Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Sunday, October 15th, 2006.

Fill in the Punch Line


How many Neocons does it take to screw in a light bulb? One to hold the bulb and nine to rotate the ladder, plus 300,000 ground troops to invade Iran.

If you can think of other answers, add ’em.

How about these:

You may have heard Neocons are complete idiots, but that’s not true. Some parts are missing.

You can tell which kids will grow up to be Neocons. They’re the ones outsmarted by Silly Putty.

I started to create a Photoshop pic of Kristol and Hume wearing “I’m with stupid” T-shirts, but decided that would be redundant.

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What Does He Know That We Don’t?

Bush Administration, corruption, elections, Republican Party

Michael Abramowitz writes in today’s Washington Post:

Amid widespread panic in the Republican establishment about the coming midterm elections, there are two people whose confidence about GOP prospects strikes even their closest allies as almost inexplicably upbeat: President Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove.

Flashback: As I remember it, on election night 2000 the extended Bush clan watched the train wreck from the Texas governor’s mansion. From time to time they’d appear on television, watching television. And at some point someone told them Florida had been called for Gore, and they shrugged it off. They weren’t worried about Florida. They knew they had Florida, one way or another.

Abramowitz continues,

The official White House line of supreme self-assurance comes from the top down. Bush has publicly and privately banished any talk of losing the GOP majorities, in part to squelch any loss of nerve among his legions. Come January, he said last week, “We’ll have a Republican speaker and a Republican leader of the Senate.”

The question is whether this is a case of justified confidence — based on Bush’s and Rove’s electoral record and knowledge of the money, technology and other assets at their command — or of self-delusion. Even many Republicans suspect the latter. Three GOP strategists with close ties to the White House flatly predicted the loss of the House, though they would not do so on the record for fear of offending senior Bush aides.

After the 2004 election, Maureen Farrell wrote an editorial for Buzzflash that documented Bush’s pattern of supreme confidence before “elections”:

On election night, Peter Jennings looked measurably surprised when he learned that President Bush had provided a tape of himself, sitting in the White House, commenting on his impending victory. It was an unprecedented move. No sitting president had ever addressed the nation while polls were still open. It was just not done. But there was George, exuding confidence, offering an election day reminder of our leader’s legitimacy.

It was all so perfectly Rovian, too. And why not? The Bush family filmed a similar made-for-TV moment in 2000, you might recall, when they assured America that Florida belonged to George. “There was one exact moment, in fact, when I knew for sure that Al Gore would Never be President of the United States, no matter what the experts were saying, and that was when the whole Bush family suddenly appeared on TV and openly scoffed at the idea of Gore winning Florida,” Hunter S. Thompson wrote, two weeks before the Supreme Court’s fateful decision.” Of course Bush would win Florida. Losing was out of the question. Here was the whole bloody Family laughing & hooting & sneering at the dumbness of the whole world on National TV.”

Election night 2004, however, was not punctuated by any such hooting. It was the end of a long and grueling journey for the President of the United States and his supporters. Tales of voter intimidation, computer glitches and “partisan mischief,” were reported during early voting in Florida, but somehow those things usually worked in the President’s favor. (Would anyone have complained, do you suppose, if John Kerry’s brother had been running the show?).

Of course, thanks to the Electoral College, in a close presidential election one has only to steal one or two states to swing the election. To keep the House in Republican hands, BushCo is going to have to pull a “Florida” in several states at once. And when pollsters are predicting a blowout (as Kevin Heyden notes, even much of the Right Blogosphere has written off the House), even the U.S. news media might get suspicious if Republicans win.

Emptywheel reminds us that Rove isn’t always right.

As I’ve been flying around the world, I’ve been reading all the Rove classics, including Bush’s Brain. And what struck me as I was reading it is the failures that never get mentioned. There’s the loser campaign in PA. Rove’s plans to win CA in 2000 and MI in 2004. These were all part of Rove’s grand plan and they didn’t come to fruition. Only Rove’s overconfidence in the 2000 NH primary ever gets mentioned. Underlying it all (particularly the MI loss, with the failed bid to win supporters by imposing a steel tariff, which really decimated the Tool and Die industry in MI) is the real possibility that, eventually, people are going to want results. Eventually, policy does matter. Rovian politics are not enough–not enough to win wars in Iraq, not enough to save jobs in the Midwest, and not enough to ensure seniors get prescription drugs.

Also at The Next Hurrah, DemFromCT provides a list of “Perceived GOP Errors” that includes Terri Schiavo, Harriet Miers, Dubai Ports, and immigration. I don’t know how much of a hand Rove had in those little episodes, but certainly each of these issues showed the White House with its pants down, so to speak, and very much caught off guard by public reaction it didn’t anticipate.

I’ve long believed that Karl Rove is a kind of Idiot Savant who is brilliant at one thing — Assault Politics — but barely competent at anything else. Like his boy Bush, he may finally have waded in over his head.

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