the one who goes off on the toots. This is extremely irritating, and also unnatural. Actually it's weird.

...President Bush was hired to know more than the people, to be told all the deep inside intelligence, all the facts Americans are not told, and do the right and smart thing in response.

That's the deal. It's the real "grand bargain." If you are a midlevel Verizon executive who lives in New Jersey, this is what you do: You hire a president and tell him to take care of everything you can't take care of -- the security of the nation, its well-being, its long-term interests. And you in turn do your part. You meet your part of the bargain. You work, pay your taxes, which are your financial contribution to making it all work, you become involved in local things -- the boy's ball team, the library, the homeless shelter. You handle what you can handle within your ken, and give the big things to the president.

And if he can't do it, or if he can't do it as well as you pay the mortgage and help the kid next door, you get mad. And you fire him.

Americans can't fire the president right now, so they're waiting it out. They can tell a pollster how they feel, and they do, and they can tell friends, and they do that too. They also watch the news conference, and grit their teeth a bit.

As for those who seem to remain his supporters, do they actually support him, or is it just a way to avoid throwing support the way of the Democrats? And as for Peggy, this isn't the first time she's expressed her disillusionment with GWB...this time, though, it really seems like she's hit bottom.

Posted by aalkon at July 16, 2007 11:36 AM

Comments

For the record, I haven't ever voted FOR anyone, always AGAINST someone else. As bad as Bush is, everyone that has ever run against him was significantly worse.

Which is disturbing. 300 million people, and the best we can come up with is a half-assed-war-fighting, confused-word-saying, idiot-not-slapping rich boy?

Although Peggy might want to visit the clue farm. She didn't describe the role of President, she described the role of King. Last I checked, we don't have one of those. Maybe that explains the disillusionment.

Posted by: brian at July 16, 2007 4:44 AM

> She didn't describe the role
> of President, she described
> the role of King.

No, she correctly described them as hired help. What's Kingly about it? I can only fault this line:

> ...President Bush was hired
> to know more than the people

That's wickedly mistaken in several respects.

But as columns go it's not a bad effort. Noonan's always had good moments. But like the last five times Amy's posted something of hers, I'm gonna remind people that she took a six-figure check from Enron during the glory days, and that when someone asked her about it after the crash she said it was OK because she never even knew why they were giving her the money.

Posted by: Crid at July 16, 2007 6:20 AM

I shouldn't be so glib. Let's quote the lefty Salon.com, and let people do their own guessing about whether on not Noonan was being blunt:

>>

...she wrote that "if memory serves," she earned between $25,000 and $50,000 for her work. But even those numbers were hard to come by -- readers had to calculate on their own the number of hours she worked (between "100 to 200 hours"), and multiply that by the rate she charged ($250) in order to get the final eye-popping invoice.

Noonan then admitted the speech she wrote for Enron wasn't very good and that only portions of it were even used. Yet going by her high-end estimate of 200 hours billed, Noonan spent five weeks straight, working 40-hour work weeks, to deliver contributions that, she conceded, "weren't helpful."

Posted by: Crid at July 16, 2007 6:28 AM

EVEN? Peggy Noonan? Ronald Reagan is the only person in the history of the world that Peggy Noonan thinks has the dignity, honor, etc. to be president.

Posted by: rbnyc at July 16, 2007 7:13 AM

I don't see what's wrong with taking money from Enron to write a speech. She's a speechwriter not an accountant. Should she have audited their books before accepting her fee?

Posted by: kishke at July 16, 2007 7:29 AM

While I am no fan of Noonan's (I consider demagoguery to be dangerous), she seems to have nailed this one. And like Amy, I'm quite surprised that she came down against a Republican. I can usually count on her Rovian smears (Crid, shut up.) to depict Democrats in the worst possible light. (A good example would be this horrible screed demonizing Democrats for supporting the right of Michael Schiavo to make end-of-life decisions for his own wife.)

Posted by: Patrick at July 16, 2007 7:56 AM

She should have

1.) Given the money back.
2.) Been honest about precisely
how much she was paid, and
what work she did.
3.) Taken some pride in doing a
good job.
4.) Not glibly deflected the
clear observation that she
wasn't some simple farmgirl
lost in the maze of modern
big business, but a savvy
and handsomely-paid member
of the media elite whose
influence and goodwill were
being paid for in a transaction
unbecoming a crack sale.

Posted by: Crid at July 16, 2007 8:01 AM

Hey Patrick! Rove Rove!

White! Straight! Old! Fat! Powerful! Bald! Conservative! Legally untouchable! Mean! HAHAHAHA!

Rove Rove Rove!

Posted by: Crid at July 16, 2007 8:03 AM

EVEN? Peggy Noonan?

Let's just say she isn't exactly the DNC's head cheerleader.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 16, 2007 8:19 AM

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

Given that the president wields vastly more direct power than the founders ever intended, and this the power of the only current superpower - it's very close to absolute. Everyone working at the top level of politics is corrupt, as judged by the standard of the average citizen.

And it's a given that even the "good" ones have completely lost contact with what an average citizen things or wants.

Posted by: bradley13 at July 16, 2007 8:20 AM

Crid, Why should she have given the money back? And what business is it of anyone's how much she is paid? As for taking pride in her work, I say it's her own business. If she does poor work, only she is affected.

Posted by: kishke at July 16, 2007 8:38 AM

Depends on how you feel about Ken Lay, toothless accounting, and investor fraud, I guess. I think Enron was basically an organized crime outfit. Maybe you think that's harsh, but California taxpayers are notoriously (and righteously) pissy about this one.

No one could seriously believe that her confession of weak performance has any exonerative power. This kind of petty wordplay is intolerable from a rhetor of her stature. She should be ashamed, and those of us inclined to read her stuff should never forget that this was, to her, a trifling freelance matter.

Posted by: Crid at July 16, 2007 9:24 AM

Remember, she left the WSJ for a time to campaign for GWB in 2004 and now he isn't living up to her worshipful columns of the past.

The problem is that journalists and opinion makers make awful judges of history. A person is classified as a good or bad historical figure normally 20 to 50 years after said person has DIED by professional historians. Even the actual process is a subject of much deserved scrutiny too.

Personally, I think Peggy is being a vindictive bitch of an ex girl friend/cheerleader* of the POTUS.

***Yes, I'm being sexist and sarcastic at the same time. If Peg, was a guy, I would be much harsher in my treatment. Remember, I'm the guy that knocked down a well known male columnist in a bookstore, accidentally. So I am still guilty of sexism, yadda yadda yadda.

Posted by: Joe at July 16, 2007 9:38 AM

Actually, Crid, the word "Rovian" is how I describe vicious smears that goes beyond even the occassional down and dirty of politics. And in that respect, I think Noonan qualifies.

From the article about Terri Schiavo I linked above.

Why are they so committed to this woman's death?

They seem to have fallen half in love with death.

...

Our children have been reared in the age of abortion, and are coming of age in a time when seemingly respectable people are enthusiastic for euthanasia. It cannot be good for our children, and the world they will make, that they are given this new lesson that human life is not precious, not touched by the divine, not of infinite value.

Once you "know" that--that human life is not so special after all--then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.

Horrible, isn't she?

And don't even get me started on the bile (and outright lies) she uttered about the memorial service for Paul Wellstone.

So, Crid, Rovianism has nothing to do with the fact that he's fat, bald, white or whatever. It has to do with underhandedness, and vile despicable smears...you know. Kind of like suggesting that someone's emotional state is like a serial killer in movies, just because you might not happen to agree with their opinions.

I would encourage you to get professional help, Crid. You have no sense of perspective and even less of common decency.

Posted by: Patrick at July 16, 2007 9:52 AM

Depends on how you feel about Ken Lay, toothless accounting, and investor fraud, I guess.

I'm against all those things. But I still don't think that people who worked for them should have to return their fees.

Posted by: kishke at July 16, 2007 10:06 AM

> I still don't think that
> people who worked for them
> should have to return their
> fees.

And if she'd actually toiled on their behalf, you might have a case to make... But it couldn't be more obvious that she was paid to [A] hobnob as a celebrity alumni of the Me Decade's political apotheosis and [B] say nice things about the company to her Bosnywash cohort. To hell with her and her fucking fees.

Posted by: Crid at July 16, 2007 10:38 AM

"she was paid to [A] ... and [B] ..."

Right, like every other PR person. And she did just that, and so earned her thrice-damned fees.

Posted by: kishke at July 16, 2007 10:53 AM

Amazing

very few comments about what she said just many comments about what the person commenting thinks she is.....

Thsoe comments that addressed what she said are to be lauded (either side of the aisle) the others are not to the point and I am amazed anyone would think they are relevant

but that is just me....an old Kennedy democrat who believes in honesty and process over hype and spin...

Posted by: Hmm....... at July 16, 2007 12:50 PM

> Right, like every other
> PR person

She's not a PR person. At least, she never told anyone she was, until she got caught with her hand in a shit-filled cookie jar.

You want to pretend she earned the money honorably, go ahead. It'll be a tough sell. Heroin dealers earn the money too, right?

> very few comments about
> what she said

You came in late. The larger issues have been under discussion here for years, and no participants have failed to make their feelings known.

Patrick, it was just a column from Peggy Noonan. Not everything you disapprove of is the holocaust, OK? A name's been given to your penchant for hyperbole:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

Posted by: Crid at July 16, 2007 1:10 PM

> Americans can't fire the president right now, so they're waiting it out.

"...One of the fellows you're about to meet wrote the first article of impeachment against President Clinton. Bruce Fein did so because perjury is a legal crime. And Fein believed no one is above the law. A constitutional scholar, Bruce Fein served in the Justice Department during the Reagan administration and as general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission. Bruce Fein has been affiliated with conservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation and now writes a weekly column for THE WASHINGTON TIMES and Politico.com..."

"...BRUCE FEIN: There's always going to be a political element, Bill. But in the past, there's always been a few statesmen who have said, 'You know, the political fallout doesn't concern me as much as the Constitution of the United States.' We have to keep that undefiled throughout posterity 'cause if it's not us, it will corrode. It will disappear on the installment plan. And that has been true in the past. When we had during Watergate Republicans and remember Barry Goldwater, Mr. Republican, who approached the president and said, 'You've got to resign.' There have always been that cream who said the country is more important than my party. We don't have that anymore..."

Link: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07132007/transcript4.html

Posted by: Doobie at July 16, 2007 1:24 PM

> There have always been that
> cream who said the country
> is more important than my
> party. We don't have that
> anymore..."

There's just zero reason to believe this is true. People who are paying attention for the first time love to think that there was a golden era of politics when things weren't so partisan, but it's just not so. Of course the constitution needs to be protected; I'd hate to see this turn into a bannana republic with a new junta blowing through town every three months. But that doesn't mean Bush has committed an impeachable offense. I think the greater danger is that more than short-view types will take over our system. Paglia (link by Amy earlier in the week) out it like this:


>>
I think the impeachment scenario is a distracting fantasy that could end up losing the Democrats the next election. The public will not look favorably on Congress (already rock bottom in the polls) tying itself up in knots with endless investigations and show trials. Democrats should be focusing their energies on devising a winning campaign strategy for 2008. Obsessing on the past, particularly via the maddeningly quibbling trivialities that an army of lawyers would bring to this project, is a dead end.

Posted by: Crid at July 16, 2007 1:37 PM

That law you quote, Crid, would be more applicable to Noonan herself, since she's the only one who made references to the Holocaust. Perhaps you misunderstood, since I closed the blockquote too soon. The following is entirely her statement, not mine.

Why are they so committed to this woman's death?

They seem to have fallen half in love with death.

...

Our children have been reared in the age of abortion, and are coming of age in a time when seemingly respectable people are enthusiastic for euthanasia. It cannot be good for our children, and the world they will make, that they are given this new lesson that human life is not precious, not touched by the divine, not of infinite value.

Once you "know" that--that human life is not so special after all--then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.

The above is her statement, not mine. I made no references to the Holocaust.

But for the record, that part about you needing professional help? And having no sense of perspective and even less of common decency?

That's entirely mine.

Posted by: Patrick at July 16, 2007 1:55 PM

Busted. I gotta remember to read Amy's cites more carefully... (I'm Rovian, bilous, indecent and in need of professional help!)


Posted by: Crid at July 16, 2007 2:10 PM

I think Paglia's on target. But this sentence gives me pause:

Democrats should be focusing their energies on devising a winning campaign strategy for 2008.

I have a better idea. Why don't they focus their energies on governing to the best of their ability, which is what we are actually paying them to do.

Posted by: kishke at July 16, 2007 2:17 PM

Kishke -

They don't focus on it for the simple reason that they have no ability to govern.

The democrats are interested in power for power's sake. They'll figure out what to do with it once they get it. Until then, all they have is "vote for me, I'm not him!"

The only reason the Democrats won anything in 2006 is the Republicans and conservatives stayed home. If Bush and his sycophants in Congress weren't so busy trying to hoodwink us into supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants, then maybe they would have noticed that they lost the majority of the base over that issue.

I didn't vote for a single Republican where a non-Democrat alternative was available in 2006. And when there wasn't a third option, I simply didn't make a selection.

If 50% of the voting population did what I did, there wouldn't be a Republican or Democrat majority in Congress at this time.

Posted by: brian at July 16, 2007 5:13 PM

> People who are paying attention for the first time love to think that there was a golden era of politics when things weren't so partisan, but it's just not so.

Say what?

Posted by: Doobie at July 17, 2007 12:02 AM

If you were watching carefully, you know that things were always this shitty

Posted by: Crid at July 17, 2007 12:37 AM

And by shitty I mean wonderful! It's great when spirited, brilliant people are compelled to defend their perspectives.

Posted by: Crid at July 17, 2007 12:41 AM

It's also kind of neat when Patrick is compelled to defend his.

Har.

Thanks, I'm here all week.

Posted by: Crid at July 17, 2007 12:57 AM

Crid sobs:

Busted. I gotta remember to read Amy's cites more carefully... (I'm Rovian, bilous, indecent and in need of professional help!)

Well, you know, it beats being likened to a psychotic murderer. And yes, I maintain that if this is how you handle opinions that don't coincide with yours, you have no perspective, no sense of decency, and you do need professional help. That was just too far off the deep end for rationality.

Posted by: Patrick at July 17, 2007 1:14 AM

Crid -- I appreciate the sentiment behind Godwin's Law, but it seems a little silly and pretentious. Doesn't the probability of saying ANYTHING on a blog thread increase to 1.0 as the length of the thread grows?

"Lena's Law" states that the probability of having one's juicy rosebud cumhole licked increases linearly with the number of faces one sits on.

Posted by: Lena at July 19, 2007 9:05 AM

Anyone still reading?

> Doesn't the probability of
> saying ANYTHING on a blog
> thread increase

No it doesn't. That's the point. Always and soon, it comes 'round to Hitler. Why?

Most people build their everyday beliefs out of brittle evidence. But most of those beliefs are never tested by even superficial conversations with others, which might bring challenges and reinforcement earlier in the construction. So then they go online and say something arguable as if it were a closed matter. ("Busing cures racism! Abortion is entirely private! Global warming is indisputable anthropogenic!") Equally sensible (and often more articulate) participants then cut them to shreds.

And all of the sudden, it's about Hitlerian evil. (Patrick's been prattling about "decency" for a couple of years now. I don't think he's spent a lot of his life talking to non-intimate people who disagree with him.)

Godwin's Law is useful not because it explains the brutality of contention in anonymous online fora, but because it exposes this shallowness of reasoning in popular belief. If people actually knew what was going on in the brains of the people seated next to them, every bus ride would be a fistfight.

Posted by: Crid at July 21, 2007 4:13 PM

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